Photoperiod vs. Autoflowering Weed Seeds

Weed seeds will always need to have a substantial amount of light in order to fully develop into fresh and healthy cannabis plants. This principle has always been a constant standard for growing marijuana! That is, of course, until the development of autoflowering seeds was introduced into the cannabis industry.

Ever since weed seeds started becoming domesticated by growers in fields, the one factor that people always strictly maintained and considered was the amount of sunlight that the marijuana plants absorbed during cultivation. For the longest time, weed seeds were exclusively classified as photoperiod seeds that relied mainly on sunlight and oxygen in order to produce energy via photosynthesis. This allowed the plants to develop flowers and trichome-heavy buds in their respective colas!

However, not too long ago, we were blessed with another breakthrough creation in autoflowering weed seeds. This completely changed the landscape of cannabis cultivation as sunlight maintenance was no longer required! Today, the two classes of weed seeds are still used on a large scale. But how exactly do they differ from one another? What are photoperiod weed seeds and autoflowering weed seeds? Let’s check ‘em out.

Photoperiod Weed Seeds

In the most general sense of the term, photoperiod weed seeds are those types of marijuana seeds that will be heavily dependent on the lighting patterns during their life cycles in order to properly grow and blossom. There are two distinct types of weed seeds that will typically display photoperiodism, namely: the regular weed seeds and feminized weed seeds.

The amount of light, whether from sunlight itself or from artificial sources, that the plants from these two weed seeds get is usually split into certain patterns and cycles that alternate the amount of light and darkness that they receive. Regular and feminized weed seeds are practically similar in this sense as this level of photoperiodism will depend largely on what stage of life they are in.

How much light do photoperiod plants need?

In their vegetative stages, photoperiod seeds will normally demand a 18/6 ratio of light and darkness. This can be translated as giving them 18 hours of light followed by 6 hours of darkness. Because the vegetative stage will focus more on the stretching and growth of the plant’s different parts, they will need this increased amount of light in order to produce energy enough for its expansion.

On the other hand, when the plants from these weed seeds enter their flowering stages, a standard 12/12 ratio is often recommended. Indoors, the fluctuation of light and darkness will make the plants adjust according to the season that it believes it is in. This will typically occur when there are shorter days in the year. As the flowering of the plants trigger, they will shift their built-up energy from plant development to bud and flower production.

Autoflowering Weed Seeds

Autoflowering weed seeds are called such because of their ability to flower automatically without the aid of lighting patterns. As they are designed to start their vegetative and flowering stages at their own time, they usually do not consider the seasonal changes happening in their environments. With this, they are able to produce flowers and buds regardless of the amount of light that they are exposed to.

Autoflowering weed seeds mainly comes from the genetics of the Cannabis Ruderalis, a subspecies of marijuana that was the most recently discovered among the three. This subspecies of cannabis originated from places that had extremely harsh weathers where the temperatures were either too hot or too cold. Without an established lighting system for the weed seeds to make use of, the cannabis ruderalis had no choice but to evolve into plants which could withstand this type of climate.

As a result, they were able to develop today’s widely known autoflowering characteristic.

Differences of Photoperiod and Autoflowering Weed Seeds

There are a lot of stark contrasts between these two types of weed seeds. As a result, it drastically changed how cannabis plants were cultivated and offered a number of options for growers to choose from!

Because they provide us with a number of benefits and drawbacks, there really is no telling which one is the superior choice. It pretty much depends on what you are looking to have in your marijuana crops!

With this in mind, it is important to know the differences between photoperiod and autoflowering weed seeds! Here are some of the most important qualities that sets them apart from one another:

  • This one is the most obvious and was explained separately in the above section of this article: photoperiod seeds will require controlled levels of sunlight and darkness whereas autoflowering weed seeds will not. Because autoflowering seeds basically grow in their own time and pace, seasonal changes in the environment need not be considered as much. On the other hand, photoperiod weed seeds will need a respectable amount of time and dedication to control the amount of lighting given to them!
  • The ability to develop flowers automatically significantly impact the growing time needed for these weed seeds. While it can take months to grow photoperiod seeds, considering the average flowering time of 8 to 10 weeks, you can practically grow autoflowers in around 3 to 4 months from germination to harvest! Autoflowering seeds grow much faster than your typical photoperiod variants.
  • In terms of size, photoperiod weed seeds will sprout bigger plants with a thicker foliage of leaves. The ruderalis genetics are actually known to be very small in size, with autoflowering strains averaging around 2 to 3 feet in height. On the other hand, regular and feminized weed seeds (photoperiod) will average anywhere from 4 feet to 16 feet, depending on whether they are sativa or indica genetics.
  • The buds produced from autoflowering weed seeds are much smaller as well. They will appear as small popcorn-like nuggets coated with fine layers of resin. As for the cannabis plants from photoperiod weed seeds, you can expect golf ball-sized flowers.
  • Another key difference is the potency and THC content of both types of weed seeds. The regular and feminized strains will contain much higher doses of THC compared to autoflowering ones. In fact, the cannabis ruderalis by itself is not fit for consumption due to the extremely low contents. As such, ruderalis are often mixed into hybrid strains in order to amplify its effects and give these existing hybrids the autoflowering quality. However, autoflowering strains will contain less THC than its photoperiod counterparts.

As you can see, there are loads of different factors that will ultimately affect your choices. Lucky for all you growers out there, there is practically no shortage whatsoever for both photoperiod and autoflowering weed seeds in the market!

For some of the best choices of weed strains that you can get, try to check out SunWest Genetics. This marijuana seed bank is undoubtedly one of the most well-known cannabis distributors in Canada and for good reason! Each product is specifically handpicked and placed into a quality control process that guarantees only the best weed seeds are shipped out. Go ahead and see what they have to offer!

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Smith Willas
Smith Willas is a freelance writer, blogger, and digital media journalist. He hold a bachelor’s degree from Florida University and his areas of interest are health and fitness, marketing, latest technologies, travel ideas, mobile tech, politics, and world news.