Are Autoflowers Worth it?

Are Autoflowers Worth it?

Created: 14.12.2019

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.

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.

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.

Pros of autoflowers

1. Grows fast

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.

LSD-25 Auto
5 of 5
Diesel
Taste:
Diesel
Award
Winner:
2rd Copa Canábica Litoral de los Poetas
From €11
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Room: Indoor | Outdoor
Gender: Feminized
Genes: Mostly Indica
Genetics: LSD autoflowering
Flowering: 8-9 weeks
Harvest: XL
Height US: up to 40 inches
Height EU: 70 - 120 cm
THC: High
CBD: Low
Autoflowering: Yes

2. Helps in stealth grows

tos are small and compact. Not all of them, but some of them are truly small. For instance, you can easily grow a strain like Green Crack Auto in your closet if you train it well. Most autos grow up to 4-5 feet, which is pretty manageable in small grow rooms. If you grow them outside, however, they grow a lot more. But, they are still small compared to other types of cannabis plants, which make them perfect for those looking to grow stealthily.

This is because Autoflowers are of the Ruderalis species that’s pretty small compared to Sativa and Indica species. Genetically, they aren’t as big. However, breeders have been able to pollinate Ruderalis with Sativa and Indica species to produce the autos we see today. The result is that although the plants are smaller, they perform pretty well.

3. Harvest yields perpetually

stardawgfastbuds by reindeer

The biggest disadvantage of growing regular cannabis cultivars is that you can only expect to harvest twice a year. Even with a lot of planning and execution, you cannot harvest more than twice because they depend completely on the photoperiod to grow and flower. Of course, you can change lights if you’re growing indoors but you can only collect your bounty about twice every year.

Lemon AK Auto
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Citrus
Taste:
Citrus
From €11
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Room: Indoor | Outdoor
Gender: Feminized
Genes: Mostly Sativa
Genetics: AK-47 Autoflowering
Flowering: 8-9 weeks
Harvest: XL
Height US: up to 40 inches
Height EU: 70-100 cm
THC: Very High
CBD: Low
Autoflowering: Yes

However, autos don’t have that disadvantage. Since they can be harvested in a mere 11-12 weeks or 3 months, you can get yields perpetually. Another fact is that you can’t include other plants in your grow room if you’re growing regular cannabis plants. Why? Well, it’s because once the plants reach their flowering stage, other smaller plants that are still in their vegetative stage cannot be placed in the same grow room under the same lights.

But, there’s no such restriction with autoflowers. You can place all plants no matter what age they are in the same grow room and reap maximum benefits. This also gives you a chance to harvest as many buds as possible without having to think about lighting, plant growth cycle, etc.

Pineapple Express Auto
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From €11
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Room: Indoor | Outdoor
Gender: Feminized
Genes: Sativa/Indica
Genetics: Pineapple Express autoflowering
Flowering: 9 weeks
Harvest: XL
Height US: up to 55 inches
Height EU: 90 - 140cm
THC: Very High
CBD: Low
Autoflowering: Yes

4. No need to change photoperiod

stardawg by reindeer

This is the biggest advantage autoflowers have over other cannabis species. Photoperiod plants require a lot of maintenance. They grow in the vegetative stage for an indefinite period as long as they receive at least 18 hours of sunlight. However, as soon as you switch the light cycle and they receive only about 12 hours, they begin to flower.

If you’re growing outdoors, you need to plant seeds and plan everything according to seasonal changes. But, if it’s indoors, you need to change the lighting. If you somehow fail in doing that, the plants don’t grow properly. Even if there’s a light leak, you’ll face the same issues.

However, autos grow according to their age. As soon as the plant reaches a particular age, the plants begin to flower. And, there’s no need to interfere because they do fine on their own. Whether you provide 24 or 12 hours of light, the plants will perform the same. Of course, they grow more if there’s more light, but there won’t be a difference in their life cycle.

5. Allows you to use maximum space

Since autos are compact, you can cram several plants in one grow room. Don’t overdo it, though. If you plan properly, you’ll be able to use all the space you have to its maximum capacity. This also improves the chances of producing greater yields with a much smaller space at the same time.

Here's a video that tells you a lot about autoflowers:

Disadvantages of autoflowers

1. Yield

Since autoflowers are smaller compared to regular cannabis strains, they don’t produce as much as them. However, the fact is that you can grow two autoflowering strains in the space required to grow one regular photoperiod plant. If you compare the yields, they will end up more or less the same. Thus, you can’t really treat this as a disadvantage. But, if you compare the yield of a single autoflowering plant with that of a photoperiod strain, the yield is slightly less.

2. Cloning doesn’t work

cloning autoflowers

Commercial growers don’t bother purchasing seeds because they keep cloning the strains they love. They dedicate two grow room setups to do this and place the cloned plants in one room while the mother plants are allowed to continue growing in another grow room. This is possible if you’re a commercial grower. Plus, you need to have space. But, it can be difficult for small-time growers.

Coming to cloning autoflowers, it is indeed possible to clone them. However, the fact is that the resulting plants end up as tiny plants and don’t yield much. But, why does this happen? Well, it’s because autos grow and flower based on their age. So, if you clone a mother plant at, say, day 30, and produce small plants, the smaller plants or offspring will also be the same age as the mother plant.

Since the offspring don’t have time to grow, they end up looking scrawny. Not that you can’t clone autos – you can, but it’s not worth your time.

To overcome this problem, most commercial growers pollinate two different or similar autoflowering strains to produce seeds. By doing this, you can save time and money. Cloning photoperiod plants is indeed a great idea but you will lose time while doing it. Instead, you can quickly grow and harvest autoflowers in the same period of time.

So, are autoflowers really worth it? What do you think? Apart from the disadvantage that cloning doesn’t produce much yields, they are as good and even better than photoperiod strains in many aspects. The most important factor is that you save time while growing autoflowers. And, if you go by the adage “time is money” you’ll definitely find that autoflowers are certainly worth it!