Autoflower seeds: What they are and how they compare to other cannabis seeds


An increasing number of cultivators are showing a keen interest in autoflower seeds, and with good reason.

Cannabis growers worldwide are moving toward easy-to-grow cultivars that offer faster turnaround times, and autoflower marijuana seeds offer just that.

Autoflower cannabis seeds contain ruderalis genetics. They have the unique ability to enter and complete the flowering phase due to the plant’s age instead of reduced daylight hours.

There’s a vast number of autoflower strains available. These range from high-quality THC and CBD strains to hybrids that offer a perfect balance between both.

Read on as we delve deeper into what autoflower seeds are, how they vary from other cannabis seed types, and how to grow them successfully.

What are autoflower seeds?

During the early 2000s, breeders created the first non-photoperiod marijuana strains. While it was a huge step forward in cannabis cultivation, these expeditious autoflower seeds didn’t impress. They lacked potency and aroma and produced lower yields.

As time progressed, so did the quality of marijuana autoflowering seeds. Modern non-photoperiod strains aren’t only stable and sturdy; they also rival photoperiod cultivars on yield, potency, and aroma.

Autoflower cannabis seeds are indica, sativa, or hybrid cultivars containing ruderalis genetics (a type of marijuana native to Russia).

Cannabis cultivators avoid growing cannabis ruderalis plants on their own as they usually contain low levels of THC. However, the species’ ability to flower after seven weeks and resistance to cold weather makes it a desirable choice for interbreeding.

For this reason, plants grown from autoflower marijuana seeds automatically switch from the vegetative stage to the flowering period (click here to know more about it).

While photoperiod plants start to bloom shortly after the summer solstice, autoflowering cannabis seeds enter the flowering period after a specific development period. In layman’s terms, they flower automatically after reaching the right size.

Other traits that make autoflower seeds desirable to cultivators include:

  • These strains are typically highly resistant to cannabis pests and mold
  • Autoflower strains are also feminized, eliminating the need to sex your crop
  • They retain a small stature (1–3.3 feet in height), making them ideal for stealth cultivation
  • Growers can raise several crops per season

Plants grown from autoflower cannabis seeds can satisfy all needs. Recreational users have access to an abundance of high THC strains, while medical marijuana users can enjoy the benefits of cultivars rich in CBD.

Growers looking for a slight challenge will enjoy cultivating autoflower seeds. Using non-photoperiod strains for your next project will make your effort more than worth your while.

Regular vs. autoflower seeds

The primary difference between these two types of marijuana seeds are:

  • Autoflower seeds are non-photoperiod strains containing ruderalis genetics
  • Regular seeds are entirely natural photoperiod cultivars.

Regular seeds are the result of natural pollination with no human tampering or scientific tweaking involved. They’re also capable of producing both male and female plants, making them exceptionally popular amongst breeders.

Breeders use the pollen that male cannabis plants produce to pollinate female flowers to create new strains or the next generation of seeds.

Regular seeds are available as purebred, indica-dominant, sativa-dominant, high CBD, and high THC strains.

Here are the pros and cons of regular vs. autoflower seeds:

Regular seeds


  • Plays a key role in developing and growing new strains
  • 50/50 chance of producing female and male plants
  • Cultivators can create new clones safely and easily
  • Grants breeders the ability to create a pollen bank
  • Available in both modern and traditional genetics


  • Not always reliable
  • The risk of accidental pollination is high
  • Requires the knowledge to distinguish between male and female plants

Autoflower seeds


  • Eliminates the need to switch the light phase
  • Plants remain small, making them easy to maneuver
  • Faster development and shorter flowering period
  • Their resilient genetics makes them beginner-friendly
  • Ideal for stealth cultivation


  • Produces slightly less cannabis
  • Cloning can be challenging
  • Slightly lower THC concentration

Feminized vs. Autoflower seeds

Breeders designed autoflower seeds to flower automatically. On the other hand, feminized seeds’ genetics ensures they produce only female plants. They’ll only start to flower after you change their light cycle, providing them with more than 12 hours of darkness per day.

Even though both types produce quality yields, there are significant differences between them. These include:

Feminized vs. autoflower seeds: Differences
Trait Feminized seeds Autoflower seeds
Cultivation difficulty Easy to challenging Easy to moderate
Plant height Medium to tall Small to medium
Starts to flower After receiving more less than 12 hours of light per day Two to four weeks after planting
Seed to harvest: Average time 12–24 weeks 10–16 weeks
Average yield Moderate to high Moderate
Required growing space Medium Little

How are autoflower seeds made?

Breeders create autoflower seeds by crossbreeding sativa, indica, and hybrid strains with cannabis ruderalis plants.

Ruderalis is a non-photoperiod, wild subspecies of marijuana native to colder regions with short summers and plenty of daylight hours, including Russia, Siberia, and Northern Europe. These plants evolved to rely on age to flower instead of the amount of light they receive.

On their own, there’s not much use for ruderalis seeds. The plants produce a low yield, and their buds don’t create a high.

Breeders found that by crossbreeding them with high-quality sativa, indica, and hybrid strains, they could create potent, non-photoperiod cultivars. A discovery that revolutionized cannabis cultivation.

How to germinate autoflower seeds

Knowing how to germinate autoflower seeds is the first step toward successfully raising your cannabis crop through to fruition.

There are various sprouting methods you can choose from. Even though some are more challenging to use than others, they’re all successful to a degree. Most cultivators prefer using simplified techniques to sprout their cannabis seeds.

Read on as we explore two of the most straightforward and commonly used germination techniques.

Thepaper towel approach

When germinating autoflower seeds, the paper towel approach is one of the most commonly used sprouting techniques. Here’s a quick look at what this method requires you to do:

  • Using bottled water, moisten some paper towels and place one on top of a dinner plate.
  • Put your autoflower cannabis seeds on top, an inch or so apart, then place a second paper towel on top.
  • If necessary, add extra water, then lift the paper towels to check for pooling water on the plate. Should you find any, wipe it down.
  • Put a second plate upside down on the first, and place it in a dark, warm, and moist space.
  • Your autoflower marijuana seeds should develop a small taproot within 120 hours. During this period, it’s crucial to keep your cannabis seeds moist.

Direct planting

Direct planting is an age-old technique that involves mimicking nature by planting your autoflower seeds directly in the soil. Here’s how it works:

  • Fill some sall pots with moderately fertilized soil (one for each marijuana seed you intend to grow).
  • Using a small cylindrical object, like a pen, make one-inch deep holes into the soil’s surface in every pot and place one autoflower seed in each, then cover it with soil.
  • Using sterilized water, gently wet the soil in each pot, then bundle the containers together under a fluorescent lamp. Be sure to keep your marijuana seeds moist throughout the germination process.
  • Your autoflower marijuana seeds should break ground within a few days, proudly displaying their first leaves (cotyledons).

How to grow autoflower seeds

While the main principles of cannabis cultivation remain the same across the board, knowing how to grow autoflower seeds involves tweaking certain elements, including:

  • If your chosen preferred growing medium is soil, use lighter, well-draining dirt. If necessary, add perlite to the mix to increase drainage and airiness.
  • There’s no need to alter the light schedule when cultivating autoflower seeds indoors. You can retain an 18/6 or 24/0 light to darkness ratio from seed to harvest.
  • Autoflower marijuana seeds are less binding to the growing season when cultivating them outside. Provided there’s no frost; you can plant these seeds throughout the year, allowing you to reap several harvests annually.
  • It’s crucial to remember that plants developed from autoflower cannabis seeds typically have a life cycle of 8–10 weeks.
  • It’s vital to provide autoflower plants with at least 18–20 hours of light per day throughout their lifecycle to produce optimal results.
  • Plants grown from these cannabis seeds prefer a moderate temperature of 70 °F to thrive.
  • While autoflower seeds require a slightly higher relative humidity (RH) level during the vegetative stage, it’s essential to drop the RH to between 40 and 50% during the flowering period.
  • Due to plants grown from these marijuana seeds being small in stature, they require fewer nutrients than feminized and regular strains. As a rule of thumb, when using commercial cannabis nutes, cut the recommended dose by 50–75%.
  • Due to their size, plants grown from autoflower marijuana seeds consume less water. Be careful not to over saturate them and allow the dirt to dry between waterings.
  • While you can try low-stress training techniques on autoflower plants to optimize light exposure, it’s crucial to avoid any form of high-stress training, including:
  • Cutting
  • Pinching
  • Topping
  • Super cropping
  • FIM
  • Defoliation

3 Best autoflower seeds

With a huge variety of non-photoperiod strains available, it’s no wonder that consumers can easily get lost in confusion. Here’s a selection of the heaviest yielding, most potent, and best high CBD autoflower seeds currently on the market.

Best high yield autoflower seeds in the USA: Northern Lights

Derived from Afghan indica genetics, Northern lights autoflower seeds are a legendary marijuana cultivar from the ’70s. Created during the hippie era in the states, it found its way to Europe in the ’80s.

Still popular amongst cannabis lovers worldwide, this marijuana pleases the senses with earthy, piney, and sweet notes while delivering a happy, uplifting cerebral effect.

Northern lights auto compares to feminized and regular versions on all fronts, without comprising effect and flavor.

Plants from these cannabis seeds are some of the highest-yielding autoflower strains currently available, producing a generous harvest of 14–18 oz./㎡ indoors.

Best high THC autoflower seeds: Gorilla Glue #4

With THC levels as high as 24%, Gorilla Glue #4 autoflower seeds are one of the most potent non-photoperiod cultivars currently available. Apart from its outstanding recreational effects, it also holds various medicinal properties, including pain relief.

Having won multiple awards, cannabis from these marijuana seeds is well-known for its fast-hitting, exceptionally potent kick.

Even though this strain has a powerful sedative effect, it’s also uplifting, resulting in you feeling fantastic yet relaxed.

In addition to hitting like a raging silverback, these autoflower cannabis seeds are highly resistant to mildew and mold. Without too much difficulty, any cultivator can successfully grow Gorilla Glue #4.

Best high CBD autoflower seeds: CBD Kush

Boasting 15% CBD and 6% THC, CBD Kush autoflower seeds are the offspring of CBD Kush and an unknown ruderalis strain.

Bursting with piney, woody, and earthy notes and an abundance of CBD, the cannabis from these marijuana seeds is a tasty remedy for anxiety, pain, and inflammation. Although subtle, its psychoactive effects deliver a relaxed, uplifting high coupled with mild sedation.

Cannabis from these marijuana seeds is ideal for patients, those intolerant to THC, and curious beginners.

Plants from these autoflower marijuana seeds have a compact structure with various side branches. Fairly easy to cultivate, they have a customized growth cycle, developing at a much faster pace than their photoperiod counterparts.

Where to buy autoflower seeds?

With a multitude of autoflower cannabis seeds available, the odds are in your favor to find some at your local dispensary in legal states. Unfortunately, you never know what you’ll find, and these outlets don’t provide any guarantees.

The only place for Americans to get the autoflower marijuana seeds is through the best online seed bank around, Homegrown Cannabis Co. It offers its customers frequent BOGO (buy one get one) deals; germination guaranteed seeds, and discreet packaging and shipping.

Since all orders are dealt with swiftly, you should be able to start growing your favorite autoflower seeds within a few days after ordering them.

Autoflower cannabis seeds: Defying nature

Recent years have seen tremendous development in the quality of marijuana autoflowering seeds, which is bound to evolve even more in the future.

With a myriad of non-photoperiod cultivars, consumers have the luxury of choosing amongst the strongest CBD, most potent, and highest-yielding autoflower strains on the market. All this, in record harvesting times.

Novice growers need to experiment with various cannabis seeds to gain experience and enjoy marijuana cultivation to its fullest.

Despite being compact and fast-growing, plants from autoflower seeds are also highly resistant to cannabis pests and diseases. If you have a bit of cultivation experience and you’re up for the challenge, these marijuana seeds are the right choice for you.

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