Ask Cheri

Cannabis Cultivation: All About Autoflower Seeds 

By Cheri Sicard
January 24, 2024

Dear Cheri

I was shopping for some cannabis seeds and came across something called autoflower seeds.  Can you explain what auto flower seeds are and why I might want to use them, Or why I might not want to use them.  Thank you!

Great question.  Our grow editor Mitch Mandell and I are both fans of autoflower seeds.

Mitch says that when he started growing, all you could get were plain old seeds.  then feminized seeds came along.  Those guaranteed that you would get a female plant.

Then came autoflower seeds which give you the advantage of knowing it will be a female plant, but also you will know exactly when the plant will go into a flowering state.  

In traditional cannabis cultivation when a plant goes into flower is determined by the sun when growing outdoors, or by the change in light cycle by the grower when growing indoors.

Autoflower plants, on the other hand, are bred  with rudaralis to flower at a predetermined time.  Think of rudaralis is a 3rd type of cannabis besides indica and sativa.  You will rarely, if ever, encounter rudaralis, unless you are breeding new strains of cannabis.

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Advantages of growing cannabis with autoflower seeds

  • You will know how long the crop will take to complete and can paln accordingly
  • Grows faster than traditional seeds. Most autoflower plants are completed in 10 weeks, where plants from regular seeds typically take between 12 to 20 weeks.
  • You can grow more crops per year when growing indoors.

Disadvantages of autoflower plants

One downside of plants grown from autoflower seeds is that they tend to be a smaller.  Likewise, if you are hoping to grow a monster plant, starting with autoflower seeds will not be your best bet.

If you are growing outdoors you can compensate for the smaller plant size by growing 2 or more crops in a season, depending on the conditions where you live.

Indoors, as I said above, you can actually grow more crops in a year.  While each crop may be slightly smaller than it would be with a non-autoflower plant, the overall yield will be higher.

Beyond that, plants grown from autoflower seeds tend to be a bit more sensitive.  Therefore it is recommended that you sprout them in their final growing vessel in order to avoid having to transplant them.  Many an autoflower plant has been lost due to the shock of being transplanted.

Other than that, grow autoflower plants like you would any others.  Take care of them well and you'll be rewarded with some amazing cannabis in a short amount of time.


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About the author

Cheri Sicard is the author of Mary Jane: The Complete Marijuana Handbook for Women, and The Easy Cannabis Cookbook.  Her online courses at Cannademy.com have educated 1000s of students about marijuana, cannabis cooking for home cooks, and making infused topicals.

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