Beginner's Guide to Cannabis: Autoflowers and debunking autoflower myths

by Calvin He

When you walk into a dispensary, you’re going to see bud divided in to Sativa, hybrid, and Indica. But, when you’re looking for seeds online, there’s a fourth option: autoflowers. What is an autoflowering strain, and how are they different from regular photoperiods?

Types of Cannabis

To answer this question, we’re going to have to look at what a marijuana plant is in the first place. Briefly, cannabis is divided into Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis— the autoflowering type. Sativas grow tall stalks and fluffy buds and are known for their elevating effects. Sativas are naturally found within tropical and humid environments, such as the jungles of Panama and the blistering hot of Central Africa. These Sativas are perfect for continental summers and hot, tropical climates such as Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania. They naturally resist most molds and hot weather diseases but are prone to powdery mildew. Popular Sativas include Sour Diesel, Blue Dream, and Stardawg.


On the other hand, Indicas originate from Afganistan, a shorter and denser plant. The leaves are often larger and fan-shaped compared to the narrow leaves of Sativas. Indicas were designed to withstand frigid winters and warm summers, meaning Indicas are perfect for temperate climates. If you live in temperate or Mediterranean climates, such as California, Oregon, or Washington, Indicas will thrive in your environment. Some famous Indicas include Do-si-dos Xpress, Zkittlez Xpress, and Granddaddy Purple Xpress.


Finally, there is Cannabis ruderalis that is found in icy areas of Russia and throughout the northern United States. This variety of cannabis adapted to the highly hostile growing conditions and limited growing season by automatically flowering. Usually, photoperiods need ½ a day of darkness (12 hours) to begin flowering and producing bud. In contrast to photoperiods, ruderalis will start flowering roughly three weeks after sprouting, no matter what. All autoflowers come from Cannabis ruderalis. An autoflower is any strain that automatically flowers, regardless of the environment. Ruderalis (autoflowers) not only will begin flowering automatically after three weeks from sprouting, but it also significantly reduces the overall time needed to grow bud. Most of our autoflowering varieties only take 70 days from seed!


Furthermore, autoflowers are hardier and can survive in almost any weather conditions given enough nutrients and water. Consequently, you can grow tropical Sativa autoflowers in snowy Michigan or Californian Indica in Alaska. Similarly, if you’re short on time and you want to get a grow-in before summer vacation ends, autoflowers will allow you to harvest in just under two months. We recommend autoflowers for every beginner out there!

Common Autoflowering Myths

Myth #1: Autoflowers produce inferior quality bud— FALSE


This one gets tossed around a lot. Over time, Fast Buds and many other breeders have refined and improved autoflowers to defeat many of the top strains of the market today. Just take a look at some of the product pictures:

Gelato auto from FastBuds

Unfortunately, many inferior brands only sell autoflowers and feminized seeds for profit and cut corners on quality. If you buy autoflowers from them, there’s no doubt that they’ll be inferior— along with their feminized seeds! On the other hand, we curate and select only the best breeders to simplify the seed buying experience. 


Myth #2: Autoflowers produce low yields— FALSE


Thanks to the rapid growth of autoflowers, they can easily be trained to cover massive canopies for Screen of Green setups. With some patience, you can also have autoflowers yielding well over 1 kg per plant!


Myth #3: Autoflowers can’t be topped— MOSTLY FALSE


Autoflowers are extremely vigorous growing plants, able to withstand intense physical and environmental stresses. Topping is a technique that increases the branching of the plant by cutting off the top node of the plant. While many autoflowers can be topped, inferior quality genetics will cause plants to be frail and fickle. If you top these plants, they’re likely to kick into survival mode and focus all of their energy on barely living. Thankfully, we again curate our selection to prevent this trial and error tragedy from happening to you.