If you are interested in growing your own cannabis plants but are not sure how to get started, consider growing from seed an autoflower plant or two.
What is an autoflower plant? It is a strain of cannabis that has been crossed with the Ruderalis strain of cannabis. Basically, as far as we know, there are 3 basic strains of cannabis, Sativa, Indica and Ruderalis. Ruderalis is more like a hemp plant in that it doesn’t produce large amounts of THC but it is not photosensitive. This means that it doesn’t require a set number of hours of daylight and darkness in order to flower. Indica and Sativa strains require 12 hours of darkness and 12 hours of light, or less light in order to begin flowering. In the northern US this means that if you plant a Sativa or Indica plant outside it won’t begin to flower until October. This can be a problem in northern US States that have a shortened growing season or unpredictable weather conditions.
Cannabis breeders figured out that if they cross either a Sativa, Indica or Hybrid with Ruderalis then those plants will be able to flower when they are ready to flower rather than needing a specific light cycle. This is great because after about 5 or 6 weeks from the time the plant has sprouted from seed it will begin to flower and produce buds (if it’s a female). There are also feminized auto flower seeds that you can purchase and this will assure that you will get a female.
This is great if you are a first time grower and don’t have an elaborate set up to control the light cycles of your plants, or if you wish to grow outdoors and have short growing season like we do here in Michigan.
For outdoor growing you would plant your seed in a sunny spot of your garden around Mother’s day in May when the chance of frost has passed. Then if you have a strain that finishes in about 60 – 65 days you could be harvesting your first cannabis flowers by the beginning of August. Some strains take longer to finish, the breeders description will tell you the length of time from seed to harvest.
You can also grow the seeds indoors in a sunny window or with a grow light. The more light they get the better they will produce.
The plants in the picture above are Northern Lights Autoflower plants. They were very productive and grew to almost the same size as regular cannabis plants. That’s one drawback of autoflowers is that they are usually smaller than photosensitive plants. They prefer less nutrients and don’t like to be transplanted so start them in the size pot you want them to finish in. I use a three gallon pot and give them 1/2 the recommended amounts of nutrients. You can use any type of nutrients that are specifically for cannabis plants.
They don’t respond well to pruning or extensive training, it’s best just to let them grow the way they want to.
The seeds will be more expensive than regular cannabis seeds but the time you save when growing them and being able to grow them anywhere without having to control their light cycles more than make up for this.
I would stick with hybrid strains or indica strains as they finish faster than sativa which take longer to ripen to harvest.
So don’t be afraid to start your first cannabis plants, even if you don’t get a big yield you will learn about the plants and get some bud for sure.