How Do Autoflowering Seeds Work?

June 21, 2022

Newcomers to the fascinating field of cannabis cultivation often find themselves overwhelmed by the selection of strains, seed types, and other options available.

Narrowing down the field to just those seeds that would be easy to grow and are most likely to produce a heavy yield of amazing buds is a great way to get on track for a successful first season.

Here’s a basic introduction to autoflowering seeds, including how they work and why they’re such a great option for novice and experienced growers alike.

What Are Autoflowering Seeds?

Reputable seed banks have autoflowering seeds available for just about every popular strain, and there’s a good reason for that trend.

Autoflowering seeds grow into day-neutral cannabis plants that don’t rely on changing light levels to determine when to move from the vegetative stage into the flowering stage.

They move to a new growth stage based on age instead, and many autoflowering seeds grow into fully mature, ready-to-harvest plants in just ten weeks.

How Do Autoflowering Seeds Work?

There’s a simple explanation for this seemingly amazing trick. Autoflowering cannabis seeds contain genetics that are either unknown or minimized in regular photoperiod plants.

The seeds are created by breeding sativa, indica, or hybrid plants with Cannabis ruderalis, a lesser-known species of cannabis that grows quickly and does not rely on changes in light to determine growth stages.

What Do Growers Need to Do Differently?

Germinating autoflowering seeds works the same as germinating any other cannabis seed, and the seedlings require similar care.

It’s once the plants enter the vegetative stage and begin to approach the pre-flowering stage that everything changes.

Whether they’re grown outdoors or inside, autoflowering plants will simply switch themselves over to bud when they are ready.

Once the plants enter the flowering stage, growers can go back to providing for them just like they would for photoperiod plants except with less switching around of lights or pulling of tarps. Just make sure they’re watered, fed, and tended to carefully until the buds mature.

So, What’s the Catch?

By now, novice growers may be wondering why everyone doesn’t just grow autoflowers all the time. The reason that not everyone loves autoflowering plants is simple.

The plants don’t grow as large. Because their growth cycle is so quick, autoflowering plants move into the flowering stage earlier and have fewer, and sometimes smaller, buds.

However, autoflowers have hit the big time in recent years, and advancements in cultivation techniques changed the minds of even the most stalwart holdouts.

Who Should Grow Autoflowers?

For outdoor growers who live in climates with full seasons and ideal conditions, it might not make sense to grow autoflowers.

Since most cities and states place restrictions on the number of plants that any one grower can have in veg and in bud at any given time, it makes more sense to grow fewer, larger plants that take longer to grow.

For indoor growers, the trade-offs may be worth it.

Autoflowering marijuana plants’ quick growth cycle combined with the elimination of strict lighting regimens means that indoor growers can harvest crops year-round, so it no longer matters that the yields aren’t as heavy.

Buy Quality Seeds

Whether growers decide to try autoflowers for the first time or to stick with regular seeds, it’s important to buy from a trusted seed bank.

Not all cannabis seeds are the same quality, and seed banks source theirs from breeders who can guarantee not just germination rates but also that the plants produced will be true to type.

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