The world of cannabis has come a long way since the days of strict prohibition. Nowadays, both marijuana producers and consumers are spoilt for choice when it comes to marijuana strains and variations. Continued innovative developments in breeding techniques have led to the emergence of autoflower weed plants, which have become a hit among marijuana cultivators.
So, what are automatic flowering cannabis plants? And are autoflower seeds always female? Our guide breaks down everything you need to know about autoflowering marijuana plants and provides excellent marijuana growing tips to help you make the most of them.
What Is Autoflower Cannabis?
As the name suggests, autoflower cannabis refers to marijuana plants that flower automatically. Essentially, there are two crucial phases of the cannabis growing cycle; the vegetative and flowering stages. Typical marijuana plants, known as photoperiod-dependent cannabis, rely on external cues to move from the vegetative to the flowering weed plant’s growth stage and produce resinous buds. On the other hand, autoflower weed plants don’t depend on external factors to produce buds. They flower after a certain amount of time has passed.
Although autoflower male cannabis plants vs female cannabis plants have several differences, both of them produce resinous flowers. However, a male autoflower bud is usually smaller and less clustered across the plant compared to female autoflower buds.
The Ruderalis Connection: Unraveling the Origins of Autoflowering Cannabis
The distinctive attribute of autoflowering cannabis plants can be traced back to their ancestral roots, which involve crossbreeding between cannabis Indica or cannabis Sativa and the lesser-known, hardy cannabis ruderalis. Hailing from the harsh environments of Russia, the ruderalis species has developed a remarkable ability to flower automatically, regardless of light exposure. Scientists have meticulously exploited this trait to create hybrid cannabis strains that inherit the autoflowering characteristic.
Advantages of Cultivating Autoflowering Cannabis
Accelerated Growth Cycle
One of the most compelling benefits of autoflowering cannabis plants is their rapid growth cycle, which typically only takes 8 to 10 weeks from germination. This accelerated maturation process enables growers to harvest multiple crops within a single growing season, providing a substantial advantage, particularly for commercial cultivators.
Elimination of Light Cycle Manipulation
Autoflowering cannabis plants don’t require alterations in light cycles to initiate the flowering stage. Consequently, this simplifies the cultivation process. This feature eliminates the need for growers to adjust the light schedule, making autoflowering strains particularly appealing to novice cultivators or those with restricted growing spaces.
Most autoflowering cannabis plants exhibit a compact stature, often reaching heights of just 1 to 3 feet. This miniature size makes them suitable for discreet, confined growing environments, such as balconies or even windowsills.
Limitations of Autoflowering Cannabis
Low THC Content
A significant drawback of most autoflowering cannabis strains is their reduced THC content compared to their photoperiod-dependent counterparts. While there are some exceptions, the lower levels of THC in autoflowering plants may not adequately satisfy those seeking a potent psychoactive experience.
Restricted Growth Control
The automatic flowering nature of these plants limits the grower’s ability to control the vegetative and flowering stages. Consequently, it becomes more challenging to fine-tune the cultivation process and attain desired qualities in the final product.
Incompatibility with Cloning
Autoflowering cannabis plants are unsuited for cloning due to their predetermined life cycle. Even if you clone an autoflowering plant that is already flowering, you’ll have stunted plants. For this reason, the best way to cultivate autoflower marijuana is using cannabis seedlings.
Assessing the Suitability of Autoflowering Cannabis for Your Needs
Determining whether autoflowering cannabis is the optimal choice for you depends on your needs and cultivation preferences. These strains are ideal for those prioritizing a swift growth cycle, small plant size, and a more streamlined cultivation process. However, traditional photoperiod strains may be better if your primary concerns revolve around achieving high THC content or maintaining greater control over your plant’s growth.
The Bottom Line
Autoflowering marijuana plants provide an easier growing experience suitable for new growers. They also offer several advantages over traditional photoperiod-dependent strains.
Understanding the pros and cons of these plants can help you make well-informed decisions about the type of cannabis you wish to grow. Ultimately, your choice of cannabis strain should align with your individual goals and preferences, ensuring that the cultivation process remains an enjoyable and fulfilling experience.