Photoperiod vs Autoflowering Strains

Cannabis is regarded as a highly complex plant, which could use some cone filling machines. The species produces various chemicals, including over 100 cannabinoids, 200 terpenes, etc. These chemical ratios can differ across strains and even between plants of the same strain. In addition, the number of cultivars available on the market adds to the difficulty. There are over 800 strains recognized, but many more are expected to exist.

These cultivars are derived from landrace genetics collected from throughout the world. Landraces are chosen for hybridization based on specific desirable characteristics. Landraces have generated exceptional genetic distinctions as a result of evolutionary adaptation. Photoperiod and autoflowering genetics are two examples of such divisions.

These characteristics affect blooming time and cultivation difficulties among strains, among other things. Therefore, one of the first considerations that many gardeners make before planting cannabis seeds is deciding between photoperiod or autoflowering varieties. First, we’ll discuss the fundamental differences between the two forms of cannabis in this post. Then we’ll look at the advantages and disadvantages of each to see which is best for you.

What is a Photoperiod strain?

Photoperiod plants are dependent on light to determine when they should begin blooming. Therefore, plants must be seeded in the spring and gathered before the winter in this situation. Shorter days encourage the plant to blossom, and deprivation tactics may be necessary to attain appropriate daily darkness, usually 12 hours or more.

Photoperiod seeds are suitable for indoor and outdoor growth when combined with light-deprivation tactics. Photoperiod plants, in particular, may be made to blossom practically all year if temperature and light exposure is carefully regulated. Photoperiod strains may generate massive yields whether grown outdoors or inside, which is why farmers still rely on them substantially.

Appearance: To begin with, photoperiod weed plants are higher and broader than the other two varieties. This is partly because they have a more extended vegetative phase than autoflowers, allowing them to grow significant height and bulk.

Difficulty to Cultivate: Photoperiod strains take much longer to develop from seed to harvest than autoflowering strains, making timing crucial for outdoor producers. If you reside in an area where the climate isn’t ideal for producing cannabis, timing your planting is critical to avoid your crop being damaged by an early frost or other environmental condition.

Despite autoflowering strains’ ease of usage, photoperiod strains may withstand more significant abuse, whether intentionally or due to novice errors. In addition, their growth stages may be influenced by the quantity of light they receive, so if you have any deficits or issues during the vegetative stage, flowering can be postponed.

Yield: Photoperiod strains are simple to manage, which may be a good and bad thing. Photoperiod strains can grow taller and generate more yields than their autoflowering cousins if the alteration is done correctly. It’s also feasible to retain a photoperiod plant in a vegetative state until you’re confident it has the structural support to sustain efficient bud formation, as we said before. Photoperiod strains may also be replicated, resulting in an almost infinite supply of marijuana plants. If you’ve discovered a photoperiod plant with high resilience and abundant bud formation, the ability to mimic those characteristics may nearly assure repeat success.

Allowing a weaker marijuana plant to blossom, on the other hand, will almost certainly result in reduced yields. In addition, the potency of the buds will be decreased as well, resulting in a lower-quality product overall.

What Are Autoflowering Strains?

Autoflower seeds, unlike photoperiod strains, enter the blooming stage independent of the light schedule. They’re more suitable for new growers because they don’t have to respond to all variables, such as light cycles and seasonal fluctuations. These strains are especially beneficial if you’re growing outside and don’t know how many hours of light you’ll receive or when you get it. This suggests that their age, not the photoperiod, is the sole element influencing blooming.

Compared to photoperiod strains, growing autoflowering cannabis seeds outside have several benefits. First, because they live for a shorter period, you’ll obtain your crop sooner and be able to cram many harvests into one season. They’re also easier to cultivate, making them ideal for beginner growers. Finally, they’re just becoming better with time, especially compared to the original autoflowering seeds released about two decades ago.

While autoflowers have a lot going for them, many gardeners avoid them because of their poor performance compared to the strain utilized to make the autoflower seeds. This means that when you cross a strain to make autoflowering seeds, the THC levels tend to be decreased, sometimes by as much as a quarter of the original strain. In addition, the yield is severely affected.

Appearance: Autoflowering strains are much shorter than photoperiod counterparts because plants spend so little time in vegetative development. Few people will grow taller than a meter, and many will be considerably shorter. While this may appear to be a drawback, you may find that shorter plants are significantly simpler to manage, especially if you are new to gardening or have limited space.

Difficulty to Cultivate: An autoflowering plant, on the other hand, flowers independent of the light cycle to which it is exposed. Choose a strain with a vegetative phase that corresponds to your schedule, as this procedure will occur regardless of when you’re ready.

Autos provide less control over development, but they eliminate the hassle of altering light cycles for beginners. From seed to harvest, autos often have a substantially shorter crop duration. That isn’t to suggest that some photoperiod strains couldn’t be harvested in less time, but autoflowering plants may offer yields in as little as eight weeks.

Yield: Given how rapidly and readily autoflowering plants may sprout, you’d assume yield would be inferior. Your autoflowering crops, on the other hand, may provide you with hundreds of grams of high-quality bud if you handle them properly. Sure, you won’t get as much as you would with a photoperiod strain, but yields can still be excellent compared to the plant’s size.

Autoflowering strains are more sensitive to severe errors because of their quick life cycle, making them a good choice for gardeners with minimal experience or a less-than-ideal growing environment. However, it cannot postpone the vegetative stage to address stress or nutritional insufficiency. Therefore, if your plant is sick, the buds will be physically weaker than usual.


The sort of growing environment you can give, as well as your personal inclination, will determine whether you use photoperiod or autoflowering seeds for your next grow. A photoperiod plant will almost always produce larger yields and more powerful buds if your setup allows for customizable light cycles, ample area to stretch, and careful monitoring.


Autoflowering strains are a fantastic option if you’re limited in terms of where and when you can cultivate them. If you look hard enough, you can even discover some strains that perform just as well or better than their photoperiod competitors. But keep in mind that they’ll require the same level of care and attention as any other cannabis plant.






Leave a Reply