Growing your own weed with an autoflower is great fun and really easy. It saves you a lot of money, you know exactly what kind of weed you are growing and which nutrients you’re using. But what does autoflower actually mean and why is it important to know the difference from non-autoflower varieties.
What Does Autoflower Mean?
Autoflower means that your weed plant will flower on its own. If you’ve never cultivated weed you might ask what’s special about that. Isn’t it obvious that a plant will flower in due course? Wrong. The weed plant (Cannabis sativa L.) belongs to a class of plants which need a change of light in order to flower. More precisely: fewer hours light per natural day.
Plants ‘look’ as it were at the light which falls on the leaves. That’s how they know the season is changing. Is less light falling day by day on the leaves than previously? Then the plant knows that the days are getting shorter. Plants are quite clever.
They even look at the colour of the light. The tint of sunlight changes as the days get shorter because the sun is closer to the horizon. In the summer, when the plant is growing, more blue light is desirable. As soon as the longest day on 21 June has passed, the sun gets lower and the colour of the light becomes more red. Just think of a sunset on the beach. Plants which are exposed to warmer tinted light in the flowering period have bigger fruits and, very importantly for us: bigger flower buds.
What is the Advantage of an Autoflower Weed Plant?
Autoflowers make the grower’s life very easy. You don’t have to concern yourself about shorter days to get the plant to flower. That will happen automatically. Are you growing indoors? Then you don’t need to worry about complicated lighting schedules.
A weed plant which does not come into flower on its own must be planted outside or in a greenhouse at just the right moment to get the maximum harvest. As to when that moment is, it differs somewhat according to variety. Would you rather cultivate indoors? Then it’s vitally important for the plant, and thus for your yield, that the light changes if you want the plant to flower.
What makes a Weed Plant Flower Automatically?
Sativa and Indica cannabis plants flower under the influence of changing sunlight. In their natural state these plants grow in sub-tropical regions. But there is one type of cannabis plant the origins of which are to be found in temperate regions in Russia, China and Eastern Europe. This variety is the small-statured Ruderalis. A self-flowering weed plant is crossed once with a Ruderalis so as to acquire precisely this characteristic in its genetics. Incidentally, it is not the only characteristic which gets transferred. They usually stay smaller and have smaller leaves.
An autoflower which grows and flowers in the sun will often produce a better harvest than an autoflower kept in artificial light. Even so, good results can be obtained under artificial light such as HPS, LED and energy-saving lights - this is certainly the case with the current generation of autoflowers. The usual light/dark schedule employed is 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness or 20 hours to 4 hours. The obvious advantage is that you don’t have to change it and this schedule can be maintained for the plant’s entire cycle.
Are Autoflower Weed Seeds also Feminised?
Yes, they are. At Dutch Headshop all weed seeds are feminised unless otherwise indicated. Feminised means that the seeds have undergone a process designed to minimize the chance of producing a male weed plant. With our weed seeds, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get a male among your seeds. Read why that’s important in this extended blog about male and female cannabis plants.
Myths about Autoflowers
There are a number of claims about self-flowering cannabis plants which actually are not all true. A line-up of the biggest myths.
- Not true: “You can plant autoflowers throughout the year”. You can, but only inside under artificial light. You don’t have to modify the lighting schedule but each plant has to have sufficient light.
- Not true: “Autoflowers don’t need any looking after. Just plant and that’s it done.”
- Partly true: “Autoflowers have a low yield.” Nowadays the yield from an autoflower is very respectable. 600 gram per square meter is often achievable. Each weed plant’s yield is greatly dependent on light, care, cultivation method and quality of the living environment.
- Not true: “Autoflowers don’t get any higher than 1 metre.” On the contrary: it's all down to what the conditions are like. And it’s affected by the genetics. Some autoflowers are a bit bigger than others. A good example is the Zkittlez OG from Barney’s Farm which grows up to 1.30 metres. In any event, autoflowers won’t be 3 metres high and often stay below fence height but always check the specification if this is important to you.
- True: “Autoflowers are for beginners.” Any novice grower can cultivate an autoflower. If you note the points in this article, you’re off to a good start.
Limited Choice? Also a Myth!
The demand for autoflowers has grown at a rapid pace. Consequently, the autoflower market has exploded in recent years. Whether you want to cultivate them indoors or outdoors. Prefer small, quick and inconspicuous or a slightly bigger plant which can provide a bigger yield? Preferably with high THC or just rich in CBD? Indica or Sativa? We will list a few top-sellers for you:
Sativa Dominant: Auto Amnesia Haze (Private Label)
This well-known Dutch top-seller has Sativa-dominant genetics. Auto Amnesia Haze is a cross between a self-flowering Ruderalis and an original Amnesia Haze. You can expect a respectable yield of 150 grammes per plant which gives a cheerful, relaxing and uplifting high that works well in company. No wonder it’s so popular.
Indica Dominant: Auto Blueberry (Private Label)
Auto Blueberry is a favourite among Indica lovers. The short growing cycle of 8 to 9 weeks and the strong, physically stoned effects make this potent Indica a hit among the autoflowers. Auto Blueberry is a cross between an original Blueberry and an autoflowering Ruderalis which can get you nicely chilled out.
High THC: Auto Gorilla Glue (Private Label)
Auto Gorilla Glue comes straight from the States - a weed variety the buds of which are stuffed with THC. Carefully chosen genetics are to thank for the high THC percentage (20%) of this top American weed. This all-rounder can get you both high and stoned. Build it up gradually and don’t smoke a whole joint at once. Then you can enjoy the varied effects of Auto Gorilla Glue for the entire evening.
High CBD: CBD Auto Charlotte’s Angel (Dutch Passion)
It’s advisable to keep a clear head for medicinal use. CBD Auto Charlotte’s Angel from Dutch Passion contains virtually no THC (0.7%) and a good 15% CBD. Powerful relaxing effects without feeling limp or ‘under the influence’. Ideal for use during the day. Incidentally, use a vaporizer if you’re looking for medicinal weed. Vapour is much better for you than smoke. You can get a good, portable vaporizer for under € 100.
Strong Garden Plant: Auto Night Queen (Dutch Passion)
The Auto Night Queen again contains more THC and the yield is considerable. Within 9 weeks you’ll have a metre-high plant from which you can get around 150 grammes. That should pay for itself very quickly! The plant is quite resistant to weather influences and mould, but make sure it’s sufficiently exposed to wind and sun. Are you cultivating it outside? In a good season that can result in 3 harvests per year. The first autoflowers are sown in mid-April. This is followed by the second round a few weeks later, and a third round a few weeks after that.
Advantages of Autoflower Weed Plants
- Grow several times a year. If you work it out right, you can cultivate 3 times in the season.
- No lighting schedules or blackouts. They flower on their own.
- Less hassle with neighbours. Because the plants stay a bit smaller, an autoflower is not visible over the average fencing. This also limits possible nuisance from odour.
- Relatively short flowering period: 8 to 10 weeks from sowing to harvest. Nice and quick home-grown weed.
- Well suited to small growing cabinets like the MiniGrow Box.
Cultivating Autoflowers? Watch out for the following points
Autoflowers are sensitive to over-feeding. For growing purposes the nutrition in the potting compost is often sufficient. Once the flowers have been visible for 1 or 2 weeks, a careful start can be made with plant food which is suitable for weed plants to aid flowering. Water in moderation giving a limited amount of plant food each time. Usually the plant is ready for harvesting after 8 to 10 weeks but check carefully the specifications and product text for your favourite weed seed.
Want to Know more about Cultivating Autoflowers? Ask our Customer Service!
Stressed by the amount of choice? Want to grow a weed plant but not sure which one to choose? Get in touch with our customer service. We’re ready and waiting to answer any questions you have about cultivating cannabis.
Before you pick up the phone, perhaps we can be of assistance to you with one of our blogs about weed seeds?