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There is a significant difference between various types of cannabis seeds. Autoflowering seeds grow to become plants that are pretty different from regular photoperiod cannabis plants.
The most crucial difference between the two is that autoflowering plants commence with their flowering stage as they mature, regardless of the change in the light cycle.
Another important distinction between the two is that autoflowering plants grow much faster compared to photoperiod plants and are significantly smaller in size.
Autoflowering seeds are generally considered ideal for growers just starting growing cannabis, mainly because they flower automatically and are very easy to cultivate.
Growing autoflowering cannabis plants doesn’t require any complex light setting changes. Since the entire selection of our autoflowering seeds is also feminized, you won’t have to be on the lookout for any male plants that can potentially pollinate the females.
All these reasons combined make autoflowering seeds an excellent choice for rookie growers. If you’ve never taken care of a plant, the sheer resilience of the autoflowering cannabis varieties will take care of them.
Of course, the overall quality of the treatment you give your plant will have a substantial impact on the health and yield of your plant, but it’s good to know that autoflowering seeds grow up to become plants that are very easy to manage and nurture.
In this guide, we’re going to cover all of the essential aspects of autoflowering seeds and the cannabis plants they produce.
The reason why autoflowers are so easy to handle lies in their genetics. These plants result from breeding between regular photoperiod plants like Indicas, Sativas, and hybrids with a particular subspecies of cannabis, known as Cannabis Ruderalis.
Ruderalis plants naturally grow only in very inhospitable climates, which forced them to evolve in a very unusual way.
Since these plants don’t receive much sunlight and are exposed to very cold temperatures, they have developed a trait that allows them to flower automatically, based solely on their age.
Cannabis breeders have used this intriguing trait of Ruderalis plants and combined them with typical photoperiod cannabis plants, resulting in autoflowering cannabis strains.
Nowadays, various famous Indica and Sativa strains are combined with Ruderalis plants.
This has resulted in autoflowering strains that kept many of the original traits of these well-regarded photoperiod strains but are far simpler to grow.
Even though the main benefit of autoflowering seeds is that they are effortless to grow, there are other reasons why they are a viable option for growers.
For one, they grow very rapidly, which results in more harvest during any time. If autoflowers are grown outdoors, cannabis cultivators can produce two harvests in one year.
As for indoor cultivation, the number of harvests per year can be even more significant since you can maintain perfect growing conditions all year round.
This trait of autoflowering seeds entails that a grower can produce significantly more harvests when compared to photoperiod cannabis plants.
Autoflowering seeds, by default, grow faster than photoperiod seeds because of their Ruderalis heritage.
Most autoflowering seeds are ready for harvest in under ten weeks, but there are nuances between various autoflower strains, and some mature quicker than others.
Make sure to do your research if you’re on the lookout for the fastest autoflowering strains.
The robust and resilient nature of autoflowering seeds is also why growers love cultivating them.
Compared to photoperiod strains, autoflowering plants are pretty hardy and resilient against mold, pests, and even frost and cold conditions.
All these attributes combined make autoflowering seeds a fantastic option for beginner growers.
Although autoflowering seeds have many benefits, we are now going to look at some of the essential benefits of autoflowers and some of the negative aspects of these seeds.
If you’re new to growing cannabis, the numerous advantages of autoflowering seeds will most likely overshadow any disadvantages of these seeds.
The main benefits of autoflowering seeds can be divided into three critical categories.
As we already mentioned, unlike photoperiod cannabis seeds, autoflowering seeds don’t need a change in light to start flowering and begin producing buds.
What’s fascinating about these seeds is that they can grow and develop well, even in poorly lit spaces.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should deprive your autoflower plants of a good light source, but it’s good to know that these seeds can thrive even if the growing conditions aren’t perfect.
While photoperiod plants cannot enter the flowering (blooming) stage without a specific change in light/darkness hours, you can keep autoflowering seeds in the same light cycle throughout their entire lifespan.
This trait makes growing far more manageable and is one of the main reasons amateur growers opt out of these seeds.
Since they are a result of combining Ruderalis genetics (which reside in inhospitable climates) with regular photoperiod plants, all autoflowering strains grow very quickly.
Most autoflowering seeds are ready for harvest anywhere from nine to weeks after germination, although some autoflowering strains are even faster.
If you are looking for a fast and reliable cannabis plant, look no further, as autoflowering strains are ideal.
If you’re planning on growing cannabis outdoors and don’t want anyone to know about your growing operation, autoflowering seeds are the way to go.
Since regular photoperiod cannabis plants (especially Sativas) can grow over five feet tall, hiding them from prying eyes can be complicated.
On the other hand, autoflowering plants are significantly shorter, ranging from two to three feet in height.
For anyone looking for the shortest autoflowering strains, Indica dominant autoflowering seeds are the best possible options since normal photoperiod Indica plants are much shorter when compared to regular Sativa cannabis plants.
But, even if you decide to go for a Sativa dominant autoflower, you should note that these plants are much shorter than regular Sativa cannabis plants.
Cannabis growers who are focusing solely on the potency of their cannabis might be discouraged from growing autoflowering plants since they are somewhat less potent when compared to photoperiod plants.
Another disadvantage of autoflowering seeds is that they produce smaller yields than photoperiod cannabis due to their petite size.
Keeping all of this in mind, here are the three main drawbacks of autoflowering seeds.
Because all autoflowering cannabis plants have Ruderalis genetics, they have smaller yields.
This negative trait developed because Ruderalis cannabis plants evolved to quickly produce flowers (because of the harsh conditions they reside in), which of course, has a direct impact on the yield.
The Ruderalis part of autoflowering plants makes these strains produce smaller amounts of buds when compared to photoperiod plants.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that autoflowering seeds produce plants with minuscule yields, but when compared to photoperiod plants, their yield is somewhat smaller.
All cannabis plants require sunlight (or grow lights) to produce cannabinoids.
But since autoflowering plants enter the flowering stage and are ready for harvest much quicker than photoperiod plants, they have less time to develop large quantities of cannabinoids, which results in diminished potency.
This is also due to the Ruderalis part of their genetics. Still, growers shouldn’t be discouraged from cultivating autoflowering plants since the difference between the potency of autoflowering and photoperiod plants is not that big.
Autoflowering plants thrive when they receive large quantities of light, which also impacts their ability to produce more cannabinoids, making them more potent.
Of course, keeping your plants under a constant glow of grow light is rather costly, which is something that can deter you from wanting to acquire these seeds.
Cultivating autoflowering cannabis strains allows you to get a lot from little time since some strains are fully developed in just eight weeks.
As autoflowering plants are straightforward to grow, they are considered excellent for beginner growers but can also provide a nice change of pace for more experienced cannabis cultivators.
Growing autoflowering plants indoors is relatively easy to accomplish thanks to their small size, and their resilient nature is also very forgiving for growers who are just starting.
Most autoflowering strains are ready to be harvested in about 8 to 10 weeks, but some strains require a bit more time, approximately 12 weeks.
This rapid growth of autoflowering cannabis plants makes them a favorite type of cannabis for many growers, and it also helps that they have a harsh nature, which makes nurturing them a lot simpler.
These strains are also well suited for outdoor cultivation since they are highly resilient to mold, pests, and other pathogens that attack cannabis.
Even though autoflowering strains don’t produce the same amount of cannabis as their photoperiod counterparts, the brief duration of their development more than makes up for this negative aspect of autos.
As we already know, autoflowering cannabis plants enter their blooming stage based solely on their age. They, therefore, do not require any changes in light cycle duration to set flowering off.
Because of that, when grown indoors, most cannabis cultivators keep their autoflowering plants under 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness during their entire development.
Cannabis falls under the category of what is known as C3 plants, which essentially means that it’s capable of absorbing CO2 needed for photosynthesis even when it’s exposed to light.
Also, because autoflowering plants have a brief vegetative stage, sufficient light is very much needed if you want your plants to thrive and develop properly.
Even though autoflowering strains don’t require a change in the light cycle to start blooming, this doesn’t mean that they don’t enjoy an adequate amount of light.
Some growers also opt out of 24 hours of light to boost cannabinoid production and the overall growth of the plant. Still, this aggressive light setup is generally considered less cost-effective.
Keeping your plants under constant light throughout the day may be beneficial (especially during vegetative growth). Still, on the other hand, with this light setup, your plants won’t have any recovery time.
To find out what works best for you, we recommend trying both of these light setups and figuring out which variation produces superior results.
Finally, some growers keep their autoflowering cannabis strains under 12 hours of light, and 12 hours of darkness, as this variation mimics the natural conditions.
Although this is entirely sound logic, you should note that this light cycle will affect the size of the buds and therefore diminish the overall yield once it’s time to harvest.
As for outdoor cultivation, the rapid growth of autoflowering strains allows growers to have multiple harvests during one season.
This is typically achieved by germinating autoflowering seeds every week at the start of spring and, after 8 to 10 weeks, harvesting a new plant every week.
To keep your plants capable of accessing all the nutrients required for their proper development, you need to keep a suitable pH value of the soil.
Various problems and nutrient deficiencies can occur if the pH value is too high, but also if it’s too low.
Autoflowering cannabis strains prefer a pH value between 6.0 and 6.5, and keeping track with a pH tester throughout their development is essential.
This easy-to-follow weekly grow manual will aid you in taking good care of your autoflowering plants from germination to harvesting.
It includes every aspect you should consider, which will result in potent and healthy autoflowering cannabis plants.
During the first week, your seed will gradually germinate, usually about three days.
During germination, the seed will activate and send the first root into the soil and send the first sprout above the soil.
This is the ideal time to prepare the soil with an appropriate mixture. Unlike photoperiod plants, autoflowering strains don’t require as many nutrients and generally enjoy soil that is both airy and light.
The potting mixture should consist of compost, perlite, vermiculite, and peat moss. You should also add some organic nutrients to the mix, as they will provide the plant with the rudimentary macro and micronutrients required for growth.
Adding mycorrhiza can also be beneficial as these fungi can help your plant’s root system to receive all of the nutrients with greater effectiveness.
Once you’ve prepared the soil, poke a shallow (about 15 mm) hole, place the germinated seed inside of it, and gently cover the hole with some soil.
Make sure to use a big pot to avoid repotting the plant later down the line, as this causes a great deal of stress on the plants, which is something you don’t want happening.
Once you’ve finished placing the seed into the soil, you can expect the seedling to emerge from the soil in the next couple of days.
During this stage, you also need to pay close attention to the relative humidity (between 70% and 90%), while the temperature should be moderate, somewhere between 22 and 25 degrees celsius.
As for the second week, the seedling will now fully emerge, and one of the best options is to use LED lights with about 250W power.
LEDs are a fantastic option as they can change light spectrums but are also quite an energy efficient and emit less heat, damaging your plant.
You should set the grow lights to a blue setting while your plant is in the vegetative stage.
You will also need to give your autoflowering plants nutrients specially crafted for the vegetative stage.
Since autoflowering strains don’t require as many nutrients as photoperiod plants, half a dose will be more than enough. Dissolve the tablets into the water and apply the solution bi-weekly.
During the third week, you will notice that your plant is deep in the vegetative stage, with a bunch of new leaves emerging, increasing photosynthesis’s developmental effects.
During this time, it’s crucial to keep the growing conditions optimized by continuing with your plant’s nutrients and low-stress training.
Since the plant will be significantly bigger at this point (around 15cm), you will need to reposition your grow lights, so they don’t cause any light damage to your plant. The ideal distance for your grow lights should be about one meter from the top of the plant.
At this stage, your plant will also need more water for its development (about 0.5 liters daily), but it’s always a good idea to water the plants only when you notice that the top section of the soil is completely dry.
This is also a good time for training the plants. Training allows more bud sites to be adequately exposed to the grow lights, which will amp up both the overall yield and the cannabinoid production of your plant once it enters the flowering stage.
Low-stress training is accomplished by bending the plant’s middle part of the main stem with a garden wire to stand completely parallel to the ground.
At week four, your plants will end their vegetative growth and gradually transition into the flowering stage.
During this week, it’s essential to finish up the training of the plant to avoid stressing it out when it starts to bloom.
Make sure that all of the future bud sites are at the same height level to get the same amount of light when the plant starts flowering.
It’s also possible that you will notice the first pre-buds starting to form at the nodes of your plant.
Week five is the official flowering time, and you can expect the development of first sacs covered with tiny hairs that will gradually grow into full-blown buds.
Since your plant will be about 30cm tall at this stage, it will require more water (about 1 liter daily) and will need larger quantities of potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium.
As for the lighting, during the flowering stage, you should switch the spectrum settings on your grow light to red, as this spectrum is much better suited for bud development in general.
During the sixth week, the bud production will be well on its way, and if you have adequately trained your plant, you will notice many bud sites throughout the canopy.
Once buds start blooming, it’s a good idea to lower the humidity (to about 40%) to ensure that your buds don’t become moldy.
It’s also wise to start giving your plants a bit more water at this point (1.5 liters per day) and look for weird growths resembling a banana.
If your buds develop such growths, this means that the plant in question is a hermaphrodite and that it’s attempting to pollinate itself.
Although this occurrence is infrequent (especially if you’re using feminized autoflowering seeds), in case it happens, make sure to remove this plant from your growing space before it gets a chance to pollinate itself as well as the other plants around it.
The seventh week of growing your autoflowering plant is about maintaining optimal growing conditions and ensuring that everything is as it should be.
It would be best if you kept the relative humidity relatively low (around 40%) to ensure your buds don’t develop mold in them.
At this time, it is also a good idea to keep a lookout for any pests roaming around your plant. Make sure that the pH levels of the soil are just right, as the plant requires adequate nutrient absorption at this stage of its growth.
During week eight, the buds on your plant will be nice and juicy, and most autoflowering strains will be ready to be harvested very soon.
In the unlikely event that the buds of your plant still haven’t reached an adequate size, continue like it’s week 7 to give the plant sufficient time to develop.
This week is also when you want to start flushing the plant, as this process removes all of the unneeded nutrients from the soil and can also give the flowers a better taste.
To properly flush your plant, you want to stop feeding it with nutrients and flood the soil with a lot of water a couple of times a week.
You will also want to defoliate your plant at this point, which can increase the overall yield, increase the buds’ exposure to light and diminish the chance of any mold developing.
Defoliate by cutting all of the small leaves on the lower parts of your plant, as well as some of the fan leaves on the upper part of the canopy.
Since your plant will be ready for harvest very soon, your only job at this point is to keep everything running smoothly to ensure maximal yield.
During week nine, it’s entirely normal for the fan leaves of your plant to appear discolored, and some of them will even drop off.
This isn’t a cause for concern. It just means you’ve successfully flushed your plant from excess nutrients from the soil.
As most autoflowering strains are ready by week ten, this is harvest time. You can assess if your plant is harvest-ready by inspecting the trichomes on your buds.
Start clipping off your buds when most trichomes have a milky cloudish color and when the pistils are red or light brown.
If some of the buds on your plant are ready to be harvested while others are still developing, feel free to remove the ready buds from the plant and give the undeveloped flowers a bit more time to mature.
Finally, since some autoflowering strains require a couple of weeks more than other strains, it’s entirely typical for some strains (especially sativa-dominant autoflowers) to need more time to develop fully.
The overall yield of an autoflowering strain depends on the growing conditions and, of course, whether the plant was grown indoors or outdoors.
Even though autoflowering seeds produce plants with a smaller yield than photoperiod cannabis, if they are appropriately grown, these varieties can produce potent yields.
Under ideal indoor growing conditions, most autoflowering strains produce somewhere between 350g and 400g per square meter. In comparison, some strains can produce about 500g per square meter.
As for outdoor growing, you can expect most autoflowering varieties to produce about 100g to 150g per square meter.