How to grow autoflower seeds
Copy article link to clipboard.
Link copied to clipboard.
- What are autoflowers?
- How long does it take to grow autoflower?
- Pros and cons of growing autoflowers
- How much do autoflower plants yield?
- Do autoflowers need nutrients?
- How to grow autoflowering plants
Cannabis seeds seem to be available in limitless options and it can be confusing when you have to choose. Should you go with feminized seeds? What about autoflower seeds?
Growing autoflowers can significantly speed up harvest time while delivering an ample yield of marijuana. Here are some autoflower pros and cons along with some growing tips to help you decide if this type of seed is right for your cannabis garden.
Planting autoflower seeds can significantly speed up harvest time while delivering an ample yield of marijuana. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
What are autoflowers?
As the name implies, autoflowers automatically shift to the flowering period without intervention. Whereas the flowering of photoperiod plants is dependent on cycles of light and dark, autoflowers zip through this growth stage according to their age. Autoflowering cannabis seeds may mature in as little as seven or eight weeks from seed to harvest depending on the strain .
There are a staggering 200+ autoflowering strains on the market for you to peruse. Some popular strains include Cream Caramel Auto, Afghan Kush Ryder, and Autoflowering Blueberry.
How long does it take to grow autoflower?
The timing of autoflowering plants depends on their size and classification. On one end of the spectrum, there are dwarf varieties, which are short in stature and are often ready to harvest within 10 weeks. In contrast, there are super autos, which grow taller (more than 6 feet high in some cases) and may not mature for more than 100 days. But in all cases, the time frame for growing autoflowering cannabis is shorter than for photoperiod strains and represents one of the seeds’ most desirable distinctions.
Pros and cons of growing autoflowers
Autoflowering cannabis offers an array of benefits, including the highest possible yield in the shortest conceivable time.
Here are four of the top reasons to grow autoflowering cannabis:
- Fast: The transition between the vegetative growth phase and the flowering stage can happen in as few as seven weeks.
- Simple: One autoflowering plant can produce hundreds of seeds, simplifying the germination process and eliminating the need to purchase more seeds.
- Flexible: Autoflowering seeds flourish in a variety of climates and environments. Even cities make hospitable environments for autoflowering cannabis seeds because artificial lighting doesn’t negatively affect them.
- Prolific: Growing autoflowering plants outdoors can mean multiple harvests in one season, giving you plentiful weed to enjoy now or perhaps dry, cure, and store for future use.
The disadvantages of growing autoflowering cannabis are more debatable, with some people claiming the harvest is lower quality. Others are concerned with the quality of the seeds before harvest and the possibility of purchasing those that do not in fact autoflower. Finally, some dwarf strains may produce disappointing yields, sometimes as little as half an ounce per plant.
How much do autoflower plants yield?
Just as harvest timing depends on the size and classification of autoflower plants, so does the amount of cannabis they yield. Regular plants tend to yield between 10 and 50 grams per plant, while the next level up, the super auto, can produce yields between 100 and 200 grams per plant. The abundant yield of a super autoflower can be a double-edged sword if you are working within the confines of a small space. So, use small spaces for regular autos whose yields are more manageable, and reserve larger spaces for those impressive super autos.
Do autoflowers need nutrients?
Like any other living plant, autoflowers do require nutrients, but administering them is a delicate balance. Going overboard on fertilizer can have adverse effects on cannabis seeds, just as feeding the wrong kind of nutrients can. Be sure to choose a fertilizer specifically formulated for autoflowering strains and then micro-dose rather than pouring on liberally. Lightly fertilized soil is optimal for autoflowering seeds and as long as you’re nourishing the plants with supplements such as vitamin B, enzymes, and fungi.
In addition, autoflowers need at least 15 to 18 hours of sunlight or LED light each day to thrive.
How to grow autoflowering plants
Now that you know the basics of autoflowers, let’s explore each step in the growing process. The following guide covers a typical 10-week growth cycle and highlights milestones for each week.
Germination: This initial stage occurs within three days, sometimes as soon as 24 hours. Choose a light potting soil mix or blend your own with peat moss, compost, moistened perlite, and moistened vermiculture, along with nitrogen-rich tablets containing other essential nutrients — plus a dose of good fungi. The ideal planting environment for your cannabis seeds has 70 percent to 90 percent humidity and is 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pour the soil into pots and poke 15-millimeter holes in the soil. Plant a seed in each hole, cover with soil, and watch for a seedling to emerge in the next several days.
Plant a seed in each hole, cover with soil, and watch for a seedling to emerge in the next several days. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Photosynthesis: Add more nutrients to your late-stage seedlings. Since you are growing autoflowers and not regular seeds, use only half the usual dose indicated on the package.
Vegetation: Change up the environmental conditions with low-stress training. Reduce the humidity to 50 percent, lower the temperature to 68 degrees, and feed twice per week.
The plants should be about six inches tall at this point.
During the vegetation stage, the plants should be about six inches tall at this point. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Late Vegetation: In this second vegetative phase, drop the humidity to 45 percent and keep the temperature stable at around 68 degrees. Water with half a liter every day and keep feeding twice weekly.
You may see some tiny pre-flowers crop up at this time.
Flowering: Sticky, resinous buds will make their first appearance during week five, giving you a preview of the bounty to come. Keep the humidity consistent at 45 percent but increase the temperature to about 71 degrees. Increase the water to a full liter each day and add supplement tablets twice a week. Look for those containing phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
The plants should be at least a foot tall now.
During the flowering stage, sticky, resinous buds will make their first appearance during week five. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Late Flowering: Don’t be surprised to see a flower forming in every bud after two weeks into the flowering stage. Drop the humidity to 40 percent and reduce the temperature back to 68 degrees. Water with 1.5 liters and feed the plants three times a week.
After this week, you’re in the home stretch of raising autoflowering plants to maturity.
Maintenance: It’s crucial to stop harmful intruders such as mold and spider mites, so check your cannabis plants daily and keep the humidity low at 40 percent. Maintain the watering and feeding schedule established in week six.
Your patience and care will pay off soon — harvest time is in the near future.
Weeks 8 and 9
Defoliation: Stop feeding the plants. Instead, flush them with a flood of water and then defoliate with a pair of shears . Defoliation helps the plants absorb more light while limiting the risk of damaging mold.
At the end of this two-week period, the eagerly anticipated harvest time will begin.
Harvest: Milky white trichomes and red-brown pistils on the buds indicate they are ready for harvest. Drying and curing comes next, then you can finally sit back and enjoy the sweet fruits of your labor.
Milky white trichomes and red-brown pistils on the buds indicate they are ready for harvest. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
How to grow autoflower seeds Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What are autoflowers? How long does it take to grow autoflower? Pros and
How to produce cannabis seeds
When it comes to cannabis plants, feminized seeds are the most known ones. But do you know what auto and regular means?
1. Photoperiodic Cannabis
Photoperiodism isn’t unique to cannabis plants, many flowering plants sense changes in the length of night and day and use those changes as signals for when to flower.
Photoperiodic cannabis plants are just like that, they basically respond to changes in the light cycle.
As the night becomes longer at the beginning of autumn (in nature) or when you flip to 12/12 in a grow tent, the plant receives more darkness. This causes the plant to realize that its life cycle is coming to an end and they will start to flower (females) or produce pollen (males) in order to reproduce before winter.
Regular Photoperiodic Cannabis
Regular cannabis is photoperiodic cannabis that produces both male and female plants. They are called regular because they are produced the “natural way”: the pollen from the male plant pollinates the female, resulting in seeds.
Back in the day the only way to grow cannabis was with regular seeds, this way you would get half male and half females plants.
There is a big difference between male and female plants, while female grows buds, male plants will only grow pollen sacs.
In nature male cannabis’ pollen sacs will open to release pollen which will pollinate the female flowers, this way producing seeds.
But most growers that grow cannabis commercially or for their own consumption only want buds, allowing males to pollinate buds would ruin their harvest because pollination diminishes yield, so they’re mainly looking for female plants.
Feminized Photoperiodic Cannabis
To completely avoid accidental pollination and other problems related to male plants, feminized seeds were created.
Feminized seeds come from the cross of two female plants, one of them is stressed so it starts producing pollen sacs, which will fertilize the other female.
When you cultivate feminized seeds, the offspring will be only female plants. This takes out a lot of the unnecessary work that you can have when growing males and them not being able to use them.
Ever since the boom of feminized seeds back in 1998, growers have stopped buying regular seeds for quite a bit. Nowadays most seed banks don’t even sell regular seeds anymore.
With so much focus on feminized seeds, we can’t forget that regular seeds are vital for the creation of new strains.
2. Automatic Flowering Cannabis
You must already know that the characteristic that makes autoflowers an auto is they don’t need a different light cycle to enter the flowering stage.
Like their name says, autoflowers start flowering automatically depending on age, and unlike regular and feminized cannabis that need a change in the light cycle to start flowering. Autos don’t need anything else other than time to start producing buds.
But that trait didn’t come out of nowhere, it appeared as an adaptation to the environment.
You’ve probably heard of Cannabis Indica and Sativa…well, the autoflowering gene comes from Cannabis Ruderalis.
The Ruderalis species adapted to the extremely cold and harsh climates of Asia, Europe, and Russia. These regions have shorter warm seasons and colder temperatures.
Because of this, Ruderalis started mutating from a photoperiodic plant to an autoflowering plant, to guarantee its reproduction before the temperatures reached freezing levels.
T hanks to that adaptation, now we have autoflowers that take considerably less time from seed to harvest.
3. How To Make Your Own Seeds
Producing your own seeds is relatively easy if you have what it’s needed but that doesn’t mean the result will be a perfect strain. The good strains or “IBLs” that most seed banks sell are strains that have been developed for years and are far into the third or fourth generation.
IBL or stabilized strain means the offspring will have certain characteristics locked down. When you cross two strains for the first time the offspring can have infinite phenotypes and this is not good for commercializing.
Photoperiodic Regular Seeds
When we talk about cannabis, it’s easy to forget about male plants.
Everybody nowadays is used to the beautiful flowers we all love, but it’s important to remember that male cannabis plants are just as important as the females. Male cannabis plants produce pollen and are an essential element to the production of new cannabis plants.
This pollen is super important in breeding as it allows breeders to create crosses with genetics from different plants and create their own seeds. F or producing seeds all you need is pollen and buds.
Cannabis pollen is no different from regular pollen produced by other plants. It’s a fine powder that usually has a golden yellow color and is excreted from the pollen sac on male plants.
Collecting pollen is simple. You’ll know when its ready to be collected when the pollen sacks are open and you see pollen floating in the air and on the leaves near them.
When this happens, you can gently remove the sacs and store them in a ziplock bag, once you are ready to pollinate just release the pollen onto the buds. Another way is to simply agitate your male plants near the female plants, the pollen will stick to the buds.
Pollen is used in order to pollinate female plants and create seeds. In nature, female plants get pollinated by the wind which carries the male pollen.
Cannabis seeds develop in the buds about 4-6 weeks after pollination, you will see the calyxes start to round up from the seeds being inside them.
P ollinated buds look quite different from regular buds. They usually don’t have as many trichomes and are usually smaller and a lot more swollen.
4 weeks after pollination, you can start checking the buds to see if the seeds are ready for harvest by picking a couple of seeds from the bud.
M ature seeds will have a hard shell and be a dark brown color, they might also have some stripes on the outer shell.
Photoperiodic Feminized Seeds
Normally, a male cannabis plant has to pollinate a female plant to produce seeds. The resulting regular seeds will contain about half male and half female seeds.
The way feminized seeds are produced is the same but instead of collecting the pollen from a male, breeders will stress or spray flowers with colloidal silver, for example. This process forces the female plants to become a hermaphrodite and starts producing pollen sacs.
Hermaphrodite plants are females that are halfway turned into males, this means she has both male (pollen sacs) and female (buds) parts.
By picking out the pollen sacs and using a reverted plant’s pollen to pollinate a female plant, you will have only female genes as there is no “father”, this way you get feminized seeds, meaning the offspring will be 100% female plants.
Feminized and Regular Autoflowering Seeds
• Regular Autoflowering Seeds
Usually, you can find regular and feminized seeds, and this applies to autoflowering seeds also. This means you can find male and female autoflowers, depending on the type of seed you buy (regular = 50% male and 50% female, feminized = 100% female).
Unfortunately the high increase in the production of feminized seeds affected automatic seeds also. Although it’s not common to find regular auto seeds nowadays, they do exist.
For producing regular autoflowering seeds all you need is male pollen and female buds, just like for regular photoperiodic cannabis. The process is basically the same, collect the pollen from the male and spread it on the buds, this will result in regular autoflowering seeds.
• Feminized Autoflowering Seeds
The process of producing feminized autoflowering seeds is almost the same, the only difference is you will need two female autos instead of one male and one female. You will have to make one of your female autos produce pollen, either by stressing her out or spraying with colloidal silver and pollinating the other female. This will result in a 100% female automatic offspring.
4. In Conclusion
Even though it is fairly easy to produce seeds, we recommend having a bit of experience before trying it.
We recommend easy-to-grow strains like Zkittlez Auto to start acquiring experience before going into breeding.
When it comes to cannabis plants, feminized seeds are the most known ones. But do you know what auto and regular means? 1. Photoperiodic Cannabis Photoperiodi