Top 10 Reasons To Grow Autoflowering Cannabis
6 min

Top 10 Reasons To Grow Autoflowering Cannabis

6 min

The development of autoflowering strains revolutionized cannabis cultivation. Autos require minimal effort, finish ultra-fast and don’t need special lighting schedules - and yet produce a high quality smoke with great yields.

Autoflowering strains are not the result of some fancy genetic modification, rarther they are the product of decades of careful breeding: Regular Indica and Sativa strains are crossed with ruderalis lineages. Ruderalis is a family of cannabis found in some of the colder regions of the world, such as northern Russia and China.

Due to the adverse conditions, it has naturally evolved to flower with age, allowing it break the shackles of a light cycle dependance in an area of the world where light is scarce. The reason you do not see ruderalis strains on the market is because they do not produce much bud, and the bud they do produce is rather weak – to the point where there is no point in a pure ruderalis strain.

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However, through careful breeding, experienced cultivators have managed to successfully mix the autoflowering properties of ruderalis into many indica and sativa strains of cannabis, resulting in seeds that maintain all of the potency and yields of your favourite strains whilst adding in the benefit of age based flowering. It has been so successful that it is now possible to obtain all of the big names, including Amnesia Haze, AK-47, OG Kush and many others in an autoflowering variety.

What Are The Advantages Of Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds?

Chances are, that at some point in your travels through cannabis culture you have come across autoflowering cannabis seeds. This new take on genetics has a lot to offer, and provide an advantage to both novices and veterans alike.

1. You Can Harvest Auto's Throughout The Entire Year

You Can Harvest Auto's Throughout The Entire Year

Autoflowering cannabis seeds do not rely on light cycles to dictate their flowering. This means that they can be grown all year around with multiple harvests - without having to worry about seasonal changes. It also offers novice growers a huge advantage, allowing them to get to grips with growing cannabis, minus the worry of proper light cycle management (when used indoors).

2. AUTOFLOWERING STRAINS Produce Results Very Fast

Autoflowering Strains Produce Results Very Fast

Tying in with the above advantage, autoflowering seeds produce results extremely quickly. They can go from seed to harvest in as little as 10 weeks, allowing for constant and rapid production of fresh yields. You may think because they grow so quickly, they can’t produce the same level of yields as a normal strain, and to some degree, you are right.

However, it is important to balance up the ratio of yield to time. Although some autoflowering strains do not yield as much as normal strains, they produce the flower much, much quicker, allowing for multiple grows in the same space as the time it takes for one normal grow. This can actually result in larger overall yield when looking at bigger time to yield picture. It also means you get more frequent harvests, making it possible to establish a constant flow of bud without further installations such as separate rooms.

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Autoflowering strains tend to never grow above 1-1.2m in height – even the sativa dominant ones. This allows for a great deal of stealth and discretion, making grow room management a lot easier. It makes autoflowering strains ideal for those who want to grow on their balcony, or plan to do a bit of guerrilla cultivation. Their small stature can also make them pretty appealing for those who want to grow sativa, but don’t have the space to do so.

4. Autoflowering Cannabis is Resilient

Autoflowering Cannabis is Resilient

Due to their ruderalis heritage, autoflowering stains of cannabis are very resilient to the cold, infections, and pests. This makes autoflowering strains not only more forgiving for novices, but also suitable to grow in the colder regions of the world. If it’s not too cold (and snowy), they can even be grown outdoors in the winter.

5. Autoflowering Strains Are Suited To Both Outdoor And Indoor Cultivation

Autoflowering Strains Are Suited To Both Outdoor And Indoor Cultivation

Thanks to the combination of resilience and age based flowering, autoflowering strains of cannabis seeds are suitable for both indoor and outdoor cultivation. When indoors, simply put your plants under a constant 18/6 light cycle, and when outdoors, plant them and leave them to it! It could not be easier.

6. Autoflowering Strains Make Growing Simple

Autoflowering Cannabis Strains Make Growing Simple

Autos make growing cannabis a lot easier. They serve as the perfect stepping stone into the world of cultivation, and remain the first choice of many veteran and commercial growers due to their ease and turnaround. Overall, they require less maintenance during their life cycle and are resilient to harsh conditions and pests. They’re also forgiving of minor errors and will survive just fine in the face of some neglect.

Unlike their photoperiod counterparts, autoflowering plants don’t require a change in light cycle to flower. Instead, they initiate flowering on their own accord after just a few weeks of vegetation. This means growers can keep their plants under the same light cycle from seed to harvest, giving them one less thing to worry about.

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7. It Doesn’t Cost a Lot to Grow Autos

It Doesn’t Cost A Lot To Grow Autoflowering Cannabis

Autoflowering strains tend to require fewer resources than other cultivars. This makes them a cheaper option in many respects, especially for those looking to achieve perpetual harvests. First, autos race through the growing cycle much quicker than photoperiod strains, meaning they don’t require the same energy expenditure when it comes to lighting, water, and nutrients.

Second, autos themselves require less nutrient-rich soils. A potting mix made up of compost, perlite, and coco coir will see them all the way through to harvest. Although the occasional top-up of nutrients will help them along the way, growers don’t need to spend money on excessive amounts of fertiliser to keep them kicking.

These sturdy strains also thrive outside and are often the first choice for guerrilla growers. Costs are even further reduced when raising these plants in concealed outdoor locations. Just make sure you water them well during dry spells.

8. Autos Aren’t Susceptible to Ambient Light

Autoflowering strains Aren’t Susceptible to Ambient Light

Autoflowering strains will flower almost anywhere. Whether they are faced with a 24-hour light cycle or only receive a few hours of sun each day, they’ll keep soldiering on to produce resinous buds. For this reason, you can get away with growing them in ambient light if there’s no other option, without interrupting the bloom phase.

In contrast, photoperiod strains evolved to flower in synchrony with external lighting conditions. They require a strict light cycle of 12 hours on and 12 hours off to remain in the flowering phase. Ambient light leaking into the grow room can disrupt this cycle and cause them to re-enter the vegetative phase—slowing down the growing cycle and potentially reducing yields.

9. Autoflowering Plants Don’t Need to Be Transplanted

Autoflowering Cannabis Plants Don’t Need to Be Transplanted

After germinating, autos settle into their new home pretty quickly and aren’t too keen on moving. This means they’ll happily send their taproots deep into the soil and emerge from a seedling into a mature specimen in the exact same spot.

This trait benefits the grow-op in several ways. To start, transplanting into bigger pots puts a lot of stress on plants, slowing down their growth rate. By cutting out this stress entirely, you save yourself and your plants a lot of grief. Second, not having to transplant cuts costs even further. By placing seeds directly into their final pot, you don’t need to invest in 3–4 pots of different sizes. Just make sure to keep your plants well-watered and ensure the growing medium has enough nutrients to carry them through.

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10. Autos Continue to Get Better

Autoflowering cannabis strains Continue to Get Better

Autoflowering strains have come a long way. After discovering the autoflowering trait within the Cannabis ruderalis subspecies, breeders made groundbreaking progress by crossing them with indica and sativa specimens. This gave rise to what we now consider the old-school autoflowering strains.

These varieties featured an extraordinarily fast growing cycle compared to photoperiod strains, charging from seed to harvest in 8–10 weeks. However, this speed came with a trade-off. These strains possessed much lower THC levels than photoperiods of the time, alongside much smaller yields.

Today, some growers are still afraid to cultivate these specimens in fear of sub-par harvests; but there's no reason to be apprehensive. Pioneering breeders have made significant progress in this domain. New-school autos on the modern market possess THC levels and yields rivalling many photoperiod strains, all while maintaining their famous brevity.

What Else Do You Need to Know About Autos?

What Else Do You Need to Know About autoflowering cannabis strains?

Despite the many advantages of autoflowering strains, there are a few disadvantages growers need to be aware of before embarking on their cultivation journey. Check out the cons of growing autos below.

  • Smaller plants: Despite their much improved yields, few autos climb to the same height as tree-like photoperiod sativas. As such, autos won't churn out record-breaking harvests like these giants.

  • Speed may come at a cost: Sometimes, autos grow a little too fast for their own good. If a grower makes a mistake that stunts a plant’s potential, they have almost no time to correct it, resulting in compromised yields.

  • They don’t like training: The speed of autos means they don’t tolerate high-stress training well. Techniques such as topping and main-lining should only be used by growers of photoperiod plants. Autos can, however, take some LST without suffering major issues.

Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds to Get You Started

Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds To Get You Started

As one of the most important parts of the growing process, choosing which autoflowering strain to grow requires careful consideration. Every strain offers a different taste, smell, yield, and effect. Some varieties grow much taller and wider, whereas others remain tiny and easy to conceal.

We recommend browsing through the Zamnesia autoflowering catalogue to find a variety with all of the characteristics you’re looking for. To give you head start, we’ve highlighted some of our best autoflowering genetics below.

Amnesia Haze Automatic (RQS)

Amnesia Haze Automatic takes a cannabis classic and makes it accessible to growers of all levels, thanks to Cannabis ruderalis. The strain possesses high levels of THC at 19%, alongside medium levels of CBD. This phytochemical combination exerts a powerful high without being overwhelming. Every hit sends tastes of spice and sweetness crashing over the tongue. Enjoy yields of up to 400g/m² indoors and 130–180g/plant outdoors.

Amnesia Haze Automatic (Royal Queen Seeds) feminized

Parents: Amnesia x Ruderalis
Genetics: Ruderalis/Indica/Sativa
Flowering Time: 12-13 weeks from seed to harvest
THC: 19%
CBD: Medium
Flowering Type: Autoflowering

Northern Lights Automatic (Zamnesia Seeds)

As the autoflowering version of the legendary original, Northern Lights Automatic condenses the same traits into a quick and easy package. This indica-dominant lady carries the family name proudly and delivers a deeply soothing high perfect for relaxing evenings and periods of creativity. She reaches a medium height and provides impressive yields of 500g/m² and 200g/plant indoors and outdoors, respectively.

Northern Lights Automatic (Zamnesia Seeds) feminized

Parents: Northern Lights x Ruderalis
Genetics: Ruderalis/Indica/Sativa
Flowering Time: 9-10 weeks
THC: 15%
CBD: 0-1%
Flowering Type: Autoflowering

Sticky Beast Automatic (Zamnesia Seeds)

Named after her immense resin production, Sticky Beast Automatic brings OG Kush genetics into the autoflowering world. This aesthetically pleasing strain produces dense and compact flowers that appear almost white due to such a high trichome content. Her high THC levels and sweet and earthy tastes secured her a first-place win in the autoflowering category at the prestigious Highlife Cup in 2018.

Sticky Beast Automatic (Zamnesia Seeds) feminized

Parents: Bubble Gum x OG Kush x Critical Automatic
Genetics: Indica-dominant Auto
Flowering Time: 10-11 weeks from seed to harvest
THC: 16%
CBD: 3%
Flowering Type: Autoflowering

Autoflowering Genetics: This Is Only the Beginning

Autoflowering Genetics: This Is Only the Beginning

Autoflowering strains already feature a long list of attractive benefits. However, breeders are only just getting started when it comes to unleashing the true potential of these cultivars. Even higher cannabinoid values, tastier terpenes profiles, and quicker flowering times are on the horizon.

In the meantime, check out some of our other top autoflowering genetics. Explore our top ten autoflowering seeds, top ten outdoor autos, and five highest-yielding autos.

Luke Sumpter
Luke Sumpter
With a BSc (Hons) degree in Clinical Health Sciences and a passion for growing plants, Luke Sumpter has worked as a professional journalist and writer at the intersection of cannabis and science for the past 7 years.
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