Autoflower is a unique characteristic in cannabis plants that allows them to automatically switch from vegetative growth to the flowering phase, regardless of the length of daylight hours or amount of stress stimulus.
This typically results in a shorter life cycle for the plant from seed to flower, as compared to regular cannabis varieties that require longer periods and specific light cycles for flowering. Autoflowering seeds are believed to have evolved when ruderalis genetics were introduced into regular cannabis strains.
Plants with autoflowering characteristics will start flowering within 2-4 weeks and the process can be completed quicker than regular cannabis varieties.
What Is Autoflowering?
Autoflowering is a very popular growing technique used to cultivate cannabis plants. This process triggers an automatic switch from vegetative growth to the flowering phase without relying on varying photoperiods of light and darkness. This method makes it much easier for cultivators to manage their crops as well as providing access to a wide variety of unique strains.
The primary benefit of autoflower plants is that they tend to produce fast and reliable harvests in a short amount of time. For instance, many autoflowering indica-dominant strains can be harvested within 10 weeks after germination instead of the 2-3 months needed for regular (photoperiod) varieties.
Auto-flowering strains also tend to produce higher yields due to the lack of bothersome light cycle changes that can inhibit yield potential. Other advantages include a reduced level of nutrient needs, increased resistance to insects and pests, and improved versatility for outdoor cultivation methods.
Particularities of Autoflowers
Autoflowers have come a long way since they first appeared on the market in the early 2000s. Originally, they weren’t very potent, with their aroma and yield not quite up to par with what was available then. Fast forward to today and now autoflowers can rival feminized photoperiod strains in terms of potency, yield and even aroma.
Not only that but autoflowers provide numerous benefits to users such as being particularly stable and sturdy; there’s no need for complicated temperature management or light cycles as these plants will flower regardless of daylight hours (given enough growing time).
For both recreational and holistic users alike, you won’t have any trouble finding an autoflower to suit your needs – whether that includes high THC level varieties for the recreational smoker or CBD-rich autoflowers for therapeutic purposes or any combination thereof.
Autoflowers give growers the versatility needed to create their custom strains for whatever purpose they desire at a fraction of the cost compared to almost all other strains. At this rate, one can only imagine what more autonomous plants will provide us in years to come.
How Are Autoflowering Plants Created?
Autoflowering cannabis strains are created through crossbreeding indica or sativa plants with ruderalis. Ruderalis is a wild subtype of cannabis native to northern Europe and Siberia. These plants have evolved so that they don’t rely on daylight hours to flower, instead flowering according to age.
On its own, ruderalis isn’t the most desirable strain because of the low yields and poor bud quality. However, cannabis breeders quickly realized that they could leverage the power of ruderalis to create autoflowering plants.
By crossbreeding high-quality indica and sativa strains with ruderalis, cannabis breeders have been able to create autoflowering strains with strong potency and yield qualities.
Who Uses Automatic Cannabis Strains, and Why?
Automatic cannabis seeds are becoming increasingly popular strains among experienced growers looking for a convenient and more consistent harvest. Autoflowering seeds are especially advantageous for indoor growers who need to not only switch their lighting setup but maintain a strict dark and light cycle throughout both veg and flower growth cycles.
By using autoflowers, these beginner growers can keep their lights running on an 18/6 (18 hours of light, 6 hours of darkness) or 24/0 schedule from seed to harvest time and achieve a fast turnaround in just 8-10 weeks without any additional effort required.
Outdoors, autoflowering cannabis is also desirable for its ease of use as well as its stealthiness. As autoflowering plants don’t rely on natural photoperiods like other photoperiod varieties do, they can be planted at any time of the year without worrying about frost damaging your crop.
Additionally, with several strategic harvests spaced out over the season, outdoor growers can maximize their yields while taking advantage of stealthy compact stature that autoflowers usually come with. In short, anyone looking to get maximum yield with minimal effort should consider growing auto flowers at some point!
How Much Time Do You Need To Grow Autoflowers?
Autoflowers are known for their quick life cycle and high yield thanks to their ability to flower without needing natural light cycles to induce flowering. Generally, these flowers require about 10 weeks from germination to harvesting and some may even be ready in as little as 8 weeks.
Autoflowers also have shorter vegetative growth periods when compared to regular feminized photo-period cannabis plants, making them an ideal choice for gardeners with limited space or people who don’t want long growth cycles.
Can You Grow Feminized Photoperiod And Autoflowering Cannabis In The Same Grow Room?
Growing feminized photoperiod and autoflowering cannabis in the same grow room is possible, but it isn’t the most ideal method. One of the issues is that these two types of cannabis are dramatically different in terms of size and development.
For example, photoperiod plants require 12 hours of darkness to transition into the flowering stage, while autos begin flowering right away no matter how much ambient light they receive. As a result, when growing both in the same room you’ll have to adjust the lighting to suit your photoperiod plants, which will mean your autos get less than 18 or 20 hours of light – this can significantly reduce their yields and overall quality.
Another potential problem is with the size difference in general between the two types. Autos tend to reach maturity faster than photoperiods and also stay short, while regular feminized seeds need more space and take longer to mature – they can quickly outpace autoflowering varieties when occupying a shared environment. Furthermore, both need different nutrient requirements that may not be easy to satisfy when combined together in one system.
Read More: Common Cannabis Mutations
Optimal Temperature And Humidity For Growing Autoflowers
Maintaining the optimal temperature and humidity for an autoflower seed has a significant impact on the quality of your plant’s growth. Generally speaking, these plants prefer temperatures between 21°C (room temperature) and 27°C (81°F).
It is important to ensure your grow room does not experience colder temperatures or excessive heat, as this can lead to unhealthy growth. Where available, air conditioning or heating can be used to regulate temperatures when necessary, so that ideal levels are maintained.
Humidity also plays an important role in autoflower seeds cultivation, with optimal levels depending on age. For example, its preferable to provide a more humid environment during the plant’s first few weeks so that its stems can quickly adopt their true shape without becoming brittle and stunted in dryer areas.
Subsequently, it’s recommended that lower humidity levels (below 40%) are maintained during the plant’s flowering period for best results. It may be necessary to use appropriate equipment such as dehumidifiers or humidifiers to ensure adequate balance is achieved throughout the lifecycle of your autoflowers.
What Kind Of Nutrients Do Autoflowers Need?
Autoflowers are a special type of cannabis plant. They are significantly smaller than regular feminized photoperiod strains, however they do still require nutrients for healthy growth and flowering. Generally speaking, autoflowers need fewer nutrients when compared to regular feminized varieties.
If you are using commercial cannabis nutrients, you should only use ½ or ¼ of the recommended dosage on your autoflowers as they require much less than their relatives. Alternatively, if you’re sticking with pre-fertilized potting mixes it is likely that you won’t need to give them supplementary nutrients until the flowering stage commences around week 3 or 4.
During this stage, it is important to make sure that your plants have the right amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to produce large and flavourful yields.
What Kind Of Water For Autoflowers?
Auto-flowering cannabis plants are different from regular photoperiod strains in that they don’t require the same amount of water. Autos have a small root system and thus will drink less than their photoperiod cousins.
When it comes to breathing life into your autoflower babies, careful attention must be paid to the amount and quality of water given to them. Aim for small but consistent waterings so as not to overly saturate the soil.
When watering your autoflowers, make sure to use only pH-neutral water. If possible, test the pH of your tap or well water and aim for a 6-7 pH when watering your plant. If you find that your tap or well source produces too acidic or alkaline of a solution for proper absorption, there are products available which can help you adjust accordingly by raising/lowering pH levels.
Bear in mind that excess nutrients can build up in your soil over time if not flushed out periodically, so make sure to follow through with recommended feeding cycles and allow proper periods between intakes for the best results with your autos!
What About Plant Training With Autoflowering Cannabis?
Autoflower cannabis plants require specific care and maintenance to ensure that they reach their full potential. Plant training is one such element of successful autoflower cultivation, although it should be approached differently than with most other types of cannabis because autoflowers have very limited lifespans.
Topping, FIMing, super cropping, and defoliation are not recommended for autoflowers as any damage done to the plant will require average time for recovery, time which these quickly growing plants do not have. This can greatly impede their growth and reduce yields, which negates much of the effort put into plant training methods such as low-stress training (LST).
With LST, stems and branches can be gently bent down to create an even canopy and optimize light exposure without damaging the plant. However, parts that involve cutting or pinching should be avoided when it comes to autoflowering varieties. Daily monitoring and timely adjustments can go a long way towards getting the most out of any autoflower growth!
Check out this article: How To Defoliate Autoflower?
Popular Autoflowering Cannabis Strains
Auto-flowering cannabis varieties have gained popularity in recent years due to their unique characteristics, such as shorter growth cycles, compact size, and ease of cannabis cultivation. These strains are perfect for novice growers and those with limited space, as they require less maintenance and automatically transition from the vegetative to the flowering stage without the need for light cycle adjustments.
Two notable autoflowering strains that have captured the attention of the cannabis community are Afghan Autoflower and Amnesia Kush Autoflower.
Afghan Autoflower is a well-loved strain that originates from the mountainous regions of Afghanistan. As an indica-dominant hybrid, it is known for its robust growth, resistance to pests, and exceptional resin production. This strain boasts a distinct earthy aroma with hints of sweet fruit, providing a soothing and deeply relaxing effect.
Amnesia Kush Autoflower, on the other hand, is a sativa-dominant hybrid that combines the legendary Amnesia Haze and OG Kush strains. This powerful combination results in a strain with a unique flavor profile, characterized by its zesty citrus and earthy undertones. Amnesia Kush Autoflower is revered for its uplifting and energetic high, which is perfect for daytime use or social gatherings.