What are Autoflower Seeds?
Autoflower seeds were first created in the 90's by crossing a cannabis ruderalis parent with either a sativa or indica subspecies. The resulting offspring took the autoflowering characteristic from ruderalis and combined it with the other desirable traits of the sativa or indica parent that it was crossed with. Unlike photoperiods, plants that rely on specific light schedules to transition from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage, autoflowering plants bloom automatically after once they are 3-4 weeks old, regardless of their light cycle. This unique trait gives them a number of advantages over traditional photoperiods. Let's take a look at some of the reasons why you might want to grow autoflower seeds.
What are the pros and cons of growing autoflower seeds?
Pros of autoflower seeds
Faster growing times: Autoflowering plants have a remarkably short life cycle, usually ranging from 8 to 12 weeks from seed to harvest. This faster turnaround time allows you to fit multiple harvests within a single season, making autos a great choice for anyone after quick results.
Compact Size: Autoflowering plants are smaller in size compared to photoperiod plants. Their compact structure makes them great for anyone growing indoors with limited space or looking for a more discreet plant. Whether you have a small grow tent or limited outdoor area, autoflowering plants will fit seamlessly into your setup.
Flexibility in Lighting: Autoflowering plants begin flowering in weeks 3-4 automatically regardless of light cycle. This flexibility allows you to choose any lighting schedule that suits your grow and eliminates the need for complex light adjustments during different stages of growth. This also allows you to grow a constant cycle of autoflowers under the same light but in different stages of their life.
Resilience: Autoflower strains inherit the robustness and adaptability of the cannabis ruderalis species. They can withstand fluctuations in temperature, humidity, and handle colder, harsher conditions than the majority of photoperiod strains. This resilience makes them a forgiving option for growers, especially those who are still learning the ropes.
Cons of autoflower seeds
Smaller Yields: One of the main downsides to growing autoflowers is that they tend to produce smaller yields compared to their photoperiod counterparts. The limited time for vegetative growth and bud development translates to a reduction in overall harvest quantities. However, advancements in breeding techniques have led to the development of high-yielding autoflower strains that are capable of producing up to 200 grams per plant.
Limited Training Techniques: Autoflowering plants have an almost nonexistent vegetative phase, therefore they have less time to recover from high stress training methods such as topping, fimming, or mainlining. Instead, it is recommended that growers stick to low stress training methods such as Scrog and the tie and bend approach.
Slightly Lower Potency: Because autoflowers all contain ruderalis genetics they will be slightly less potent than their photoperiod version. Think of this in the sense that the ruderalis genetics have very slightly watered the photoperiod genetics down. However, with advancements in autoflower breeding the difference between high THC autos and photoperiods
Who should grow autoflowering seeds?
Growers seeking quicker results: Growing autoflowers allows you to get from seed to harvest in as little as 8-10 weeks which makes it ideal for anyone in a rush.
When it comes towards the end of summer there isn't always enough time left in the growing season to fit in another photoperiod grow. However, if all you need is 8-10 weeks you may well be able to squeeze in an autoflower cycle.
Novice cultivators: Autoflower seeds are highly resilient, do not require multiple light cycles, are easy to maintain and do not take up much room. All of these reasons make autoflowers ideal for a first-time grower, or anyone that is growing indoors or on a balcony with limited space.
Outdoor growers in colder climates: Because of their ruderalis heritage autoflowering plants are able to handle colder climates and shorter summers. This makes them ideal for anyone growing where the weather may not be ideal for photoperiod strains.
Are all autoflower seeds feminized?
The short answer is no, there are regular and feminized autoflower seeds. However, all of the seeds that we stock at MSC are feminized autoflowers. Regular autoflowering seeds do exist but there is very little demand for them hence why we don't stock them.
Are autoflower seeds good for beginners?
Yes, autoflower seeds are the perfect strain for beginners to start growing cannabis with. They are quick to grow, low maintenance, take up very little space and are robust and resilient enough to handle colder climates.
How long do autoflowers take to grow from seed to harvest?
It varies from strain to strain but all autoflowers will grow from seed to harvest in 8 – 12 weeks. Indica dominant autoflowers will grow the fastest and sativa dominant strains will take a little longer.
How long do autoflower plants stay in flower?
It really depends on the variety you are growing but in general most autoflowers will flower for 5 -10 weeks, again sativas will be closer to the 10-week mark with indicas taking around 8 weeks.
Do autoflower plants need dark?
While autoflowering plants can tolerate 24 hours of light, providing a few hours of uninterrupted darkness each day can be beneficial. A dark period of 4 to 6 hours each day allows the plants to rest, recover, and carry out essential metabolic processes. It is possible to put autoflowers under a 24-hour light cycle, however, in some cases this can cause stress and lead to stunted growth.
What is the average yield of an autoflower strain?
An average autoflower yield can range from 30 to 100 grams per plant depending on which strain you are growing and how good your setup is.
Can you plant autoflower seeds directly into soil?
Yes, autoflower seeds can be planted directly into soil or any other suitable growing medium. It is actually advised that autoflowers are planted in the pot that you plan to use throughout the entire grow, this is to avoid the risk of stress during the repotting process.
Are autoflower seeds better than feminized seeds?
The choice between autoflower seeds and feminized seeds depends on personal preference, experience of the grower, cultivation goals and how much time and space you have available. Autoflower seeds have plenty of advantages, but the downside is that they do yield less and will be slightly less potent. For many growers this is a small tradeoff for the convenience that they bring to the table.
What is the quickest autoflower strain to grow?
There are several fast-flowering autoflower strains available that can be harvested in as little as 6 to 8 weeks from seed. These include Runtz Auto, Skunk Auto and Cream Caramel Auto.
What is the strongest autoflower?
The most potent autoflowering strains are Bruce Banner Autoflower and Gorilla Glue Autoflower. Both of these strains are capable of producing THC levels around 25%.
What is the highest yielding autoflower?
The biggest autoflowering strains Big Bud Auto and Tangerine Dream Auto can yield up to 200 grams per plant under optimal growing conditions.
What is the easiest autoflower to grow?
Most autoflowers would be considered relatively easy to grow because of their comfortable size. Northern Lights Autoflower and Skunk Autoflower are both robust strains that stay within an easily maintainable size making them a great choice for a first grow.
What is the lowest smelling autoflowering strain?
For any stealth growers that may be concerned about strong odors, there are autoflower strains that smell slightly less. Northern Lights Auto is known for its relatively mild smell during the flowering stage.