To get the buds found in medical and recreational stores, female cannabis plants are grown in an environment without males—or the males are removed from the area before they release pollen—so the females don’t create seeds. Females can then focus their energies on producing buds and not seeds—this high-potency marijuana is traditionally known as “sinsemilla,” meaning “seedless.”
Through cloning, you can create a new harvest with exact replicas of your favorite plant. Because genetics are identical, a clone will give you a plant with the same characteristics as the mother, such as flavor, cannabinoid profile, yield, grow time, etc. So if you come across a specific strain or phenotype you really like, you might want to clone it to reproduce more buds that have the same effects and characteristics.
Pros and cons of using cannabis seeds
As mentioned above, you can skip the processing of sexing weed plants by growing with feminized seeds or clones.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the chemical components—known collectively as cannabinoids—found in the cannabis plant. Over the years, humans have selected plants for high-THC content, making cannabis with high levels of CBD rare. The genetic pathways through which THC is synthesized by the plant are different than those for CBD production.
Another drawback to clones is they can take on negative traits from the mother plant as well. If the mother has a disease, attracts pests, or grows weak branches, its clones will probably have the same issues.
Optimal humidity for your autoflowers depends on your plant’s age. In the first few weeks, they prefer a more humid environment. Reduce relative humidity to 40–50% when your plants start to flower to reduce the risk of mould.
No list of good cannabis would be complete without the legendary Skunk family. Royal Dwarf blends ruderalis with Skunk, while Sweet Skunk Automatic adds autoflowering magic to Early Skunk and Critical. Spicy and skunky flavours galore!
Feminized (photoperiod) cannabis plants flower depending on the hours of light they receive. Out in nature, they start to bloom when the days get shorter at the end of summer. Indoors, cultivators initiate flowering by adjusting their grow lights to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness.
How much time do you need to grow autoflowers?
Here are some of the most popular autoflowering varieties based on well-known cannabis strain families.
Indoors: No need to switch your lights to a flowering schedule like with photoperiod cannabis. You can keep your autoflowers on an 18/6 (18 hours of light, 6 hours of darkness) or 24/0 light schedule from seed to harvest.
The “mother of all indicas”, Kush is also well-represented in the autoflowers you can get at Royal Queen Seeds. Check out the fruity Bubble Kush Auto or Royal Kush Auto, both autoflowering variants of classic strains.
These days, autoflowers can satisfy even the most demanding of users: Recreational users won’t have difficulties finding automatic varieties rich in THC, and holistic users can get autoflowers low in THC but high in CBD to benefit from the non-psychoactive cannabinoid.
Life Cycle: 8–9 weeks
Flowering Time: 5–6 weeks
Autoflowering strains are the go-to genetics for beginner growers and those looking for a fast return. But they’re not perfect. Find out what makes them great, and where they run into issues.
Cultivators can also maximise yields by using the sea of green (SOG) technique. This method involves planting numerous autoflowers in close proximity and manipulating them to converge into one large, productive canopy.
For example, Haze genetics are known for their brilliant sativa effects, but their long flowering times can be a turn-off. The merging of Haze and ruderalis genetics means growers now have access to these sativa effects in much less time.
Growers rarely cultivate pure ruderalis strains outside of breeding operations as these varieties produce very little in regards to yield. However, by breeding successful photoperiod strains with ruderalis genetics, breeders can create autoflowers, and therefore faster, versions of legendary varieties.
Autoflower cannabis varieties are queens of speed. This trait is another result of their adaptive prowess. Most autoflowering strains complete the entire growing cycle in the same amount of time that photoperiod strains take to finish flowering alone—around 7–10 weeks. Their speedy life cycle results from a brief vegetative phase and a fast flowering stage.
Autoflower plants boast strong, sturdy, and resilient genetics. Cannabis ruderalis didn’t survive the throes of northern latitudes by chance. The subspecies is well equipped to deal with extreme temperatures and harsh weather.