What Is Auto Flowering Cannabis?

THE PRESS CLUB AUTOFLOWERING CANNABIS
THE PRESS CLUB TIPS AND TRICKS VIVIANE
Viviane Schute        

Cannabis enthusiast and student of the art of solventless extraction

 

Autoflowering cannabis is a form of cannabis that produces flowers based on the age of the plant rather than the amount of sunlight and darkness that the plant receives daily. While regular cannabis produces flowers only in response to a specific photocycle, autoflowering cannabis flowers in almost any amount of light. This offers advantages to growers. 

Cannabis cultivars have been traditionally recognized as either sativa, indica, or ruderalis. Sativas are native to tropical and equatorial regions of the earth, where climate is conducive to longer flowering periods. Indicas are native to mountainous regions like the Hindu Kush mountains where the flowering periods are shorter. Both sativa and indica varieties are photosensitive, requiring 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness everyday to produce flowers. However, ruderalis is not photosensitive. 

Ruderalis is a shorter and hardier plant that has acclimated to growing naturally in harsher environments. Ruderalis automatically flowers after about 21-30 days of growth and were thought to lack potency and trichome production. Autoflowering cannabis varieties that growers use today are bred from the ruderalis variety of cannabis. Breeders have done great work in recent decades to create highly potent forms of ruderalis that are just as desirable as their sativa and indica counterparts. Now, autoflower cultivars offer the benefit of shorter grow cycles plus the trichome-rich flowers that capture sativa and/or indica characteristics. 

Benefits of Autoflowering Cannabis

Autoflowering cultivars used to have the reputation of being lesser versions of both sativa and indica. Now, however, the potency and yield is on par with photoperiod cannabis strains. You just have to find good breeders and be willing to pay for premium seeds. Here are a few of the benefits of autoflowering cannabis cultivars. 

 

THE PRESS CLUB AUTOFLOWERING CANNABIS

Ready in less time than other cannabis

Autoflowering cultivars can reach harvest in just over one month, compared to the 3-month time. This is a massive benefit because it allows for more harvests during the year. And it can be grown outdoors year round, as long as the temperature and humidity cooperates. 

Remains smaller and more compact

Autoflowers can be a great choice for growing in smaller spaces. Since their lifecycle is shorter than other varieties, the plants remain smaller in stature all the way until harvest. Autoflowering cannabis is often the preference for micro growers since they can flourish in very small grow spaces. 

Good yield and potency

Thanks to the work of dedicated breeders, there are autoflowers that do well in small spaces but also produce significant yields. Not only can autoflowers grow thick juicy flowers, but they are trichome-rich and very potent. You don’t have to sacrifice quality for the speed and convenience of growing autoflowers. 

Can be used to make rosin, bubble hash, and dry sift

Thanks to autoflowers’ capacity to produce great yields with copious amounts of trichomes, they are great for making rosin, bubble hash, and dry sift. Every cultivar is different so it’s always a good idea to do a test run of the material before committing a ton of weight to extraction.

Downsides of Growing Autoflowering Cannabis

Autoflowers can be fantastic members in your garden, but there are some downsides to consider. 

Seed only, can’t clone

THE PRESS CLUB AUTOFLOWERING CANNABIS

Since autoflowers begin flowering based on age and not photoperiod, they are not good for cloning. The clone you take has the same age as the mother plant, meaning the clone will start flowering before it’s well-established and large enough to support a decent yield.

Can’t keep a specific phenotype

Every seed will present a different phenotype. Since autoflowers can’t be cloned successfully, phenotypes for autoflowers can’t be saved. It’s all about the luck of the draw, so consistency in the garden is harder to maintain with autoflowers.    

Potentially lower yield and potency

Since autoflowers were originally bred from ruderalis, the quality was lacking. Over time it has gotten much better, but there are still autoflowers that don’t perform up to par. If you’re buying autoflowers from mediocre breeders, then they may lack yield and potency. 

Conclusion  

Autoflowering cannabis has come a long way over the last few decades. What used to be considered lesser-quality cannabis is now often indistinguishable from regular sativa or indica cultivars. Autoflowers offer significant benefits in the garden with minimal downside. And, they can be used as starting material in all your solventless extracts. Don’t be afraid to spend a little extra to buy from premium breeders, and you’re likely to be impressed!  

Do you grow autoflowers? Let us know in the comments!


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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is autoflowering cannabis?
Autoflowering cannabis is a form of cannabis that produces flowers based on the age of the plant rather than the amount of sunlight and darkness that the plant receives daily.

Where does autoflowering cannabis come from?
Autoflowering cannabis varieties that growers use today are bred from the ruderalis variety of cannabis. Breeders have done great work in recent decades to create highly potent forms of ruderalis that are just as desirable as their sativa and indica counterparts.

What is ruderalis?
Ruderalis is a shorter and hardier plant that has acclimated to growing naturally in harsher environments. Ruderalis automatically flowers after about 21-30 days of growth and were thought to lack potency and trichome production.

What are the advantages to growing autoflowering cannabis?
The main benefits with autoflowering cannabis include faster time to harvest and relatively small size while still producing noteworthy yields. 

What are downsides to growing autoflowering cannabis?
Downsides include not being able to take clones, and potentially lower yields and potency depending on the quality of genetics you obtain. 

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