Although autoflowering weed seeds are considered a relatively new phenomenon in growing cannabis, strains of this nature have descended from a Cannabis ruderalis plant which was grown in Russia for over 70 years ago. The autos, as they are nicknamed by many enthusiasts, are very different from the traditional cannabis strains that wait for the sun to show them that winter is approaching, for them to begin their flowering periods. Because of this, they are called photoperiods and they require specific lighting schedules. For photoperiods, it is normal to transition from a 16-8 light cycle to a 12-12 light cycle so they can begin flowering.
Autoflowers: A Quick History
On the contrary, Cannabis ruderalis does not need any form of sun signal. They start flowering within four weeks regardless of the lighting. Within a few short months, you will find the autoflowering buds ready to go for harvest. The ruderalis, however, contain lower levels of THC. Eventually, a cannabis breeder began crossing the ruderalis with other forms of cannabis to boost their potency while retaining the ability to autoflower.
Today, cannabis growers from all over the world prefer autoflowers for these main reasons:
- They are generally smaller in height even when they are mature.
- They are perfect for stealth growing.
- They grow quite fast and offer surprisingly high yields.
- They are more resistant to diseases and pests than many other strains.
- They are ready to harvest within more or less 10 weeks no matter the light schedules.
How to Grow Autoflowering Cannabis Strains
Even when your autoflowering cannabis strains have great genetics backing them, it is very important to ensure your plants have as much support as you can give throughout the growing process. Autoflowers are very convenient to grow but they also offer far less room for error than your typical cannabis plant. Ideally, you can jumpstart your grow session with artificial lights that you can control. This technique will ensure a lesser margin of error and improves the possibility of a greater quality yield.
Germinating Autoflowering Weed Seeds
The proper germination carries significant weight in making sure your autoflowering plant will experience healthy development. You can go down the traditional route and plant the seed directly to the soil. You can also choose a growing container to germinate your seeds. Most growers use the paper towel method to generate autoflowering weed seeds before placing them in soil.
How does the Paper Towel Method work? Take your seeds and place them in a moistened paper towel on a plate. Cover the plate with another plate so that the moisture will remain locked in. In most cases, the seeds will sprout within 1 to 4 days. If you have older stored seeds, the germination can take up to a week.
For transporting, dig a small hole in a moist growing medium at about an inch deep. Transfer the sprouted seed to and make sure that you will not touch the root with your hands.
Other Growing Tips:
- Avoid early cuttings. – Many experts do not recommend cutting autoflowers during their early growth stages. Because the autoflowers will bloom at a specific point, the age of cutting will merge with the age of the parent plant. In other words, they will flower at the same time. Hence, if you grow a cutting of an auto, the final version will be significantly less in size than the parent when it reaches the flowering stage.
- Train your plant during the vegetative stage. – Experts recommend the use of a Low Stress Training method to help boost your plant’s growth. When they start flowering, prune them after a week but do not top them.
- It is best to grow autoflowers indoors. – When you grow indoors, you will be able to control factors that can influence growth like warmth and moisture. Ideally, most autoflowers require a temperature of 73 degrees Fahrenheit with 55 percent humidity.
- Do not forget the lighting needs. – You have a little more leeway with light schedules. For instance, you can expose the plants to 24 hours of daily light to increase growth or follow 18 hours of light, six hours of darkness to allow them a little rest. Experienced breeders tend to go for a 21 hours light cycle using 120-Watt LED lights for the first few weeks. Keep the lights around 70 cm away from the plants. Eventually, you can opt for bigger LED lights and an 18-6 schedule.
How to Use Nutrients for Your Plants
Because autoflowering plants are short in stature and grow for a relatively short time period, you do not have to invest so much with feeding and nutrients. For the best results, avoid adding any nutrients aside from root stimulant for the first two to three months. By the pre-flowering period, you can add other supplements and molasses into the mix.
By the budding stage, add a bit of slightly increasing the nutrients for blooming and growing. Also, take it a little easy with nitrogen and remember that light feeding is the best for you. It is ideal if you avoid switching to flowering nutrients until you notice that the vertical growth has stopped.
How to Harvest Autoflowering Strains
Experts recommend that harvesting autoflowers must be done sequentially, which means you should begin with taking the colas first. This process would allow some buds to go a little more before you harvest them. As you are unaware, the yield depends on the length of the growing cycle. All things considered, a plant that takes 12 weeks before harvest will be better compared to harvesting a 10-week growth.
Generally, you should consider harvesting when at least half of your plant’s trichomes have started turning yellowish. If you wait too long, it may harm the potency. One pro tip is to stop watering your plants 24 to 48 hours before your harvest so you can flush all the nutrients away.
Where Can You Get Autoflowering Weed Seeds?
If you are interested to start your own cannabis garden, it is relatively easier to buy your autoflowering weed seeds online. There is a great number of reputable websites that sell autoflowers worldwide. Alternatively, you can also get them in local dispensaries near you. Whenever you are making the decision to purchase seeds, ask yourself how many levels of THC and CBD you need, your preferred taste and aroma, and the growing conditions you would like to plant your seeds in.
It is also a great option to get feminized autoflowering seeds. Basically, it means that you will grow more females that produce the large and dense buds you are looking for. If your growing room is a little smaller, go for indica strains because they do not grow that tall.
There are many great reasons why autoflowering plants enjoy their popularity. It is a technique that allows you to enjoy the harvest from a seedling within 10 weeks, and you would need a relatively small place, to begin with. Don’t hesitate to try autoflowering weed seeds because they are quite resilient and you will be able to try a large variety of strains each year.