Many people grow cannabis because they are passionate about it, but there comes a time when you have to consider whether it’s worth all the effort. Autoflowers have become famous over the years, but some wonder if autoflowers are worth it. If you’re one of those, this article will help clear your doubts.
1. Grows fast
But, first off, before deciding if something is worth the effort, you need to understand the advantages and disadvantages. This will help you figure things out and make a decision. Note that this comparison is between photoperiod or regular cannabis plants and autoflowers. Thus, if you’re already growing traditional cannabis varieties now, this comparison will help you understand if you can start growing autos as well.
If you’re absolutely unaware of autoflowers, just know that it’s a species of cannabis that doesn’t rely on seasons to grow and flower. They flower automatically once they grow for a specific period of time. Meaning they flower based on the age of the plant, rather than waiting for seasonal changes. Hence the name “Auto”. They are fast, and yield good amounts of cannabis – something you need to consider even if you’re a commercial grower.
Autoflowers are as rapid as you can expect. Most autos complete their entire cycle including vegetative and flowering stage in a matter of 10-11 weeks. It simply cannot get faster than this. Many growers love growing cannabis plants, but not many have the patience to wait for plants that take about 5 months or 20 weeks to harvest buds. If you’re one of those growers, autos are tailored for you.
A schedule of 12 hours on and 12 hours off occupies the other end of the spectrum. It’s the best option for growers looking to save money, but yields won’t be as impressive.
The ruderalis subspecies adapted to the cold and often harsh environments of Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and Russia. These regions feature a considerably shorter growing season and colder temperatures.
For this reason, ruderalis abandoned the strategy of waiting for the seasons to change to trigger flowering. Instead, the subspecies developed an autoflower gene to ensure reproduction before the temperature plummets.
SIMPLE LIGHTING DEMANDS
But it’s not all sunshine and roses. Autoflower strains have a host of advantages, but they also carry disadvantages that turn some growers off.
Cultivators can also maximise yields by using the sea of green (SOG) technique. This method involves planting numerous autoflowers in close proximity and manipulating them to converge into one large, productive canopy.
The very name “ruderalis” stems from the Latin word “rudus”, meaning rubble. The subspecies appears in urban settings thriving in broken ground, close to demolished buildings, and in roadside ditches.
What makes autoflowering cannabis different from other types? Well, the key difference resides in the name. Put simply, these strains flower automatically.
Autoflowering cannabis plants grow quickly and flower a lot faster than their photoperiod counterparts do. For example, some autoflowers can flower in as little as 3 weeks to 30 days after the seed is planted, while many photoperiod varieties take months before they transition into the flowering stage from the vegetative growth phase. If you want the fastest harvest, autoflowering varieties are your surest bet.
For example, with regular strains, you need to monitor and change the light cycle so that the plants have 12 hours of darkness each day while in the flowering stage. Any light finding its way to the plants can make them halt their flowering and yield poor-quality buds. Light can also cause the plant to re-enter the vegetative phase and stay there for an indefinite duration.
Pros and Cons of Autoflowering Seeds
If you live in an area where the climate can change rather quickly, or you aren’t too particular about maintaining the ideal growing conditions for cannabis, then opt for autoflowering strains since these are more forgiving when conditions aren’t exactly right.
Whether you are a large-scale commercial grower or a hobbyist, you can benefit from the space economy that autoflowering cannabis varieties provide. Since these plants are small, practically anyone can grow their own cannabis plants.
One way is to stagger your plants. Start a couple of plants a month or two before the rest. That way, you can harvest some plants while others are nearing maturity, and the harvest cycle continues.