Learn | 06.02.2024

Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds Vs. Regular Seeds

Autoflowering cannabis seeds are all the rage these days. But, are they really worth the extra cash? Here’s the scoop on everything autoflower.

If you’ve ever shopped around for cannabis seeds, then you know that there are more than a few options available these days. More than ever before, breeders are offering autoflowering and feminized seeds.

Feminized seeds will always produce a female plant, which is the type of plant that produces the psychoactive cannabis flower many know and love today.

What are autoflowering cannabis seeds, and how do they work? Are they worth the extra money?

What Are Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds?

Autoflowering seeds are cannabis seeds that begin to flower when the plant has reached a certain phase of development. 

This is opposed to photoperiod flowering, in which the plant begins to flower after the summer solstice. 

Photoperiod flowering plants need at least a couple of weeks of long nights before they begin to flower. 

During the late summer and early autumn, red wavelengths of light from the sun become more abundant. This red light is packed with the energy the plant needs to develop complex flowers. In the spring, blue light wavelengths are more predominant. Plants rely on this blue light to prosper during vegetative growth.

How Do Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds Work?

As mentioned, photoperiod plants only begin to flower under certain light conditions. That is, they flower during a specific photoperiod, which is determined by the number of hours of sunlight versus the total number of hours in the dark. 

To flower photoperiod plants early, most indoor growers put the plants on a strict 12/12 light schedule. Meaning 12 hours under the lights followed by 12 hours of complete darkness. 

Autoflowering seeds work differently. Breeders have developed strains to begin flowering automatically when the plant reaches a certain size. 

As a result, most autoflowering plants are ready to harvest in under 10 weeks. Flowering often begins at a mere two to four weeks.

Autoflowering Seeds Vs. Regular Seeds

Though there is a variation from strain to strain, autoflowering strains tend to be much smaller than their standard counterparts. 

As a result, yields from autoflowering plants tend to be slightly less. On the high end, some autoflowering cannabis seeds can yield up to 150 grams per plant, though the average is somewhere in the double digits. 

Autoflowering seeds are particularly useful in northern climates, which have extremely long summer days. Once the nights become long enough to trigger flowering, the rain and frost soon follow. 

This means that many plants fail to develop full flowers before the cold arrives. 

Autoflowering cannabis seeds also have some advantages indoors, especially for those who love sativas. Autoflowering plants are generally small, and compact, and can handle a wider range of growth environments. 

Sativas, on the contrary, are tall plants with a long flowering period. Starting with autoflowering, sativa seeds make it easier to grow these wily plants indoors. 

Most indica plants, however, are also short and perform well indoors regardless of whether or not you start with autoflowering seeds.

How Are Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds Made?

One particular species of cannabis has made autoflowering seeds possible. The often-overlooked Cannabis ruderalis is mixed with Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica varieties to create autoflowering versions of some of the most popular strains. 

Cannabis ruderalis is native to Russia and has developed unique adaptations to the cold environment. Ruderalis plants are very small, only growing up to two feet high. 

Unlike the psychoactive varieties of cannabis, ruderalis plants produce very few cannabinoids. They also automatically mature in seven weeks, regardless of the photoperiod. 

Today’s autoflowering seeds are cannabis indica or sativa stains crossed with a ruderalis variety and bred over multiple generations. The autoflowering genetics are recessive, meaning that it takes quite some time to develop autoflowering varieties of strains. 

The result is either a psychoactive or high-CBD strain that will begin to bud on its own, regardless of the available light. 

Critics of autoflowering seeds often find fault with the low yields of the plant. A photoperiod-sensitive indica will produce short, manageable plants with a much higher yield than many auto-flowering varieties. 

However, auto-flowering strains provide growers with the ability to produce extremely fast, easy-to-grow crops with excellent adaptations to the cold.

How To Grow Autoflower Cannabis Seeds

Let’s dive into the step-by-step process of how to grow these tiny wonders.

  1. Choice of Autoflower Strain – As we know, all cannabis strains have different potencies of THC and/or CBD, along with dynamic terpene profiles that can influence the effects and flavor of the final flower. Do some research and figure out which strain tickles your curiosity and simply buy those seeds. 
  2. Germination Station – Take your seeds and place them in a glass full of room-temperature water. Let the seeds soak for 24-48 hours until tiny they germinate (tail-looking extremities, which are the root, will sprout). Now your seeds are ready to be planted! 
  3. Picking the Perfect Pot – Size matters when it comes to auto-flowering plants. Bigger is not always better and the size of pot matters. A 2-3 gallon pot for indoor flowers or up to 7-gallon pots for outdoor plants. Remember that auto flowers don’t enjoy the transplanting process, so make sure the pot you pick can be its forever home! 
  4. Planting Process – Fill your pot with soil and create a small hole, about half-inch deep. Gently place the sprouted seed in the hole, with the root facing down. Cover with soil and do not compact too much – the seed can become claustrophobic! 
  5. Watering – Over-watering is a common mistake; keep the soil moist but not soaked! A sprinkle of water a day will work wonders. 
  6. Sunlight galore – Most autoflowers love sunlight and typically work on an 18/6 light cycle (18 hours of light, 6 hours of dark), from sprout to harvest.
  7. Nutrients – Autoflowers prefer a light diet. Good quality, organic soil will provide sufficient nutrients for the first couple of weeks. Then, start introducing a mild nutrient solution and slowly increase the amount as the plant matures. 
  8. Harvesting day – After about 8-10 weeks (although, complete maturation will vary depending on the strain) your auto-flowering cannabis plant will be ready for harvesting. A clear sign is often when most pistils are dark and curled in. 

Popular Autoflowering Cannabis Strains

Let’s explore the high-quality strains that have proven time and time again that they’ve got the right recipe to make your cannabis cultivation dreams come true.

Celebrity autoflowering cannabis strains consistently stealing the spotlight are: 

  • Amnesia Haze – With an 18-22% THC content, Amnesia Haze is a true sativa-leaning stunner. This classic strain offers energizing and uplifting effects, finely layered with a distinct haze-inspired influence. This one is ready for the limelight in just 10-11 weeks post-planting. 
  • Gorilla Glue Auto (Cookies Auto) – This balanced hybrid holds the spotlight with its high THC levels hovering between 24-26%. Its potent strength is perfectly matched by a robust bud structure that sticks like…well, glue! Prepare to be impressed by its complex flavor profiles encompassing sour, sweet, and piney notes. In 9-10 weeks post-planting, you’ll be savoring this sweet spectacle. 
  • Auto AK-47: 18-20% THC – This tried-and-true classic contains an 18-20% THC content and has its woody aroma setting the stage for a balanced performance of relaxation and alertness in equal measure. Ready in as little as 9 weeks after planting, Auto AK-47 brings the best of both worlds. 
  • Purple Kush Auto: 17-20% THC – A visual spectacle with 17-20% THC, this Indica-dominant strain paints the town purple as it matures. Don’t be fooled by its pretty facade; Purple Kush delivers deeply relaxing effects with a sweet grape-like flavor profile. Often finished maturing 8-9 weeks post-planting. 
  • Jack Herer Auto: 20% THC – Named after an original cannabis legend, this strain holds the stage with 20% THC. Offering a cerebral boost followed by a soothing body high, Jack Herer entices with its spicy, peppery, and lemony notes. Be ready for this uplifting performance in just 9-10 weeks post-planting. 
  • Northern Lights Auto – A timeless indica favorite. This auto variant gives a soothing, full-body high containing earthy, sweet aromas. Maturing just 9-10 weeks after planting, Northern Lights is the go-to choice for those craving a more complex, celestial high. 

There are some of the all-star autoflowering cannabis strains recommended for experimentation. 

If you’re ready to extend your current cannabis library, check out this comprehensive guide on the best cannabis seed banks in the USA.

Pros And Cons Of Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds

Just like every other element of life, there are two sides to the same coin, and autoflowering seeds are no exception. 


Speedy Gonzales – Autoflowers are green sprinters and often go from seed to harvest in just 8-10 weeks. These are ideal for growers with a need for speed! 

Adaptable AF – Autoflowers can adapt to many climates and give their best performance from the sunny beaches of California to the brisk springs of Canada. Great for beginners. 

Invisible Green Comrades – With their smaller nature, autoflowers are less conspicuous and easier to disguise. Perfect for small spaces and those who prefer a more private relationship with their leafy pals.


Small Champions – Autoflowers are more on the petite side of the growth spectrum. With their speedy life cycle, they don’t have the time for a dramatic growth spurt. The result? A somewhat limited yield. 

One and Done– Once going through their life cycle, that’s it. There’s no encore with autoflowering plans, meaning if you want more plants, you’ll have to stock up. 

Delicate Divas – Despite being generally adaptable and hardy, auto flowers can be quite temperamental when it comes to nutrients and stress. They have specific dietary preferences, so do your homework before setting the stage! 

And just like that, we’ve reached the end of our leafy green journey through the world of autoflowering cannabis seeds. 

We’ve discovered how they work, how to grow them, met some of the most popular strains, and weighed out the pros and cons of joining the journey. 

Remember, the world of cannabis cultivation is complex, and every seed offers a unique story. Until our next cannabis chronicle, keep your thumbs green and your spirit adventurous. Happy growing, friends!

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