What Are Autoflower Seeds and How Do They Work? – Guide

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What Are Autoflower Seeds and How Do They Work

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Autoflower seeds have revolutionized the cannabis cultivation industry, offering a unique and efficient way to grow cannabis plants. Unlike traditional photoperiod strains that rely on light cycles to transition from the vegetative stage to flowering, autoflower seeds automatically switch to the flowering stage regardless of light conditions. This innovation has made growing cannabis more accessible to both novice and experienced growers. In this blog, we will delve into what autoflower seeds are, how they work, and why they might be the right choice for your next grow.

What Are Autoflower Seeds?

Autoflower seeds are a type of cannabis seed that produces plants that automatically switch from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage based on their age rather than changes in the light cycle. This characteristic comes from Cannabis ruderalis, a subspecies of cannabis that evolved in the harsh climates of Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and Russia. Ruderalis plants adapted to their environment by developing the ability to flower based on age rather than seasonal changes in light.

Breeders have crossed ruderalis with indica and sativa strains to create autoflowering hybrids that retain the desirable traits of indica and sativa (such as high THC content and diverse terpene profiles) while inheriting the autoflowering trait from ruderalis.

How Do Autoflower Seeds Work?

The Genetic Basis

The autoflowering trait in cannabis is genetic. The ruderalis subspecies, which contributes this trait, has a short life cycle and can survive in extreme conditions. When ruderalis genetics are introduced into indica or sativa strains, the resulting hybrids can flower automatically based on their genetic timeline, typically between 2 to 4 weeks after germination.

Growth Stages of Autoflowering Plants

  1. Germination: Like all cannabis seeds, autoflower seeds begin with germination. This stage involves the seed sprouting and developing its first root (taproot).
  2. Seedling Stage: After germination, the plant enters the seedling stage. During this period, the plant focuses on developing its initial leaves and establishing a root system. This stage lasts for about 1 to 2 weeks.
  3. Vegetative Stage: In the vegetative stage, the plant focuses on growing leaves, stems, and roots. For autoflowering plants, this stage is shorter compared to photoperiod strains, typically lasting 2 to 3 weeks.
  4. Flowering Stage: The plant transitions to the flowering stage automatically, regardless of the light schedule. This stage lasts for about 6 to 10 weeks, depending on the strain. During flowering, the plant produces buds and resin.
  5. Harvest: Once the flowering stage is complete and the buds have matured, it’s time to harvest. The entire lifecycle from seed to harvest typically takes around 8 to 12 weeks for most autoflower strains.

Advantages of Autoflower Seeds

Shorter Growth Cycle

One of the most significant advantages of autoflower seeds is their short growth cycle. This rapid turnaround allows growers to achieve multiple harvests in a single growing season, making it ideal for those looking to maximize yield within a limited timeframe.

Compact Size

Autoflowering plants tend to be smaller and more compact than their photoperiod counterparts. This makes them perfect for indoor growing or for growers with limited space. Their discreet size is also beneficial for outdoor growers looking to maintain a low profile.


The ruderalis genetics make autoflowering plants more resilient to environmental stressors such as fluctuations in temperature, pests, and diseases. This hardiness makes them an excellent choice for novice growers or those growing in less-than-ideal conditions.

Simplicity in Light Management

Because autoflowering plants do not rely on light cycles to flower, growers don’t need to worry about maintaining strict light schedules. This simplifies the growing process, allowing for a more forgiving cultivation experience.

Disadvantages of Autoflower Seeds

Lower Yield

While autoflowering plants offer many advantages, they typically produce lower yields compared to photoperiod strains. This is due to their shorter vegetative stage, which limits the overall size and biomass of the plant.

Limited Time for Recovery

Due to their rapid growth cycle, autoflowering plants have less time to recover from stress or damage. Issues such as nutrient deficiencies, overwatering, or pest infestations need to be addressed promptly to avoid significant impacts on yield and quality.

Potential for Lower Potency

Some older autoflower strains were criticized for having lower THC content compared to photoperiod strains. However, advances in breeding have significantly improved the potency of modern autoflower strains, making them competitive with traditional strains.

Growing Autoflower Seeds: Tips and Best Practices

Choose the Right Strain

Selecting the right autoflower strain is crucial for a successful grow. Consider factors such as growth time, yield, potency, and flavor profiles. Research different strains and choose one that fits your growing conditions and personal preferences.

Optimize Growing Conditions

  1. Light: While autoflowers don’t rely on light cycles, providing ample light (18-24 hours of light per day) can maximize growth and yield.
  2. Soil: Use a well-draining soil mix to prevent root rot. Adding perlite or coco coir can improve soil aeration and drainage.
  3. Nutrients: Autoflowers have a shorter lifecycle, so use nutrients designed for autoflowering plants. Start with lower doses and gradually increase to avoid nutrient burn.

Monitor and Adjust

Regularly monitor your plants for signs of stress or deficiencies. Adjust watering, nutrients, and environmental conditions as needed to ensure healthy growth.


Autoflower seeds offer a unique and efficient way to grow cannabis, especially for those seeking a faster turnaround and simpler growing process. With their automatic flowering, resilience, and compact size, they are an excellent option for both novice and experienced growers. While they may come with some trade-offs in yield and recovery time, advances in breeding have made modern autoflower strains a powerful and potent choice for cannabis cultivation. Whether you are growing indoors or outdoors, autoflower seeds can provide a rewarding and productive growing experience.

Ready to start your next grow? Discover the highest quality autoflower seeds at Seed City and experience the ease and efficiency of automatic flowering. Shop now and elevate your cannabis cultivation!


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