An Exhaustive Guide On Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds
Updated: Jul 7
You need only the slightest familiarity with weed and its cultivation process to have heard about autoflowering cannabis seeds. It has long been a popular, and even contentious topic within the industry, especially amongst cultivators who have just started their journey.
Now, before you dig into everything you need to know on auto-flowering, you must review the regulations and state laws where you live to make sure the legality of buying auto-flowering cannabis seeds as well as cannabis cultivation in general.
What Does Autoflowering Mean?
Genetically, autoflowering cannabis plants have been linked to a wild hemp strain originating in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Asia. In the 1940s, this hemp strain was identified in Russia as Cannabis Ruderalis. Just like other kinds of hemp, Ruderalis too had low levels of THC. Then came an unknown breeder, who understood the autoflowering ability of this unique plant. This visionary breeder decided to intermingle Ruderalis plants with many other well-known strains of photoperiod cannabis (regular or non-autoflowering) in order to increase their THC potency while retaining their autoflowering ability.
Cannabis Ruderalis is known for its autoflower power, and so it matures a bit differently than Sativa and Indica plants. It has long fascinated researchers how Ruderalis, unlike these other plants, flowers without a specific light cycle. True to its name, Ruderalis flowers automatically. This trait has been found to be a result of the extreme environmental conditions in which this plant evolved. It's said that these plants actually escaped from cultivation, and later got exposed to these conditions. Due to this, the flowering stage is not at all dependent on a specific amount of light. This, in turn, makes autoflowering cannabis seeds easy to get cultivated, making them especially appealing to most novice cultivators.
What Does an Autoflower Light Cycle Look Like?
Generally, autoflowering cannabis needs at least 18 hours of light followed by 6 hours of darkness since they have a shorter vegetative period compared to photoperiod plants. This 18/6 practice helps maximize energy use within the plants, thus allowing a hardy growth. There are also cultivators out there who claim that autoflowering strains need no less than 24 hours of light so as to maximize their vegetative growth. There’s no true consensus among cultivators on how much light and dark time it requires; the best way is to experiment with both methods and then decide which one works the best for you.
Best Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds
There is no shortage of seed banks online that let you purchase a vast, almost intimidating variety and volume of autoflowering seeds from autoflowering strains. Amongst these strains, there are many specifically touted for being fast growers, potent, and high in quality.
Dwarf Low Flyer, Critical Thunder, Early Miss, and Bluetooth are some of the finest quality Indica-dominant autoflowering seeds. On the other hand, Amnesia Haze, Trainwreck, and Silver Bullet are the finest Sativa-dominant ones. Then there are NYC Diesel and Cheese NL - both of which come under hybrid strain; they topmost of the lists as well.
Finally comes Blue Dream - the one autoflower seed that has consistently been rated as the numero uno amongst seeds. It is the easiest one to grow and does well both indoors as well as outdoors, which itself is no short of a dream for beginning cultivators. As an addition, Blue Dream tastes like delectable, sweet berries that also get you high.
How To Grow Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds
When growing autoflowering cannabis seeds, you’ll have just about two weeks to train your plant. You have to be cognizant that time is limited right from the beginning. Many experienced cultivators claim that the best thing is to first harvest the colas and then wait for the bottom buds to get some density before you harvest them. And after every plant develops three nodes, try to top each of them.
While these cannabis plants do not need a normal light cycle, they do need warmth. That's why it is best to grow them in a greenhouse if you're anticipating excessive rain.
What is the Best Feed for Autoflowers?
The best feed for autoflowering cannabis seeds has less nitrogen in its nutrient content as compared to the photoperiod plants.
Because they are small in size and spend a short amount of time in vegetative growth, they don’t require as much feeding as other photoperiod plants. Feed lightly, and ensure that the plants get the vegetative nutrients as early as possible. However, remember that autoflowers do not need as many vegetative nutrients, like nitrogen.
How Long Can Autoflowering Cannabis Plants Live?
Right from seed to harvest, these plants live about 8 to 10 weeks. Most cultivators begin the harvest during the 11th week. Before harvesting the buds, make sure that at least half of the trichomes on the autoflowers have turned to a distinct amber colour; otherwise, the plant's THC potency will be greatly reduced.