With the myriad of cannabis strains out there it can be a minefield when it comes to picking which seeds to grow. Choosing from the endless varieties can be confusing for most novice growers. However, at MSC we are making things that bit easier for you to find your perfect strain by answering all your questions. What are autoflower seeds and how do they stack up when compared to regular and feminized seeds? Read on and we will reveal all there is to know about autos and the advantages to growing with them.
What is an auto flowering seed?
Normal cannabis strains also known as photoperiods rely on a reduction in the number of hours of daylight they receive to start flowering. In nature this is caused by the changing of the seasons. As summer draws in, the days get shorter, and the plant receives less light. The plant understands that the seasons are about to change, and this triggers it to begin producing flowers so that it can procreate. Therefore when growing a photoperiod indoors the light cycle need to be changed from 18/6 to 12/12 to trigger flowering.
Autoflower seeds on the other hand contain ruderalis genetics. Ruderalis is a type of cannabis plant that is native to Russia, Siberia, central Europe, and central Asia. In these cold regions where daylight is limited the Ruderalis cannabis species adapted to the harsh environment and developed the ability of auto flowering, regardless of the amount of daylight. Hence the use of the term ‘autoflower’ that we use to describe this kind of plant.
First discovered in Siberia in 1924 by botanist Janischewski, It wasn’t until 1995 that the first autoflower plants were cross bred with a cannabis sativa to produce the hybrids we now call autoflowers. The benefits of growing with auto flower seeds were soon realized and a new species of cannabis was commercialized.
What are the advantages of growing auto flower seeds?
Besides from their unique ability to flower automatically, auto flower strains brought about other advantages that made life much easier for growers.
Quick to flower: Because of the much shorter vegetation period that lasts somewhere between 2-4 weeks, autoflowers can grow from seed to harvest in as little as 50 days. Unlike photoperiods that require a change in light to trigger flowering, auto flowers simply begin to flower at around week 2-3 of growth.
Multiple harvests: Thanks to their ability to fully grow in as little as 50 days, if you are growing with autoflower seeds you will be able to fit multiple grow cycles into one season. Or if you are growing normal photoperiods and you don’t have quite enough time to fit another full cycle in, you can try and cram in an auto flower grow at end.
Compact size: Ruderalis plants are much smaller than their photoperiod counterparts, with an average height of around one meter. Whilst many growers look at yield as a disadvantage, there are many advantages to the compact size of autoflower plants. You can fit them into small spaces such as cupboards, or lofts with ease making them ideal for stealth grows. They are also much easier to maintain than big, tall photoperiods that often need training so that they don’t grow out of control.
Cold resistance: Thanks to their ruderalis genetics, auto flowering strains will be able to handle slightly colder weather. So, if you are growing outdoors or in a mountainous region, autoflowers may be the strain of choice for you.
No light cycle changes: Not needing to change the light cycle is just one less thing to worry about when growing. This is often the reason many first-time growers choose auto flower seeds. Because they flower regardless of the light cycle you can grow autoflowering plants under a 18/6, 20/4 or even 24 hour light cycle.
Autoflowering vs feminized seeds
Yield: A subject that concerns many people who are deciding whether or not to grow auto flowering seeds is how much they yield. Autoflowers yield on average between 300-400gr/m². Although this is smaller than the average yield of a photoperiod, you should also take into consideration the length of time it takes to grow them and the fact that you can fit multiple harvests into one season.
Feminized or photoperiod plants yield on average 350 – 450 gr/m². So not significantly more if you are measuring pound for pound size, however the big difference is the size of the actual plants. Photoperiods can grow as tall as 20 feet outdoors and yield enormous amounts, whereas autoflowers aren’t likely to grow much taller than 3 feet. However, thanks to extensive cross breeding, the highest yielding autoflower now will likely be able to compete with many photoperiods, particularly for the average indoor grower.
THC Levels: Because of their ruderalis genetics autoflowers aren’t quite as potent as their photoperiod counterparts. However, breeding has come a long way in the last 30 years and some of the highest THC autoflowers have been lab tested at close to 25% THC.
Flowering time: This is where auto flower seeds come into their own, with flowering times from 6-8 weeks they can go from seed to harvest in as little as 50 days. Whereas photoperiod seeds take on average 90 days.
Buy Autoflower seeds online
With the myriad of varieties on offer choosing the perfect autoflower strain for you to grow can seem confusing. To make things a little easier for you here are our top picks:
What is the highest yielding autoflower?
Big Bud Autoflower is without a doubt the highest yielding autoflower, producing up to 500 gr/m² she is a truly massive plant that will grow thick solid buds with a THC percentage of around 17 – 20%.
What is the highest THC autoflower?
Gorilla Glue Auto is the most potent auto flower producing up to 25% THC with less than 1% CBD. Gorilla Glue also has yields of 400-500 gr/m², so for those of you wanting a high yield and high THC autoflower this is the strain for you.
What are the fastest growing autoflower strains?
Cream Caramel and Skunk Autoflower are the two fastest growing auto seeds with flowering times just 6-8 weeks, they can grow from seed to harvest in as little as 8 weeks.
What is the best autoflower to grow in cold weather?
Northern Lights Autoflower has been grown in mountainous conditions and is still able to perform, it may not grow huge but it will still survive in harsh environments. This is down to its mainly Indica genetics combined with the robustness of ruderalis.
Which autoflower grows best in humid environments?
Any sativa dominant autoflower strains such as Amnesia Haze or Blue Dream Auto will grow best in hot humid environments. Sativas grow taller and have a less dense foliage than indicas, this makes them less susceptible to mold and pests.
Tips on growing autoflowering seeds
Growing autoflowers is often much less problematic than photoperiods, simply because of their compact size, their durability, and the fact that they can flower under any light cycle. You can even grow autoflowers alongside your photoperiods if you have a little bit of tent space that you want to use up.
Growing Autoflowers Outdoors
Despite most users buying autoflowers specifically for indoor growing, their compact size has a unique advantage for growing outdoors too. Thanks to their short stature, autoflowers are the perfect addition to an outdoor stealth grow in your garden or greenhouse. Typically, they don’t grow beyond 100cm so Planting some auto flowering seeds behind a tall hedge or some bushes will easily hide them.
To add an extra layer stealth when growing autos outdoors, try planting them among other similar looking plants. Plants such as Casava, Chaste Tree and Spider Flower have a very similar leaf and plant structure to cannabis, so growing these alongside your autoflower plants will help to disguise them even further.
Autoflowers are tough, durable plants and can handle training techniques much better than some photoperiods. To increase your yields try using techniques such as LST during the vegetative stage of growth, this will help your plants to develop a wider canopy that can absorb even more light.
Possibly the most useful characteristic of growing autoflower seeds is their short flowering times. You can use this to your advantage by planning consecutive grows one after another to optimize the summer months. When your current autoflowers are close to being ready to harvest, begin germinating your next batch of seeds so that you have a replacement ready and optimize your window of good weather.
Growing Autoflowers Indoors
Because of their compact size autoflowers are the perfect type of cannabis to grow indoors be it a tent or a closet. You can even optimize your grow space when growing photoperiods by using up that little bit of unused tent by shoving an autoflower in there.
As we have mentioned autoflowers are sturdy plants so don’t be afraid to use growing techniques. A common and effective method to use inside a tent is ScrOG. This method is uses a mesh or net to feed the branches of the plants through the as they grow. Doing this optimizes the grow space to its fullest and ensures that no light is wasted.
One of the most important rules when growing autoflowers indoors is not to overfertilize them. Autos are smaller and quicker to flower than photoperiods and they are much less nutrient demanding.
How long does it take to grow autoflowers from seed?
It depends on which strain you are growing, sativas tend to have slightly longer flowering times, however on average it takes 70 days.
How do you germinate autoflower seeds?
You can use the same method you would with any other cannabis seeds when germinating auto flowering seeds. We recommend using tried and tested methods such as the paper towel or glass of water method before planting into soil.
Is it difficult to grow autoflower seeds?
No, autoflowers in fact are less complicated and problematic than photoperiods. If you are a first timer looking for an easy strain to grow, autos are a great place to start.
How many autoflower plants can fit in a 4×4 tent?
Plant size is also dictated by how much space their roots have, so it really does also depend on pot size too. On average you could fit anywhere from 5 to 9 plants in a 4×4 grow space. If you were to use 3 gallon pots then 9 plants is doable. Whereas if wanted to grow less plants but go for bigger yields you could grow 5 plants in 5 gallon pots.
Lastly, where can you buy autoflower seeds?
At MSC we have a fantastic range of the best autoflower seeds on the market. We only breed with the best genetics so you can be confident that you will produce stable female plants when you grow our stock. We have great discounts too, so if you are after cheap autoflower seeds with top shelf genetics you’ve come to the right place.
Besides the above-mentioned advantages, what’s better, feminized or autoflower seeds?
It’s an entirely personal choice and really depends upon where you are growing, the space you have, and your preferences. Autoflowers are ideal for any indoor growers because they take up much less room, however if you are growing outdoors and have a huge garden then you will be able to achieve bigger yields with photoperiods.
Either way, why not try your hand at growing auto flower seeds, what’s the worst that could happen. You could have some extra weed. Not too much of a problem if you ask us!