The Pros and Cons of Growing Auto-Flowering Strains
Growing marijuana is a complex process that requires careful planning and execution. With so many variations in strains and growing techniques, it can be overwhelming for a beginner to decide where to start. One popular option for growers is auto-flowering strains, which offer fast growing times and ease of cultivation. However, like any growing method, auto-flowering strains have their own set of pros and cons. In this article, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of growing auto-flowering strains, what to consider before starting, and tips for successful cultivation.
Pros of Growing Auto-Flowering Strains
Growing auto-flowering strains of cannabis has become popular among cultivators due to the several advantages they offer over traditional photoperiod strains. Here are some of the pros of growing auto-flowering strains.
Fast Growing Time: One of the main advantages of growing auto-flowering strains is their fast growth time. Unlike photoperiod strains, which require a specific light cycle to move from the vegetative growth phase to flowering phase, auto-flowering strains do not require any specific light schedule. This makes it possible to grow auto-flowering strains all year round, without any changes in lighting, resulting in faster growth and faster harvests.
Ease of Growing: Another benefit of auto-flowering strains is that they are much easier to grow than photoperiod strains. They require less attention and care, as they have a shorter vegetative period and move faster through the entire growing process. Auto-flowering strains are also more resistant to pests and diseases, making it less likely that they will get damaged or infected during the growth process.
Flexible Plant Size: Auto-flowering strains produce smaller plants, making them an ideal option for growers who have limited space for cultivation or who want to grow cannabis discreetly. They can be grown indoors, outdoors or in greenhouses with ease, because of their small size. Even though they are small, the buds that they produce are still high-quality and potent.
More Harvest in a Year: Since auto-flowering strains grow and mature faster than photoperiod strains, it is possible to harvest more crops in a year. This makes them a more profitable option for commercial growers, who can get more yield from the same amount of space and time. Additionally, since auto-flowering strains are smaller than photoperiod strains, a grower can fit more plants in the same space, resulting in higher yields per square meter.
Growing auto-flowering strains has several advantages over traditional photoperiod strains, including shorter growth times, ease of cultivation, flexibility in plant size and more harvests in a single year.
Fast Growing Time
One of the major advantages of auto-flowering strains is their impressive rate of growth. With a quick flowering time, these strains are favored by many growers who are looking for a speedy harvest. The fast-growing nature of auto-flowering strains has made them incredibly popular among novice and experienced growers alike, as they are able to yield a bountiful harvest in a shorter amount of time compared to other types of strains. Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of growing auto-flowering strains.
Ease of Growing
One of the most impressive advantages of growing auto-flowering strains is the ease of growing. These plants don’t depend on light schedules to produce buds, which means that you don’t have to worry about changing the light timing as you would with traditional strains. Here is a closer look at the different aspects that contribute to the ease of growing auto-flowering strains:
|Time||Auto-flowering strains have shorter growing periods, typically around 10 weeks from seed to harvest. This means faster turnaround times compared to photoperiod strains, which can take significantly longer to grow.|
|Size and Space Requirements||Most auto-flowering strains are smaller compared to their photoperiod counterparts, which makes them ideal for indoor growing. They are also perfect for small spaces where height restrictions may be a concern.|
|Resilience||Auto-flowering strains are known for their resilience to common cannabis pests and pathogens. This is due to their Ruderalis genetics, which help them withstand harsh environments.|
|Nutrient Requirements||Auto-flowering strains don’t require a lot of nutrients to grow, and they are not as sensitive to overfeeding or nutrient deficiencies as photoperiod strains. This makes them easier to care for, especially for novice growers who may not have the knowledge or experience to manage nutrient levels.|
To sum up, auto-flowering strains are ideal for first-time growers because of their ease of growing. They are resilient, require less space, and have shorter growing times, but still offer high-quality and potent buds. These plants may be a game changer for anyone who wants to grow cannabis without too much hassle.
Flexible Plant Size
One of the pros of growing auto-flowering strains is the flexible plant size, allowing growers to choose strains that fit their space and yield requirements. These strains come in a range of sizes, from small and compact to larger and more robust plants, making them versatile for all types of growers.
The flexibility in plant size also means that auto-flowering strains are easy to grow in a variety of spaces, whether it be large indoor grow rooms, small tents or even outdoor gardens. While larger strains may need more space to accommodate their growth, smaller strains can fit into compact spaces, making them ideal for those with limited growing space.
Another benefit of flexible plant size is that it allows growers to easily control the yield of their plants. Smaller plants will generally have a lower yield, while larger plants can produce a greater harvest. This is especially useful for those growing for personal use, who may only need a small amount of product.
Auto-flowering strains also have the added benefit of being easy to move around, making them ideal for those who need to move their plants from one location to another. This is especially useful for those growing in small apartments or homes, where space is at a premium.
The flexible plant size of auto-flowering strains is a major advantage for growers, as it allows for customization based on space and yield requirements. By choosing the right strain to fit their needs, growers can ensure a successful and productive harvest.
More Harvest in a Year
One of the biggest advantages of growing auto-flowering strains is that they allow for multiple harvests in a year. Unlike traditional photoperiod strains, which rely on changes in light cycles to initiate flowering, auto-flowering strains flower based on age alone. This means that they typically have shorter growing times, which allows growers to fit more cycles into the growing season.
With traditional photoperiod strains, growers usually have to wait several months between harvests. This puts a limit on the number of crops that can be grown in a given year. With auto-flowering strains, however, the growing cycle can be completed in as little as 8-10 weeks, depending on the strain and growing conditions.
This shorter turnaround time means that growers can fit more crops into a given year, which can increase overall yield and profitability. In some cases, it is possible to get three or more crops in a single year, depending on the growing conditions and the strain being grown.
It is worth noting, however, that the short growing time of auto-flowering strains can also lead to some challenges. For example, some strains may have lower yields or potency compared to their photoperiod counterparts. Additionally, the quick turnaround times mean that growers need to be vigilant about monitoring their plants to ensure that they are getting the right nutrients and environmental conditions to thrive. However, for experienced growers who are up for the challenge, the multiple harvests offered by auto-flowering strains can be a game changer.
To summarize, the ability to produce more harvests in a year is a major benefit of growing auto-flowering strains. While there may be some challenges to overcome, the increased yield and profitability make it a worthwhile endeavor for many growers.
Cons of Growing Auto-Flowering Strains
One of the main disadvantages of growing auto-flowering strains is that they have a lower yield and potency compared to traditional strains. This is because auto-flowering strains usually have a shorter vegetative phase, which means that the plant has less time to develop its buds and flowers. As a result, the harvest from auto-flowering strains may not be as bountiful as that from traditional strains.
Another limitation of growing auto-flowering strains is that they cannot be cloned. This means that you cannot propagate new plants from cuttings of your existing auto-flowering plants. Cloning is a popular method of reproducing plants as it allows growers to replicate their most successful plants with identical genetics. However, with auto-flowering plants, since they automatically flower after a certain period of time, cloning is not an option.
Auto-flowering strains also provide less control over plant growth compared to traditional strains. With traditional strains, growers can manipulate the flowering time by controlling the light cycle. They can induce the plant to flower earlier or later depending on their needs. However, with auto-flowering strains, since the plant automatically flowers after a certain period of time, growers have less control over the growth cycle of the plant.
The cons of growing auto-flowering strains include a lower yield and potency, inability to clone, and less control over plant growth. However, these limitations may not be a dealbreaker for some growers who prioritize the benefits that come with growing auto-flowering strains, such as fast growth time, ease of growing, and flexible plant size. Ultimately, the decision to grow auto-flowering strains comes down to personal preference and specific growing needs.
Lower Yield and Potency
Despite their advantages, growing auto-flowering strains may also come with some drawbacks. One of the most significant challenges that growers might face is the potential for lower yield and potency. This could be attributed to various factors such as genetic limitations and the shorter lifespan of these plants. While auto-flowering strains may offer faster growing time and easier cultivation, it is important to weigh the benefits against the possible consequences before making a decision.
One major disadvantage of growing auto-flowering strains is that they cannot be cloned. Cloning is the process of taking a cutting from a mature plant and using it to grow a new plant with identical genetics. This is a popular method for growers because it allows them to replicate successful plants without relying on seeds.
Cloning offers several benefits that auto-flowering strains cannot replicate:
- Genetic consistency: Cloned plants have the exact same genetics as their parent, which means that growers can replicate the traits they like best, such as yield, potency, and flavor.
- Quicker growing time: Clones can be grown much faster than starting from seed because they skip the germination stage.
- Cost-effective: Cloning is a cost-effective way to grow plants because it eliminates the need to purchase new seeds for each grow cycle.
Unfortunately, auto-flowering strains cannot be cloned because they automatically start to flower after a certain amount of time. This means that clones taken from an auto-flowering plant will also start to flower, regardless of their size or growing conditions.
While this may seem like a major drawback, it is important to note that auto-flowering strains have several other advantages that make up for the inability to clone. Some of these advantages include a faster growing time, ease of growing, and flexibility in plant size.
Ultimately, the decision on whether to grow auto-flowering strains comes down to personal preference and the grower’s specific needs and goals.
Less Control Over Plant Growth
When it comes to growing auto-flowering strains, one of the significant cons is that growers have less control over plant growth compared to photoperiod strains. Here are some factors contributing to this disadvantage:
- Limited Training: Auto-flowering plants have a short life cycle, and growers have a limited time to train their plants using techniques such as topping, pruning, or super cropping. These techniques are used to control the plant’s shape, improve light distribution, increase yield, and more. Without training, the plant may grow in a bushy structure that doesn’t utilize the space effectively, or the buds may not receive enough light, leading to low yields.
- No Delayed Flowering: With photoperiod plants, growers can induce flowering by changing the light schedule when the plant has reached the desired height or maturity. This allows them to control the vegetative and flowering stage’s length, adapt to any environmental changes, or cultivate different strains simultaneously. Auto-flowering plants are genetically programmed to start flowering after a certain period, regardless of the light schedule or plant’s maturity. This means growers cannot delay flowering and have little control over the plant’s growth.
- Less Forgiving: Auto-flowering plants are sensitive to many environmental factors, such as temperature, humidity, pH, light intensity, and nutrients. If any of these factors are not suitable for the plant, it may not recover, and the yield and quality may be compromised. This means growers must provide optimal growing conditions throughout the plant’s life cycle, or it may not perform well.
In conclusion, less control over plant growth is a disadvantage of growing auto-flowering strains, and growers must take into account the plant’s limitations when planning and executing their grow operation.
What to Consider Before Growing Auto-Flowering Strains
When considering growing auto-flowering strains, there are several factors to ponder before investing time and money into the project. Firstly, it’s important to evaluate one’s experience and expertise in the field of horticulture: are you a seasoned grower with extensive knowledge of plant care, or are you just starting out with little to no experience?
Additionally, growers must consider the space and lighting available to them. Auto-flowering strains can be more forgiving in terms of light and space requirements than photoperiod strains, but adequate light and space are still necessary for a healthy and productive yield.
Along with space and lighting, the desired yield and potency of the harvest should also be taken into account. While auto-flowering strains offer faster growth and more harvests per year, they tend to produce lower yields and potency compared to photoperiod strains.
Ultimately, growers should carefully evaluate their level of expertise, available space and lighting, and desired yield and potency before deciding whether to invest in auto-flowering strains or not. Taking the time to assess these factors can lead to a more successful and satisfying growing experience.
Experience and Expertise
Growing auto-flowering strains requires a certain level of skill and knowledge to ensure a successful harvest. While auto-flowering strains are generally easier to grow than photoperiod strains, they still require attention and care to produce healthy plants and high-quality yields. Whether you are an experienced grower or a novice, it’s important to consider your level of experience and expertise before diving into the world of auto-flowering strains. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to keep in mind before deciding if auto-flowering strains are the right choice for your growing skills.
Space and Lighting
When considering growing auto-flowering strains, it’s crucial to take into account the space and lighting needs of these plants. The main advantage of auto-flowering strains is their small size, which makes them perfect for growers with limited space. However, it’s still important to provide enough room for the plants to grow and develop properly.
When it comes to lighting, auto-flowering strains can be less demanding than regular strains, as they do not require a specific light cycle to enter the flowering stage. That said, they still need adequate light to produce healthy and potent buds. Depending on the size of the grow space, it may be necessary to invest in a quality LED grow light or other type of grow light with adequate wattage to ensure optimal growth.
It’s also worth noting that the ideal temperature and humidity levels in the grow space can affect both the growth and potency of auto-flowering strains. Growers should aim to maintain a temperature between 70-85°F during the day and around 60-70°F at night, with a relative humidity of around 40-60% to prevent mold and mildew growth.
In summary, when planning to grow auto-flowering strains, it’s important to ensure adequate space and adequate lighting. Additionally, monitoring and maintaining proper temperature and humidity levels will help ensure healthy plant growth and a successful harvest.
Desired Yield and Potency
When considering growing auto-flowering strains, it is important to think about your desired yield and potency. Knowing what you want to achieve can guide your choice of strains and how you grow them.
Yield: Auto-flowering strains typically have a lower yield than regular photoperiod strains, but they make up for it in speed and convenience. If you are looking for a large yield, you may need to grow multiple plants or opt for a regular photoperiod strain. It’s important to note that the yield can also depend on the specific strain and growing conditions.
Potency: Auto-flowering strains generally have a lower THC potency than regular photoperiod strains. This is because they have a shorter growth cycle, which means less time for the plant to produce THC. However, there are some auto-flowering strains that have comparable potency to regular strains, so it’s important to research and choose your strains carefully. Additionally, potency can also be influenced by growing conditions such as lighting, nutrients, and temperature.
Ultimately, your desired yield and potency will depend on your personal needs and preferences. Consider how much cannabis you consume and how often, as well as what effects you are looking for. If a lower yield and potency are not a concern, auto-flowering strains may be a great option for you.
How to Grow Auto-Flowering Strains
Growing auto-flowering strains requires attention to detail in order to maximize yield and potency. Here are some steps to follow when growing your own:
1. Choose the Right Seeds: When selecting seeds, make sure to choose a reputable supplier and select seeds that are genetically stable. Look for auto-flowering strains that have been consistently tested for quality and potency.
2. Use Adequate Lighting and Nutrients: Auto-flowering strains need adequate lighting and nutrients to grow properly. LED grow lights are a popular choice among growers, as they provide the right spectrum of light for optimal growth while using less energy. Choose a high-quality nutrient solution that is designed specifically for auto-flowering plants.
3. Provide Ideal Environment: Auto-flowering plants need a warm, humid environment with good air circulation. Keep the temperature at around 75-85°F during the day and 60-70°F at night. Maintain a humidity level of around 50-70% and provide good air circulation to prevent mold and pests.
4. Harvest at the Right Time: Harvesting at the right time is crucial in determining the potency and yield of your crop. Auto-flowering strains typically take around 8-10 weeks to go from seed to harvest. Look for signs of maturity, such as changes in color and the appearance of resin glands, before harvesting.
Growing auto-flowering strains can be a rewarding experience if done properly. By following these steps and paying close attention to detail, you can produce a crop with good yield and potency.
Choose the Right Seeds
Selecting the best seeds for your auto-flowering plant can be a perplexing task. It is crucial to consider factors such as the quality, genetics, and strain type. Keep in mind that the seeds you choose will have an immense impact on the final yield and potency of your plants. So, it’s essential to do your research and opt for high-quality seeds from reliable breeders. In this section, we’ll explore the key factors to consider when selecting the right seeds for your auto-flowering plants.
Use Adequate Lighting and Nutrients
Growing auto-flowering strains requires adequate lighting and nutrients to ensure healthy growth and good yields. Here’s what you need to know about providing the right lighting and nutrients for your auto-flowering plants:
- Most auto-flowering strains grow well with around 18 hours of daily light and 6 hours of darkness.
- LED lights are a popular choice for auto-flowering plants as they produce low heat and UV rays, reducing the risk of burning the plants.
- Fluorescent lights can also be used, but they need to be placed closer to the plants to provide enough light.
- HPS (high-pressure sodium) and MH (metal halide) lights are not recommended for auto-flowering plants as they produce too much heat and can harm the plant.
- Make sure to adjust the lighting according to the growth stage of the plant. Seedlings require less light than fully grown plants.
- Auto-flowering plants have a shorter lifespan than regular plants which means they have less time to absorb nutrients.
- Use a nutrient-rich soil mix when planting and supplement with nutrients during the growth cycle.
- Choose a fertilizer that is specifically formulated for auto-flowering plants.
- Do not over-fertilize as this can lead to nutrient burn and damage to the plant.
- Flush the plant with water in the last week of the growth cycle to remove excess nutrients and improve taste.
By providing the right lighting and nutrients, you can ensure healthy growth and improve yields for your auto-flowering plants. However, it’s important to monitor the plants closely and adjust the lighting and nutrients as needed to avoid any issues.
Provide Ideal Environment
One of the most important factors when growing auto-flowering strains is providing the ideal environment for the plant to thrive. This means considering the temperature, humidity, air circulation, and other environmental factors that can impact the growth and yield of the plant.
Temperature: Auto-flowering strains typically grow best in temperatures between 68-77°F (20-25°C) during the day, and slightly cooler temperatures (around 10°F/5°C lower) at night. If the temperature falls outside of this range, it can significantly impact the growth and health of the plant.
Humidity: While auto-flowering strains can handle a range of humidity levels, it’s best to keep the humidity between 40-60% during the vegging stage and lower it to around 30-40% during the flowering stage. High humidity can increase the risk of mold and fungal growth.
Air Circulation: Proper air circulation is important for preventing mold and ensuring that carbon dioxide is being distributed evenly throughout the grow space. This can be achieved through the use of fans and air ducts.
Lighting: Auto-flowering strains do well with 18-20 hours of light per day, but it’s important to consider the intensity and quality of the light source as well. LED grow lights are often recommended for their energy efficiency and customizable spectrum.
Creating the perfect environment for auto-flowering strains involves a balance between the different environmental factors, and monitoring and adjusting as needed throughout the growing process. Using a tent or grow room can help control these factors and create a more stable and controlled environment for the plant to thrive.
Harvest at the Right Time
One of the most crucial steps in growing auto-flowering strains is to harvest the plants at the right time. If done too soon, the plants will not have reached their full potential and the yield and potency will be lower. If done too late, the buds will begin to degrade and lose their potency, taste, and aroma. It is important to pay attention to the following factors when determining the harvest time:
|Factor||What to Look For||How to Harvest|
|Trichome Color||The trichomes, or resin glands, on the buds will change color over time. When they are clear, the buds are not yet ready for harvest. As they turn milky-white, the buds are at their peak potency. If left too long, the trichomes will turn amber and the potency will decrease.||Use a magnifying glass to inspect the trichomes. Harvest when most of them are milky-white.|
|Pistil Color||The pistils, or hairs, on the buds will also change color as the plant matures. They will start off white and turn orange or red as the plant reaches maturity.||Wait until at least half of the pistils have turned orange or red before harvesting.|
|Plant Size||The size of the plant can also be an indicator of when to harvest. Generally, auto-flowering strains will be ready to harvest within 8-12 weeks from seed, but the actual time will vary depending on the strain and growing conditions.||Refer to the seed packaging or strain information for an estimated harvest time. Monitor the trichomes and pistils to confirm the timing.|
By using a combination of these factors, growers can ensure that they harvest their auto-flowering strains at the optimal time for the best yield and potency. Once harvested, the buds should be dried and cured properly to preserve their flavor and potency.
In conclusion, growing auto-flowering strains comes with both pros and cons. While they offer a fast-growing time, ease of growing, flexible plant size and more harvest in a year, there are also downsides such as lower yield and potency, no cloning and less control over plant growth.
Before deciding to grow auto-flowering strains, it’s important to consider your experience and expertise, space and lighting available, as well as desired yield and potency. Only with the right conditions and knowledge can you ensure successful cultivation of these strains.
Additionally, growing auto-flowering strains requires attention to detail in terms of choosing the right seeds, adequate lighting and nutrients, providing an ideal environment and deciding when to harvest.
Overall, whether to grow auto-flowering strains or not depends on your individual circumstances and preferences. It’s important to weigh both the pros and cons before making a decision, and to approach the process with patience, hard work, and dedication.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are Auto-Flowering Strains?
Auto-flowering strains are a type of cannabis plant that automatically starts to flower based on age rather than changes in light cycles.
What are the Pros of Growing Auto-Flowering Strains?
The pros of growing auto-flowering strains include a faster growing time, ease of growing, flexible plant size, and more harvest in a year.
What are the Cons of Growing Auto-Flowering Strains?
The cons of growing auto-flowering strains include lower yield and potency, no cloning, and less control over plant growth.
What Should I Consider Before Growing Auto-Flowering Strains?
Before growing auto-flowering strains, you should consider your experience and expertise, space and lighting, and desired yield and potency.
What Seeds Should I Choose to Grow Auto-Flowering Strains?
You should choose high-quality auto-flowering seeds from a reputable supplier to ensure the best results.
What Light and Nutrients Should I Use to Grow Auto-Flowering Strains?
You should use high-quality LED grow lights and nutrient-rich soil or hydroponic solutions to grow auto-flowering strains.
What Temperature and Humidity Should I Provide for Auto-Flowering Strains?
You should provide a consistent temperature between 65-80°F and a humidity level between 40-60% for optimal growth.
How Often Should I Water Auto-Flowering Strains?
You should water auto-flowering strains when the soil or growing medium is dry to about an inch deep, typically every 2-3 days.
What is the Ideal Time to Harvest Auto-Flowering Strains?
The ideal time to harvest auto-flowering strains is when the buds are fully formed and have turned amber, generally around 8-10 weeks after planting.
Can I Grow Auto-Flowering Strains Indoors and Outdoors?
Yes, you can grow auto-flowering strains indoors and outdoors as long as they receive proper lighting, nutrients, and environmental conditions.