Auto-flowering cannabis strains are the descendants of a wild strain of hemp first identified as “Ruderalis” in Russia during the early 1940s.These are different from most strains of cannabis, which are known as “photoperiod” strains. Photoperiod plants don’t start flowering (making buds) until they get specific signals from the sun that winter is coming, and so need special light schedules to be induced into making buds.
The concept of autoflowering strains is simple: in time, they will automatically flower as opposed to waiting for a specifically timed light cycle. In other words, the plants begin to flower all on their own after a relatively short vegetative period of 2-4 weeks.
This unique process is created when breeders fold in genetics from Cannabis ruderalis, a subspecies of the cannabis plant that is known for its autoflowering attributes and short stature.
HOW LONG DO AUTOFLOWERS TAKE FROM SEED TO HARVEST?
Autoflowering strains typically move from seed to harvest in 8–10 weeks. However, some varieties can take up to 12 weeks to fully mature. Strains such as Bubble Kush Automatic and Quick One fall towards the faster end of the spectrum, whereas varieties like Royal Creamatic and Royal Haze Automatic take a few more weeks to ready their buds for harvest.Many growers elect to cultivate autoflowers because of their speedy growing rate. Their hardy genetics and forgiving nature also make them easier to grow and therefore more beginner-friendly. Their impressive resistance to pathogens and pests allows them to withstand the challenges of outdoor growing.
However, their yields aren’t as spectacular as those obtained from photoperiod giants, but, the trade-off for brevity makes the decision worthwhile for most growers.
HOW TO GROW AUTOFLOWERING CANNABIS STRAINS
Autoflowering strains require some preparation, as they will grow quickly and start to flower whether or not you’re ready for them. However, follow these steps and you should find success in your autoflowering garden.
1. Training Your Plants
Generally speaking, you’ll want to train your plants while they are in vegetative growth. For autoflowering plants, this period could be as short as two weeks which means time is limited.
2. Climate Considerations
When you are growing autoflowering plants, you’re allowing plants to flower when they should be in a vegetative growth. Because you don’t need to follow photoperiod light cycles, many people start autoflowering plants early in the season (e.g. March) or late in the season (e.g. September). For this time of year, it’s important to remember that the plants still need warmth to grow, and there also might be considerable rain putting the buds at risk of rot. To combat these issues, consider growing in a marijuana grow tent to provide protection from the elements.
3. Go Easy on Feeding
Autoflowering strains do not need to be heavily fed due to their small size and the short amount of time they spend in the vegetative cycle. Feed very lightly and understand that they don’t need as many vegetative growth nutrients such as nitrogen. Also note that these vegetative nutrients are best put to use if they are readily available for the plant to utilize quickly.
4. Light Schedule
As the name suggests, autoflowering strains don’t require a change in the light cycle to enter the flowering stage. Many growers choose to keep their autoflowers on a light schedule of 18 hours on and 6 hours off during the entire growing cycle. Other cultivators choose to keep their lights on around the clock in hopes of maximising photosynthesis and growth rate, however, this can get quite expensive.
If you grow autoflowering cannabis indoor, be sure to pick one that will run for up to 18 hours a day without overheating or burning out, when choosing a grow light. Full spectrum LED grow light are very efficient, burn cool, and are often compact and easy to use.
5. Ensure Good Airflow, Humidity And Temperature
Make sure to provide your autoflowering ladies with good airflow. A gentle breeze of fresh air from a ventilator ensures humidity levels in your grow room stay low, which helps prevent the growth of mould. If your plants have dried leaves, which is not uncommon in the later stage of flowering, remove them for some better grow tent ventilation around the buds.
You also need to watch the temperature in your grow room. Cannabis does best at a moderately warm room temperature of 20–25°C. Any excess heat, but also cold spells or chilly nights, can stress your plants, slow their growth, and result in poorer yields.
6. Harvest Gradually
Autoflowering plants often do not have time to develop a canopy, which means you will be keeping buds that are lower down on the plant. Because of this, it’s a great idea to harvest your plants sequentially. First take the colas, then allow more time for the lower buds to dense up before they are harvested next.
7. Prepare Your Next Crop
To get the most out of autoflowering seeds, it’s a good idea to prepare your next batch of plants as you are harvesting. This means popping seeds before you harvest your current plants so that your room is continually producing. Because the plants autoflower, you can have plants that are just starting out in the same room as those that are finishing without worrying about the lighting.
The Pros and Cons of Growing Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds
There are a number of reasons to consider autoflowering varieties for both indoor and outdoor cannabis:
- When grown outdoors, autoflowering plants will start producing buds no matter how many hours of sunlight you are receiving; this means you don’t have to worry about running a light deprivation system or supplementing light if you are trying to achieve multiple harvests in the season.
- When growing indoors, autoflowering strains allow you to rapidly grow strains from start to finish as they generally complete maturation after three months.
- Autoflowering plants can receive more than 12 hours of sunlight a day and create bigger buds in less time than many regular cannabis plants.
- Autoflowering plants are small and stealthy; they are perfect for closet grows or growing outdoors where you don’t want your neighbors to see what you’re up to.
There are, however, reasons why autoflowering plants are not as popular as regular cannabis indica and sativa plants. Autoflowering strains are small in stature and do not produce large yields. Other issues with autoflowering strains include higher electricity bills and an inability to really train your plants to make the most of your grow space.
Since the introduction of original autoflowering strains in decades past, significant improvements have been made to these genetics. First, potency in autoflowering varieties has increased significantly since their initial introduction. Also, there are now hundreds of types of autoflowering seeds being sold, giving you a large selection to choose from. Because of these improvements, autoflowering seeds are worth a shot for any curious gardener looking to try something new.
Autoflowering strains have a lot going for them, and make a great addition to any grower’s repertoire. Although they don’t really allow for advanced techniques or gigantic yields, there is a lot you can do to get the most out of your autoflowers when growing indoors.
ECO Farm marijuana grow kit provides the best environment for an indoor garden. You just have to set up your autoflowering plants in the tent and you’re all set. Now just take a good care of it and wait for the maximum yield. It’s just simple as that.