What are autoflowering seeds?
Autoflowering seeds are hybrid varieties of the cannabis plant genus. In this genus, there is cannabis sativa(c. sativa), cannabis indica(c. indica), and cannabis ruderalis(c. ruderalis).
- Cannabis sativa: photoperiod plant
- Cannabis indica: photoperiod plant
- Cannabis ruderalis: not photoperiodic
- C. sativa and c. indica are photoperiod plants. This means they grow by responding to changes in the amount of light hours per day. C. ruderalis is not photoperiodic, rather this wild hemp variety completes its lifecycle on an internal clock. In other words, c. ruderalis plants will finish under any amount of light, even as high as 24 hours per day!
Being a hemp variety, c. ruderalis does not have psychoactive effects. It will not give the user much of a high when used or smoked through a bong, blunt, etc. Because of this, the ruderalis plant is not as commonly grown as it’s relatives c. sativa and c. indica which are psychoactive and can give strong effects to users.
Cannabis cultivators basically simulate ‘seasons’ with varying daylight hours for growing c. sativa and c. indica plants indoors. This is commonly called the on/off light cycle in the grow room. Lights are set on vegetating plants starting at 18-24 hours per day (18 hours on/6 hours off, 24 hours on/0 hours off).
As cannabis plants evolve into maturity, light is decreased to 12 hours per day to induce flowering (12 hours on/12 hours off). Because of of c. sativa and c. indica are photoperiodic, the drastic change of light hours per day causes a rush of hormones and other chemicals that signal the plant to start its flowering cycle.
While an on/off light cycle is easy enough to set up, cannabis cultivators often wonder if the 12 hours of darkness every day during flowering cycle could be taken advantage of – here’s where autoflowering seeds show their true colors.
Autoflowering seeds can be sprouted and grown to maturity at 24 hours on / 0 hours off. That means no dark cycle, and continuous growth 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!
Note: A number of cannabis publications have shown ample evidence of plant growth slowing down, but not halting, after 18 hours of light per day. Some growers prefer to ‘let their plants rest’, running 18 hours on/6 hours off. Others praise 24 hours on/ 0 hours off. Test this for yourself!
Autoflowering seeds advantages
Cannabis breeders looked at c. ruderalis, and with it’s non-photoperiodic quality, turned out to be the candidate for a non-stop lights-on grow room. While growing c. ruderalis plants by themselves was easy enough, the resulting marijuana product was not the potent buds that people love. By cross-breeding c. ruderalis with c. indica, c. sativa, and it’s hybrids, breeders were able to create a plant that produced potent marijuana buds high in active cannabinoids, while still retaining the non-photoperiodic quality. These plants were dubbed as “autoflowering”. Soon enough ‘the Joint Doctor’ released the first commercial autoflowering seeds, the infamous Lowryder seeds.
After ‘Lowryder’ cannabis seeds hit the market, soon enough more breeders were offering autoflowering hybrids of their own. A whole subculture was born around growing autoflowering cannabis strains.
Growing autoflowering strains indoors
Autoflowering seeds opened up the door for the 24 hours lights-on productive indoor grow-room. People were enthused about the possibilities, and the 24 hours of light per day was not the only appeal. Autoflowering seeds also finish their life-cycle sooner than other c. indica and c. sativa varieties. 60 days total plant life-cycle is the standard for autoflowering seed strains, which is only as long as a standard c. indica flowering cycle.
What’s really amazing about all of this is the possibility of plant rotations. So get this – growers germinate autoflowering seeds in intervals, such as every week. Because the plants are not photoperiodic and the grow-room is always on, plants of different growth stages can be put together in the same room. Some growers like to germinate seeds every few days, and in 60 days or so later will harvest marijuana from these plants. Using this technique, growers can set themselves up for bi-weekly, weekly, or even daily cannabis harvests!
Indoor gardens of autoflowering seeds do well with plants placed together closely. Sea of Green(SoG) or Screen of Green(Scrog) techniques are used frequently with success. The most determining factors for a heavy harvest are light intensity and amount, plant genetics and quantity, and plant care including nutrients.
Here’s a list of the top best sellers: Top 15 Best Autoflowering Seeds
A few tips before buying autoflowering seeds online:
- Keep in mind that you cannot clone autoflowering plants. This means you will either have to continually buy new autoflowering seeds, or make your own seeds at home.
- Make sure you buy cannabis seeds at a reputable seed bank website, there are a lot of scammers or horribly reviewed seed banks online. A quick google search on the company should reveal what other customers are experiencing.
- SuperAutos offered by Flash seeds are sativa/hybrid c. ruderalis hybrids. Know that these SuperAuto plants grow longer and larger than the standard autoflowering strain, and do well when grown outdoors.
- Make sure to provide at least 18 hours of light per day when growing autoflowering cannabis strains for best results.
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