Autoflowering cannabis plants have become increasingly popular among growers because of their fast growth cycle and ease of cultivation. Unlike photoperiod strains, autoflower plants do not require a specific light schedule to enter the flowering stage.
Instead, they automatically start flowering after a certain period of time, usually around 2-4 weeks after germination. However, not all cannabis plants are autoflowers, and it can be difficult for beginners to identify them. In this article, we will discuss how to tell if your plant is autoflower.
Understanding the difference between autoflower and photoperiod strains is the first step in identifying an autoflower plant. Photoperiod strains require a specific light schedule to enter the flowering stage, usually 12 hours of darkness and 12 hours of light.
Autoflower strains, on the other hand, will automatically start flowering after a certain period of time, regardless of the light schedule. This is because autoflower strains have been bred with Cannabis ruderalis, a subspecies of cannabis that naturally flowers based on age rather than light cycles.
Identifying an autoflower plant can be done through several methods, including observing the growth pattern, leaves, and overall appearance of the plant. Autoflower plants tend to be smaller in size, with a height range of 1-3 feet, making them ideal for indoor cultivation.
They also have a unique leaf shape, with rounded tips and fewer serrations than photoperiod plants. Additionally, autoflower plants tend to have a bushier appearance, with more lateral branches and shorter internodal spacing.
By understanding these characteristics, growers can confidently identify their cannabis plants as autoflowers and adjust their cultivation methods accordingly.
- Autoflower plants automatically start flowering after a certain period of time, regardless of light schedule.
- Autoflower plants tend to be smaller in size, have a unique leaf shape, and a bushier appearance than photoperiod plants.
- Identifying an autoflower plant can be done by observing its growth pattern, leaves, and overall appearance.
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Autoflowering cannabis plants are a popular choice for both novice and experienced growers. These plants are unique in that they automatically switch from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage without any change in light cycles.
This means that autoflowers have a shorter life cycle, typically lasting between 8 to 10 weeks, compared to photoperiod strains that can take up to 16 weeks to mature.
Autoflowering strains are typically smaller in size and have a bushy structure, making them ideal for indoor and outdoor growing in small spaces. They are also known for their resilience to pests and diseases, making them easier to grow for beginners.
When it comes to identifying autoflowers, the first thing to look for is the label on the seed package. Autoflower seeds should always be labeled as such, and it’s best not to use seeds that are not labeled or found in your weed.
Another way to identify autoflowers is by their shorter life cycle and bushy structure. They tend to grow to a height of 1 to 3 feet, making them ideal for small spaces. Autoflowering strains also have a unique smell and taste, which can vary depending on the strain.
It’s important to note that autoflowers have a shorter life cycle, which means they require different care and attention compared to photoperiod strains. For example, autoflowers require a specific nutrient regimen during their life cycle to ensure optimal growth and yield.
Autoflower vs Photoperiod Strains
Autoflowering cannabis strains differ from photoperiod strains in a few key ways. Autoflower strains have a shorter life cycle and are not dependent on light schedules to transition from the vegetative to the flowering stage. Photoperiod strains, on the other hand, require specific light schedules to flower.
Autoflower strains are known for their ease of cultivation, as they do not require a specific light schedule. They are also smaller in size compared to photoperiod strains, making them ideal for growers with limited space. In addition, autoflower strains tend to have a higher CBD content than photoperiod strains.
Photoperiod strains, on the other hand, offer more flexibility in terms of growth and yield. They can be grown indoors or outdoors, and their size can be controlled by adjusting the light schedule. Photoperiod strains also tend to have a higher THC content than autoflower strains.
It is important to note that photoperiod strains can be more challenging to grow than autoflower strains. They require more attention and care throughout their growth cycle, and any changes in the light schedule can disrupt their growth and development.
Identifying Autoflower Plants
Autoflowering cannabis plants are a popular choice among growers because they are easy to cultivate and have a fast growth cycle. Here are some ways to identify autoflower plants:
One way to tell if a plant is an autoflower is by its appearance. Autoflowering plants tend to have a bushier and more compact structure than photoperiod plants. They also have a shorter internodal distance, which means that the distance between the nodes is shorter than in photoperiod plants.
Autoflower plants may have a thicker stem and broader leaves than photoperiod plants.
Another way to identify an autoflower plant is by its size. Autoflowering plants are generally smaller than photoperiod plants, with an average height of 1-3 feet. They also have a shorter growth cycle, which means that they will reach maturity faster than photoperiod plants.
If a plant is small and has a fast growth cycle, it is likely an autoflower plant.
When buying seeds, it is important to check the label to see if the seeds are autoflowering or photoperiod. Autoflowering seeds will be labeled as such, and photoperiod seeds will be labeled as either feminized or regular. It is important to use seeds that are labeled correctly to ensure that you are growing the type of plant you want.
It is also important to note that not all autoflower plants will have the same phenotype. Some autoflower plants may have a sativa-dominant phenotype, while others may have an indica-dominant phenotype.
This means that the plant may have different characteristics, such as a different smell, taste, or effect. It is important to research the specific strain of autoflower plant you are growing to understand its unique characteristics.
Growth Stages of Autoflowers
Autoflowering cannabis plants have a distinct growth cycle that differs from photoperiodic plants. Understanding the growth stages of autoflowers is crucial for a successful harvest. Below are the five main stages of an autoflowering plant’s life cycle.
The first stage of an autoflower’s life cycle is germination. During this stage, the seedling emerges from the seed and begins to grow. The seedling requires a warm and moist environment to thrive.
It is essential to keep the soil moist during this stage. Germination can take anywhere from 24 hours to 5 days, depending on the strain and growing conditions.
2. Seedling Stage
After germination, the seedling enters the seedling stage. This stage lasts for about two weeks. During this stage, the seedling develops its first set of leaves, also known as cotyledons. The plant will also develop its first true leaves during this stage. It is essential to keep the soil moist but not too wet during this stage.
3. Vegetative Stage
The vegetative stage is where the plant experiences the most significant growth. This stage lasts for about three to six weeks. During this stage, the plant develops more leaves and branches.
The plant will also grow taller during this stage. The vegetative stage is when the plant requires the most nutrients, especially nitrogen. It is essential to keep the soil moist and provide adequate lighting during this stage.
4. Pre-flowering Stage
The pre-flowering stage is when the plant begins to show its sex. This stage lasts for about one to two weeks. During this stage, the plant develops pre-flowers, which are small buds that are not yet fully developed. It is essential to identify the sex of the plant during this stage, as male plants need to be removed to prevent pollination.
5. Flowering Stage
The flowering stage is when the plant begins to develop buds. This stage lasts for about six to eight weeks. During this stage, the plant requires less nitrogen and more phosphorus and potassium. It is essential to keep the soil moist but not too wet during this stage. The plant will also require adequate lighting during this stage.
Overall, understanding the growth stages of autoflowers is crucial for a successful harvest. By providing the plant with the right growing conditions during each stage, growers can maximize their yield and produce high-quality buds.
Environmental Factors for Autoflowers
Autoflowering cannabis plants are known for their hardiness, fast growth, and ease of cultivation, but they still require proper environmental conditions to thrive. Two key factors to consider are lighting and humidity.
Lighting is crucial for the growth of autoflowering cannabis plants. These plants need a minimum of 18 hours of light per day to grow properly. Some growers prefer to keep the lights on for 24 hours a day during the vegetative stage, while others prefer to give the plants a few hours of darkness each day.
During the flowering stage, growers may switch to a 12/12 light cycle to encourage the plants to produce buds. However, some autoflowering strains will flower regardless of the light cycle they are given.
Growers should also consider the quality of the light they are using. LED grow lights are a popular choice, as they are energy-efficient and emit less heat than other types of lights. However, some growers prefer high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights, which are known for producing dense, resinous buds.
Humidity levels are also important for the growth of autoflowering cannabis plants. During the vegetative stage, growers should aim for a humidity level of around 60-70%. This will help the plants to grow quickly and develop strong roots.
During the flowering stage, growers may want to lower the humidity level to around 40-50%. This can help prevent mold and mildew from developing on the buds.
Growers can monitor humidity levels using a hygrometer. If the humidity level is too high, they can use a dehumidifier to lower it. If the humidity level is too low, they can use a humidifier to raise it.
Nutrient Needs of Autoflowers
Autoflowering cannabis plants require specific nutrients to grow and thrive. These nutrients are divided into macro and micro categories. Macronutrients are nutrients that plants use in large quantities, while micronutrients are required in smaller amounts.
The three primary macronutrients that autoflowers need are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Nitrogen is critical for leaf growth and helps plants develop a healthy green color.
Phosphorus is essential for root development and is crucial for flower and seed production. Potassium helps regulate water balance in plants and is necessary for overall plant health.
In addition to these macronutrients, autoflowers also require micronutrients such as iron, calcium, and magnesium. Iron is essential for chlorophyll production and helps plants absorb other nutrients.
Calcium is essential for cell wall development and helps prevent diseases such as blossom end rot. Magnesium is necessary for photosynthesis and helps plants produce energy.
It is essential to provide autoflowers with the correct nutrients at the right time. Overfeeding or underfeeding can lead to nutrient deficiencies or toxicities, which can harm your plants. The best way to ensure that your plants receive the correct nutrients is to use a high-quality nutrient solution specifically designed for autoflowers.
When selecting a nutrient solution, be sure to choose one that contains the correct balance of macronutrients and micronutrients. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, and adjust the feeding schedule as necessary based on your plant’s growth and development.
Autoflowering cannabis plants are known for their quick growth cycle and easy cultivation. Harvesting is a crucial step in the process of growing cannabis. Here are some things to keep in mind when harvesting autoflowers:
Timing is essential when it comes to harvesting autoflowers. Unlike photoperiod plants, autoflowers do not rely on light cycles to flower. Instead, they have a predetermined lifespan of around 8-10 weeks from seed to harvest.
One way to tell if your autoflower is ready for harvest is by examining the trichomes. Trichomes are tiny, mushroom-shaped structures on the surface of the buds that contain the plant’s essential oils. When the trichomes turn cloudy or amber, it is a sign that the plant is ready for harvest.
Another way to tell if your autoflower is ready for harvest is by examining the leaves. As the plant nears maturity, the leaves will start to yellow and die off. This is a natural process and a sign that the plant is ready for harvest.
When it comes to harvesting autoflowers, it is best to do it in the morning when the plant’s moisture content is at its lowest. This will make it easier to trim the buds and reduce the risk of mold.
5. Drying and Curing
After harvesting, the buds need to be dried and cured. Drying involves hanging the buds upside down in a dark, dry place with good airflow. This process can take anywhere from 5-10 days.
Once the buds are dry, they need to be cured. Curing involves storing the buds in airtight containers and opening them periodically to release any excess moisture. This process can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks.
Trimming is the final step in the process of harvesting autoflowers. It involves removing any excess leaves and stems from the buds. This will improve the overall appearance and potency of the buds.
Yield and Potency of Autoflowers
Autoflowering cannabis plants are known for their quick life cycle and ability to produce buds in as little as 8-10 weeks from seed. Compared to photoperiod plants, autoflowers tend to have smaller yields, but this can vary depending on the strain and growing conditions.
When it comes to yield, autoflowers typically produce between 30-100 grams per plant, with some strains capable of producing even more. Factors that can affect yield include the size of the pot, the amount of light and nutrients the plant receives, and the genetics of the strain.
In terms of potency, autoflowers can have high levels of THC and CBD, but again, this can vary depending on the strain. Some autoflowers have been known to have THC levels as high as 20%, while others may have lower levels.
When it comes to CBD, some autoflowers have been bred specifically for high CBD content, making them a popular choice for medical users.
When it comes to final yield and potency, it’s important to remember that these factors are influenced by a variety of factors, including genetics, growing conditions, and the skill of the grower.
While autoflowers may produce smaller yields compared to photoperiod plants, their quick life cycle and potency make them a popular choice for many growers.
Autoflower strains are a type of cannabis strain that automatically switches from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage without requiring a change in light cycle. This makes them an ideal choice for novice growers who may not have the experience or equipment to properly control the lighting of their plants.
Autoflower strains are typically smaller in size and have a shorter life cycle than traditional cannabis strains. They are also known for their hardiness and ability to withstand harsh growing conditions.
This is because they are descended from the ruderalis subspecies of cannabis, which is native to regions with short growing seasons and harsh climates.
There are many different autoflower strains available on the market today. Some of the most popular ones include:
- Northern Lights Autoflower: This is an indica-dominant strain that is known for its relaxing and sedative effects. It has a high THC content and is often used to treat insomnia, chronic pain, and anxiety.
- Amnesia Haze Autoflower: This is a sativa-dominant strain that is known for its energizing and uplifting effects. It has a high THC content and is often used to treat depression, fatigue, and stress.
- Blueberry Autoflower: This is a hybrid strain that is known for its sweet and fruity flavor. It has a balanced THC and CBD content and is often used to treat pain, inflammation, and anxiety.
When choosing an autoflower strain, it is important to consider the specific effects and benefits that you are looking for. Indica strains are known for their relaxing and sedative effects, while sativa strains are known for their energizing and uplifting effects.
Hybrid strains offer a balance between the two and can be a good choice for those who want a more well-rounded experience.
In addition to considering the effects of the strain, it is also important to choose a reputable seed bank that offers high-quality autoflower seeds. This will ensure that you get a healthy and robust plant that is capable of producing a bountiful harvest.
Benefits of Growing Autoflowers
Autoflowering plants have become increasingly popular among growers, and for good reason. Here are some of the benefits of growing autoflowers:
1. Fast Growth and Short Life Cycle
One of the most significant advantages of growing autoflowers is their fast growth and short life cycle. Unlike photoperiod plants, which require a specific light cycle to initiate flowering, autoflowers will automatically begin to flower after a few weeks of vegetative growth.
This means that they can go from seed to harvest in as little as 8-10 weeks, making them an attractive option for those who want a quick turnaround time.
2. Multiple Harvests Per Year
Another advantage of growing autoflowers is that they allow for multiple harvests per year. Since they have a short life cycle, you can plant several crops throughout the year and enjoy multiple harvests. This is particularly useful for growers who live in areas with short growing seasons or limited space.
3. Compact Size
Autoflowers are typically smaller and more compact than photoperiod plants, making them ideal for growers with limited space. They are also easier to conceal, which can be beneficial for those who need to keep their grow operation discreet.
4. High Yields
Despite their small size, autoflowers can produce high yields. Since they have a short life cycle, they need to grow quickly and efficiently to produce as much biomass as possible. This can result in a higher yield per square foot than photoperiod plants.
5. Lower Yields
On the flip side, some growers may find that autoflowers produce lower yields than photoperiod plants. This is because they have a shorter vegetative period, which means they have less time to grow and develop before they start flowering.
However, this can be offset by planting multiple crops throughout the year and taking advantage of their fast growth and short life cycle.
Indoor Cultivation of Autoflowers
When it comes to growing autoflowers indoors, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, it’s important to have a suitable indoor setup that provides enough vertical space for the plants to grow.
Autoflowers can be grown in a variety of containers, but it’s recommended to use a pot that’s at least 5 gallons in size to allow for proper root development.
One of the benefits of growing autoflowers is that they don’t require a specific light cycle to flower. This means that growers can use a 18/6 or 20/4 light schedule for the entire grow cycle, which can simplify the indoor cultivation process.
However, it’s important to note that autoflowers still require a certain amount of light intensity to grow and produce high-quality buds.
When it comes to indoor cultivation of autoflowers, it’s important to provide the right nutrients and pH balance to ensure proper growth and development. Using a pH soil tester can help ensure that the soil is within the appropriate range, and adding Cal-mag as a supplement can provide additional calcium and magnesium to the plants.
Another important factor to consider when growing autoflowers indoors is the temperature and humidity levels. Autoflowers prefer a temperature range of 68-77°F (20-25°C) during the day and 59-68°F (15-20°C) at night.
Humidity levels should be kept between 40-60% during the vegetative stage and around 40% during the flowering stage to prevent mold and mildew growth.
Caring for Autoflower Buds
Once you have identified that your plant is an autoflower, it is crucial to understand how to care for the buds properly. Autoflower buds develop differently from regular cannabis plants, and they require specific attention to ensure a successful harvest.
Autoflower buds are typically smaller and denser than those of regular cannabis plants. It is essential to monitor the buds’ growth and development, as they can be easily damaged by pests, mold, or other environmental factors. Make sure to inspect the buds regularly and remove any damaged or dead material.
Trichomes are the small, resinous glands that cover the buds and leaves of the cannabis plant. They are responsible for producing the cannabinoids and terpenes that give cannabis its unique effects and flavors.
When caring for autoflower buds, it is crucial to monitor the trichomes’ color and development. As the buds mature, the trichomes will change from clear to cloudy, indicating that they are ready for harvest.
3. Pistil and Stigmas
Pistils and stigmas are the small, hair-like structures that protrude from the buds. They play a crucial role in the plant’s reproductive cycle, but they also provide essential information about the buds’ maturity.
As the buds mature, the pistils and stigmas will change color, from white to orange or brown. This change indicates that the buds are nearing maturity and are ready for harvest.
4. White Hairs
White hairs, also known as “hairs” or “stamens,” are another critical indicator of the buds’ maturity. They are the small, hair-like structures that grow from the pistils and stigmas. As the buds mature, the white hairs will begin to recede and turn brown, indicating that the buds are nearing maturity.
Common Autoflower Training Techniques
Autoflowering plants are known for their quick growth and short life cycle. As a result, they require a different approach to training compared to photoperiod plants. Here are some common training techniques used for autoflowering plants:
1. Low Stress Training (LST)
LST is one of the most popular training techniques used for autoflowering plants. It involves gently bending and tying down the branches to create an even canopy. The goal is to allow more light to reach the lower parts of the plant, resulting in bigger yields.
LST is a low-stress technique that doesn’t involve any cutting or pruning of the plant.
Topping is a high-stress training technique that involves cutting off the top of the plant’s main stem. This results in the plant growing two main colas instead of one. Topping can be risky for autoflowering plants as they have a limited life cycle. However, if done correctly, it can result in bigger yields.
3. Super Cropping
Super cropping involves gently squeezing and bending the branches until they almost snap. This technique is used to create more colas and increase yields. Super cropping is a high-stress technique that should be done carefully to avoid damaging the plant.
Defoliation involves removing the leaves from the plant to allow more light to reach the lower parts of the plant. This technique is not recommended for autoflowering plants as they have a limited life cycle and need all the leaves they can get to produce energy.
5. Sea of Green (SOG)
SOG is a technique that involves growing many small plants close together. This technique is not recommended for autoflowering plants as they don’t have enough time to recover from any damage caused by overcrowding.
Final Thoughts on Autoflower Plants
Autoflower plants are a great option for growers who want to produce cannabis quickly and with minimal effort. They are easy to grow, require less maintenance, and have a shorter seed to harvest time than photoperiod plants.
One of the main advantages of autoflower plants is their ability to flower automatically without the need for a specific light cycle. This means that they can be grown in any environment, even with limited space and light.
Autoflower plants also have a shorter vegetation phase, which makes them ideal for growers who want to produce multiple batches in a short amount of time.
When growing autoflower plants, it is important to keep in mind their flowering time, which can range from 6 to 10 weeks. Some strains may take longer, but most autoflower plants will be ready for harvest within 10 weeks of germination.
It is also important to note that autoflower plants can produce smaller yields than photoperiod plants. However, this can be offset by producing multiple batches in a shorter amount of time.
To ensure that your autoflower plant is viable, it is recommended to use high-quality cannabis seeds from reputable seed banks. The paper towel method is a popular way to germinate cannabis seeds and can be used for autoflower seeds as well.
When growing autoflower plants, it is important to keep an eye on their week-by-week progress. You can find many resources online that provide pictures and descriptions of each stage of growth. This can help you identify any issues that may arise and take corrective action.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I tell if my plant is an autoflower or photoperiod?
The easiest way to tell if your plant is an autoflower or photoperiod is to check the label on the seed packet. If you are unsure, you can also observe the growth pattern of the plant.
Autoflowers tend to be smaller and grow faster than photoperiod plants. Photoperiod plants require a specific light cycle to trigger flowering, while autoflowers will flower automatically regardless of the light cycle.
What are the signs of autoflowering in plants?
One of the most noticeable signs of autoflowering in plants is the shorter vegetative growth period. Autoflowers will also start to flower automatically after a certain period of time, regardless of the light cycle. They also tend to be smaller in size and have a shorter overall life cycle.
When do autoflowers start flowering?
Autoflowers typically start flowering between 2-4 weeks after germination. However, this can vary depending on the strain and growing conditions. It is important to monitor your plants closely to ensure you harvest them at the right time.
How do I distinguish between feminized and autoflowering seeds?
Feminized seeds are seeds that have been bred to produce only female plants. Autoflowering seeds are seeds that have been bred to flower automatically. The easiest way to distinguish between the two is to check the label on the seed packet.
Can autoflowering plants flower after 2 weeks?
Yes, autoflowering plants can start to flower as early as 2 weeks after germination. However, this can vary depending on the strain and growing conditions. It is important to monitor your plants closely to ensure you harvest them at the right time.
What are the differences between male and female autoflowers?
Male autoflowers produce pollen sacs and do not produce buds. Female autoflowers produce buds and do not produce pollen sacs. It is important to remove male plants from your grow area to prevent them from pollinating your female plants.
Hey, I’m Lisa and I’ve been an avid gardener for over 30 years. I love writing, talking and living in the garden! Feel free to connect with me on my socials below