If you go weed seed shopping, you’ll notice that there are a lot of categories of seeds, making it harder for you to determine which ones are right for you, depending on your needs and requirements.
Today, we’ll focus on the difference between photoperiods and autoflowers and explain which ones are better for you to start growing.
Let’s dive right in!
What are Photoperiod Strains?
Photoperiod strains were the only available strains for thousands of years. They are known to produce heavy yields both indoors and outdoors, but they also require a bit more maintenance than autoflowers do.
With photoperiodic cannabis plants, the light and dark cycles are always taken into account, as these strains cannot flower if the right conditions aren’t met. Even more importantly, the quality and quantity of the yields can also be affected due to the light cycle, so it’s important to follow a strict schedule when it comes to lighting.
Typically, growers will keep their photoperiod plants on an 18/6 cycle with 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness during the vegetative period and switch to a 12/12 cycle when they want their plants to enter the flowering stage. Without altering this cycle, your plants will not go into their flowering stage, or will produce inferior yields if their cycle is interrupted.
Whether grown outdoors or indoors, photoperiod strains can produce huge yields, which is why farmers still rely heavily on them.
What are Autoflowering Strains?
Unlike photoperiod strains, autoflowers go into their flowering stage regardless of what the light schedule is. This makes them more suited for beginner growers, as they don’t need to adjust to all the conditions such as light cycles and seasonal changes. These strains are also quite useful if you’re growing outdoors and aren’t sure how many hours of light you’re going to get and when. This means that their age is the only factor that contributes to flowering and not the photoperiod.
To create autoflowering seeds, breeders typically cross a regular cannabis strain with a ruderalis-type strain, because ruderalis is a type of cannabis that goes into flowering regardless of light cycles and seasonal changes. This genetic make-up also makes autoflowers short, quick, and hardy – qualities that many growers see as a deal-breaker when choosing cannabis seeds to grow.
What’s the Catch?
Autoflowering seeds have a lot of advantages over photoperiod strains. They have a shorter lifespan, so you would get your harvest a lot sooner, and be able to fit more harvests within one season. They are also easier to grow, which makes them particularly suited for new growers and they only keep getting better and better with time, especially if you compare the autoflowers of today to the initial release of the first autoflower seeds almost 2 decades ago.
However, while autoflowers have a lot going for them, many growers still refrain from using them, mainly due to their subpar performance in comparison to the strain used to create the autoflower seeds. What we mean by this is that when you cross a strain to create autoflowering seeds, you tend to lower the THC levels, sometimes by as much as one-fourth from the original strain. The yield is also negatively affected.
Make a Choice and Start Growing!
So, if you don’t want to compromise on potency or yield, we would suggest you go with photoperiod seeds instead of autoflowers. At Herbies, you can find a huge selection of photoperiod strains with different levels of THC and other characteristics, so you can match your preferences and needs best. Conversely, if you prioritize a quicker turnaround, short stature of a plant and hardiness, decide to start out with autoflowering seeds – you can find a ton of those on Herbies as well!