So, you have decided to utilize cannabis in your life in some way or another. No matter what your reason is, be it for medicine or recreational use, you have decided that growing your own plants is going to be the method that you obtain it, and regardless if that is because of the laws in your region or because you simply want to avoid the retail taxes, it makes sense that you want to have the fastest return on your investment. Establishing a steady crop can take a lot of time and energy, perhaps time and energy that you do not have given your pre-existing commitments. A cursory search into growing your own cannabis will lead you right to the doorstep of auto flowering cannabis, and if you have decided to go down this path, it is guaranteed that you know that the flower is the part that you really want from the plant. Just what exactly is this intriguing option for the burgeoning cannabis farmer, then? What are auto flowering seeds exactly, and how do they work? Why would you pick them over any other type of seed to start your crop from, assuming you are not electing to start from clones?
Auto flowering or feminized cannabis seeds are seeds from a variety of strains of cannabis. They germinate and are ready for harvest at their full capacity within ten weeks of being planted. Of this family of cannabis seeds, there are two further subtypes, the dwarf variants and the “super autos”. Dwarf auto flowering seeds will be short in stature and grow fast, but they will easily make up for it in harvestable yield. Super autos, on the other hand, can take up to 100 days to mature, which puts them almost out of the family of auto flowering seeds, and can reach heights of up to six feet tall. Both types, however, are considered to be auto flowering cannabis because they will automatically switch from what any layman would know as the sprouting and growing stage of a plant’s life into the flowering stage based on age instead of light cycle. Not only does this make their flowering cycles rapid, but it makes auto flowering seeds a perfect choice for the new grower. Getting light/dark cycles right on even the most easygoing strains is a delicate science that master growers sometimes struggle with, and getting it wrong can mean losing an entire crop or severely degrading the quality of your harvest.
The auto flowering hybrid strains are a fairly recent development in the cannabis field. While the exact origins of auto flowering seeds are unknown, most auto flowering cannabis strains contain genetics from Cannabis ruderalis. To get even more specific, the strain of ruderalis used was thought to be a Mexican variant known as Mexican Rudy. This strain was half of the parentage of what is looked at as being the original auto flowering seed; Lowryder. (The other half is up for debate between a Russian ruderalis strain and a Finnish strain known as Finola.) Lowryder was the first mass market auto flowering cannabis seed, but in the years since its introduction into the market, plenty of breeders have worked their magic on the strain, which does not have the best reputation for quality despite being the cornerstone of a revolutionary innovation in the cannabis industry. This strain has been further bred out with numerous other strains to create countless hybrid auto flowering seeds on the market of various potencies, but still, most auto flowering seeds will cap out in the low 20% range for THC. With this being said, many auto flowering strains are also very high in CBD, which makes auto flowering seeds a great choice for a new grower who is looking to provide themselves with their own medicine.
The benefits of auto flowering cannabis seeds are mostly obvious; the automatic switch into flowering eases a new grower into the process while minimizing risk. The short grow cycle means that a grower can harvest twice in the same time frame that he might have only been able to harvest once out of growing from seed that was not of the auto flowering variety. The cases of super autos notwithstanding, their generally short stature means that they can be kept in stealth gardens better than strains that are reliant upon light/dark cycling to enter the flowering stage of their development. (As an aside, super autos are of the satvia auto flowering cannabis strains only. They were developed to satisfy a niche of the grower market that was interested in auto flowering seeds, but wanted plants that had more of a photocycle feel to them. Although their life span is longer than other varieties of auto flowering seeds, this does mean that the plants have more time to mature, which, if the grower maximizes on, will mean a larger harvest overall and better quality product, assuming the grower has been pinching and trimming throughout their grow cycle.)
However, the benefits of auto flowering cannabis seeds do not stop there. Their short grow cycle makes them hardy in numerous ways; they do not need separate environments for their vegetative stage and their flowering stage. The seed production is straightforward; from one, comes many, and one auto flowering cannabis seed can produce several hundred more seeds just like itself when the plant stands only one foot tall. The short life span of these plants means you can squeeze grow cycles into short summers, making auto flowering strains more flexible and hardy than other strains environmentally. Lastly, the final buff that their short grow cycle has given them is that the overall hardy nature of a plant that matures that quickly (and no matter what, since it is not light/dark dependent) permeates its genetics, and these plants can generally be grown outside in an urban environment. This is a big deal because the ambient lighting that is present on city streets can regularly stress a traditional cannabis strain being grown outdoors, which is part of why many urban or suburban growers opt for indoor soil or hydroponic grows versus outdoor grows, despite outdoor planting generally being an easier learning curve.
There you have it – auto flowering cannabis seeds are a great choice for the newbie grower, a grower that just does not have a lot of resources at their fingertips at the time, or simply a grower who desires a quicker pace. They’re definitely worthy of a spotlight of consideration as you move forward in establishing your harvesting cycles and identity within the growing community.