To suggest that modern-day marijuana growers are fortunate is quite the understatement. Not only is it actually legal to grow weed in an increasing number of states, but cultivators also have an enormous array of strains to choose from. There are strains which require minimal growing knowledge; although you must still take temperature, humidity, feeding, growing medium, ventilation, and a few more things into account.
Imagine a situation where you could purchase seeds which flower automatically rather than waiting to be forced into the 12-12 lighting cycle. Guess what? This scenario is very real, thanks to the existence of autoflowering marijuana strains.
What is Autoflowering Cannabis?
Autoflowering strains are created when a breeder adds Cannabis ruderalis genetics to the mix. Ruderalis strains are known for being short, stout plants that flower without the need for a light cycle adjustment. Once a breeder crosses an autoflowering ruderalis with an indica or sativa strain, you get a plant capable of growing after a vegetative period of 2-4 weeks!
In case you are wondering, ruderalis plants have adapted to the harsh and cold northern climate far better than indica or sativa plants. They receive less sunlight, so they were forced to make the most out of their situation. Adaptability is what makes nature so marvelous! As a result, you don’t need to change the light cycle when growing strains with ruderalis genetics.
There are several benefits to purchasing auto-flowering cannabis:
- These plants begin producing buds outdoors even if you live in an area that doesn’t get much sunlight.
- If you grow them indoors, you can grow them from start to finish inside three months. This means several harvests per year if you wish.
- These plants thrive on less than 12 hours of light a day. To the extent that they can create larger buds in a shorter growing timeframe than many typical weed plants.
- They are small in stature, which makes them perfect for a clandestine grow.
- The potency of these plants has increased markedly in the last few years.
By now, you may be wondering why everyone doesn’t use autoflowering weed. There are a few disadvantages as it happens:
- Yields are usually far lower than with a typical indica, sativa, or hybrid.
- It isn’t easy to train your plants to get the most out of limited space.
- You end up with a very high electricity bill; which places a large hole in the ‘secret garden’ argument.
Quick Tips on Growing Your Autoflowering Strains
It is incorrect to claim that auto-flowering strains grow without any assistance. Preparation is still key. Remember, these plants are going to grow and try to mature whether you are prepared or not! Here are a few things to remember when trying to grow this special type of cannabis plant.
Reduce Nutrient Intake
Autoflowering marijuana strains are relatively small, with a short growing cycle. Rookies continue to make the mistake of loading these plants with NPK, and then wonder why they can’t shake off the dreadful chemical taste of the bud!
Keep Your Grow Room Temperature & Humidity in Check
Remember, these plants flower when typical cannabis strains are still in the vegetative stage. As a result, you can begin growing them out of season. If you decide to do this, remember that even these hardy plants need the right temperature range to grow.
Humidity is also a significant factor. Excess rainfall outdoors can lead to bud rot. The best growing conditions for a young autoflowering strain are a temperature of between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity (RH) range of 50-70%.
Don’t Skimp on Lighting
Although autoflowering strains can survive on minimal light, it doesn’t mean you SHOULD allow it to happen. Yes, 5-6 hours could likely be enough to grow a healthy plant, but don’t expect much of a yield. Ideally, you will give your plants 18-20 hours of light each day throughout the growth cycle.
Get Ready for Blooming
Within a few weeks, your autoflowering strain will go directly into the bloom phase and doesn’t care if you are ready! Once it is in the flowering stage, daily adjustments are necessary to get the best out of the crop. As the nutrient intake is much lower than with typical strains, it is best if you use soil as your growing medium.
Your plants don’t need many nutrients in the bloom phase, although you should keep temperatures below 80 degrees and try to bring the RH down to 40%. During the last week or two, flush your growing medium to remove any traces of nutrients.
Train for Success
Autoflowering strains perform exceptionally well when you use the right pruning and training techniques. Low-stress training (LST), which involves gentle bending of branches, is ideal. The Screen of Green (SCROG) method also works well, and you should prune early to take advantage of topping, which can increase the number of colas produced.
Now that you have a better idea of what autoflowering marijuana strains are, it is time to introduce you to five of the best.
Five Awesome Autoflowering Strains
1 – Amnesia Haze Auto
Amnesia Haze Automatic is a combination of 30% ruderalis, 20% indica, and 50% sativa genetics. It is a nice option if you want a sativa-dominant strain that doesn’t take forever to flower! By the standards of autoflowering strains, it is a large plant that can reach 120cm in height.
What interests growers is the fact that it can grow from seed to harvest in just 10 weeks! In the past, autoflowering strains were fairly weak, but Amnesia Haze Automatic contains up to 18% THC. Its yield is up to 14 ounces per square meter planted, which isn’t a million miles behind many photoperiod strains.
It is apparently a crossbreed between The Bomb, Ultra Haze, Champagne Haze, and a few other popular strains. Users claim that it offers a nice sweet and spicy taste, and it offers an uplifting cerebral high that can be used to treat depression, and perhaps boost your appetite.
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2 – White Widow Auto
This autoflowering option is a new cross of White Widow, which is widely regarded as one of the finest strains around. It looks just like its photoperiod counterpart with wide dark green leaves and glistening trichomes. While it has many of the traits that made its traditional version so popular, the auto version has a total crop time of under 85 days!
The buds provide users with an indica effect, and its woody, pungent aroma and taste combine beautifully with a hint of lemon. White Widow Automatic has been bred for several years to ensure genetic stability. The plant can grow to 100cm although it is more likely to hit 50cm. The overall yield is up to 9 ounces per square meter, although some growers claim they have attained a yield of 16 ounces.
White Widow Automatic is potent, with a THC content of 15-20% and is often used to treat pain, insomnia, stress, and nausea. For best results, grow it under 24/7 light as much as you can. It is 20% ruderalis, 40% indica, and 40% sativa.
3 – Quick One Auto
The creators of this strain didn’t take too long to decide the name of this autoflowering strain! It was one of the first members of the Royal Queen Seeds collection and is a cross of Northern Lights, Ruderalis, and The Williams Wonder. It contains 30% ruderalis, 60% indica, and 10% sativa genetics.
When Quick One was released, it was among the fastest growing strains ever. While there are even quicker growing autos these days, Quick One is still lightning with a total grow time of around 8-9 weeks. However, you may want to give it an extra week for a more mature final plant.
Its yield can reach a decent 12 ounces per meter square indoors but is just 6-7 ounces outdoors. It offers a fresh, herbal aroma with a pleasant taste that has citrus notes. Quick One won’t grow much taller than 50cm, which makes it ideal if you’re stuck for space. Its THC content of 13% is low by today’s standards, but it is still a good smoke for novices.
4 – Easy Bud Auto
Easy Bud Auto isn’t a household name, which is a great shame. As you can probably guess, it is among the easiest autoflowering strains to grow. Therefore, beginners should be casting their eyes toward it! It is a durable plant, and there are few growing conditions where it won’t provide at least a few grams of high-quality buds.
It was created by breeding an indica-dominant hybrid (possibly White Indica) with an unknown ruderalis plant. It has 30% ruderalis, 55% indica, and 15% sativa genetics. It was created by Royal Queen Seeds and its total growing time is 8-9 weeks, whether you grow it indoors or outdoors.
Its height ranges from 40-70cm and works best when you use organic nutrients, and soil as your growing medium. It doesn’t require many nutrients and thrives under most light sources. It can provide up to four ounces of bud in optimal growing conditions. With a THC content of 12%, it won’t provide a devastatingly potent high, but it is an easygoing smoke that offers a decent body high.
5 – Royal Jack Auto
This autoflowering strain is a cross of Jack Herer and a Ruderalis plant. It is named after the legendary activist who wrote The Emperor Wears No Clothes. The strain’s genetic makeup is 30% Ruderalis, 30% Indica, and 40% Sativa. With a total growing time of around 9 weeks, you could benefit from several harvests per year if you are motivated.
Royal Jack Auto shouldn’t grow any taller than 80cm, and its yield is around 4-5 ounces per plant. Overall, with a THC content of around 16%, this autoflowering option provides you with a relatively potent, Sativa-dominant high that could boost your level of creativity. Users are also rewarded with a fresh and peppery scent from what is a very satisfying smoke.
Final Thoughts on Autoflowering Strains
Don’t assume that autoflowering strains are only for indoor growers. They respond splendidly when grown outdoors. After all, you only need reasonably sunny weather for 10 weeks or so. If you grow in a climate that’s too cold for photoperiod strains, autoflowering weed is a lifeline.
Autoflowering strains are far from perfect, of course. Small yields and relatively low potency remain two issues, but breeders are working hard to rectify these problems. Even today, there are strains capable of producing 15+ ounces of bud per square meter, and you can get strains with up to 20% THC.
If you have yet to grow marijuana due to lack of time or experience, an autoflowering strain is a gentle introduction into the world of cultivating herb. This type of marijuana grows quickly, doesn’t need many nutrients or light, and is very durable.
Can you think of any other buds that grow quickly and easily? Share them with us in the comments below!
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