You will probably have seen auto-flowering cannabis strains available at your local dispensary recently and you may be wondering how to grow auto-flowering cannabis.
They are a relatively new development in cannabis and are generally regarded as being a much easier option for growing weed. But what is auto-flowering cannabis and how do you grow it?
The main difference between regular cannabis and auto-flowering cannabis is the way they grow. Regular cannabis grows from seed in the vegetative state until it is ready to start flowering, at which point it will make buds. auto-flowering strains, on the other hand, start making buds automatically without waiting for a day/night cycle to occur.
Auto-flowering plants are generally sold as female seeds because they will only grow buds (no pollen sacs) so can be grown indoors with no fear of pollination or genetic contamination. Breeders of auto-flowering cannabis have found that it needs to be in a 12/12 light cycle for the plant to start making buds, so you can start by using your lights in a more basic way than you would with regular cannabis.
You can use HID bulbs or fluorescent eco bulbs for this. It is also possible to grow auto-flowering strains from seed outdoors in warmer climates and they will still only flower when mature. This is only possible if you live in a country where it is warm enough for the whole of the year and so does not apply if you live in the UK.
Auto-flowering cannabis plants are relatively small in size when compared to regular cannabis, whereas they can be grown to a height of 2-3 feet with auto-flowering strains. The weight of the buds of auto-flowering cannabis is generally much smaller too, but they are still regarded as being highly potent with a THC content that is normally around 15-20%. You may find that you have more than one harvest per year with auto-flowering cannabis plants.
Growing auto-flowering marijuana from seed is very similar to growing any other strain from seed. If you are growing indoors you will need fluorescent tubes and if outdoors you will need to grow bags or pots. The seeds will need plenty of sunshine and you will also need plenty of water.
So if you are not a complete beginner to cannabis growing, auto-flowering strains may be just what you need to grow cannabis that you don’t have to constantly worry about. You can enjoy the benefits of cannabis without having to spend all day in the garden.
Growing auto-flowering marijuana plants from seed is very simple and easy if you have the right equipment and lots of sunshine. Check out WhatForMe.com for tips and recommendations.
The first Seed Bank that introduced automatic seeds in 1995 was the Revolutionary Dutch Passion Seed Company of Amsterdam. It was followed by a large number of companies, such as Sensi Seeds, Mr. Nice Seeds, Samsara Seeds, and many others. Since then there has been a steady increase in the number of varieties with auto-flowering characteristics and they are grown for their easy-to-grow nature and their short flowering time. For auto-flowering cannabis strains, you will be looking for either automatic or Ruderalis hybrids or varieties such as Auto Critical Mass (Samsara seeds), Lowryder (Mr. Nice Seeds), Critical Mass (Reservoir seeds), or Jack Herer Auto (Sensi).
For the best experience in growing auto-flowering cannabis, you will need a light cycle of 12 hours on and 12 hours off. During the 12 hours that your lights are on your new baby plants will require plenty of light intensity for them to develop properly during vegetative growth. One way to provide this is by using metal halide (MH) grow lamps at this stage, which will generate a lot of heat but also give off a large amount of light. You should place these under your plants, close enough for the bulbs to be within 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) from the foliage and about 10-12 inches (25-30 cm) from the floor below. The bulbs can be suspended from the ceiling or placed on a table. The distance at which the bulbs are placed will be dependent on what type of lighting you use and how many plants you have growing.
In order for your auto-flowering plants to get to the flowering stage, you will need to trigger it by subjecting them to a regular light cycle and reducing the amount of light that they receive during each 24 hour period. You should do this by turning off your MH bulbs during the 12 hours ‘off’ period and replacing them with fluorescent tubes or low-wattage halogen lamps, which give no more than 150 watts per 10 feet (3 meters) of growing area. You should leave these switched on for 12 hours and off for 12 hours in order to force the auto-flowering plants into flowering although it shouldn’t be necessary to supply any additional heat at this time.
During the 12 hours that your lights are off, you will need to give your new marijuana plants plenty of time to recover from their busy day by resting from too much light and heat. In fact, many growers believe that it is during these hours of darkness that the cannabis plants actually absorb more oxygen and nutrients, which results in better growth and larger yields. Many of the best auto-flowering cannabis seeds will produce a yield of around 500 grams per square meter although some strains can yield up to a kilogram per plant, which is quite impressive for such a small cannabis plant.
Auto-flowering cannabis plants can be grown indoors or outdoors as long as the right light and temperature requirements are met. Inside you will need a grow tent or some other kind of enclosed space and a light cycle of 12 hours on and 12 hours off. One energy-efficient way to provide this is to use CFL bulbs instead of MH ones because they release less heat but still give off plenty of light. The distance at which you place your bulbs will be dependent on how close your plants are to one another and the size/shape of your grow tent although it is recommended that you place them no more than 24″ (60 cm) from the tops of your plants. This will help you to get greater yields from your auto-flowering cannabis plants and also ensure that they stay healthy by avoiding any chance of light burn.
Outdoors you will need a greenhouse or some other kind of enclosure for your plants to grow in and choose a location that receives some shade during the hottest part of the day. Although they are hardy enough to withstand colder weather you can grow auto-flowering cannabis outdoors all year round if necessary although it is preferable to wait until the last frost has passed in order to ensure your plants have enough time to fully ripen before the first autumn frost comes along and kills them off.