Many still hesitate to grow autoflowering plants, but with the newest generation of seeds, there is no need for this restraint! Read on for 10 advantages.
Despite autoflowering cannabis seeds getting a lot of attention and good reviews in recent years, many growers still refrain from using this kind of seed. These individuals still have the subpar performance of the first generation of autoflowering cannabis in mind; but in reality, this type of weed has since come a long way, giving growers a real option to consider when they plan their grow.
To decide whether you should try autoflowering seeds for your next run or not, we compiled a list of 10 advantages that might make them a bit more intriguing to you. But first, some information about autoflowering cannabis.
WHAT IS AUTOFLOWERING CANNABIS?
Autoflowering strains make use of the cannabis subspecies ruderalis to produce plants that grow and flower independent of the light schedule or photoperiod. This means they flower depending on their age and not on the hours of light and darkness they receive (hence the name). This is due to ruderalis originating in Central Asia, where the light conditions are a bit different.
This makes them especially useful as outdoor crops that you can harvest a lot sooner than photoperiodic plants. Autoflowering cannabis also stays shorter, which makes it more manageable in all kinds of settings. Moreover, it is usually more resilient, which is particularly attractive for beginner growers. Since ruderalis generally has a higher concentration of CBD, autoflowering genetics are valuable for patients seeking symptomatic relief as well.
Now, let’s get more in-depth into the benefits of autoflowering cannabis.
ADVANTAGES OF GROWING AUTOFLOWERING SEEDS
1. HARVEST SOONER
Autoflowers have a significantly shorter life span than photoperiodic strains. Depending on the strain you grow, photoperiodic cannabis can take up to 4 months+ to reach maturity. In contrast, autoflowering cannabis is usually ready for harvest 8–10 weeks after germination of the seed. This means you don’t have to wait as long to enjoy those precious buds. Furthermore, this really comes into play when you consider growing sativa strains. Photoperiodic sativas can sometimes take 5 months to grow or more. If you opt for an autoflowering sativa, the sooner harvest time is really an asset. This is true for both indoor and outdoor grows. Outdoors, the shorter life cycle makes even more of a difference because you can grow several runs instead of one.
2. GET MORE HARVESTS PER SEASON
Building on what we just said above, a sooner harvest also means that you can fit more harvests into one season. Under natural conditions, you can only finish one harvest per season. But with autoflowering genetics, you can get multiple harvests, which normally means two harvests per season in most climates. If you grow in climates with short and colder summers, this is of special interest to you. The plants will finish in mid-July instead of September or even late-October.
3. PERPETUAL HARVESTS
Although you can’t keep an autoflowering strain as a mother plant to produce clones, they are still very well-suited for perpetual harvests. Flowering independent of the hours of light they receive, you eliminate the need for a mother, as well as a veg and flower room. You can have plants of all growing stages in the same room. For a perpetual harvest, start with some plants, and when they begin to flower, add more plants to the room. Shortly before the first ones are harvested, you plant the next seeds and so on. The number of plants depends on your grow space, of course. This way, you can harvest up to 4–6 times a year!
4. LESS HASSLE, EASIER GROWING
Autoflowering seeds have the robust genetics of ruderalis in them. This makes them a lot easier to grow. Not only do you not have to keep an eye on the light schedule, plants are also more resilient and naturally tolerate colder climates. Ruderalis is used to growing in harsh environments, and this trait is passed down to autoflowering hybrids. They are also resistant to many diseases (more on that later). You will experience less hassle during your grow, which makes them particularly useful for beginner growers who want to try out their skills and master their craft before they move on to more picky strains.
5. MORE MANAGEABLE IN SIZE
Autoflowering strains usually don’t exceed 1–1.2m in height, which is a big advantage for both indoor and outdoor growers. If you grow inside with limited space or restricted height, an autoflowering plant might just be what you want. If you grow outdoors and want a stealthy, well-hidden plantation, you should also look to autoflowering genetics. Their short size makes them suitable for growing in cupboards, on balconies, or in garden beds among other plants as well.
6. MORE SUITABLE FOR STEALTH GROWING
This goes hand-in-hand with the aforementioned advantage: If you want a well-hidden, stealthy plantation, go for autoflowering strains. Outdoor gardeners especially want to hide their crop from the police, curious neighbours, thieves, etc. With a 2m-tall sativa tree, this will likely end in a disaster, with you getting busted as the worst outcome. A 1m-tall autoflowering plant, however, can be hidden among tomatoes or other plants, even when you grow on your terrace or balcony. Moreover, these characteristics make them very interesting for all the guerrilla growers out there. Overall, one could say that they are very discreet to grow.
7. NO NEED TO WORRY ABOUT THE LIGHT SCHEDULE
This is perhaps the biggest advantage of autoflowering cannabis and thus deserves its own point. Flowering independent of the light cycle is not only what gives autoflowers their name in the first place, but their most important property. You don’t have to worry about switching your light schedule to 12/12 at the right time to force plants to transition into bloom. Autoflowers will flower with 12, 18, hell, even 24 constant hours of light. Nearly all the advantages we listed above can be ascribed to this one special trait.
8. NO PROBLEMS WITH LIGHT LEAKS/CITY LIGHTS
Here’s another thing that you have to worry about with photoperiodic strains: light leaks during the dark cycle. This can lead to diminished harvests or longer growing times. This is true for indoor light leaks in a tent, for example, but also for outdoor grows where city lights in the night confuse cannabis nowadays. With autoflowering genetics, you don’t have to worry about such things. Autoflowers can tolerate all forms of light leaks, be it in the grow room or in the city. If you experience problems with light in the dark cycle of flowering, opt for autoflowering strains to sidestep the issue altogether.
9. BETTER RESISTANCE TO WEATHER AND DISEASES
This plays into the easy-to-grow advantage, but should be emphasised as its own point as well. Autoflowering strains are known for better withstanding colder climates and having a greater resistance against diseases of all kinds. Be it mildew, pests, mould, fungi, or pathogens, if you experience trouble with these things, maybe consider growing an autoflowering strain the next time. You could really save yourself some worry and stress! The plants get toughened up and are more hardy thanks to the ruderalis genetics, which makes them not only ideal for novice growers, but growers of all levels. They also tolerate under/overfeeding better.
10. THEY ONLY GET BETTER
If you, after reading this article, still hesitate to give autoflowering seeds a try, you should know that they are only getting better with each iteration. Some might even argue that they are the future of cannabis growing. While this is up for debate, there will always be regular, feminized, and autoflowering genetics because they all have their advantages and disadvantages, and they all cater to different growers for different reasons. But just look at how autoflowers have developed, from the initial release of Lowryder all the way to the top autoflowering genetics of today! If this rapid innovation isn’t a sign of a brighter cannabis future, we don’t know what is.