What Are Autoflowering Seeds?
With all the various types of seeds available nowadays, you may be wondering: What are autoflowering cannabis seeds? Simply put, autoflowering seeds are cannabis seeds that begin the flowering period regardless of the light cycle.
Typically, cannabis plants will remain in the vegetative growth phase indefinitely when provided with 18 to 24 hours of light. These plants, known as photoperiod plants, will begin to flower when exposed to 12 hours of darkness. In contrast, autoflowering seeds live up to their namesake by flowering automatically within two to four weeks. Any changes in the light cycle will not affect their ability to produce flowers.
While the difference between these two types of seeds may seem insignificant, autoflowering strains offer growers several advantages.
Firstly, autoflowering seeds might appeal to growers with little technical knowledge of cultivation. This is because, unlike other breeds, autoflower cannabis plants don’t require a strict light cycle for flowering to begin. Farmers can grow them both indoors and outdoors without any complications.
Another significant advantage is that autoflower plants complete the growth cycle quickly. A typical photoperiod plant may take four months or longer to reach maturity, while an autoflowering strain will be ready for harvest in just 8 to 12 weeks. This means that growers in cold climates with short summers can still grow cannabis outdoors. It also means that indoor growers and those in more temperate regions can enjoy multiple harvests per year.
Autoflower strains descend from Ruderalis, a hardy and resilient subspecies that originated in the harsh climate of Eastern Europe. As a result, most autoflowering varieties are much easier to grow than photoperiod strains. They can endure suboptimal growing conditions and are resistant to pests, diseases, and cold temperatures.
Autoflower strains may have numerous benefits, but they also have some shortcomings that farmers must consider before growing them.
Firstly, modern autoflower strains may be closing the gap with the other types of cannabis seeds, but their cannabinoid content is still somewhat lower than their photoperiod counterparts. If you are trying to win a potency contest, autoflowering seeds might not be the best choice; however, they are certainly strong enough to be enjoyed by even the most experienced user.
Another downside is that, because of their small stature, most autoflowering strains yield less than photoperiod cultivars do. Luckily, growers can get around this by using low-stress training techniques or by simply planting more seeds.
Finally, autoflowers aren’t the best when it comes to cloning. The cloned plants begin to flower simultaneously with their mother plants, resulting in even lower yields because they don’t have enough time to grow. So, if you’d like to preserve an autoflowering strain, you’ll either need to buy more seeds or learn to breed your own seeds.
How To Make Autoflowering Seeds
As stated before, cannabis strains with the autoflowering trait are descendants of the Ruderalis subspecies. Ruderalis isn’t particularly desirable on its own, as the plants typically produce a meager yield with buds containing little to no THC. Therefore, breeders cross Ruderalis strains with Indica, Sativa, or hybrid varieties to produce autoflowering strains that are potent and high yielding.
Autoflowering seeds come in two varieties: feminized and regular. To make feminized autoflowering seeds, breeders use an ethylene-blocking spray such as colloidal silver to force female plants to produce pollen sacs and pollinate other females.
Regular autoflowering seeds are easier to make, as they simply require growing a male and female plant together in the same space. As the male pollen sacs ripen, they spread pollen to the female flowers, thus creating regular autoflowering seeds.
Are Autoflowering Seeds Right for You?
Autoflowering strains have come a long way since their inception in the early 2000s. With improved yields, better terpene profiles, and more potency than the autos of old, these plants aren’t much different from their photoperiod relatives.
Given the drastic advancements in autoflowering strains, these cultivars are not just for beginners anymore. Growers in cold climates, those with limited space, or smokers who enjoy a slightly more mellow high can all benefit from growing autoflowering seeds. And with the wide selection of autoflowering cultivars available today, there’s sure to be the perfect strain for you.
Where To Buy Autoflower Cannabis Seeds
If you’d like to try autoflowering seeds for yourself, you’ll need to buy them from a reputable seed bank. Low-quality autos may not flower automatically, or might produce small yields of subpar flowers. By choosing a reputable seed bank, you’ll be able to purchase superior autoflowering seeds that are every bit as frosty and flavorful as photoperiod strains.
At Greenpoint Seeds, we are currently developing our own line of high-quality autoflowering seeds that will be available in mid-2023. Subscribe to our newsletter, join our Discord server, and follow us on social media to find out when we release our new autoflowering seeds.
Contact Greenpoint Seeds for more information about autoflower seeds. While you’re here, shop our selection of regular and feminized marijuana seeds.
Have you grown autoflowering seeds? Please share your experience in the comment section below.