You may have heard that auto-flowering marijuana plants are quite easy to grow, or maybe that auto-flowering plants are less potent and provide a smaller yield. There are lots of rumors and prejudice about this kind of marijuana, so let us have a look at what is true and what is not. To explain this, we need to find the answer to the question “What does auto-flowering mean?”
Auto-flowering cannabis seeds came from interbreeding our well-known indica and sativa plants with the less popular ruderalis strains. Cannabis ruderalis is widespread in Northern and Central Russia and the northern parts of Eastern Europe, where the summer is short, but the light hours are long. In these conditions, it would be impossible to grow sativa or indica outside as they would veg and veg right until the cold weather came. Ruderalis adapted to this kind of climate and became independent from the light cycle. Cannabis ruderalis germinates, grows, and starts flowering all by itself, following the inner genetic program.
The very first auto-flowering seeds were created back in 2003 by The Joint Doctor. Since then, many years and even more plant generations have passed. Now, we have marijuana genetics that give us the best from ruderalis and indica/sativa plants: plants that grow fast, give big and heavy yield, have a nice taste, and cause absolutely no hassle of changing rooms and light regimes.
Ruderalis genetics bring lots of benefits to sativa and indica. Instead of having all that fuss with light cycles and waiting for ages till the plants are ready to flower, ruderalis produces flowers automatically already on the third week after germination. This happens with whatever light regime you provide. That means there is no point in separating plants into different rooms for vegging and flowering—marijuana of all ages can successfully grow together. This, in its turn, gives you more space for growing, ensures a faster harvest, and provides a constant supply of weed.
So why do we never grow cannabis ruderalis if it has so many benefits? The reason is that pure ruderalis is just an agrestal plant with a very low THC content and a very little yield. There is simply no point in growing this kind of strains unless you want a cute decorative plant in a flower pot.
Luckily, breeders found out how to get the best from ruderalis and put aside its disadvantages. After intensive breeding with sativa and indica, auto-flowering plants can produce about 500-1000g/m2 of yield with the potency high enough to make you stoned for a couple of hours.
Most auto seeds are good for growing outside. Due to their wild ancestor from the tough Russian climate, auto-flowering marijuana easily adapts to temperature fluctuation and unscheduled watering. It is also often mold-resistant, so your only enemies could be pests and undesirable animal guests.
Auto-flowering marijuana plants are usually short, so they can fit in almost any room or growing box. They are also good for growing with the Sea of Green method.
Auto-seeds are quite low-maintenance, but they do not like to be transplanted. Therefore, we recommend you to germinate the seeds in their final pots (one or two-gallon pot would work fine). Here comes another advantage: once you determine the male flowers (you can see the gender of the plant two-three weeks after the germination), you can simply remove them from the pot and plant a new seed instead. If you have easy access to all the pots, you can do it in less than three minutes.
You may have a constant 18-hour light regime for all the plants regardless of their age. However, you still need to pay attention to the nutrients you provide for your garden. It is better to give different fertilizers for vegging and flowering plants as it may significantly increase the yield.