Auto-flowering cannabis strains are cannabis plants that have been bred to flower without the need for a change in the light cycle. Regular cannabis strains, called photoperiod plants, rely on the light cycle to begin flowering. Until the amount of light received by the plants reduces from about 18 hours to 12 hours daily, which is a signal of approaching winter, they do not begin to flower. For this reason, indoor growers of regular marijuana plants have to change the amount of time their lights are on to force the plants to flower.
Auto-flowering cannabis plants do not however require a change in the light cycle before they flower as they automatically flower after about 4 – 6 weeks. A certain strain of marijuana, known as Ruderalis, was the first auto-flowering marijuana strain to be discovered in the 1940s. It was discovered that regardless of the light cycle, this strain would start flowering once it was about 4 weeks old. This strain, however , produced a very low yield with equally low amounts of THC. This then led to the crossbreeding of the Ruderalis strain with other marijuana strains.
Today, although descendants of the tiny Ruderalis strain with an abysmally low concentration of THC, modern auto-flowering cannabis plants produce good yields containing substantial quantities of THC.
Besides the automatic flowering of auto-flowering cannabis plants, another characteristic that sets them apart is their shorter growth time. Most cannabis plants from autoflower weed seeds are ready for harvest after only three months. While this short growth period often resulted in small plants with disappointing yields a few years back, auto-flowering plants have evolved such that they can produce yields that are comparable to those from photoperiod cannabis plants.
Autoflower weed seeds can be purchased from reputable seedbanks like Herbies.
Advantages of Auto-flowering Cannabis Strains
Auto-flowering cannabis strains are gaining more popularity over others because:
They can be harvested quickly
Auto-flowering marijuana plants take a shorter time to reach maturity than their photoperiod counterparts. While an auto-flowering cannabis plant will reach maturity in about three months, a photoperiod one will take 4 months or longer to reach maturity. This advantage is especially great when you consider photoperiod sativa plants which can take more than 5 months to mature. With auto-flowering strains, you will not have to wait for too long to harvest your cannabis buds.
You can have multiple harvests throughout the year
As a result of the shorter life cycle of auto-flowering cannabis plants, you can grow two batches of marijuana in the same amount of time it will take you to grow a single batch of regular cannabis plants. This means you can have two harvests in a year or even up to three in warmer climates.
They allow for perpetual harvests
Using a perpetual harvest system can help you make up to 6 harvests in a single year when you use autoflower weed seeds. To do this, you plant your first batch of seeds and then plant more seeds once the first batch starts to flower. Before the first batch is harvested, you can plant yet another batch of seeds and so on. This way you will have harvests all through the growing season, allowing you to have up to 6 harvests in a single year. You can only pull this off with auto-flowering plants as regular cannabis plants will need different amounts of light at different stages of their growth as opposed to autoflowers which can be grown with a fixed amount of light throughout their life cycle.
They are easier to grow
You do not have to worry about changing your light cycle when you grow autoflowering cannabis strains. Essentially, it makes for one less thing to think about when you grow cannabis. Also, auto-flowering cannabis plants are descended from the Ruderalis strain of Russia which where it has to endure the harsh cold and environment. This makes auto-flowering cannabis strains resistant to extreme conditions, making them a good choice for beginners who are prone to mistakes when growing cannabis plants.
They have a more manageable size
Autoflowering cannabis plants often do not grow more than 1 meter in height. This is not just an advantage for indoor growers with vertical space restrictions alone. Outdoor growers who would like to keep their weed gardens discreet also benefit from this short size.
You do not have to worry about light leaks
When you grow regular cannabis seeds indoors, you have to ensure that your grow room is completely sealed to light in order not to mess with the growth of the cannabis plants. Exposure to light when the plants are meant to be in their dark cycle can lead to longer growing times or even smaller harvests. Even outdoor growers are not immune to light leaks as city lights at night time can sometimes confuse the cannabis plants. Autoflowering cannabis plants on the other hand are completely immune to the effects of light leaks. This makes them the best choice for people who are not able to completely seal their growth environments to light.
They are more resistant to diseases
Extreme cold is not the only condition auto-flowering plants are resistant to. Their genetics make them more resistant to diseases that attack cannabis plants such as mold, fungi, and mildew, making them a perfect choice for growers who battle with these problems.
They help you save money
Autoflowering cannabis strains do not require as much investment as photoperiod strains. Their speedy growth means indoor growers will be able to save a fair bit on energy consumption. In addition, they do not require as many nutrients to grow as regular cannabis seeds.
A lot of skepticism concerning auto-flowering cannabis plants arises from the perception that they produce smaller yields than regular cannabis plants. Autoflowers however get better with each passing day as breeders and innovators keep investing in their development. In fact, auto-flowering cannabis seeds could be said to be the future of cannabis production.