Before growing, you’ll need to choose which type of seed you want to work with: feminized or autoflower. Here at Potguide, we recommend starting your cannabis growing hobby/career with auto-flowering cannabis seeds. Let's get into why. Want to start growing auto-flowering cannabis? Here’s all the info you need to get started! Many growers use both autoflower seeds as well as photoperiod feminised seeds. But which is best for your particular needs? Read the pros and cons of each
Autoflower Seeds Explained
T here’s a lot that can go into growing a flowering cannabis plant, which may seem a little daunting to those who were hoping for something as simple as step 1: put seed in soil, step 2: wait, step 3: cannabis! It’s important to choose which easy-to-grow strain sounds the best for your first foray into the world of cannabis farming, however, before picking the strain, you’ll need to choose which type of seed you want to work with: feminized or autoflower.
There are some key differences to be aware of. Especially if you’re new to gardening in general, here at PotGuide, we recommend starting your cannabis growing hobby/career with auto-flowering cannabis seeds. Let’s get into why.
What are Autoflower Cannabis Seeds?
Back in the day (way, way back) there were three basic subgroups of cannabis plants that had found their ecological niche thanks to human cultivation. Taller, skinner sativa strains thrived in warmer, tropical climates like Southeast Asia and Polynesia. Indica strains grew in the higher, windier Hindu Kush region. Ruderalis strains were hardier and grew in the colder, far northern hemisphere where the sun either shines at all hours for months on end or disappears for that same timeframe. Ruderalis strains didn’t have the same regular access to night and day that told their indica and sativa cousins when to stop growing and start flowering. Instead, they evolved to bloom when the sun was out based on how many weeks they’d been growing.
Interested in marijuana cultivation? Click here to purchase seeds and start growing today.
Modern-day cannabis growers realized that this adaptation to flower based on age rather than light exposure basically puts growing on easy mode, so they cross-bred ruderalis with indica and sativa strains to create autoflower seeds.
How are Autoflowering Seeds Different from Feminized Seeds?
Left to their own devices, cannabis will follow the same reproductive path that nature has set out for nearly every seed-producing plant: sprout, mature, meet a nice plant, exchange pollen, and start dropping seeds of their own. However, long ago humans discovered that the female cannabis plants also produced some flowers that were pretty fun to smoke, and thus cultivation began.
Jump forward to today’s modern cannabis market, and we find there are two main types of seeds that cannabis growers use: feminized seeds and autoflower seeds.
Feminized seeds are seeds that have been specially bred to only grow resinous-bud-producing females. This was achieved by eliminating the male chromosome through various manipulation methods (*cut to Jurassic Park’s Ian Malcolm looking concerned). However, these methods make use of a natural response that the plants have when they are stressed and lack male plants.
More experienced growers tend to use feminized seeds. Sowing feminized seeds tends to lead to far greater yields of potent buds than auto-flowering seeds. The plants will create stronger, THC-rich resin, and if one cannabis plant turns out to be exceptional above the rest, it can be cloned rather than having to be grown from seed every time.
However, growing with feminized seeds also takes extra care, attention, and know-how. They require scheduling the grow light’s hours and intensity in order to signal to the plants when it’s time to stop growing and start blooming. They also require extra room to spread their branches and are more susceptible to stress, disease, and pests.
Autoflowering seeds, on the other hand, are much hardier thanks to their ruderalis lineage and thus more resistant to environmental stressors than feminized seeds.
They have a far easier time brushing off pests and diseases and are able to be grown in a wider temperature range. All this means that they can bounce back from a lot of first-time grower mistakes that usually kill feminized seed plants.
Another advantage to autoflowering plants is that you don’t need to worry about maintaining a strict light schedule. The ruderalis genetics are used to unbroken stretches of sunlight during those northern summer months. Flip on your grow lights for about 20 hours a day and autoflowering seeds will do the rest.
The rest of your setup can be just as basic. Autoflowering seeds tend to grow a lot more compactly than feminized seeds, which makes them ideal for small closet grow operations. While autoflowering plants tend to produce much smaller yields than feminized seeds, you’ll have them much faster. Some autoflowering strains will start producing flowers in just 2-4 weeks, and be ready for harvest in 6-8 weeks. While the buds won’t be as potent as feminized seeds, they tend to contain higher levels of CBD, which can be ideal for medical growers.
This also isn’t meant to imply that autoflowers can’t make potent buds. They certainly can, and a significant part of dispensary stock is produced this way. Feminized seeds just tend to do better when compared bud to bud.
When buying your seeds, be sure to check whether or not they have been feminized. Depending on the company selling them, you could end up with either all female autoflower seeds, or a 50/50 chance.
Which Seeds Should I Choose?
While feminized seeds can be considered the Goldilocks of growing (everything has to be just right), autoflowering seeds are more the Gretel of growing (hardy, resilient, would kill a witch if it came to it.) Both, of course, have their advantages. If you are growing cannabis in order to produce only the most resinous, power-flower buds in the highest yields, go with feminized seeds. You’ll have to crack the books when it comes to bulking up your cannabis growing knowledge, and you’ll have to pay close attention to how each of your plants are doing on the regular. However, it will all pay off once you’ve got those sticky, stanky buds all cured and sitting in their jars.
On the other hand, growing your own cannabis can also be an easy, fun way to get some free weed off of your new plant friend. Autoflower seeds are the choice of any beginner looking to get from Point A (Seeds in soil) to Point C (Hell yeah!) as quickly as possible with minimal effort. With a more basic light setup, less care about the temperature, and a grow room as small as a bedroom closet, autoflower seeds are your entry ticket into the world of cannabis growing.
Do you prefer autoflower or feminized cannabis seeds? Sound off in the comments!
Paul Barach is a Seattle-based freelance writer, editor, and author with experience creating well-researched, edited web articles covering cannabis news, culture, history and science. Paul is a regular contributor to PotGuide and has also contributed to publications such as Medium.com, SlabMechanix, Litro, and The Trek. He prefers to spend his free time outdoors and most recently hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. So far he has only fallen into the La Brea Tarpits once. You can follow him on Instagram @BarachOutdoors and stay up to date professionally through his LinkedIn page.
How to Grow Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds
Whether you’re new to growing cannabis or you’ve been growing pot for years, auto-flowering strains are possibly the best way to go. You could be growing autoflowers indoors in soil or setting up a hydroponic autoflower grow ; it doesn’t matter. Autoflowering seeds are ready for harvest in just eight weeks while still producing potent effects.
For the most part, growing autoflowers indoors or outdoors is the same as growing regular marijuana, except it’s a lot easier. However, to grow the best cannabis, you need to do more than know how to grow auto-flowering seeds. You’ll also need the best supplies. Don’t worry; a Pot for Pot has you covered.
What Does “Autoflowering” Mean?
Autoflowering seeds are typically a mixture of cannabis Sativa or Indica with Cannabis Ruderalis, a species native to Russia. People don’t grow Cannabis Ruderalis on its own because it typically lacks a high degree of THC content. But because this species grows automatically after seven weeks and fares well in cold weather, these traits have made them desirable to use for interbreeding.
An auto-flowering cannabis strain switches from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage automatically instead of requiring closely timed hours of light and dark. Photoperiod flowering seeds start to bloom after the summer solstice, while auto-flowering seeds flower after a specific phase of the development period. In other words, they grow automatically (hence their name, “auto-flowering”) when they reach the right size.
Autoflowering cannabis plants tend to be smaller than other cannabis plants, especially in comparison to Sativa strains (Indica tends to be shorter, regardless of whether they’re auto-flowering or photoperiod flowering). Compared to regular photoperiod flowering feminized cannabis, auto-flowering strains are better able to fend off mold and pests. Read more details and benefits (along with some potential challenges) to growing auto-flowering seeds below.
Planning for Your Garden
Autoflowering seeds are a great idea because they grow faster than regular seeds. They’re also preferred by many marijuana growers because they are easy to grow.
How fast a specific auto-flowering strain takes to reach harvest can depend on the type of strain. However, it generally takes 8-10 weeks for most strains. Some strains require up to 12 weeks.
The fact that autoflowers can grow so fast means they spend less time fighting off pests and viruses. On top of that, many auto-flowering strains are bred with strong genetics to fight off these risks. The end results are plants that are incredibly easy to grow, even if you plan on growing autoflowers outdoors .
The downside to an auto flower grow is that the yields will not be as large as traditional seeds. However, a smaller yield on something you are nearly guaranteed to be successful at is better than no yield from something a bit harder to grow. If it’s your first time growing these quick-growing seeds, try using an auto flower grow journal to document your journey. This way, there’s a record of your work, and you can improve upon it in the future.
In general, the best soil for autoflowers will have these key ingredients:
Light and well-aerated soil
Autoflowering cannabis needs a growing medium that is light and airy. This allows the roots to penetrate the ground easily and not struggle to get the nutrients that it needs. Heavy soils make it difficult for roots and water to penetrate the ground, making it difficult for autoflowers to grow.
Soilless mixes such as coco coir have no natural nutrients, so you always have to add nutrients to these. However, when using soil, this is not the case. Simply start with a mixture that already has what you need. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be easier said than done. Most soil will have some nutrients, but they may not be what you need. The best soil will have all the essential autoflower nutrients: Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorous.
Neutral soil pH is at 7. If the pH is below 7, that means the growing medium is acidic. If it is above 7, that means the soil is alkaline. Autoflowering cannabis plants thrive in a little acidic soil, so keep your soil pH ranges between 6.2 and 6.5.
You could, of course, experiment with making your own soil. If so, you’d only need peat moss, some compost, perlite, and vermiculite mixed in a 3:3:2:1 ratio. However, the easiest option would be purchasing a Pot for Pot’s Superb Soil , which is specifically designed to be the best soil for autoflowers.
Growing Autoflowering Plants
We think they are some of the most fun plants to grow because they are fast and manageable. They are a great gateway to growing your own at a low price if you are new to growing. And funny enough, if you’re an old green thumb, you most likely have never grown one before. Autoflowering plants are consistently grown from seed because you cannot make a clone from an auto-flowering plant due to the fact they start to flower from the get-go, and cloning them won’t restart their timer.
Because they evolved in such a harsh environment, these plants grow well outside and indoors . They do not need a specific light cycle when planting indoors, which makes growing them super easy. If you are not putting them into a dedicated growing environment, they will need a sunny window or a bright supplemental lighting source. These plants are light hungry, so the more light, the better. It still needs its beauty sleep, though. Try to let it rest for at least 4 hours of darkness so the plant can do its nightly functions. But she’ll still grow successfully under 24-hour lighting. We will cover lighting with more depth in a later blog post.
When growing outdoors, you can plant around mid-April, as soon as your seedling has hardened off. Hardening off is when the seedling is no longer a seedling and has developed a couple of sets of true leaves. Because Ruderalis hails from northern latitudes, it does better with the cold than regular cannabis; thus, you can get multiple harvests in one outdoor growing season.
Because of their short life cycle, it is best to only transplant them once, early in their life. These are flowering plants, so the less stress they experience ultimately will result in bigger flowers. Your container size will affect the size of your plant as well, so we recommend a minimum of 2 gallons. They grow great in hydroponics or soil but typically don’t want to be overloaded with nutrients. Since they stay small, so does their appetite.
Choosing Your Location
As we said at the beginning, autoflowers can be grown anywhere due to their sturdy and resilient nature. However, if you are wondering if there is a specific climate that all autoflowers prefer, the simple answer is, there is not.
Autoflowering weed is available in a variety of strains . Some are Indica dominant and prefer cooler temperatures, while others have more Sativa genetics and grow best with large amounts of light. What’s different about an autoflower is that it can grow in situations that a photoperiod version cannot. That’s thanks to its rubbish, also known as Ruderalis, background. Therefore, do not panic if you are in an extremely cold or warm climate. Find the appropriate strain, then choose the auto-flowering option.
How do autoflowers perform indoors?
Autoflowering cannabis can thrive indoors if you have the proper grow room setup and the right equipment. Keep a close eye on the humidity and temperature at different stages of growth for optimum growth.
If you are using lights, you can stick to a fixed light schedule (18 hours of light and 6 hours of dark) from seed to harvest. Autoflowers are ideal for growing indoors because they are short, and the space is limited. Also, within ten weeks, your plants are ready for harvest. In terms of autoflower yield , you will have better results growing your plants outside, but for the amount of cost in effort, it’s still worth it.
How do autoflowers perform outdoors?
You can grow autoflowers anywhere, but you will get the best results if you grow them outdoors. The only consideration you’ll need to make is the amount of sunlight your plants receive. Autoflowering plants should have at least 12 hours of light daily. However, it is even better if they can get about 16 hours, as this will promote optimum growth.
This is when you should be paying attention to the strain. If you reside along the Equator, select a strain that thrives in tropical climates. On the other hand, if where you live has colder temperatures, select strains that are best suited for those temperatures. Regardless of the climate, you want to make sure your plants are exposed to a minimum of 12 hours of light if you want them to produce something worthwhile.
In general, auto-flowering weed thrives in tropical climates. This is because the plants are exposed to more than 12 hours of light, which promotes optimum growth. In a tropical climate, you can have several (about four) harvests in a year because of the plant’s short lifecycle. In this type of climate, you can also grow auto-flowering marijuana plants year-round. The biggest consideration is excess heat. If the temperatures rise to above 80°F, you may want to invest in some shade so that your plants don’t burn or suffer from heat stress.
In cold climates, you won’t be able to grow year-round, but you can grow outdoors during the summer, as long as you ensure a minimum of 12 hours of light and protect your plants from frost.
Autoflowers and Lighting
Autoflowering seeds do not need a change in their light cycles like regular marijuana seeds. Now, that doesn’t mean auto-flowering marijuana plants don’t need light. However, it does mean that they will continue to grow whether or not the light source is ideal. If you want to make it better for your plant, you can provide as much light as you wish. You could even buy marijuana grow lights and shine them on your plants all day long – but you don’t have to.
That is the point.
This characteristic makes growing autoflowers outdoors perfect when you take advantage of mother nature’s natural light source. Whereas most plants can only grow during a specific season, autoflowers can successfully pull off two to three seasons instead of one. As long as you germinate your seeds by the beginning of spring, protect your plants from extreme temperatures (the 90s and above), and the humidity stays between 70 and 90%, you can enjoy a very long outdoor growing season.
How to Grow Autoflower Plants
Use this step-by-step auto flower grow guide to go from seed to harvest.
Week 1: Germination
It usually takes three days for autoflowers to germinate. This process is when the seeds come alive. Then, the root travels into the soil and leaves sprout above ground.
To start germinating your seeds, you will need the proper soil mixture. In general, autoflowers will need fewer nutrients than regular seeds; still, they will need rich potting soil to help support their rapid growth.
A typical do-it-yourself potting soil recipe includes compost, perlite, and peat moss, and perhaps a tiny amount of vermiculture. The easiest option, however, is starting with A Pot for Pot’s Complete Kit. It includes our Seedling Pot and Pellet, which is perfect for germinating auto flower seeds.
Once your seeds have sprouted, you’ll need to transplant them into their potting soil. If you aren’t using A Pot for Pot, you will need to carefully remove your seedling from its current home and place it in another. This process, unfortunately, can lead to shock. With a separate seedling system, such as the Seedling Starter Kit, this risk is reduced.
Week 2: Late seedling phase
At this point, your seedling has begun creating energy from its light source. If you are growing indoors, you’ll want to use LED lights to give your auto-flowering plant some light. Choose LEDs – they save energy and direct less heat. Plus, they are affordable. You’ll only need a single light to grow a large plant in an indoor autoflower grow setup .
You don’t need to use an LED light if you’re growing outdoors, although you can. Our Light for Pot can convert nearly any space into a suitable spot for growing autoflowers indoors.
Week 3-4: Vegetation is flourishing
Yay, your plant has reached the vegetative stage. That means you should be focusing on creating the best environment. This is when you’d add the reinforcements. But, wait, you don’t have that? If you started with the Complete Kit, you would.
This week is when the important stuff starts to happen. The fan leaves are sprouting, enhancing the photosynthesis process, and increasing your plant’s ability to create potent flowers. You should focus on keeping your plant watered (but not too watered!), maintaining a constant temperature, and making sure it has light (if growing indoors). Trust us; this is not the time to be figuring out fertilizers.
If you are growing autoflowers indoors, this is also the time for starting low-stress training if you’re into that sort of thing. Training is helpful; however, it can also be risky and should only be done during the early part of the vegetative stage. Training helps to form buds receive the most energy from their light source – and that is a good thing.
Week 5-6: Flowering
In week 5, small, ‘hairy’ sacs start to form on the nodes. These will become sticky buds.
As the flowering stage proceeds, you’ll want to continue lowering the humidity if you are growing indoors yet keep your plants well-watered. It is very easy to develop mold during the flowering stage, and that can ruin all of your hard work. That’s why you need to pay attention to the amount of water in the air and soil. Using a watering can help you keep track of how much you are giving your plants. We include one in our Complete Kits.
Week 7-8: Monitor and prepare
We’re almost done! See how easy an autoflower can grow? In week 7, you’re going to focus on maintaining the environment. If you have your plants outside, make sure it’s not too hot or wet. If they are inside, check the humidity. You should be near 40% humidity instead of the 70% you started with during the vegetative period.
You also want to look at the soil. Use a magnifying glass to identify any pests. Look at the leaves for signs of nutrient deficiency. If you’d like to be precise, you can use the Smartphone Camera Lenses included with A Pot for Pot’s grow kits.
If you used any nutrients, you’d want to start the process of flushing on week 8. This means you stop giving your plants anything other than water. You don’t want any of that stuff in your final harvest. Flood the plant’s soil so that any excess chemicals are cleared before the plant can eat any more of them. This will prevent those chemicals from remaining in the plant when it’s time to harvest. Repeat the flooding process multiple times for up to two weeks, but don’t overdo it. Allow your pot to dry out between flushings.
Finally, it’s time to do a little trimming. Find some trimmers and remove the small fan leaves from the bottom nodes. You can also cut off any fan leaves near the top that doesn’t look that great. This process will help your plant get more light and reduce the chance of mold developing.
Week 9: It is almost harvest time
You have finally reached the point where your time and energy are about to reap good results. However, you must maintain the perfect conditions before you officially get there, so your plant remains infestation-free.
Continue following the lighting, temperature, humidity, and watering guidelines that you’ve been following since the beginning of week 7. The fan leaves might look rust-colored or otherwise discolored; this is perfectly normal.
Week 10-12: Harvest time!
You’ve reached the best part of this autoflower grow guide – the end. Depending on your specific strain, you may be ready for harvest anywhere from 10-12 weeks. You’ll know it’s time when most of the trichomes are whitish, and the pistils are brownish-red.
Keep in mind regardless of how much you trained your plant, some buds automatically position closer to the light, and as a result, will finish ripening first.
Especially when growing autoflowers indoors, your results can vary depending on the strain and the quality of the seeds. If your plant seems to progress slower or faster than others, don’t let it bother you. Come harvest time; you may find that you were worrying about nothing.
Growing auto-flowering marijuana plants is already easy, but it’s even more so with A Pot for Pot. We don’t just provide the best pot; we also offer the best soil, nutrients, and tools for maintaining your marijuana garden. And we provide step-by-step instructions in our Complete Grow Guide, and ongoing online grow support. So if you want it easy and fast, growing autoflowers indoors in soil (or outdoors, weather permitting) with a Pot for Pot is hands-down the simplest way to go about it.
Growing autoflowers during winter
Autoflowering marijuana plants can grow in any climate; however, the plant will struggle in extreme temperatures, such as extreme heat and cold. However, an autoflower can survive most of these situations due to their hardy genetics. This includes growing during winter.
If your winters are mild, you should be able to grow autoflowers outside . Generally, marijuana plants do well in temperatures as low as 60 degrees. As long as there is enough light, even if it is a weak source of light, the plant will produce for a minimum of 12 hours. If this environment is not doable, or your winters are not mild, you can grow your plant inside with a stable light source.
Harvesting Cannabis in Humid Areas
In general, harvesting is pretty easy. However, if you live in a particularly humid climate, you may need to take a few extra precautions. Mold can severely impact your harvest and make it unusable. That’s why you need to dry your cannabis as soon as you harvest it.
Before you get started, make sure you have all the equipment needed ready. You are going to need:
- Mason jars
- Drying rack
- Fan or AC
Drying begins immediately after harvesting. If you leave your harvest sitting around to rest (especially if you’re somewhere humid), your plants might attract bacteria and fungi.
Here’s how you should dry weed in a humid climate:
- Set up a drying room in a barn or garage. Install a dehumidifier, some heaters, and a fan.
- Cut the whole plant and hang it to dry or cut piece by piece, branches, leaves, and buds. You can also lay them on a drying rack.
- Now it’s time to trim if you haven’t already. If you cut everything up before you dried it, that is considered wet trimming. If you dry the whole plant first and then trim, that is called dry trimming. Either way, when you trim, you are removing the unnecessary parts of the plant. Remove larger fan leaves to expose those cannabinoid-rich flowers.
- Slow dry your weed by maintaining a temperature of around 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the humidity between 50-60%. Do not try drying your cannabis in an oven or microwave unless you want to ruin the flavor.
- Keep checking on your drying marijuana regularly until it feels dry to the touch. You can also confirm by checking that the stem is snapping instead of bending. It takes about 3-7 days for the flowers to dry thoroughly.
- Once your cannabis is thoroughly dry, cure it for long-term storage .
If you are looking to grow marijuana in the easiest and fastest way possible, autoflowers are the ideal choice. If you are a new grower or want to grow outdoors in less than perfect conditions, autoflowers are an excellent choice. Autoflowering cannabis grows practically anywhere, so even if you are in a less than ideal climate, there is a strain that will thrive in your area. If not, you can always grow them indoors.
As long as you focus on how to grow auto-flowering seeds correctly and then take the time to dry and cure them, you’re likely to end up with a harvest that you’ll love. Growing autoflowers is quick and nearly foolproof. The only way it can get any easier is if you start with a Pot for Pot. .
Our complete grow kits include everything you need to go from seed to your very own supply of high grade medical cannabis.
Grow with the Sun
Grow Year Round
Seed Coupon Included
Online Grow Support
Harvest up to a pound
The Pros of Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds
Faster Flowering and Harvest
Autoflowering cannabis plants grow quickly and flower a lot faster than their photoperiod counterparts do. For example, some autoflowers can flower in as little as three weeks to 30 days after the seed is planted, while many photoperiod varieties take months before they transition into the flowering stage from the vegetative growth phase . If you want the fastest harvest, auto-flowering varieties are your surest bet.
The Plants are Small and Compact
One of the biggest pros (out of many pros and cons of auto-flowering seeds) is their small size. Because of their Cannabis Ruderalis heritage, auto-flowering marijuana plants tend to be smaller and more compact when compared to the ordinary Sativa, Indica , and hybrids of these two.
This smaller size makes auto-flowering cannabis plants suitable for growing in confined spaces , such as a closet or on your balcony. Their compact size also makes it easier to look after. It’s simple – if your plant grows past six feet and you can’t see the top of it, it will be harder to manage. Autos, however, rarely exceed four feet, so it is easy to trim, train, or otherwise care for them during the different stages of their growth.
No Change to the Light Cycle
Autoflowering cannabis seeds combine the genetics of Sativa, Indica (or hybrids of them) with Cannabis Ruderalis. Cannabis Ruderalis is a variety very few people know about because it is naturally smaller, with smaller buds that produce very little to no THC.
Older strains of Cannabis Ruderalis had few desirable qualities, such as an ability to grow very fast. This is because it is native to Siberia, where the growing season is shorter and daylight hours are fewer. As a result, Ruderalis, outside of its original growing zone, adapted to maturing quickly and switching to the flowering stage regardless of how many hours of sunlight it is receiving.
Autoflowering cannabis seeds exhibit this attribute. They switch into a flowering mode as a result of their genetic programming rather than environmental factors, such as the amount of light they are receiving each day. Therefore, you don’t have to bother changing to a 12/12 light cycle to induce the flowering phase in auto-flowering marijuana plants. Autoflowering strains require less maintenance , making them easier to grow.
They Are More Resistant
Another key benefit of auto-flowering marijuana plants is an easy growing experience due to their Ruderalis heritage. Because of their fast adaptation, as detailed above, these plants are hardy and resistant to several adverse conditions. Ordinary cannabis plants can easily succumb to many diseases and pests , but auto-flowering plants will stand up to such a threat and survive. Similarly, auto-flowering strains are also resistant to mold, overfeeding, and underfeeding, while regular photoperiod varieties will be adversely affected by these conditions.
If you live in an area where the climate can change rather quickly, or you aren’t too particular about maintaining the ideal growing conditions for cannabis, then opt for auto-flowering strains since these are more forgiving when conditions aren’t exactly right.
Let’s face it. While legalization has made growing cannabis easier, not everyone is pro-pot. Even in legalized areas, you still need to practice discretion . Autoflowering seeds are the best way to achieve this.
With auto-flowering seeds, you can grow compact cannabis plants in an inconspicuous part of your property without anyone asking what you are growing. Plus, their rapid growth makes it even less likely for visitors to notice them. Regular cannabis plants take a lot longer to reach full maturity, which only increases the chance that people will notice your plants. Since some auto-flowering cannabis strains can mature in as few as 8 or 9 weeks, the amount of time that it takes to reach harvest is a definite pro on the pros and cons of auto-flowering seeds list.
Less Space Needed
Whether you are a large-scale commercial grower or a hobbyist, you can benefit from the space economy that auto-flowering cannabis varieties provide. Since these plants are small, practically anyone can grow their own cannabis plants.
For example, you can grow auto-flowering plants on your balcony if you live in an apartment block. Heck, these plants can even feel at home inside a small closet t !
Faster Flowering Times
Autoflowering seeds tend to grow more quickly than Indica and Sativa strains, with some strains ready for harvest in as few as two months.
It usually takes 30 days, or about a month, for auto-flowering seeds to reach the flowering phase. During these first 30 days, make sure to make small lighting adjustments to avoid scorching the leaves. You should also ensure proper soil aeration so that your cannabis flowers on time. To do this, you can use our Coco Bricks. They come in our Complete Grow Kit and help aerate the soil and regulate moisture.
After you see pistils, you’ll only have to wait for another 45 to 60 days before the bloom cycle is complete and your plants are ready to be harvested.
Multiple Harvests Each Year
Autoflowering plants don’t rely on the amount of light available each day to enter the flowering stage. This independence means you can harvest outdoor-grown mature buds several times a year. How do you do it?
One way is to stagger your plants. Start a couple of plants a month or two before the rest. That way, you can harvest some plants while others are nearing maturity, and the harvest cycle continues.
You could also start a few plants at the beginning of your outdoor growing season and then plant a few more once the first few plants have finished. Because they grow so fast, there is plenty of time.
Many Autoflowering Plants Have CBD
Research into the medicinal value of marijuana is still ongoing, but we, so far, know a lot about the therapeutic benefits of cannabidiol (CBD). It is actually one of the most abundant cannabinoids in the cannabis plant.
The Ruderalis genetics in auto-flowering cannabis seeds lead to plants that are relatively lower in THC content and higher in CBD. This means that those looking to enjoy the medicinal benefits of cannabis can easily obtain it from these easy-to-grow plants.
However, if you are mostly interested in the high that cannabis can provide, autoflowers are still a good choice since many varieties offer high THC content (in addition to CBD).
Suitable for Beginners
People who are just starting out on the exciting journey of growing their own cannabis would be well advised to opt for auto-flowering cannabis seeds. They are easier and less demanding to grow than regular photoperiod strains.
For example, with regular strains, you need to monitor and change the light cycle so that the plants have 12 hours of darkness each day while in the flowering stage. Any light finding its way to the plants can make them halt their flowering and yield poor-quality buds. Light can also cause the plant to re-enter the vegetative phase and stay there for an indefinite duration.
Autoflowering strains are ideal for beginners because you don’t have to worry about lighting. They also grow much faster, leading to even faster rewards.
City Environments Don’t Affect Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds
People who grow regular photoperiod cannabis plants have to go to great lengths to exclude light from their grow facilities, and this task can sometimes seem near impossible. This is because the city or urban environments have artificial light that can “confuse” photoperiod plants into “thinking” that daylight hours are still more than the hours of darkness. The ambient light, therefore, tends to lower the quality and quantity of buds harvested from photoperiod cannabis strains.
However, auto-flowering cannabis plants remain unaffected by the ambient light in cities or the light which leaks into a grow facility when the tent tears or the grow facility gets damaged in any other way. The plants will, therefore, reach their full potential as long as you keep other necessary settings in order.
The Cons of Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds
Autoflowering cannabis plants are sometimes called dwarf plants due to their typically smaller size when compared to ordinary marijuana plants. While this smaller size comes with some benefits, as discussed earlier, those growing auto-flowering plants should be content with a lower yield since a small plant cannot sustain bigger, dense buds.
This lower yield can be an issue for the commercial grower who wants to maximize the returns earned from each plant. However, for a home grower, the yield produced from an auto-flowering plant is often more than enough. If it is not, it’s just as easy to grow multiple plants or choose auto-flowering cannabis seeds with higher than normal yields.
While lower yields might be a turn-off to some growers, the plus side is that auto-flowering cannabis plants are easier to grow indoors. Autoflowering seeds are good for at-home growers who don’t need to grow massive volumes and growers who live in compact spaces.
Lower THC Content
Ruderalis plants provide many of the desirable traits of auto-flowering plants, but they also produce one noticeably undesirable one. The buds of auto-flowering plants tend to be less potent in terms of their THC content . THC is responsible for giving marijuana users a “high,” so lower THC concentrations in a plant mean that you will not get as high as someone who has used buds from a plant with a higher THC content.
However, don’t let this dampen your zeal for auto-flowering cannabis plants. You can purchase auto-flowering cannabis seeds with higher levels of THC if you want a bigger kick from your plants.
Vulnerability to Grower Errors
The rapid growth rate of auto-flowering seeds is one of its major attractions, but this growth rate can be a double-edged sword. Faster growth can mean bigger problems if you make a mistake and the plant doesn’t have enough time to recover.
This is most noticeable when training your plants. There are two ways to train your plants. One way is low-stress training (LST). That’s when you’d bend the plant’s branches while they are still soft and pliable. The other training method is called super cropping. This method is very stressful to the plant since it is done when the branches have become harder, so they take longer to recover from this training exercise.
High-stress training methods, such as super cropping, are not a good idea for auto-flowering plants since they grow so fast. Remember, the clock is ticking on your plan’s lifespan, and any mistake made can lower the yield. Whereas training methods are designed to increase a plant’s yield, if done incorrectly on an auto-flowering plant, they will more than likely harm it.
You Can’t Clone Autoflowering Cannabis Plants
Sometimes you fall in love with a specific plant. Many times, a certain attribute (yield potential, for example) is so desirable that you’d like to reproduce it in future plants. This is doable through the process of cloning.
For photoperiod marijuana varieties, cloning is simple. You simply cut a small piece of the plant, and that cutting will yield another plant with the exact attributes of the mother plant. For auto-flowering varieties, this, unfortunately, does not work. You can only grow these types of plants from seed.
You should also note, however, that growing from clones is not the same as growing from seed. Although cloned plants will have the same attributes as their mother plant, they are also not as hardy as seed plants and are more susceptible to errors during the growing process.
Loss of Control
Agriculture has grown into science where professional cultivators can enjoy varying levels of control over their crops. In grow labs around the world, cultivators play with ways to delay the flowering phase of their photoperiod marijuana varieties. They do this to create bigger plants that subsequently yield a more abundant harvest.
Such control isn’t possible for growers of auto-flowering cannabis plants since these varieties change states (from vegetative growth to flowering) based on their age rather than on external environmental conditions. Purists who want some control over the growth process may therefore shy away from auto-flowering cannabis seeds.
Since auto-flowering seeds need more light, they can be slightly more costly if you’re just looking at your electricity bill. That said, auto-flowering seeds also require fewer nutrients during the vegetative cycle. As a result, the costs end up evening out. For more information on growing weed cheap, check out our article .
As you can see, there are many pros and cons of auto-flowering seeds, and you need to weigh the benefits against the drawbacks so that you make an informed decision. A Pot for Pot always recommends auto-flowering seeds for home growers because they are cheaper to grow , easy to maintain, and provide a good blend of THC and CBD. With just a little light, the right soil, water, and some love, you
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you maximize autoflower yield?
Make sure you avoid three things.
- Avoid Over Watering
- Avoid Re-Potting
- Avoid Topping & Filming
What soil should I use for autoflowering seeds?
Potting mix is ideal for autoflowering seeds. Primary ingredients should include decomposed moss and compost.
What size pots should I use for Autoflowers?
Perfect pot size for auto flower plants should be 1,5 to 2,5 gallons (5,6 to 9,4 liters)
What are the top 5 autoflowering strains for cold climates?
Here are 5 autoflowering strains for cold climates: Sweet skunk auto, Royal cookies auto, Royal critical auto, Purple queen auto, Northern light auto
What are the top 5 autoflowering strains for warm climates?
Here are 5 autoflowering strains for warm climates: White widow auto, Diesel auto, Stress killer auto, Royal critical auto, Royal jack auto
Will humidity affect growth of autoflowering cannabis?
Usually, cannabis plants hate high humidity, hence if you are trying to grow autoflowering plants indoors you must maintain optimum humidity
What is the best outdoor Autoflowering strain?
Here is a list of top 5 outdoor Autoflowering strains: Pineapple Express Auto, Diesel Auto, White Russian Auto, Super Silver Haze Auto, and Caramel Auto.
How do you get big yields from Autoflowers?
Avoid re-potting your autos. Instead, grow them straight in their final container. Give them plenty of light, and avoid over watering.
How much do Autoflowers yield outdoors?
High yielding autoflower seeds can yield up to 5-7 ounces, and average yield can be expected around 1.5-2.5 ounces.
Have more questions? Reach out to us at [email protected]! Enjoy your grow, and check out our grow kits if you’re ready to get started.
Learn how to cultivate marijuana. Find the best marijuana growing advice for seed germination, cloning, pruning, trimming, and curing to help maximize your yields.
Autoflower vs feminised cannabis seeds explained
Cannabis genetics have changed drastically in the last decade. The home grower now has a wider and perhaps more confusing choice of cannabis seeds than ever before. But the differences between autoflower and feminised cannabis seeds are not that complicated. We will explain all you need to know about the way auto and fem seeds grow, the advantages and disadvantages for each and how you can select the right type of cannabis seeds for your grow.
|●||Autoflower vs feminised vs regular seeds differences|
|●||How were autoflower seeds created in the first place?|
|●||Topping and training autoflower vs feminised cannabis|
|●||Do autoflowers always finish faster than photoperiod strains?|
|●||Autoflower vs feminised cannabis seeds outdoor growing|
|●||Autoflower vs feminised cannabis plants yield|
|●||Differences in bud quality for feminised vs autoflower strains|
|●||Still wondering which type of cannabis seeds are best for you?|
Autoflower vs feminised vs regular seeds differences
Some growers mistakenly feel that autoflower seeds produce less potent weed than plants grown from feminised seeds. This may have been true in the early days of auto seeds, but not any more. Autoflowering cannabis seeds produce buds with the same quality levels as photoperiod feminised seeds. Auto Cinderella Jack has THC levels independently verified at over 25%. Many photoperiod feminised cannabis seeds don’t reach such high potency levels!
Autoflower seeds are the seed of choice for those that want fast, convenient and easy harvests. They typically grow indoors from seed to harvest in around 10-11 weeks under 20 hours of daily light. Outdoors, they take a little longer, around 100 days. Autoflowers start to bloom automatically around 5-6 weeks after germination. The grower doesn’t need to change the light cycle, it happens ‘automatically’.
Autoflower seeds are easy to grow and often stay short, squat and bushy. Due to the short auto life cycle you might not be able to get quite the same yields as a feminised seed variety which has enjoyed a long period of vegetative growth. But yields from the best autoflower seeds can be several hundred grams per plant from well grown indoor autos.
Photoperiod feminised cannabis seeds grow vegetatively under 18 hours (or more) of daily light. They produce leaves, roots and branches but no buds until daily light hours are reduced to 12. Feminised seeds are preferred by growers that enjoy traditional genetics with the ability to be manipulated via the photo dependency. SCROG growers can utilise long veg grow periods of 2 months or more to fully fill a SCROG screen. Outdoors, they can produce several Kilograms of dry buds from a long grow over 5-6 months.
Regular cannabis seeds give rise to approximately equal numbers of male and female offspring. These are the cannabis seeds of choice for old school growers that prefer the process of identifying and separating males from females. These days, regular cannabis seeds account for just 2-3% of seed sales. But they are used by those breeding cannabis plants or producing cannabis seeds. Note that the grower can take cuttings easily from plants grown from feminised seeds or regular seeds. But taking cuttings from autoflower plants isn’t as easy, since the plant has a fixed life cycle.
|Autoflower seeds||Feminised seeds||Regular seeds|
|Ease of growing||Easy||Moderate||Expert (males need to be removed to prevent pollination and seeding of your crop).|
|Plant height||Typically short/medium around 1 metre tall.||Adaptable depending on length of veg growth. Can reach 3-4m outdoors.||Adaptable depending on length of veg growth. Can reach 3-4m outdoors.|
|Flowering start||Often ~ 5-6 weeks after germination.||Requires 12/12 light conditions indoors and less than 13.5-14 hours of daily light outdoors.||Requires 12/12 light conditions indoors and less than 13.5-14 hours of daily light outdoors.|
|Seed-to-harvest time||Typically 10-11 weeks.||Depends on length of veg and flower time of the genetics.||Depends on length of veg and flower time of the genetics.|
|Yield||Up to a few hundred grams per plant in optimised conditions.||Up to and above a Kg per plant in optimised conditions.||Up to and above a Kg per plant in optimised conditions.|
Key things to know before growing autoflower cannabis seeds.
● If you want to grow a cannabis crop in the shortest possible time frame, then autoflower seeds are the best option. Strains such as Auto Blueberry and Auto Blackberry Kush can be ready in as little as 8-9 weeks after germination.
● Autoflower seeds perform well in both indoor and outdoor locations. Outdoors, many growers can get 2 or even 3 successive crops in the same year
● Autoflower seeds are easy to grow in a wide range of grow conditions/systems. Soil, coco fibre or hydroponics all produce great, fast results.
● Depending on the genetics you choose you can grow autoflower seeds that will produce harvests rich in THC, CBD or both! You can even grow Auto CBG-Force autoflower seeds which will produce CBG rich harvests or Auto CBD-Victory which will produce buds rich in CBDV.
● Many growers don’t bother repeatedly repotting their autoflower plants into increasingly large containers (note that keeping an autoflower longer than 2 – 2.5 weeks in a small pot will have a negative effect on the size and eventual yield). Instead, they often grow their autos in their ‘final’ containers to minimise time lost due to transplanting. This allows growers to achieve the highest possible yield.
● Many growers find that autoflowering cannabis seeds are the easiest and fastest way to grow cannabis. You don’t even need to worry about changing the light cycle! Less experienced (or first time) growers often prefer the simplicity and convenience of autoflower seeds.
How were autoflower seeds created in the first place?
Dutch Passion worked very closely with the Joint Doctor in the earliest days of autoflower breeding. The Joint Doctor is a Canadian breeder who played a large role in the first generation/early autoflower seeds.
Some of this work was based on a mythical Mexican strain (Mexican Rudy) which, whilst small and with only medium potency, allowed the first real autoflower work to get started. These were the first cannabis strains which were not dependent on the photoperiod (the number of daily light hours) to initiate bloom.
Initially, many cannabis seed companies were sceptical and couldn’t see the potential of autoflower genetics. Dutch Passion were able to combine and rework some of these first generation autoflowering genetics with some exceptional results.
After a few years of continuous improvements, autoflower yields and potency were on a par with indoor photoperiod feminised seeds. Initially some growers were reluctant and unconvinced by the early autoflower seeds. But once growers saw the top-shelf results that could be achieved with refined, high performance modern autoflower seeds that all changed.
Many modern cannabis seed growers prefer a rapid seed-to-harvest time. In this respect, the fastest autoflower seeds simply can’t be beaten!
Why do autoflower seeds produce so many phenotypes?
In the early days of autoflower seeds, some cannabis seed banks had a reputation for ‘scatter-gun’ autoflower seed genetics which would produce an excessively wide array of phenotypes.
Some would be miniature plants that would barely reach 10cm tall whereas the next auto would reach a metre. The challenge for premium cannabis seed suppliers was to take the autoflower genetics and fine-tune them further so they could be a viable option for serious growers.
This requires a great deal of genetic and breeding know-how. There is no substitute for experience when it comes to breeding and supplying the finest quality autoflower seeds.
Dutch Passion have some of the best genetics and most experienced geneticists in the business, so a great deal of focussed experience allowed them to push autoflower genetics to their limit.
Today, the best autoflower seeds produce consistently great results with little variations between the resulting plants if conditions are optimised. But it’s worth adding that there are still plenty of low quality autoflower seed suppliers out there. Buy your autoflower seeds from a supplier you can trust with a solid track record for auto breeding. A few autoflower cannabis cups is a sure sign that your supplier is committed and professional about their breeding.
|Understanding cannabis phenotypes, genotypes and chemotypes|
Topping and training autoflower vs feminised cannabis
Many growers like to train and manipulate their cannabis plants. This can be done to try to increase yield, or perhaps to create a shorter/bushier plant which is easier to cultivate in confined spaces.
When growing feminised cannabis seeds you have plenty of scope for topping and training your plants. You can define a long period of veg growth if you want to repeatedly top your plant (remove the growing tip) in order to produce a bushier plant which will require less vertical growth space. SCROG growers love long veg periods to fill the screen.
But autoflower seeds are less suited to these situations. When growing autoflowering cannabis seeds it is the genetics, not you, which defines when veg ends and bloom starts. Furthermore, autoflowers grow with a limited life cycle, they simply don’t have the time to recover from repeated topping.
However, both autos and feminised strains won’t mind low stress training, such as having branches tied down in order to improve light penetration to lower branches etc.
|Top 5 cannabis strains to grow in small spaces|
Do autoflowers always finish faster than photoperiod strains?
Not necessarily. Some fast photoperiod feminised strains such as Bubba Island Kush can be ready in as little as 7 weeks of bloom. Combine that with a brief period of veg growth and you could grow Bubba Island Kush from seed to harvest in around 10-11 weeks. Orange Bud is another fast (7-8 week bloom) feminised seed.
In contrast, some ‘super’ autos, such as Auto Ultimate can require up to 12-15 weeks to grow indoors from seed to harvest under 20 hours of daily light. Auto Glueberry OG is another similar autoflower seed.
A fast blooming feminised strain can indeed be faster to grow than some of the slower super autos. But it is important to add that the yields from slower growing autoflowers such as Auto Ultimate and Auto Glueberry OG can be spectacular, with 500g+ harvests (from a single plant) quite possible with hydroponic grows under optimised conditions.
|Top 5 fast growing cannabis seeds|
It’s worth noting that some autoflower seed suppliers tend to be overly optimistic about the seed-to-harvest times. Remember to base your harvest point on the factors that matter to you. Some people prefer the high from late harvested cannabis, others prefer to smoke/vape early harvested cannabis. One of the advantages of growing your own cannabis is that you decide the genetics and precisely how they are grown and when they are harvested.
You can assess the colours of the trichome resin glands, general bud appearance and pistil (hair) colour to help define your perfect harvest point for your favourite cannabis seeds.
|Best ways to harvest, dry and cure cannabis|
Autoflower vs feminised cannabis seeds outdoor growing
Autoflower seeds grow from seed to harvest outdoors in around 100 days, depending on conditions, latitude etc. That’s a little slower than indoors, where autos can enjoy 20 hours of daily light without cold night temperatures.
That speed of growth means that even Scandinavian outdoor autoflower growers can achieve two successive outdoor crops each summer. Mediterranean growers may be able to manage three successive outdoor auto crops each summer although the yield-per-plant may not be quite as high as that from longer growing photoperiod outdoor strains.
|Scandinavian autoflower growing, 2 crops in one season!|
Outdoor feminised cannabis seeds such as the cannabis cup winning photoperiod Frisian Dew seeds will typically grow outdoors over a 5-6 month period.
That’s a much longer timescale than an auto, so you can expect larger plants (perhaps 3-4m tall and almost as wide) and heavier yields. For some growers that’s a better combination.
However, if your climate has a short growing season you may prefer to consider autoflowering seeds which are generally ready to harvest earlier, nearer the middle of summer while the weather is still warm and sunny.
|Autoflower vs feminised outdoor cannabis growing|
Autoflower vs feminised cannabis plants yield
Modern, high performance autoflower seeds can deliver some incredible yields. Especially under optimised conditions with high intensity LED lighting. Many of Dutch Passion’s repeat autoflower seed customers routinely achieve several hundred grams per grow, especially when using hydroponic systems. The largest yield ever seen by Dutch Passion was a 1Kg harvest of dry buds from Auto Ultimate.
|Auto Ultimate 1Kg harvest by ‘The King’|
But the yields from the best feminised cannabis seeds can also be spectacular, especially when individual plants are given long periods of veg growth and grown in e.g. SCROG conditions by an experienced grower with quality genetics and powerful LED lights.
Serious growers know that they can get heavy yields from either autoflower seeds or feminised seeds. The choice between the types of cannabis seed is often made on the basis of factors other than yield.
|16 x Frisian Dew plants grow into huge plants in a Belgian greenhouse|
Differences in bud quality for feminised vs autoflower strains
The early first generation autos simply didn’t achieve the same cannabinoid content and terpene profiles that a modern high quality autoflower seed can produce. But both yield and quality levels have significantly improved since then, so long as you are buying seeds from a proven supplier!
The Dutch Passion list of Extremely High THC seeds is an exclusive collection of the best cannabis seeds which can produce up to 25% THC in ideal conditions. Included in this list are Auto Orange Bud, Auto Lemon Kix and Auto Cinderella Jack. Some of the best autoflower seeds produce even stronger buds than many photoperiod strains!
It is important to stress that many of the autoflower seeds being sold online will not meet the same high standards as the very best autoflower seeds which have won cannabis cups. The quality levels between the best and the worst autoflower seeds is still very large.
Be sure to research your choice of cannabis seeds very carefully and choose a supplier you can fully trust with a long track record behind them.
Still wondering which type of cannabis seeds are best for you?
Most growers find their preferred genetics are in the form of autoflower seeds or photoperiod feminised seeds. Lots of growers enjoy growing both types of seed. Very few modern growers use regular cannabis seeds. Autoflower seeds offer extra levels of speed and simplicity which appeals to huge numbers of both indoor and outdoor growers.
But feminised seeds have an equally popular appeal. The fact that you can control the length of veg growth gives some growers the control they need for their particular grow system/style.
You can also keep mother plants of your preferred feminised strains and take as many cuttings as you wish – this is impossible with plants grown from autoflower seeds. Quality levels from the best auto and fem seeds can reach the same very high standards with THC levels well above 20%.
Of course, other factors may also be very important to you. You may prefer your buds to have certain aroma/flavour profiles, or perhaps you enjoy buds with plenty of colour in them. Maybe you need a certain amount of CBD in your buds, or perhaps other cannabinoids too? Your array of cannabis seed choices may vary further depending on whether you want to grow indoors or outdoors.
If all this sounds confusing, you may wish to check out the Dutch Passion Seed Finder which asks you a few simple questions about your grow and recommends the best cannabis seeds for your situation. Buy the best cannabis seeds you can and enjoy your next grow!