Are Autoflowers Easy to Grow?

Are Autoflowers Easy to Grow?

Created: 28.11.2018

Autoflowers first came into the picture when a species known as Ruderalis was discovered in Russia. It was somewhere during the 1940s, and many strains have been released since then. The first autoflower strain to make its appearance was the “Lowryder” that had many growers excited.

However, since the strain lacked THC and produced minimal yields, it was assumed that autoflowers weren’t as good as photoperiod plants that were accepted by everyone. But, fortunately, things have changed now. Autoflowers not only boast of high THC levels, but the yields are as good as photoperiod plants too.

If you’re new to growing autoflowers, you’ve probably wondered whether they are easy to grow. A fair question, especially considering the myths surrounding autoflowers, but at the end of this article, you’ll feel confident enough to try a few strains. So, let’s get down to business and understand how it’s really easy to grow autoflowers.

How are autoflowers different?

Autoflowers are different than photoperiod plants in many ways. Photoperiod plants depend on the light to start flowering, but autoflowers don’t rely on light. For instance, when a photoperiod plant grows outdoors, it depends on signals indicating the arrival of winter. In winters, the periods of darkness increase, and the photoperiod plants start flowering solely due to seasonal changes.

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When growing indoors, growers use artificial lights that make it easy to manipulate the light/darkness cycles. For example, if you’re growing photoperiod strains indoors, it starts off with a vegetative period that lasts for at least 8-10 weeks.

In this period, the plants need light for a minimum of 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness to grow properly. Some growers supply only 16 hours of light and 8 hours of darkness and the plant grows well, but the number of light hours should be greater than the period of darkness in the vegetative stage. As long as the plant receives more light than darkness, it will remain in the vegetative period.

Additionally, it is critical to supply uninterrupted light to allow the plants to grow to their full potential without ‘confusing’ them. This is why most growers are terrified of power cuts when growing photoperiod strains. Later, once they are satisfied with the growth, they switch to the flowering phase by tricking the plant again.

Grapefruit Auto
4 of 5
Grapefruit
Taste:
Grapefruit
From €9
buy now
Room: Indoor | Outdoor
Gender: Feminized
Genes: Sativa/Indica
Genetics: Grapefruit autoflowering
Flowering: 8-9 weeks
Harvest: XL
Height US: up to 35 inches
Height EU: 60-90 cm
THC: High
CBD: Low
Autoflowering: Yes

In the flowering phase, the plants need at least 12 hours of light and 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness. At this point, the plant starts producing bud sites in preparation. The flowering phase will continue as long as the plant receives a good amount of darkness. As the plant matures and produces several buds, the grower harvests the buds.

So, as you can understand, photoperiod plants need seasonal changes to complete their lifecycle. The light/darkness cycle is crucial to allow the plants to grow well and harvest a good amount.

On the other hand, autoflowers don’t rely on seasonal changes. They are ‘automatic’ where the vegetative period of the plant continues only for 1-4 weeks and the plant starts flowering without any human intervention. There’s no need to manipulate the light/darkness cycle since the plant will flower irrespective of the seasonal changes.

Another remarkable factor that makes autoflowers different is that they are super quick to grow. As mentioned already, photoperiod plants need at least 10 weeks to complete their vegetative phase. They take their own sweet time to grow large and beautiful.

Some growers even extend the vegetative phase to 12 weeks to make up for any mishaps. But, autoflowers are super quick. They grow vigorously and the grower doesn’t need to do anything other than supplying nutrients. Autoflowering cannabis strains released today are resistant to many diseases including mold. They grow into sturdy plants without any assistance.

So, what makes autoflowers different:

  • They don’t depend on changes in light/dark cycles to flower
  • They grow quickly and complete their lifecycle faster than photoperiod plants.

Now that you know more about autoflowers, let’s go back to the original question.

Here’s a quick video explaining the basics of growing autoflowers.

Are autoflowers easy to grow?

Autoflowers are definitely easy to grow. And I’ll explain why.

  • Harvest faster

Nobody wants to wait for months to harvest buds. In fact, the very reason you grow cannabis at home is to get buds as quickly as possible. The lifecycle of an autoflowering plant is very simple. Once the seeds germinate, they take about 1-2 weeks to adjust well in the seedling stage. But, you will notice an explosive growth in the third week.

They take only 1-4 weeks to enter the flowering phase, making them faster than photoperiod plants. After they enter the flowering phase, they take another 6 weeks to finish the cycle. Some autoflowers can be harvested in as little as 8-9 weeks if the flowering or bloom nutrients are supplied in the 4th week, but it’s recommended that you do so only in the 6th week so that the plant gets enough time to grow big and produce massive yields.

Thus, it takes only 10 weeks to harvest some juicy, amazing buds when you grow autoflowers.

  • No maintenance required

It can be a pain to manipulate the light and darkness cycle when growing photoperiod plants. This applies to many growers with other commitments since it’s not possible to spoon feed the plants every day. Of course, you can install a timer in your grow room, but what if you don’t have one? As long as you remember to maintain a light period of at least 18 hours in the vegetative phase and 12 hours in the flowering phase, you’ll get along just fine. But, if you forget to do so, the plants don’t grow as expected.

Also, it’s important to remember that photoperiod plants need uninterrupted light and darkness. This means that you can’t afford to have light leaks that can disrupt the growth. Constant interruptions will force the plants to turn into hermaphrodites, commonly known as “hermies” in the cannabis community.

And once a plant turns hermie, the plant uses all its energy to grow seeds instead of producing buds. Since the goal is to grow sensimilla cannabis without seeds, uninterrupted periods of light/dark cycle is critical.

It goes without saying that you need to pay a lot of attention to grow tents that don’t allow light leaks. Suffice it to say that it’s very difficult to manage the plants if you reside in locations with frequent power cuts.

For autoflowers, it doesn’t matter if there’s an interruption in the light/dark cycle. Most growers that grow autoflowers make their own grow rooms and it is okay to have a few light leaks. Autoflowers will also grow fine even if there are a few power cuts.

  • They are small and perfect for stealth grows

Not every country has made cannabis legal yet. Therefore, growers need to be very careful while growing plants at home. Of course, this is subjective and growers don’t like small plants, but considering that you can grow two plants in the space required to grow one photoperiod plant, the idea is certainly alluring.

Not every autoflowering plant is small, though. Strains like Gorilla Glue Auto tend to grow massively, and the yields are obviously higher, so it depends a lot on the strain you choose.

Gorilla Glue Auto
4 of 5
Pine
Taste:
Pine
From €9
buy now
Room: Indoor | Outdoor
Gender: Feminized
Genes: Sativa/Indica
Genetics: Gorilla Glue autoflowering
Flowering: 8-9 weeks
Harvest: XL
Height US: up to 40 inches
Height EU: 60-100cm
THC: Very High
CBD: Low
Autoflowering: Yes

  • Harvest more outdoors

Growers use artificial lighting to manage photoperiod plants when growing indoors. The light/dark cycle is adjusted to help the plant grow as big as possible. But, what happens if you grow outdoors? Since photoperiod plants depend on seasonal changes, they can be grown only twice a year, resulting in fewer yields.

However, autoflowers don’t have that problem. Whether you grow them indoors or outdoors, they will continue growing and produce yields in just a matter of 10 weeks. And they grow bigger outdoors too. So, instead of only two harvests, you get multiple harvests that can serve you for a long, long time.

  • Perpetual harvests

A major problem with photoperiod plants is that you need separate vegetative and flowering rooms if you’re aiming to grow more plants. For example, if you have 5 plants in your grow room, you need to wait until they complete their entire cycle before you can sow another seed. This is because the previous five plants need 12 hours of darkness and you can’t introduce a seedling directly to the flowering phase.

If you’re growing autoflowers, you don’t need separate vegetative and flowering rooms because they will all grow in the same room. Whether it’s a seedling or a plant in its flowering phase, it will grow as usual without any hindrance.

  • Save money

Autoflowers are especially easy to grow because they save you a lot of money. Right from the lighting that needs to be switched on for only 14-16 hours per day, you save a lot of money. Also, they can be harvested in just 10 weeks compared to photoperiod plants that need a minimum of 5 months to finish their cycle. Thereby you save big on nutrients too.

Autoflowers don’t need as many nutrients as photoperiod plants because they are compact in size. As long as you take care of the plants by providing at least 12-16 hours of light every day, they will grow well and reward you at the end of it all.

Many people assume that autoflowers don’t yield a lot, but think about it. A single plant produces as much as 300-400 grams of bud per meter square whereas photoperiod plants generate about 500-600 grams. Since you can grow two batches of autoflowers before a photoperiod plant completes its cycle, you’re essentially getting the same yield.

As you can imagine, it’s really easy to grow autoflowers, so why not grab a few seeds and start today?