As the legalization pace accelerates in the USA, users are growing increasingly savvy with the use of weed-infused products and are diving into the independent weed cultivation hobby. Growing weed for yourself has become a relatively simple (and, most importantly, legal) undertaking in modern America. Thus, many patients with various health conditions are exploring the pleasure of growing their flavorful, therapeutically beneficial weed from seeds.
But what should a beginner cultivator know to start this project? The most important difference to capture is the distinction between seed types: autoflower and feminized cannabis seeds. This distinction affects how your plants start flowering, and this specific trait also influences how you should treat your plants during their vegetative stage.
Autoflower Weed: What Is It?
The difference between autoflower and feminized seeds is explained with one word – photoperiod. Feminized seeds grow into photoperiod plants, which require a specific change in the light-darkness duration to start flowering. Thus, an experienced grower should monitor their plants’ vegetative stage to determine an optimal moment for the plants to start flowering and reduce the amount of light during the day to trigger that new phase of their development. This process usually occurs naturally in the open growing space, with the start of autumn and the increasing duration of nighttime. However, if your plants reside in an indoor plantation or growing tent, you need to manually control the amount of light and trigger the flowering stage by light reduction.
Autoflower seeds grow into non-photoperiod plants, meaning they start flowering after a specific period, regardless of the light cycle they are exposed to. This seed variety is much more convenient for growers who lack experience with light cycle adjustments and want to enjoy a trouble-free growing experience. Thus, autoflower seeds are usually more convenient for beginners and suit indoor growing setups more optimally.
Genetic Characteristics of Autoflower Weed Seeds
Now, a couple of words about autoflower weed genetics. How did the cultivators achieve this fascinating auto-flowering trait and create the non-photoperiod weed plants? The secret to this feature is the ruderalis gene added to the hybrids of Sativa and Indica. Ruderalis has been recently discovered as a wild-growing cannabis variety highly resistant to disease and growing in the northern regions with a small amount of daylight. This geographical peculiarity has caused the ruderalis weed type to adapt and trigger flowering irrespective of the day and night cycles. Thus, the ruderalis gene’s extraction and its genetic addition to other weed types enabled autoflowering in the otherwise photoperiod weed varieties.
Growing Autoflower Weed
So, given these genetic peculiarities, what should you expect from the process of growing an autoflower seed? Here are the main points you may confidently project for your cultivation endeavor:
- The plants will automatically enter the flowering period 2-4 weeks after vegetation.
- The period from seed germination to harvesting weed buds is approximately 10 weeks.
- Many brands provide feminized autoflowering seeds, which means that you won’t need to track the plants’ gender (but it’s necessary to double-check your seeds pack for this information).
- Plants don’t usually grow tall, reaching a maximum height of 30-100 cm.
- Autoflower seeds are ideal for stealthy growing, as they don’t take up too much space and, consequently, don’t attract the unneeded attention of neighbors, even when grown outdoors.
- Due to the quick growth and flowering, experienced cultivators can collect several harvests within a warm season.
Myths and Truths about Autoflower Seeds
Though autoflower seeds solve most cultivator problems – triggering their plants’ flowering and precise calculation of the harvesting time – they are still surrounded by many prejudices and ungrounded myths. The first criticism they often face is that most autoflower seeds produce weed of lower potency and negligible THC content. However, the science of weed breeding and genetic engineering has advanced in leaps, and modern autoflower varieties can provide similar potency, yield, and aroma as feminized seeds do.
Another point of growers’ concern is that autoflower varieties are demanding in terms of cultivation and management. In fact, the presence of the ruderalis gene in the autoflower genotype has proven to make these plants stable and immune to many typical weed enemies, like mold, mildew, or pests.
Autoflower Seeds with the Best Genetics
Now that you know what autoflower weed seeds are and how to cultivate them, it’s time to choose an optimal strain for your next cultivation project. Here we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 autoflower seeds that you should definitely try out.
AK47 (https://askgrowers.com/seeds/ak47-seeds-autoflower) is one of the best picks for fans of autoflower weed growing. This weed variety has a long history of cultivation, created in the 1970s in the Netherlands and gaining a broad spread among US weed connoisseurs in the 1990s. Though it’s named after a deadly weapon, its effect is gentle and pronounced, with the 20% THC content of resin-rich buds. The AK47 plants don’t exceed 4 feet high, so they may be grown in any setup. These autoflower seeds grow into plants producing up to 2-3oz of buds per plant, and an indoor plantation can yield up to 12oz per m2. Thus, growing AK47 is always a rewarding project with massive yields of stable, potent weed for a variety of medical needs.
Fans of Hemlock (https://askgrowers.com/seeds/hemlock-seeds-autoflower) point out the ease of growing this strain coupled with generous yields and a high THC concentration of up to 20%. This Sativa-dominant hybrid grows well in the continental, Mediterranean climates and yields up to 450g of thick, dense buds per square meter of your plantation. Since it is an autoflower variety, you may expect the yields in 9-10 weeks, and the optimal harvest timing is September. Since the main effect of this weed’s consumption is euphoria, you may grow the Hemlock autoflower seeds for battling anxiety, stress, and depression.
#3 60 Day Wonder
60 Day Wonder can do real wonders with stressed and insomniac people due to its 90% Indica genes and 10% Sativa lineage. The yields you can get from this autoflower seed variety range from 28 to 40g per plant, which is not much for an experienced grower. Yet, the strain’s major advantage is the ability to reap the harvest from your plants in not more than 60 days upon germination. This strain grows really quickly, so you’re in for a treat of the relaxing, uplifting weed in 2 months upon planting.
#4 Strawberry Banana
This Indica-dominant hybrid contains 70% of Indica genes; the remaining 30% comes from award-winning Sativa cultivars. This strain’s flowering period is 70-80 days, but the flavorful, potent buds you collect in the end are worth the wait. The average harvest per plant ranges from 28g to 40g, and each bud collected from the Strawberry Banana plants has a high THC concentration and much sticky resin on it. The strain is popular among creatives for its ability to energize, elevate the senses, and set a user in a creative, focused mood.
#5 Purple Wreck
The autoflower Purple Wreck seeds are an ideal choice for users longing for well-balanced strains with stable yet moderate effects. This strain contains 60% Indica genes and 40% Sativa genes, and its yields are up and ready for collection in 65 days. You may expect 28-40g of thick, dense, and aromatic buds from every grown plant. As a result of consuming Purple Wreck, users report happy and relaxed sensations; they feel uplifted and euphoric. Thus, it may be a great choice for those suffering from stress and anxiety and wishing to unwind.
Autoflower Seeds Are All Pluses
As you can see, growing autoflower seeds is not a problem at all; besides, most modern seed varieties have properties on par with the most exquisite and refined feminized seeds. Thus, we strongly recommend trying autoflowers out, especially for beginners and growers wishing to dedicate minimal time to their crops.
This article is a product of Tia Moskalenko, an experienced cannabis writer and advocate of the cannabis industry among broad categories of consumers. Tia researches the market deep and wide to find the best picks for users; she also shares her personal findings and experiences with weed use and cultivation to bring people closer to the benefits of cannabis products.