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What is Autoflowering Cannabis? A Fast Buds Primer

What is Autoflowering Cannabis? A Fast Buds Primer

Created: 07.12.2017

Fast Buds is an award-winning seed bank specializing in autoflowering cannabis. What does that mean? It means our seeds produce potent plants, that mature quickly, and most important of all, they’re easy to grow.

 

That’s great, but what does “autoflowering” mean?

You can think of autoflowering as cannabis growing on autopilot. Here's how it works: a cannabis plant has two major growth stages, the vegetative stage, and the flowering stage. The vegetative stage is where the plant becomes large and sturdy, strong enough to support those massive, resin-filled buds you're hoping to see.

The flowering stage, however, is where the plant stops growing and devotes all its energy to making the THC or CBD-rich flowers we call buds. Growers use light to control when their crop exits the vegetative stage and starts flowering. While vegging, the plant receives eighteen hours of light followed by six hours of darkness, mimicking the summer sun. The grower can trick the plant into thinking it's autumn by switching to a twelve hour day/night cycle. This change triggers the plant's reproductive system, and it begins flowering and producing buds.

Cannabis in vegetation versus flowering

Knowing when to switch your grow from vegging to flowering is tricky. Pull the switch too soon, and your immature plant will offer only a low yield of weak buds. Even worse, a young plant can collapse under the weight of its own flowers. Vegging the plant too long won't kill it, but it does delay your time to harvest. Many an overeager grower has regretted flowering too early, while more cautious ones often wait longer than necessary before harvesting.

Autoflowering makes this dilemma a relic of the past. These cannabis plants flower automatically, when they're ready, and not a moment sooner or later. The grower doesn't have to worry about switching light timers or moving grow boxes. Autoflowering means not worrying about killing your plant by changing too early, and not having to wait for longer than you need before harvesting.

 

Why should I grow autoflowering Cannabis?

Not only does it simplify the process of growing and lighting, but autoflowers also mature fast, and are perfect whether you’re growing in a warehouse or a closet.

When a marijuana plant flowers automatically, you never have to worry about ensuring it receives equal amounts of light and darkness. It has a natural countdown timer that initiates bud production. You just provide as much direct sunlight as possible (if outdoor), or at least 18 hours of indoor lighting per day for the entire duration of the grow.

Difference between growing autoflowers indoors and outdoors described

Self-directed maturation is only one advantage to using autoflowering plants- they grow faster, too. Some autoflowering strains, like Fast Bud's LSD-25, can grow from seed to harvest in as little as eight or nine weeks. Take a look at the plant growing below, and imagine collecting every two to three months. Other strains, like our Fastberry, produce hardy buds on short, stocky frames, making them perfect for growers who value discretion or have limited space. You can also keep flowering and vegetative plants in the same grow box without impacting the life cycle of either, perfect for growers in a small house or apartment.

 

 "When a marijuana plant flowers automatically, you never have to worry about ensuring it receives equal amounts of light and darkness."

 

If you grow outdoors, autoflowering strains allow you to harvest twice a year or more. When kept outdoors, photoperiod plants flower once a year when the limited daylight hours of fall trigger it. Growers plant early to give their crop time to vegetate and grow hardy. Autoflower cannabis, on the other hand, flowers according to its genetic clock. This allows them to be harvested once in mid-summer and once in fall. Warm climates enable the number of harvests per year to reach three or more. For example, if an outdoor grower plants autoflowering seeds in April, say (Fast Buds’ Blue Dream variant, Blue Blue Dream´matic), he or she can harvest in mid-June, then, plant again and get a second harvest in August. If they start it early enough, or live in a mild climate similar to southern California or the Mediterranean, they can even squeeze out a third harvest in October, the traditional month for taking down photoperiod plants in much of the United States. This assumes each cycle takes about ten weeks, which is about average grow time for Fast Buds' strains.

 

"Autoflowering cannabis allows you to increase the number of harvests you enjoy, whether you grow indoors or outdoors."

 

Are autoflowers a new thing?

Autoflowering cannabis has been around for millions of years, but it’s only in the past decade that top-tier breeders have managed to harness this superpower for use in medical and recreational cannabis.

Like all cannabis grown today, these plants are the product of years of research and experimentation. Their exact origin is unclear, but the first autoflowering cannabis plants appeared on the scene in the mid-1990s. Hybrids of Mexican Sativa and industrial hemp, these were likely secreted away from a university lab in North America.

The industrial genetics of early autoflowerers limited their cannabinoid content. Growers largely ignored them until a man by the name of Joint Doctor crossed these early autoflowering plants with top-of-the-line genetics. The result was the Lowryder, the first commercially-available autoflowering plant. It wasn't perfect- its THC content was middling, and yields were small- but it was perfect for those looking to grow discreetly for personal use.

How we breed autoflowers

Over the years, breeders have used the humble Lowryder and industrial hemp to create autoflowering varieties of the world's best strains. It wasn’t easy. These plants are living organisms honed by evolution to live in the wild. Taming the wild genes to make great cannabis required time, effort, and just a bit of luck. At Fast Buds, we're proud of our selectively-bred plants that provide top-tier taste, aroma, yields, and effects.

 

"Autoflowering cannabis has existed for millions of years, but its only in the last decade that breeders have tamed its genetics for use for medical or recreational purposes."

 

How do I get started with autoflowers?

First, select your strain from our ever-growing catalog. If that seems a bit overwhelming, head on over to “choosing the right strain” (coming soon!). After selecting and placing your order, be sure to check out our Germination Guide. Plant your germinated seed, water, and feed your plant and you’ll be reaping those buds before you know it.

Autoflowering cannabis makes growing easier, and with modern genetics, there's no need to sacrifice yield, potency, or desired cannabinoid content. There are even high-CBD varieties of autoflowering cannabis, like our own CBD Crack. Whether this is your first grow, or you've been tending plants for decades, autoflowering seeds are a natural choice.