Autoflower Cannabis Light Schedules
Cannabis plants take in carbon dioxide and light during the day to create chlorophyll while releasing oxygen as a by product. This is photosynthesis and it can only happen during daylight hours. With no light the photosynthesis process doesn’t work. During photosynthesis the plant is respiring, or breathing, just like you or I. At night, with no light, the cannabis plant continues to respire. If it stops respiring, or breathing, it dies just like a human. It also breaks down chlorophyll into carbohydrates, energy or food, which it stores for later use.
Autoflowering cannabis plants do not need darkness. Autoflower plants are not dependent on changes in the light schedule to commence flowering. This is why they can be grown using a light cycle of anything from 12 to 24 hours daily. This is also what makes them perfect for first time growers as light periods are one less thing to worry about.
So what amount of light is ideal? Let’s look at the 3 most popular light schedules:
Most Popular Cannabis Light Schedules
24/0 – This is light on all day and night. The plants never see darkness. Many growers use this method and report great results. They believe that the extra size of the plants will increase the yield and offset the higher electric costs.
However there can be issues with this as cannabis plants prefer to eat in the dark. When you leave cannabis plants under a 24/0 light schedule you are forcing the plant into creating the chlorophyll AND converting the chlorophyll into carbohydrates at the same time. This can lead to plants that have health and/or stress issues. And there is no evidence proving that 24/0 light schedules produce higher yields than 18/6 or 20/4 light schedules.
18/6 – This is the most common light schedule as it tries to mimic the amount of light a plant would get at the height of summer in the northern latitudes. Thus while pushing the plant a bit, 18/6 falls within the normal tolerances of most cannabis plants because it is simply replicating real life conditions. The 6 hours of darkness allows plenty of time for the plant to convert chlorophyll without the need of having to photosynthesize simultaneously.
20/4 – This is a light schedule becoming more popular, especially for autoflower cannabis. Since autoflower cannabis plants are a ruderalis cross, and ruderalis grows in the very north of Russia where there are nearly endless summer days, most autoflower strains are receptive to longer days, and thereby more light. The 4 hours of darkness still gives the plant enough rest to keep it healthy while pushing growth to the maximum.
12/12 – 12 hours on, 12 hours off is the light schedule for flowering feminized cannabis. Non autoflowers require 12 hours of darkness each night in order to stay in flowering stage. Flowering plants can revert back to vegetative if they sense light for more than 12 hours. This is the reason tents are needed for indoor growing. Keeping the plants in the dark, unaffected by indoor light, is the main reason for a tent or the use of a closet. Flowering cannabis by putting it in a main room near a window is a perilous risk.
6/2 x 3 – This is a newer light schedule that doesn’t have a lot of history.. In 6/2 x 3, daily light runs on a 6 hours on, 2 hours off schedule that is repeated three times a day. A little simple math shows that the end result is 18/6, but it is simply broken down into 3 shifts. The theory here is that by letting the cannabis plant nap 3x a day as opposed to sleep once, you avoid most kinds of light/heat induced issues and maintain a more normalized temperature.
Thus, light schedules for autoflowering cannabis plants are really easy to grasp.
All you have to do is keep the light turned on 18-20 hours a day. Giving 18-20 hours of light is crucial when growing autoflowering plants, as it gives them the best chance to grow bigger in the vegetative stage, and bigger buds during flowering.
With all that being said, setting light schedules is not the ideal way to measure the correct amount of light to give your cannabis plants. The best way is to understand moles. Not moles as in the little furry creatures ruining your garden, but moles, the measure of unit for light intensity.
What is the best Autoflower Light Schedule for cannabis?
Name any cannabis strain that makes an amateur grower look like the creator of all the mighty Kush strains and it will be an auto-flower. Auto flowering cannabis seeds appeal to many growers for how easy they are to grow especially when it comes to lighting. So what is the best Autoflower Light Schedule? Lets find out below.
No light tweaks needed.
Defining Auto-flowering cannabis flowers for beginners
Shall we? We all need to travel in the same boat.
When it comes to lighting needs, cannabis strains are further divided into autoflowering and photoperiod. What separates these two is their ability to form flowers with and without appropriate lighting schedules.
As their name suggests, autoflowering cannabis seeds are meant to flower automatically without much alterations in light. We all know that light is very crucial in the growth and development of your flowers.
Autoflowers, unlike their photoperiod counterparts, can be grown outdoors and yet adapt to the natural light schedule very well. Photoperiods will require tweaking the light in order to propel them into producing buds.
Now, what if you are planning to use a grow room or your unused closet for your autoflowering buds? Already scratching your head? No need!
This article is an expansive guide into autoflowering cannabis flowers and the best light schedules that realize huge nugs with hard hitting flavors, aromas and benefits. This also works for outdoor growers who need to get the best of their buds in the next harvest. Yes, some light schedules produce more than others.
Pros of growing an Autoflower cannabis strain
Is it all about not needing light schedules? There is more to autoflowers. Another reason why many growers go their way is how fast they start flowering.
Photoperiods take an average of 9-12 weeks to start budding. As for autoflowering cannabis strains, you can see the first flowers between six and nine weeks after germination, which is quite impressive.
If you are into lesser gardening yet higher yields coming your way in the fastest way possible, autoflowers are your cheat code.
How many hours of light do Autoflowers need?
For regular photoperiods, the hours of light per day depends on the stage of growth that the plant is in. For instance, during growth (after transplanting), many growers will go for 18/6 hours and during flowering this is switched to 12/12. Confusing? Not really.
These mean the plants will be getting 18 hours of light and six hours of darkness every 24 hours which represents a day. For the second case the number of hours and darkness is equal.
Going back to autoflowering seeds, if your primary goal is getting the plants to flower, any substantial amount of light will work. However, for maximum yield all round, you need to understand the pros and cons of exposing your flowers to different light hours.
Let’s have a look at the schedules used by most growers and how they will fare with a typical autoflower light schedule cannabis plant.
12/12 LIGHT SCHEDULE
Giving your plant equal hours of light and darkness per day mimics natural sunlight for some growers . Note that this is the standard schedule for photoperiods when they are of flowering age. But can it work for autoflowers too?
The 12/12 light schedule will get the plants to flower but not maximise the development of the flowers. A simple explanation is the flowers not getting optimal energy that is necessary for crucial processes like photosynthesis. This can lead to stunted growth and of course, lesser yield.
If you have photoperiods and autoflowers in one grow room, you can choose to jeopardize what you will get from the latter and apply 12 hours of light favoring the former.
18/6 LIGHT SCHEDULE
In this case, it is not different from the photoperiod 18/6. A good number of growers argue that 18/6 is the best Autoflower Light Schedule. In fact, some vouch for this schedule through the plant’s life.
The number of growth and development hours here is maximised while the plant is given a substantial rest which is actually very important but often assumed not.
WIth the six hours of darkness, growers can also save on power bills from day to day. You see, this is better than any more hours of light. Also for hotter climates, you can opt to switch off the lights during the hottest hours like midday to naturally control the temperatures.
This is a middle ground for growers and YES! With proper attention to your plant, great yields are not a far fetched dream.
24/0 AUTOFLOWER LIGHT SCHEDULE
There are two questions that we can ask about the 24/0 Autoflower Light Schedule of cannabis flowers.
- Can Autoflowers get too much light?
- Do Autoflowers need dark periods?
And here are the answers.
The no darkness light schedule keeps the plant on its toes for 24 hours. Well, let’s go back a little to the genetic build up of all autoflowering strains. These are created by crossing Ruderalis cannabis species with Kush, Sativa and Indica genetics. The keyword here is Ruderalis.
A fun fact about Ruderalis (a minor cannabis species compared to Indica and Sativa) originates from Northern Russia. This is an area where 24 hours of sunlight is not news… you read that right!
This is why we need to ask the two questions above. With ruderalis genetics, no darkness needed. Push the plant to its limits and maximise its output. How about that for a strategy? The icing on the cake? No more timers to automatically switch off the flights or manually doing it. The 24 hours of light may also work for growers in cold climates where temperatures may drop to unfriendly levels.
But then here is a crucial factor to consider.
The cannabis world today is made up of thousands of strains with new ones created more often than not. Strains are made from crossing the genetics of two or more parents to achieve an offspring that is superior in a certain aspect. For instance, high yields indoors/outdoors, faster flowering periods etc
With these many strains, the crossbreeding is so intense that the original ruderalis genetics may be altered. And if this happens, the 24 hours of light may be intolerable thus affecting the nutrient use and yield subsequently.
So do autoflowers get too much light? It is very much possible. Do they need darkness? To be on the safe side, why not give your queens a few hours of rest.
Do Autoflowers need direct sunlight?
Is it really necessary to give your queens a dose of direct sunlight? Well, even in an indoors set up and an optimized light schedule, you can be guaranteed of top results still.
However, some growers will argue that an outdoors setup works best for the plant. To back this claim, there is no artificial light that can give the plant a natural environment like what it gets outdoors. This makes the plant grow naturally with lesser stress in mineral balance.
Whether you need direct sunlight or not, is an argument that will not end anytime soon. There are loyalists in each divide. For instance, you can argue that regions getting less than eight hours of sunlight will taher work best with indoor setups.
If you got space outdoors, why not? That also depends whether you can accept a reduced yield or not. If the conditions outdoors are not the best for your autoflowers or you are going for maximum yield, take your plants indoors.
The best lighting systems for autoflowers
Some growers maintain the same light schedule throughout the plant’s growth. Is this the best option? You see, maximum light is needed especially when the plant is vegetating. What about the growth stage when they are gentle and brittle?
Here is the deal.
In the first two weeks after germination, the plants will enjoy fluorescent lamps or appropriate LEDs. The recommended light spectrum is blue as it mimics midday temperatures of early summer or the last days of spring. After the fortnight elapses, you can choose to add the light dose a little to spur more growth.
Autoflowering cannabis plants start flowering four weeks after germination or 28 days. Growers can choose a mix of different light systems during this period. Good-quality LED lamps or high-pressure sodium lamps (HPS) equipped with a full spectrum of cannabis grow lights will come in handy.
What is important is that the plants get adequate amounts of light so they can grow all parts to the fullest. We are talking about leaves, branches, rootsroots, etc
Why auto-flowering cannabis seeds are the best choice for both beginner and professional growers
Grabbing a pack of cannabis seeds seems like a fairly straightforward purchase until you start browsing through the database of your local seed bank. It’s incredible how many options you can come across on a journey towards selecting the perfect type of seeds to suit your needs. Most consumers and growers prefer more affordable options, but this is one of those times where the difference isn’t worth the few pennies that you might save.
The most expensive type of cannabis seeds on the market today consist of feminized seeds, and while most people know that feminized options offer a valuable benefit, autoflowering seeds are equipped in an entirely unique way. Here you will find out what autoflowering seeds are, how they are made, and some of their least known benefits that make them the ideal choice for both beginner and professional cultivators.
What are autoflowering cannabis seeds?
Autoflowering cannabis seeds will sprout into a plant that will automatically adjust from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage with absolutely no changes to the lighting schedule. This makes them much more appealing to growers who are looking for a foolproof seed that requires the least work to get going and to fully mature. Autoflowering seeds will generally be ready to harvest in as little as 60 days after they are germinated and planted, which makes for a speedy harvest, and more time to grow additional product when necessary.
How are autoflowering seeds made?
Autoflowering cannabis seeds are made by breeding hand-picked strains specifically for qualities that include hardiness and rate of growth. The majority of the DNA used in the making of autoflowering seeds is taken from strains that are grown in the northern hemisphere, and as a result, they require a much shorter growing period and cooler temperatures, which makes them easier to care for
The benefits of autoflowering growth stages
The autoflowering grow cycle differs from any other cannabis plant due to its quick finish which takes shorter stages and fewer adjustments for both lighting and nutrients. There are 3 different stages in the lifecycle of an autoflowering cannabis plant.
Stage 1 – Post Germination (8-12 weeks)
The first stage in an autoflowering grow cycle lasts approximately 8-12 weeks. This is how long it takes the cannabis plant to fully establish itself before entering into the vegetative stage. Autoflowering plants should not be transplanted after this part of the cycle. Once the seeds are cracked open and plant life begins, it is necessary to provide sufficient lighting. While autoflowering cannabis strains can live on a bare minimum of only 5-7 hours of daylight per day, it is recommended to provide at least 18 hours. Some growers swear by 24 hours a day of light, so if you don’t have a timer, then don’t worry too much. You will just want to place your light fixture several inches further from the plant’s foliage to be sure nothing gets burned.
Stage 2 – The vegetative Stage (10-14 weeks)
This next stage of an autoflowering seeds grow cycle is more accelerated than their more traditional counterparts. Autoflowering plants will exit this stage within 30 days and begin blooming. Autoflowering plants will stretch out the most during this stage with most strains growing at least an inch or more per day. To see the most effective results and speed this process up, each plant should be grown in its own 10 liter to 20 liter pot and should be kept at a temperature of 25° C, with a high humidity level of around 60%-70%. In the vegetative stage, fertilizers and nutrients are essential. Adding nutrients along with constant adjustments of your lighting to avoid burning while the plant is skyrocketing in size, are the two most significant requirement changes during this phase of the cycle. Expect massive growth and leave plenty of room at least 10 inches between the plant’s foliage and any bulbs.
Stage 3 – Flowering (12- 20 weeks)
Autoflowering marijuana plants will take 45-60 days from when the first pistils and hair start to develop, to when the budflowers will be ready for harvest. The optimal temperature for autoflowering cannabis to flourish at this stage is 25 °C, with a humidity of 45%-55%. Lighting schedules will not need to be adjusted at all and will maintain the same as when you began. Fertilizer can be provided up until the last two weeks before harvest, which is when a flushing should occur to ensure the bud is safe for ingestion once harvested.
The benefits of autoflowering cannabis seeds
Rapid Growth rate
Autoflowering strains can cut as much of half of the expected grow time necessary when compared to their alternatives.
Growers who only have a small space in which to grow will benefit significantly from an autoflowering strain. Since their overall life cycle is shorter, they do not usually end up as tall. The average autoflowering plant will reach a maximum of 1.5 feet tall.
Autoflowering cannabis seeds are made by breeding handpicked strains specifically for qualities that include hardiness. The majority of DNA used in the making of autoflowering plants is from those grown in the northern hemisphere that have a much shorter growing period and much cooler temperatures, making them easy to care for.
Autoflowering plants have a life cycle that lasts only a couple of months, making them perfect for those wanting to pull off multiple yields each year with minimal effort and time.
No need to adjust lighting schedules
Autoflowering plants can get by on as little as 5 hours of daylight but prefer 18+ hours and can even do well in full 24 hours a day. This makes them useful for those who don’t want to keep track of an ever-changing light schedule.
The only real drawbacks of using autoflowering seeds come from a lower than average THC content, and slightly higher price than regular cannabis seeds. Luckily, in this case, the benefits far outweigh the risks, and the additional few dollars will help to give you peace of mind knowing that your marijuana plants will lead a long, healthy, and thriving life while producing plenty of bud flowers for you to enjoy.
Marijuana seeds vendors that you can trust
Today everything can be accomplished through online purchasing. Buying your marijuana seeds is no different.