You can easily grow autos on balconies and in hidden locations in your garden. They’re also popular among guerrilla growers—cultivators that grow cannabis in hidden public or wild locations. This method helps to keep crops out of sight and hidden from thieves.
Autoflower growers typically elect to use a simple light schedule of 18 hours on and 6 hours off for the entire duration of the life cycle. Such a schedule provides plants with an adequate amount of light while saving on energy.
The speed of autoflowers appeals to growers with a penchant for near-instant results. Waiting for a crop to ripen can be teasing at best and excruciating at worst. If you tend to fall on the impatient side, autoflowering strains are the way to go.
The very name “ruderalis” stems from the Latin word “rudus”, meaning rubble. The subspecies appears in urban settings thriving in broken ground, close to demolished buildings, and in roadside ditches.
The brevity of autoflowers also appeals to cultivators who grow under pressure. They can support faster turnover for commercial operations, allowing for perpetual harvests indoors.
Breeders produce feminized seeds through various techniques that are discussed in detail here. Just keep this in mind: pick up a pack of feminized seeds if you want nothing but buds!
A schedule of 12 hours on and 12 hours off occupies the other end of the spectrum. It’s the best option for growers looking to save money, but yields won’t be as impressive.
Once the flowering cycle is initiated, your plants are more “set” as far as their overall health and structure. Once a cannabis plant starts budding, there is basically a countdown until buds are ready to harvest just like autos (this amount of time is mostly based on the strain). Though the plant may have an initial last “stretch” of vegetative growth when the light cycle is first changed over, as the plant approaches harvest towards the end of the flowering stage, almost all growth halts except for the development of bigger buds.
Which breeders can I trust for good auto-flowering seeds? These auto breeders have dedicated themselves to developing auto-flowering strains in particular, and have gained popularity for their consistency and quality.
White Widow Auto by Pyramid Seeds
An important characteristic for medical marijuana patients is that auto-flowering buds tend to contain higher levels of CBD than photoperiod strains.
Can I Top an Auto? (full article with instructions)
The one visual difference I’ve seen is that auto-flowering buds tend to be a little bit leafier (grow more leaves among the buds) than photoperiod strains, which means they may need a little extra care during trimming to get rid of all the leaves.
Auto-flowering cannabis strains are the descendants of a wild strain of hemp first identified as “Ruderalis” in Russia during the early 1940s.