If you missed the opportunity to plant cannabis seeds earlier this Spring, don’t worry! It may be too late for photoperiod strains, but order autoflowering cannabis seeds now and, with a little help from your friends at Paradise, you’re still in time for a bumper harvest this year!
Autoflowering cannabis strains provide the beginner grower and the amateur gardener with a plant that is easy to grow, quick to harvest and so versatile that it is as happy on a sunny balcony or garden deck as it is in a pro grow indoor set up. The advantages are obvious and the winners are many – from those growers living in more northern regions where summers are short and the weather is variable, to those with minimal space (autos grow between 1 – 1.5 meters in height) and those who are just curious to try their hand at growing a cannabis plant.
It’s for this reason that we are seeing far more interest in Paradise Seeds autoflowering cannabis strains these days and much of it from people who are new to growing cannabis – including older growers and particularly medical users. So how do you maximize your auto crop? Let’s investigate, with guidance from the Top Shelf Grower and his autoflower tutorial series on the Paradise Seeds Youtube channel, and answer some of the most common questions we are asked about growing cannabis autos.
On Your Marks, Get Set, Go!
The trick with autoflowering cannabis plants is to view them as a separate entity to their photoperiod peers (for which flowering is dependent on the hours of light they receive). The length of their harvest - 7 - 9 weeks as opposed to 5 – 6 months for photoperiod cannabis strains – means that auto cultivation requires quick response and timely action. Autos are a bit like hand grenades; once you pull out the pin (germinate the seed), the clock is ticking before they explode (with buds fortunately!).
“With the accelerated lifestyle of autoflower cannabis, timing is absolutely everything. You’ve got to make your move early and you can’t have any mistakes,” says the Top Shelf Grower about his ‘Area 51 Autoflowering Cannabis Test Site’ video series. “I hope you’re going to enjoy this series and follow along. We’re at the very beginning of an all new autoflowering adventure!”
There are 10 videos that follow the auto cultivation process from seed to harvest, and what’s different about these is the ‘test site’ aspect which compares the performance of plants grown in different ways. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about autoflower growing with links to the relevant series videos.
How do you germinate auto cannabis plants? The truth is, you can germinate (TSG video series Episode 1) auto seeds the same way as all cannabis seeds – some growers place seeds between damp tissue, while others drop seeds into a glass of (unchlorinated) water.
What size pot should I use? Because autos are so rapid in their growth it is recommended to start them off in the pot they will stay in. However, many auto growers will also grow a seedling in a smaller pot before transplanting (Episode 2) and in this series, the TSG illustrates how you can adapt items found in the house to help the process – from propagators made from plastic bottles, to pots made from party cups! As with all cannabis grows, the general rule is - the bigger the pot, the bigger the plant!
Can you top and train autoflower plants? Due to the accelerated growth of autos, conventional growing wisdom suggests that this process could cause undue stress on the plant and impair its development (autos bud within a month of germination). However, the TSG illustrates that it is possible to top (Episode 3)and train (Episode 4) autos, but emphasises that with this type of plant, timing is everything.
Can an autoflower performance ever compete with a photoperiod plant? So the simple fact is, feminized cannabis plants are bigger in size, however in relative terms (ie comparing growth period lengths and allowing for natural size differences) autoflower performance is awesome. Check out how the Top Shelf Grower’s autos compare to photoperiod plants (Episode 5).
The History of Autoflower Cannabis Strains
The autoflower is a cross between cannabis indica and (or) sativa genetics and cannabis ruderalis – a low growing plant found close to the Arctic circle, which naturally flowers regardless of light hours it receives. First discovered in the early 1900s in Russia, one theory for its existence is that it was a plant that had seeded and ‘escaped’ from hemp plantations and adapted to its environment.
It was at the beginning of this century that these ruderalis genes were bred with indica and sativa plants to produce the first commercialized autoflower varieties. However, it took a while for the cannabis growing community to fully embrace the autoflower. Much of the resistance concerned questions concerned the quality as they weren’t great in terms of growth, taste and yield. However, the science caught up very quickly and Paradise Seeds was in the first wave of producers to release high performance autoflower cannabis strains such as Vertigo, Pandora, Auto Jack and Automaria ll.
According to gardening writer, Jeff Lowenfels autos are a game changer that makes cannabis accessible to “your mother or your aunt and uncle.” In his opinion this is a plant, like the sugar snap pea, which comes along only once or twice in a lifetime. Says Jeff, “I am convinced that the autoflowering cannabis plant is the next tomato!”