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The Difference Between Autoflower and Photoperiod

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The Difference Between Autoflower and Photoperiod

The Difference Between Autoflower and Photoperiod

The Difference Between Autoflower and Photoperiod

When it comes to cultivating cannabis, one of the most fundamental aspects to grasp is the difference between autoflower and photoperiod plants. These terms refer to the two primary growth cycles that dictate when and how cannabis plants transition from vegetative growth to flowering. Whether you’re an experienced grower or just starting out, understanding the distinctions between autoflowering and photoperiod cannabis varieties is crucial for optimizing your cultivation techniques.

What Are Autoflowering Cannabis Strains?

Autoflowering cannabis strains are a popular choice for home growers thanks to their short and convenient flowering times. Unlike photoperiod varieties, autoflowering strains do not rely on light changes to indicate when it is time to start flowering.

Instead, these genetic automatics begin producing buds when they reach around two or four weeks old. This ability greatly reduces the amount of time that’s needed for cultivation when compared with traditional photoperiod knuckles which require 12 straight hours of darkness each day before they flower.

Growing Autoflowering Cannabis Strains

The use of autoflowering strains is becoming increasingly popular amongst cannabis growers due to their rapid growth rate, shorter life cycle, and lack of dependence on light. Autoflowering plants have a different relationship with light than those that follow a photoperiod, meaning a different approach may need to be taken when growing them.

Autoflowering plants typically appear much shorter in height than their photoperiod counterparts, with many being smaller than one meter in height. This may be seen as a disadvantage by some, but can actually be beneficial as these petite plants require far less space and are easier to manage for inexperienced growers or those working with limited supplies.

Autoflowering strains also tend to mature faster than photoperiods, showing signs of budding earlier before transitioning into the flower phase at an accelerated pace. Despite this advantage, the overall yield will still remain typically smaller than non-autos due to the brief vegetative growth and fast maturation time.

If you’re looking to get the most out of your auto-strains, optimizing the environment and nutrients will help speed up the process while increasing quality yields.

Smoking Autoflowering Cannabis Strains

Autoflowering cannabis strains are becoming increasingly popular amongst cannabis enthusiasts, as they offer the same experience that photoperiod strains do and can be ready for harvest in significantly less time. In the past, autoflowering strains were known for offering lower yields and weaker stems, but modern versions have overcome these issues thanks to advances in breeding technology.

The THC levels of autoflowering cannabis varieties should be just as high as their photoperiod counterparts, although the aroma may not be quite as impressive. This is due to the fact that Ruderalis genetics don’t contain much terpene production themselves, meaning that any distinct aroma will likely come from other parent varieties.  Nevertheless, autoflowering cannabis varieties provide a great way of growing high-THC buds quickly and easily whilst still producing excellent yields.

What Are Photoperiod Cannabis Strains?

Photoperiod cannabis strains are perhaps the most widely-grown type of cannabis, and they signify a fundamental shift in how growers must approach their plants. Unlike other forms of marijuana, these strains rely on the cycle of light to determine when to enter the flowering stage – meaning that growers have to observe the natural light changes outdoors or adjust it manually indoors.

The name “photoperiod” comes from combining light (photo) and time (period). Essentially, this kind of cannabis is attuned to cycles in day length in order to begin its flowering period. Outdoors, usually occurs in late summer while indoors, the grower must create the same conditions by having a 12-hour on-12-hour off cycle of light. After entering this stage, photoperiod cannabis can soon be harvested and its buds enjoyed.

Growing Photoperiod Cannabis Strains

The Difference Between Autoflower and Photoperiod

Photoperiod cannabis strains are by far the most common type of cannabis plant grown by hobbyists and professionals alike. These plants require changing light schedules in order to trigger flowering and harvest periods. Photoperiod cannabis strains generally take a bit longer to grow than autoflowering strains, but the increased time between cycles pays off in terms of yield.

Photoperiod cannabis plants tend to be taller and wider than their autoflowering counterparts, as their extended vegetative phase allows them to become bigger before flowering.

When it comes to harvesting female plants, some experience is required in order to properly gauge when they are ready for cutting. Timing one’s harvest correctly can be the difference between a lucrative yield or disappointment.

With enough patience and experience, however, growers can gain an understanding of how photoperiod plants need to be managed in order to maximize yields and quality buds. On the whole, with proper care and attention, photoperiod cannabis seeds can result in larger yields combined with higher quality harvests than autoflower seeds.

Smoking Photoperiod Cannabis Strains

Photoperiod cannabis strains are popular amongst growers because they yield higher-quality buds with greater potency and impressive flavors. Utilizing light cycling techniques in optimal conditions, photoperiod strains give growers the best chance of producing the highest grade of bud available.

Depending on the strain, THC content can range from high to very high, making it attractive for users looking for a potent smoking experience. The terpene content of a photoperiod strain will also be appreciably higher than an autoflowering variety, giving it further depth and character.

One thing to consider when considering a photoperiod cannabis strain is that autoflowering cultivars have made huge advances in recent years. There are some really potent, high-yielding varieties now available that offer convenience and cost-effectively as well as quality bud production.

It should be noted however that these varieties may still not quite match up to their photoperiod counterparts when it comes to the overall flavor and denseness of trichomes in most cases.

What Is the Difference Between Photoperiod and Autoflowering Strains?

What Is the Difference Between Photoperiod and Autoflowering Cannabis Strains?

With all the information in mind, let’s compare the key differences between photoperiod and autoflowering cannabis strains.

Growing Schedule

Photoperiod strains are one of the two main cannabis varieties available, requiring a specific amount of daylight hours in order to flower. Growers must adjust the amount of natural daylight they receive each day in order to accommodate this, reducing hours of light gradually over a period of weeks once a certain level of maturity has been reached. This allows growers to tailor their plants’ flowering cycles according to their own needs and climate conditions.

Autoflowering strains provide an easier alternative, with no need for adjustments in light exposure throughout their lifecycle. As long as temperatures and other environmental conditions remain within acceptable ranges autoflowering plants will naturally enter the flowering phase without needing any additional adjustments from the grower. This is widely favored amongst practitioners due to its simplified nature and potential for speedier harvests.

It also means that growers can maintain multiple crop cycles and enjoy yields more often than those who use photoperiod strains since their harvests can happen without having to adjust the natural day-night cycle length each time.



The size of a cannabis plant can vary greatly depending on its subtype. Photoperiod plants are typically larger and wider than autoflowering strains, as the former has more time to absorb light and nutrients to convert into energy. Autoflowering is often faster-growing in terms of overall growth rate compared to photoperiod, but they tend to stay smaller in size due to the ruderalis being the shortest cannabis variety available.

This size disparity between photoperiod and autoflowering strains also depends on certain environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, soil nutrients, sunlight exposure, etc. For example, warm temperatures produce taller plants with larger leaves while cooler temperatures create shorter plants with smaller leaves.

Similarly, if photoperiod plants receive sufficient sun exposure and quality soil nutrition they will grow much faster producing bigger buds compared to autoflower plant varieties that don’t have access to such optimal conditions or are subject to heat stress from direct sunlight during hot summer days.

Overall, it is important for growers looking for a specific size outcome from their crops that they understand the differences between photoperiods and autoflowers when choosing appropriate growing techniques for their needs!



Photoperiod strains of cannabis are considered to yield more on average than autoflower strains due to their larger size. This is because photoperiod plants usually have more time to grow before having to flower, meaning they can reach higher yields compared to the shorter growth period and smaller size of autoflowering plants.

However, the difference in yields between photoperiod and autoflowering plants is not as drastic as one might expect. Many autoflowering seeds are able to provide yields that are comparable to or even surpass those of their photoperiod counterparts. This is largely due to advancements in breeding techniques, which have enabled growers to create highly-productive auto varieties with above-average yields.

Furthermore, many outdoor growers may find the convenience of automatically flowering plants outweighs the slight reduction in yield achieved by selecting an auto variety. Ultimately, when it comes to yield potential, both photoperiod and auto varieties offer viable options for cultivators looking for top-shelf bud production.

Difficulties of Growing

When it comes to growing either type of plant, they can both come with difficulties that require different approaches. Photoperiod weed plants are often more high-maintenance to cultivate, as various factors such as light intensity and temperature must be precisely monitored and controlled. However, this added level of control also allows for many mistakes to be corrected before buds start to form.

On the flip side, autoflowering plants are easier to maintain in general, yet lack the same level of command over their development. This can lead to losses or other issues when mistakes have been made in the early stages that cannot be fixed later down the line (due to a short vegetative stage).

Time is vital here and dictates when the vegetation transitions into flowering; any alterations during this stage may not necessarily translate into better yields.

Pick the One That Best Suits Your Needs

Pick the One That Best Suits Your Needs

Ultimately, the choice between autoflowering and photoperiod cannabis strains will depend on your specific growing conditions, experience level, and goals. Consider your needs and the factors listed above, and choose the type of strain that best suits your situation.

SeedsBros offers a wide variety of autoflowering and photoperiod strains, so you can choose the one that best meets your needs.

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