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Photoperiod Vs. Autoflower Cannabis Plants

cannabis plant 5 leaves and 7 leaves

The introduction of genetically altered Autoflower cannabis plants has revolutionized cannabis farming. It has provided the growers with more options and slightly more convenience than the traditional Photoperiod.

But that doesn’t make the modern Autoflower cannabis plant type better than traditional or vice versa. In fact, there’s no right or wrong in this case. It all depends on your required features and choice, which means you need to understand the two plants and the difference between them before selecting the right type for your farm. Read on to learn them.

Photoperiod Cannabis Plants

Traditionally, cannabis plants have been difficult to grow mainly due to their delicate and light-dependent nature. In simpler words, the traditional cannabis plant or the Photoperiod species depend on the natural light changes for triggering different growth stages.

photoperiod cannabis explainer

These plants usually bloom during the transition period between summer and autumn due to the changing daylight. The days get shorter during this time, reducing the amount of light and triggering the flowering process. In the case of indoor plants, you have to reduce light to imitate this transition period.

Autoflower Cannabis Plants

The Autoflower, as stated before, are genetically altered plant species and do not depend on daylight changes for flowering. They are developed to bloom after a certain period of time. They are much easier to grow and need much less attention than the Photoperiod cannabis plant.

Another aspect that makes them different from the Photoperiod is their harvest time. Unlike the Photoperiod cannabis plant, the Autoflower also grows rapidly, which makes it the better choice for anyone looking for quick turnovers.

autoflower cannabis explainer

Difference Between Photoperiod and Autoflower Cannabis Plants

The growth type and light dependence are the major differences between the Photoperiod and Autoflower cannabis plants. However, it’s not the only difference. There are many others, including the following.


The size and shape of your cannabis plant leaves and buds do not depend entirely on its type. They will differentiate according to the species or the subspecies of the plant. In simpler words, both Photoperiod and Autoflower cannabis plants can offer multiple sizes of leaves.

Cannabis plant leaves

Although, from a general perspective, the Photoperiod has larger leaves than the Autoflowers. Some of the traditional strains also tend to have a larger overall size than the Autoflowers. Not to mention, the leaves of Photoperiod plants feature broader fingers.

But again, you can balance this aspect by selecting the right species of Autoflower plants. You can check out and buy the top Autoflower strains at Hypno Seeds. They have a large range of Autoflowers with clear pictures and details to help you select the right seeds for your cannabis farm.


The speed and ease of growing that you get with an Autoflower cannabis plant come with a catch, the yield quantity. The flowers of the Autoflower plant are smaller than the usual size of a Photoperiod plant. It means the quantity of cannabis per harvest will be slightly low for the Autoflowers. These plants generally have a yield of 400g/m square, whereas the Photoperiod can produce up to 600g/m square.

However, it’s a small trade-off, especially considering the fact that Autoflowers have shorter growth cycles. Plus, they are small, which means you can grow more plants in less area, which can sometimes cover for the yield difference.


The Autoflower may seem like a great option, but they do have a big drawback, control. These plants are developed to bloom automatically, and you have no means to delay this process. And that can be a problem if you live in less than perfect climatic conditions. A sudden change in temperature in early winters, delayed autumn, or any such changes can ruin your yield.

The photoperiod cannabis plant tends to have the upper hand here. They react to light changes which means a delayed season or sudden temperature changes will prevent them from maturing. Even for indoor plants, you can delay blooming by providing adequate light. Thus, the risk of crop failure due to unforeseen circumstances is minimal.

Not to mention, the photoperiod plants are slightly more adaptive and resilient than the Autoflower cannabis plant.


The main concern in cannabis farming is the caretaking of your plant. The nutrients, light, and other factors need to be balanced properly to get a high-quality yield. Any imbalance here can lead to not just low-quality crops but also a ruined harvest.

And the Autoflowers have a slight advantage here. Their genetic structure makes them flexible and allows them to survive with a lot less care than traditional plants. The Autoflowers also need much fewer nutritional supplements to thrive.

The small size and automatic flowering also provide Autoflowers an edge over traditional cannabis plants. The smaller size makes them easier to control and reduces the need for pruning. And since they are not light-dependent for flowering, you don’t have the hassle of manually altering lights.

Moreover, since the plant flowers after a specific period, there’s a limit on the size it can attain. The traditional cannabis plant has no such limit. They will keep on growing as long as they receive enough light. But again, a larger size can also mean more yield, which is good if yield quantity is your main concern.

Light Schedule for Photoperiod vs. Autoflower

One thing that remains common for both Autoflowers and photoperiod plants is the need for light. However, the amount of light or the light schedule for Autoflowers and photoperiod cannabis plants differ. Autoflowers, being fast-growing, have a shorter life cycle and will need a lot more light than photoperiod cannabis.

Light Schedule for Autoflower

The Autoflower may not depend on them for flowering, but they do need it for proper growth, just like Photoperiod. There are three different light cycles that you can adopt for your to ensure their growth- 18/6 light cycle, 24 hour light cycle, and 12/12 light cycle.

18/6 light cycle: This cycle is the most common and considers both the plants’ need for light and recovery. It includes providing the Autoflower with 18 hours of light and 6 hours of resting period per day. The cycle is perfect for ensuring proper growth without overspending.

24 hour light cycle: Some farmers believe that providing the Autoflower with more light can help them improve yield. So, they provide the plant with 24 hours of light every day. You can adopt this cycle to maximize your plant growth and harvest.

12/12 light cycle: 12/12 is a low light cycle and is recommended for budget management and is adopted during the flowering stage. It’s because once the Autoflowers start to build, they don’t need much light.

Light Schedule for Photoperiod

The light you need to provide to the photoperiod plant will depend on the growth stage of your cannabis plant. Generally, you have to follow two different cycles for vegetation and flowering stages.

Growth Stage: Photoperiod plants don’t just need light for growth but also for predicting the flowering period. They will start to bud when exposed to long nights. Thus, you have to provide these plants with 18-24 hours of light per day. You can adjust the light slightly, but 12 hours per day is the limit. Never go lower than that.

Flowering Period: Once the cannabis plant is grown and ready for budding, you have to reduce its light exposure. The plant will need at least 12 hours of the dark period to initiate the flowering stage.


Now that you have read about the differences between the Photoperiod and Autoflower cannabis plants, it is clear that neither one is inferior or superior to the other. Both the plants have their pros and cons, so which one you choose is entirely your choice.

And, of course, you can depend on Hypno Seeds for quality seeds. We have a large range of both Autoflower and feminized plant seeds, including strains like Cream Brulee, Ice Eyes, Red Chile Truffles, and many more. You can go for Autoflowers to get quick yield or Photoperiod for better cannabis content. As long as you keep your final goal and requirement in mind, you will be fine.

Plus, you can always adopt organic cannabis growing techniques to get better results from your plants.

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