How to Grow Marijuana with Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds
What are Autoflowering Weed Seeds?
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Auto-flowering cannabis seeds differ from regular cannabis seeds in that their flowering phase is not governed by photoperiod. This means that, unlike regular cannabis seeds, autoflowering seeds will commence flowering after a certain period of time, regardless of whether you have switched the lighting to 12/12 or not. It is this quality that makes auto-flowering cannabis seeds ideal if you require a constant supply of marijuana.
Autoflowering strains are typically very short in stature, as you might expect from a plant with such a limited vegetative phase. This makes them particularly useful for stealth grows. The small stature often means a relatively low yield, but this is compensated for by a very rapid turnover. It is up to the grower to decide if auto-flowering seeds are suitable for his/her needs and circumstances.
With their ruderalis heritage, auto-flowering cannabis seeds are quite often suitable for outdoor grows in northern climates, but check with your seed supplier that this is the case before planting them outside.
Best auto-flowering marijuana seeds? Well here are some we like.
What is the History of Auto-Flowering Seeds?
Auto-flowering is a natural trait, inherited from wild growing ruderalis species. Ruderalis species are a subspecies of cannabis sativa that have naturalised in the northern wildernesses, mostly in Russia and Eastern Europe. In northern climes, where the summers are short, summer days can be very long with up to 24 hours of light per day. Under these atypical light conditions it is crucial for wild plants to flower and spread seed as early as possible before the onset of winter. Ruderalis, unlike other types of cannabis, has adapted to make the most of the long days of short northern summers by developing the ability to flower in a short period of time, regardless of the length of daylight available.
The availability of auto-flowering versions of quality cannabis species is the result of intense and diligent breeding programmes. By crossing the auto-flowering properties of ruderalis with the THC production of other varieties, breeders have developed potent strains that will commence flowering within a month of planting (sometimes as little as a fortnight) and finish in as little as 8-10 weeks, all under 18hrs of light. The auto-flowering trait is recessive however, and isolating the trait through hybridization requires a great deal of time and experience.
How to Grow Auto-Flowering Seeds
Many cannabis growers use auto-flowering cannabis seeds as part of continuous hydroponic grow systems. With a bit of planning it is easily possible to set your grow room up to produce a continuous supply of buds from auto-flowering seeds.
One of the greatest advantages of auto-flowering seeds is that they avoid the need for separate grow rooms and nurseries. Because the lighting regime doesn’t change throughout the grow, it is possible for all plants to share the same room regardless of what stage of growth they are at.
With such a short grow cycle, pot size, light quality and nutrients all play a crucial role (even more so than normal) in defining the size of the yield.
So with your grow room under a continuous 18 hour light cycle what you need to concentrate on is keeping it full and productive. Stagger planting new seeds by a couple of weeks to keep a continuous supply growing. Plant new seeds each time you either harvest buds or remove a male. Male plants of auto-flowering strains will show themselves between 2 and 3 weeks after germination, about a week before females.
All auto-flowering cannabis strains work well in both soil and hydro systems. For best results plant the newly germinated seeds directly into their final pots (1-2 gallon or 5-10 litres) and place them directly under 18 hour lights. Beware, smaller pots can result in smaller yields.
Start young plants on a veg phase nutrient regime at about 1-2 weeks. Switch to flowering phase nutrients as soon as you see flowers begin to form, usually at about 4 weeks. This is also the right time to switch from MH to HPS lighting if that is what you are using.
For outdoor marijuana grows in the northern hemisphere, May – August is the optimum time for growing auto-flowering cannabis strains, although with a bit of planning you can organise successive harvests right through to November.
Mature auto-flowering cannabis strains are normally no more that 20” (50cm) tall, this makes them ideal for high density, compact grow systems similar to Sea of Green set-ups.
What Auto-Flowering Strains are Available
There are several varieties of auto-flowering cannabis seeds available on the market. Perhaps the most famous is the original Lowryder from The Joint Doctor, one of the first auto-flowering strains to become commercially available. Lowryder is also responsible for a whole range of hybrids including Lowryder#2 and Easy Ryder seeds.