Auto-flowering is a feature that gives a cannabis plant the ability to enter the flowering phase without the need for the grower to induce it by reducing the light. Auto means automatic, so the flowering stage starts automatically irrespective of the light exposure.
Since the plants automatically switch from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage, they are different from the regular strains that depend on a particular photoperiod of light and darkness to flower. Such characteristics are theorized to originate from the genes of the cannabis ruderalis strain.
When growing your auto-flowering seeds from the United Strains of America, you don’t have to worry about inducing the flowering phase. The plants flower by themselves after 2-4weeks of growth, unlike photoperiod varieties, where you have to change the light cycle to 12hours dark and 12hours light to induce the flowering stage. That also means they take a shorter time to grow because some types can even be ready to harvest after 8weeks. Moreover, auto-flowering cannabis plants are usually compact, making them ideal for indoor growing and inexperienced growers.
How did auto flowers come to be?
Cannabis ruderalis is the cannabis strain that gives autoflowers their unique characteristics. It is native to central and eastern Europe and Russia but also found in North America. Traditionally, ruderalis species are short and flower at a fast rate.
They are very good at withstanding extreme environments because they are native to colder climates. Due to the short and cold summers they were naturally exposed to, they adapted to the environment by automatically switching from the vegetative to flowering stage regardless of the light they were exposed to.
The auto flowers that appeared earlier were not too impressive because they were not fully potent, their flavor was lacking, and the harvests were not bountiful either. As such, breeders started experimenting with the cannabis ruderalis by crossing it with Sativa and indical varieties. Much has changed since then, and today’s auto-flowering varieties blossom maximumly, and even the most prominent seed banks use auto-flowering genetics mostly.
Thanks to more scientific breeding and qualitative analysis, the initial concerns about the potency and yields of ruderalis strains are a thing of the past. Today, top-produced auto-flowering seeds are considered as good as the regular photoperiod strains. Some even exceed them in terms of potency, aroma, and yields.
The modern auto-flowering seeds provide very many benefits to cannabis growers. They make it possible to grow high-quality cannabis in a limited space, especially indoors, a short growth time, and in conditions that previously appeared unfeasible. They are an ideal alternative for beginner growers looking for an easy way to start cultivating cannabis without dealing with the lighting complexities of photoperiod varieties.
Other than growers, auto-flowering cannabis plants also satisfy the most demanding marijuana users. Medical marijuana users can get auto-flower varieties low in THC but high in CBD to benefit from their psychoactive effects. Recreational users can also get auto-flowers with high THC to get the desired high which can be anything from uplifting, euphoric, giggly, and relaxing. Auto-flowers with low THC are also ideal for holistic users looking for a balanced effect when using cannabis.
Terpenes in auto-flowering varieties
Terpenes are the compounds that give cannabis flowers their distinctive aroma, and every strain has a unique terpene profile. But they do more than influence the scent of the buds; they can also influence the effect the strain produces. For instance, if you are smoking buds and realize it smells or tastes citrusy, skunky, earthy, fruity, or flowery, that is its terpene profile of the strain.
Growing auto-flowering strains
It starts with the selection of the auto-flowering seeds. Choose high-quality seeds from a cannabis seeds retailer, then select your grow environment (indoors or outdoors). The best thing about an indoor grow room is that it makes it possible to grow cannabis throughout the year as long as they have access to 18hours of light per day. But with an outdoor environment, you have to consider the season, so it is best to grow during spring when light is plentiful.
Irrespective of the light, auto-flowering plants are advantageous because they grow quite independently, so you don’t have to supplement them with many nutrients. If you grow potted plants, ensure the container has enough drainage holes to provide sufficient oxygen to the roots. You should also remember that some auto-flower varieties can grow more than 4feet tall, so you need to give them enough room for growth.
You need to keep the growing temperature at 21degrees Celcius to induce healthy growth. Colder temperatures and extreme heat can lead to growth problems. Growing in a room where you can fully control the environmental conditions is advantageous as you can even use a heating and cooling system if necessary. The optimal humidity you are supposed to maintain for auto-flowering cannabis plants changes depending on their stage. Ideally, you need to maintain the humidity levels at 40-50% to prevent mold growth, especially during the flowering stage.
If you want an easy cannabis cultivation experience, choose feminized auto-flowering seeds. Since they are feminized, they all turn out to be female plants, so you don’t have to worry about eliminating males before they pollinate the females. Also, they flower automatically, so you don’t have to worry about switching the light cycles to induce the flowering period.
Generally, plant training is not advisable for auto-flowering plants because it can temporarily slow down or stunt their growth. They may not have enough time to recover, given their short lifespan. You can harvest auto-flowers after 8-10weeks of growth. Auto-flowers are usually healthy and compact, and if you plant them several weeks apart, you can benefit from multiple harvests a year.
Auto-flowering cannabis seeds automatically switch from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage regardless of their exposure to light. They are naturally short-statured and have a short time growth; therefore, they can be grown all year round. That makes them ideal for beginner growers and those who want an easy cultivation experience without the complexities of inducing the flowering period.