AUTOFLOWERING OR PHOTOPERIOD STRAINS?
WHICH IS BETTER FOR YOU: AUTOFLOWERING OR PHOTOPERIOD STRAINS?
Weed is a remarkably complicated plant. The species generates more than 200 terpenes, over 100 cannabinoids, and numerous other intriguing chemical compounds. Even within the same strain, plants can have different amounts of these molecules. The variety of varieties available on the market makes things more complicated. There are about 800 types that are known, but there may be many more.
These varieties are descended from landrace populations collected from various parts of the world. Landraces are chosen by breeders for hybridization based on particular desirable characteristics. Landraces have evolved extraordinary genetic differences as a result of evolutionary adaptation. Genetic differences between photoperiod and autoflowering are one such example.
The length of flowering and the level of cultivation trouble are two of the characteristics that vary between strains. Before planting seeds in the ground, many cultivators make one of their first decisions: whether to use photoperiod or autoflowering cultivars. We’ll go over the salient characteristics of both varieties in this article. Then, we’ll examine each’s advantages and disadvantages to determine which is best for you.
AUTOFLOWERING STRAINS AS COMPARED TO PHOTOPERIOD:
The way in which photoperiod and autoflowering varieties begin flowering is their main distinction. Following a brief seedling period, the vegetative phase is the first significant stage of the growing cycle. Plants are actively ingesting nutrients, developing deeper root systems, and creating broad fan-shaped leaves at this time.
Plants start to generate flowers after the vegetative stage. These structures contain glandular trichomes that generate important terpenes and cannabinoids.
Cann abis is an annual plant, which means it develops from germination to maturity before dying in a single growing season. The fact that photoperiod and autoflowering plants evolved in and adapted to distinct environments explains why they sense seasonal changes in different ways.
The term “photoperiod” itself alludes to the duration of exposure to light. When their light cycle changes, these cultivars naturally transition into flowering state. This occurs outside as summer gives way to fall and the days get shorter. Reduce the amount of light your plants experience indoors to start the flowering process. While photoperiod strains require a lot more time to mature before harvest, they frequently generate significantly more and have higher cannabinoid concentrations.
Autoflowering varieties, on the other hand, don’t require a shift in the light cycle to begin flowering. Instead, they have a set flowering period built into their genetic makeup. Rapid growth and minimal maintenance are two benefits of autoflowering plants. They typically yield less because they develop much more slowly than the majority of photoperiod strains.
AUTOFLOWERING AND PHOTOPERIOD STRAIN COMPARISON:
Both photoperiod and autoflowering varieties have a number of benefits in addition to a few drawbacks. Speed, yield, challenge, and even appearance are just a few of the many differences between them. However, both are able to produce top-notch marijuana!
Let’s examine these weed varieties’ variations in more detail.
THE ENTIRE CONCEPT OF AUTOFLOWERING PLANTS:
Growers who want to produce a high-quality crop quickly favor autoflowering varieties. Autoflowers are prized by growers for their speedy flowering from germination to harvest. They can also be used for covert indoor grows and guerrilla outdoor grow ops thanks to their small size.
Genetic material from the ruderalis subspecies is present in all autoflowering varieties. Ruderalis developed with a much shorter growing season than her photoperiod sativa and indica counterparts because it is native to Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Before the first cold, ruderalis plants had to germinate, grow, and flowering. Autoflowering varieties typically take 8 to 12 weeks from seed to maturity. The characteristic is particularly helpful for commercial cultivators seeking a fast turn-around and covert growers looking to maintain discretion.
Although autoflowering plants need fewer fertilizers, they still need a well-aerated potting mix. To guarantee adequate airflow, add perlite to the growing medium.
The tiniest subspecies is pure Canna bis ruderalis. They have few bud sites and little canna bis content. They generate tiny leaves with two tiny, backward-facing fingers and three primary fingers. The only true purpose of pure ruderalis cultivation is for breeding.
To give them the autoflowering characteristic, breeders have crossed high-performing photoperiod strains with ruderalis genetics. These hybrids usually reach heights of 60 to 100 cm. The highest height of some cultivars has been recorded at 130 cm. They are stocky, so many growers choose to alter their shape and encourage lateral development using techniques like low-stress training.
The trade-off between speed and ease of development is that yields from autoflowering varieties are typically lower than those from photoperiod varieties. Reduced output was also a trait added to autoflowering cultivars. It’s not all terrible news, though. Indoor growing usually results in a yield of 400g/m2. Additionally, because of their reduced size, growers are able to fit a lot more plants in a given area.
Strains that autoflower are simple to cultivate. Like, really simple. Ruderalis is a hardy beast that was bred to survive in a harsher environment; she is very understanding of novice mistakes. Autoflowers are quite resilient and can withstand a lot. They are frequently discovered flourishing untamed in nutrient-poor soil. They are perfect for beginning producers due to this quality.
PROS: Quick growth, a quick life cycle, more diversity than before, covert size, and resilience
CONS: Small stature results in lower yields, has slightly lower potency than the majority of photoperiod strains, is easier to overfeed, and cannot be trained using high-stress methods.
THE ENTIRE CONCEPT OF PHOTOPERIOD STRAINS:
In terms of size and output, photoperiod strains beat autoflowering varieties. They require a little more effort to grow than autoflowers, but it is always worthwhile.
Because they need a change in the light cycle to compel them to flower, photoperiod strains are thought to be a little more difficult to grow than autoflowers. Additionally, they become much taller and need more shaping and pruning.
However, photoperiod strains are more under the influence of growers. As long as they experience at least 18 hours of light each day, these plants will continue to grow vegetatively. This enables indoor growers to produce enormous plants prior to starting the flowering period by changing the light cycle to 12 hours on and 12 hours off.
As an alternative, growers can quickly develop small plants by starting them on a cycle of 12 hours of light followed by 12 hours of darkness until harvest. This results in tiny plants that grow quickly and are simple to hide.
Due to the high genetic diversity found in photoperiod cultivars, the growing characteristics of these plants differ greatly. Botanists divide photoperiod strains into the indica and sativa varieties.
Overall, sativa varieties flourish to their fullest outdoors. Some types can grow up to 3 meters tall, like trees. In contrast, indica strains flourish both indoors and outdoors and reach heights of about 100–150 cm.
Sativa plants have taller growth, wider node spacing, and fan-shaped leaves with long fingers. In comparison, indica plants have more lateral growth, are bushier, and have broad-fingered fan leaves.
The prevalent view of weed is that sativa plants give off an energizing high while indica plants give off a calming one. This is partially accurate, mainly because of particular terpene profiles, but it’s not always the case. The chemovar (chemical variation) of a cultivar is not always determined by morphological traits.
Furthermore, unadulterated indica or sativa strains are extremely uncommon. The majority of strains that are commercially accessible are crossbreeds that have either a sativa- or an indica-dominant genetic profile. According to their genetic composition, strains usually resemble the subspecies that predominates in that region.
Different amounts are produced by photoperiod plants. Pure sativa strains and sativa-dominant hybrids usually produce more blooms than indica-dominant hybrids. The most prolific sativa varieties can yield anywhere between 1-4kg/plant when grown outdoors. Sativas that are smaller yield 500–600g/m2 indoors.
Inside, indica strains usually produce 400–600g/m2. The majority of specimens provide between 400 and 2000g per plant outdoors, based on the cultivar.
Photoperiod strains demand more consideration and care. Beginners may select a photoperiod strain for their first grow and have great results, but an easier introduction to growing is with autoflowering strains.
The length of veg time for a crop must be planned by the grower, and they must be ready to adjust the light cycle appropriately. In order to keep their plants from getting out of hand, they’ll also need to keep up with the pruning and training.
Some photoperiods can also result in enormous colas. Although this is ideal, producers must control the right humidity levels during flowering and drying to prevent the growth of mould.
A greater diversity of strains, greater production potential, higher cannabinoid content than autoflowers, opportunities for cloning and indefinite vegging, and a more “authentic” experience are all advantages.
Higher degree of difficulty; lengthier time from planting to harvest; inconvenience or trouble in upkeep.
SELECT THE TYPE THAT BEST MEETS YOUR NEEDS:
There is no correct or wrong decision when it comes to selecting a strain between autoflowering and photoperiod varieties. It ultimately boils down to personal preference and financial capacity. With photoperiod strains, space is a major limiting element; therefore, growers seeking to cultivate, say, in a small apartment, might be better off choosing an autoflower.
Conversely, growers who have access to a large garden have the chance to release a sativa beast. To keep things covert, they might decide to use an autoflower that remains at the same height as its companion plants.
Knowing the characteristics of each weed variety should help you make an informed decision. Wishing you success and healthy growth!