Autoflowering seeds and strains have become important parts of the weed cultivation scene. These plants automatically move from the vegetative phase into the flowering phase. As a result, autoflowering varieties offer a quick and streamlined way to grow decent yields of smokeable flowers.
In order to produce buds, regular cannabis plants require changes in the types and amount of light they receive. To demonstrate how it works, think about a plant growing naturally on its own outside.
During the spring and summer, the plant gets increasingly longer days full of light, and increasingly shorter nights. Then, when the fall begins the days get shorter and the nights get longer.
This change in light is what triggers the switch from the vegetative phase to the flowering phase. During the vegetative phase, the plant is growing bigger and taller and is developing its roots. But during flowering, it focuses all its energy on producing buds.
When you grow weed indoors, you’re trying to mimic the natural shift from long days/short nights to short days/long nights. You do this by adjusting the amount and type of light you give your plants.
Autoflowering varieties bypass this entire process. Instead, these plants automatically move into the flowering phase regardless of what’s going on with the light they’re receiving.
This makes them very helpful to growers. In particular, they are especially popular among indoor growers. The smaller plants are more space-efficient, perfect for growers working with tight spaces.
Similarly, the automatic shift into the flowering phase makes the entire life cycle of the plants quicker, simpler, and more streamlined. If you grow this type of cannabis, you don’t need to worry about changing bulbs and adjusting how much light your plants get.
History of Autoflowering Weed
Lowryder is the first autoflowering strain ever created, and it was made by the well-known breeder known as The Joint Doctor. These strains are made when breeders cross cannabis ruderalis strains with other indica or sativa strains.
Ruderalis plants are part of the cannabis family, but they have some unique properties. For starters, they mature much faster than regular indica or sativa strains, and they are not as sensitive to changes in light as their counterparts.
On top of that, ruderalis plants do not produce very many cannabinoids. Most often, ruderalis plants are grown and harvested for hemp. But they have also been used as the genetic backbone for autoflowering seeds.
By crossing ruderalis genes with indica and sativa genes, breeders have managed to produce strains that stay small and flower automatically the way ruderalis plants do, but that also produce THC the way regular indicas and sativas do.
After The Joint Doctor created Lowryder, breeders and growers throughout the industry started developing their own autoflowering strains. Today, it’s common to find autoflowering versions of many well-known indica and sativa strains.
Although many seed companies keep the full genetics of these varieties under wraps, most of these strains probably contain a mix of the indica or sativa strain it’s marketed as and genetics from the original Lowryder strain.
Autoflowering Weed and Today’s Cannabis Scene
As more and more places around the world move toward legalization, the market for autoflowering seeds and strains has expanded. Now, commercial and at-home growers can purchase autoflowering varieties of tons of different strains.
Fans of this type of cannabis appreciate their small size and how easy it is to grow a plant from the vegetative phase to the flowering phase.
Most importantly, these varieties reach full maturity much faster than regular varieties. Some autoflowering plants can go from seed to harvest in as little as seven weeks.
This makes it possible to get harvests in a very short timeframe. If you’re growing outdoors, autoflowering seeds make it possible to get multiple harvests out of a single growing season. And if you’re growing indoors, you can get several harvests every year.
But there are also critics of autoflowering plants. Many growers complain that the ruderalis genetics “water down” the genetics of regular strains.
In general, harvests from these plants are smaller than harvests from regular strains. Similarly, some growers complain that the buds are not as potent as regular strains.
Why Autoflowering Strains Matter
These strains have made it easier than ever for beginners to try their hand at growing weed. By eliminating the need to focus on light so much, these varieties make it very easy for inexperienced growers to successfully get a harvest of flowers.
As a result, autoflowering seeds have picked up steam in the cannabis market. Seed banks and seed suppliers everywhere are now well-stocked with autoflowering options. Simply put, autoflowering seeds have made cannabis cultivation more accessible than ever before.