In learning more about growing marijuana for personal use or for profit, you will encounter two of the most common types of marijuana grow: autoflowering marijuana and photoperiod cannabis strains. What these strains are and what makes each unique will be discussed in this article.
What Are Photoperiod Cannabis Strains?
Photoperiod strains are cannabis strains that will vegetate easily on 18/6 light/dark cycle or 24/0 light/dark cycle and can flower whenever it is placed on a 12/12 lighting cycle. This strain has been known to produce more potent, high quality buds however with the advancement of genetics, autoflowering strains are not too far behind. Photoperiod strains are usually larger plants because these plants are allowed to stay at their vegetative state for a longer period of time.
- Photoperiod cannabis will vegetate from any light cycle between 18/6 and 24/0 light/dark cycle
No need to worry about spending too much money on electricity bills; photoperiod strains can work with an 18/6 cycle or 20/4. However, if you live in a place where the climate is relatively cold, you must continuously use 24/0 lighting instead.
- Photoperiod cannabis can be cloned
This strain will save you money once you have grown a mature and healthy female plant. You can use one plant to make unlimited plants by using clones. This process also ensures that you get the healthiest plants since you are only collecting clones from a healthy main female plant.
- Photoperiod cannabis will flower when placed under 12/12 lighting cycle
You decide when your photoperiod plants can flower and kickstart harvest. As soon as these plants are placed in 12/12 light cycles, chemicals that stimulate the plant to flower will immediately take action. You will immediately see changes in your crops and soon you will have buds forming and ready for harvest.
- Photoperiod plants are larger
Because these plants stay longer in their vegetative states, these will develop into larger, stronger and more productive plants. These strong plants can stand more abuse than autoflowering plants that need to be handled with TLC.
- Photoperiod plants can take the elements better
Because these plants can withstand more abuse it can fare well outdoors where the weather is unpredictable and the wind could strengthen or weaken without warning. In short, you got a hardy plant that can stand almost any kind of stress.
- Photoperiod plants can be topped or FIMed
Because photoperiod plants are not easily stressed, even high-stress techniques to increase crop yield can be used. You can top it or FIM it to improve yield. Topping is removing the top most, main cola to create two separate colas. FIMing is cutting only the top portion of the main cola to create four buds. These techniques are very stressful to autoflowering plants and thus should be done with caution.
What are autoflowering marijuana strains?
Autoflowering plants are plants that are genetically designed to create the best yield in just 8 weeks. These plants are ready to grow in just 3 weeks because these are ingrained in their genes. These plants will flower automatically in any kind of light cycle but usually these are smaller than most cannabis plants. Autos are preferred by many growers because they can plant and harvest up to three times per year depending on their location and climate. And of course autos provide good profit because you can harvest several times a year.
- Autoflowering plants vegetate for a limited number of weeks before it flowers.
Autoflowering cannabis is designed to grow and flower in a specific number of weeks. It will do all it can to follow this rule and it does not matter how much or how little light it gets. Take note that not all strains have the same flowering stage so be sure to check this out before you plant your seeds.
- Autoflowering plants cannot be cloned
Autos will only grow from seeds and not from clones. This could affect your profits as you need to purchase seeds every time you grow a new batch. However many breeders and growers decide to make their own seeds instead of purchasing from a dealer or a supplier each time they want to grow.
- Autoflowering plants will flower no matter what light cycle
You can count on autos to flower no matter what light cycle you place them in. However, if you want a good yield and to profit from your growing operations then autoflowering seeds should be a good investment for you.
- Autoflowering plants are smaller
Some breeders and growers are not too fond of autos because of the plant size. Smaller plant = limited yield. However, recent techniques in increasing yield can now improve autoflowering plant yield two to three-fold. And because of their height and size, autos are now ideal for covert cannabis growing and therefore convenient for home growers, closet growers and for people who grow marijuana for personal use.
- Autoflowering plants cannot take a lot of stress
Unlike photoperiod plants, autoflowering plants are already in a lot of stress being pushed to meet a very early harvest deadline. Therefore you must do all you can to protect these plants from stress by supplying these with enough lighting, water, plant food and ventilation. You must also take extra care if you wish to train your plant. These can add stress and may even lead to a smaller yield.
- Autoflowering plants may not be a good candidate for topping and FIMing
Autos should not be stressed and therefore high-stress growing techniques like topping and FIMing should be completely avoided.
Now that you have a clear idea what autoflowering plants and photoperiod strains are it’s up to you to decide which strain works for you. Each one has great qualities and at the same time has some downsides as well. But whatever strain you choose a cannabis plant will always grow healthy and produce good yields if you give it tender loving care from seed to harvest.