What are sativa autoflowers?
Sativa autoflowers are a type of hybrid Cannabis strain that contain the genetics of a ruderalis and a sativa strain combined. Ruderalis is the genetics behind all autoflowering strains and are a hardy, robust species that originate in cold climates and have the unique ability to flower automatically.
Sativa strains are known for their uplifting and energetic effects, providing a cerebral and creative high. Sativas typically grow tall and slender plants with narrow leaves and a light green color. They originate in warmer regions such as Central America, Southeast Asia, and Africa, and thrive in hot, humid climates with long growing seasons.
What are the benefits of growing autoflowering sativas?
There are several benefits to growing autoflowering sativa strains:
Short Growth Cycle: All autoflowers have a shorter growth cycle compared to normal feminized photoperiod plants, usually taking around 10-12 weeks from seed to harvest.
Ease of Cultivation: Autoflowers are easy to grow, and you can keep them on the same light cycle throughout the entire grow, making them ideal for growers who are new to cultivation.
Discreet: Autoflowers are small and compact, which makes them ideal for growing in small spaces, or for growers who want to keep their operation discreet.
Good yield/time ratio: Although autoflowers are much smaller than photoperiods, they grow much faster. This means you could get two autoflower cycles in the same time as one ordinary cannabis cycle which makes them decent yielding when you compare the length of time taken to grow them.
Resilience: Autoflowers are robust plants that naturally grow in cold climates. If your region is too cold to grow normal sativa, then you should have no trouble at all growing sativa dominant autoflowers.
Overall, growing Sativa autoflowers can be a great choice for growers who want to take advantage of the benefits of Sativa strains while enjoying the ease and convenience of autoflowering plants.
How long do sativa autoflowers take from seed to harvest?
Most autoflowering sativas take between 10-12 weeks from seed to harvest. Autoflowers grow faster and have shorter vegetative and flowering stages when compared to traditional photoperiod strains, making them an attractive option for growers who want a quick harvest. However, it's important to keep in mind that autoflowers also have a smaller yield potential compared to photoperiod strains, so it's a trade-off between speed and yield.
Average life cycle of an autoflowering sativa
The length of time a strain can grow from seed to harvest can vary massively depending on its genetics. For example, if you have a strain that is 60/40 sativa dominant it will most likely flower faster than one that is 100% sativa dominant. Here is a table that shows what a typical sativa autoflower life cycle might look like.
Do sativa Autoflowers take longer than indica?
Yes, when compared with an indica autoflower, most sativa dominant autos will take a little longer. However, they will still be much quicker to grow than a photoperiodic strain. From seed to harvest an average indica autoflower will take 8-10 weeks, sativa auto 10-12 weeks and a sativa photoperiods can take around 6 months.
Can you get 100% sativa dominant autoflowers?
No you cannot get a 100% sativa dominant autoflower. This is because in order for a cannabis plant to become an autoflower it must be crossed with a ruderalis. Ruderalis strains are a separate type of cannabis species that give autoflowers their ability to flower according to their age and not their light cycle. To give you an example, Blue Dream is about 70% sativa, in order to get Blue Dream Auto it was crossed with a Ruderalis strain. Although many seed banks never actually list the percentage of the plant that is ruderlis, what it actually means is that Blue Dream Auto will be about 50% sativa, 20% indica and 30% ruderalis.
How do you grow a sativa autoflower?
Week 1 – 2: Seedling stage
Once you have germinated your seeds and your plant has produced its first proper set of leaves you are in the seedling stage. At this stage do not feed your plants any nutrients and go easy on watering them. Over watering seedlings is one of the most common mistakes that new growers make.
Week 2 – 3: Vegetative stage
Once the seedlings have been growing for 2 weeks and you have a few more sets of leaves you can begin feeding them nutrients but start out slowly. Ideally start autoflowers in a nutrient rich soil containing natural ingredients such as worm castings of bat guano, this way you do not need to feed them any extra nutes.
Week 4 – 6: Late vegetative / Early flowering stage
Autoflowers have a very brief veg stage and it sort of blends into the flowering stage. Most autos will begin to flower in week 4-5 showing the early signs of sex. Your plants will usually be big enough during this period for you to begin some more or low stress training. You can also increase the nutrients accordingly, although remember that autos require a lot less nutes than photoperiods.
Weeks 6 – 8: Flowering stage
By week 6 the plant will be showing more bud development and you should now see the calyxes forming as the plant begins to stink up the grow room. You can also add some extra organic nutes here to your grow that will help to boost bud production during the flowering phase. Banana peel provides an excellent dose of potassium to the soil which is essential to grow those flowers. By week 8 the plant really starts to fill out, with its buds fully forming and starting to glisten as the trichomes develop. As the buds become denser it’s a good idea to reduce the humidity level down to 40% to reduce the risk of mold developing.
Weeks 8 – 10: Late flowering stage
By week 8 your plants should be almost ready, at this point you can start some defoliation removing any of the dying or unhealthy leaves first. From week 8 onwards you should keep checking the buds close up with a magnifying glass or jeweler’s loupe so that you can assess the trichomes to see when the buds are ripe and ready to harvest. Once you have made the decision that your buds are close to ripe, which is normally between weeks 8-9 you should begin flushing.
Don’t feed your plants any more nutrients and begin flushing with plain pH adjusted water. A good flush should take around 3 – 7 days. By week 10 you should notice that some of the fan leaves have begun to turn yellow, this is normal and simply means the flush has worked.