Autoflowering marijuana seeds have quickly gained a pretty stellar reputation among growers of all levels of experience with the herb.
However, many people still seem to be perplexed about what is an autoflowering cannabis plant exactly.
So here we are going to shed some light on the origin of autoflowering seeds, as well as the major pros and cons of autoflowering plants themselves.
#1 – Regular vs Feminized vs Autoflowering Marijuana Plants
For a start, you must understand the basic concept of Regular, Feminized, and Auto-flowering seeds.
Regular weed seeds will produce both male and female plants.
On the other hand, Feminized seeds will deliver only female plants. As a rule of thumbs, only female marijuana plants will produce those succulent buds we are all waiting for.
Male plants serve for pollinating female plants in order for a female to produce new seeds, instead of smokable buds, and that’s why marijuana cultivators cherish regular seeds so much.
Discerning between males and females as to detect the sex of your marijuana plants can be hard, especially if you are a novice in the cannabis growing journey.
Anyway, sometimes even experienced growers tend to get confused with determining the gender of their green beauties because marijuana plants can also turn out hermaphrodites.
Hermaphrodite cannabis plants do not fall into the male category but they do not fall into the female category, as well.
Hermaphrodite plants are still useful and you can remove their male sex organs but taking care of a hermaphrodite will require a lot of time, attention, and research.
Nevertheless, hermaphrodites can still pollinate females and this can cause you problems if you are not looking for breeding your marijuana plants.
Feminized marijuana seeds rarely come up as hermaphrodites, though. Hermaphroditism is either genetically coded into your plant (meaning your seed will turn 100% hermaphrodite because it simply carries hermaphrodite genes!), but stress can also cause your marijuana plants to exhibit hermaphroditic signs.
Interestingly, autoflowering marijuana plants will very rarely show male hermaphrodite traits but will predominantly develop as females.
#2 – How did Autoflowering Cannabis Plants Originate?
In order to understand what is an autoflowering cannabis plant, it is best to dig into the very origin of this type of marijuana variety.
For the creation of autoflowering versions, breeders cross 3 types of cannabis species, namely Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and most importantly – Cannabis ruderalis.
Cannabis ruderalisis an intriguing marijuana variety, which is only native to Russia.
Surviving in the extremely cold climate in Russia has made Cannabis ruderalis look for ways to adapt and still grow, despite the unfavorable conditions, such as low temperatures and lack of sufficient light.
And so Cannabis ruderalis plants mature automatically within less than 7 weeks!
We use the term “automatically” because the maturation happens without the otherwise crucial for all marijuana varieties photoperiod.
The photoperiod is the time which your marijuana plants need to spend under scheduled amounts of light, also known as light cycles or light-dark hours, among others.
For example, the flowering stage of your green beauties will need to be supported by 12-12 hours of light/darkness ration, regardless of whether you have used Regular seeds or Feminized seeds.
But when it comes to autoflowering seeds – you simply leave them to flourish without any concerns about the 50/50 light vs. darkness light schedules.
This is an extremely beneficial characteristic of the autoflowering cannabis strains because it literally allows growers to enjoy the freedom of reaping excellent yields with very much less of a fuss!
#3 – Pros & Cons of Autoflowering Weed Plants
We already mentioned one of the greatest advantages of autoflowering cannabis varieties above – and that’s the freedom you get as a grower, as opposed to opting for both regular or feminized seeds.
But there is more about those automatic green beauties that many marijuana growers treasures.
Resistance to Cold & Fluctuations in Temperatures
Autoflowering weed plants can allow marijuana aficionados, living in cold climates, to grow much better crops.
Geographic regions with a cold climate (or regions with unpredictable weather, such as some areas of Europe), tend to experience great difficulties with growing stellar cannabis crops.
Both fluctuations in temperature from hot in the day to cold in the night, as well as morning frost or short summer season (less than 3 full months), can make cannabis cultivation especially difficult and challenging.
Thus, autoflowering marijuana plants are game-changers for growers who would otherwise have to think of multiple complex installations in order to grow their weed successfully.
No Need to Adapt Photoperiods
Moreover, you can actually grow auto-flowering plants outside literally all-year round, as long as the temperatures don’t drop too low since photoperiods are not an issue.
Furthermore, the natural resistance to cold of autoflowering varieties is another benefit for helping growers succeed with their mission.
Short Growing Cycle
And nevertheless, autoflowering cannabis plants have a shorter growing cycle so they are also known as early finishers.
That means you save much time from the daily care of your green beauties and you reach the harvesting point much faster.
The only con of autoflowering plants known so far is the fact that some cannabis cultivators tend to criticize the yields.
Indeed, marijuana plants, grown from regular or feminized seeds are shown to produce a slightly higher yield ratio, as opposed to their autoflowering counterparts.
But as a rule of thumbs, it is important to understand that automatically flowering green beauties also possess the short and bushy characteristics of Cannabis ruderalis. Thus, they grow smaller in size, which also affects the crops you might expect.
However, even with yields, estimated on an average of up to 150 grams per plant, small-scale marijuana growers are more than satisfied with the results upon harvesting.
Most importantly, autoflowering cannabis plants are easy to grow and manage.
By the time you can start to harvest regular marijuana plant, you may be ready to plant your 2ndautoflowering green beauty, which will finish just when the 1st regular cannabis plant will on an average.