What are Autoflowering Seeds and Day Neutral Growing Preferences?

Article Author: Atlas Seed
Article Posted: September 24, 2021

What are autoflowering seeds?

Cannabis ruderalis, colloquially referred to as “day neutral,” or autoflowering cannabis, is a variety of hemp and cannabis that initiates or triggers into flowering irregardless of light cycle changes  Therefore autoflowering seeds are produced from day neutral or autoflowering cannabis plants. While regular, “photoperiod,” or “photo dependent” hemp and cannabis flip into flowering phases depending on the amount and type of light, autoflowering cannabis flips into flowering based on its own inner timing that is light cycle independent.  Because ruderalis varieties developed at higher Siberian latitudes, it is thought that they evolved a different mechanism for finishing their reproductive cycle in order to successfully produce seeds in their shorter growth period. 

While the majority of Atlas Seed autoflowering varieties finish their full life cycle in between 60-80 days, it is important to keep in mind that while the trigger for flowering is not light cycle dependant, the full vegetative and flowering potential of our autoflowering varieties are dependant on light and heat. Therefore one of our faster finishing varieties planted in temperate, “4 season latitudes,” roughly between April and August would take 70 days to mature; but the same variety planted in “shoulder seasons”, or early spring and late fall, would take as long as 90-100 days to fully mature. So again, autoflowering varieties flowering is not photoperiod dependent as with all other cannabis plants, but it’s overall lifecycle, as with all plants, is.  

Day Neutral Growing Preferences

Day neutral cannabis, scientifically known as C. ruderalis or colloquially referred to as “auto-flowering” cannabis, prefers long, dry, and sunny days. During establishment the plant requires regular watering to maintain even moisture. The soil should never drop below 50% of full capacity, and on hot days (above 80° F) should stay above 80%. Early applications of a balanced vegetative feeding program are critical to developing a well branched, large plant. The goal is to create as many flowering sites as possible within 3-5 weeks of growth, at which point they will begin to show signs of flowering. At this time it is best to maintain a strong vegetative

feeding program and begin to slowly introduce more phosphorus, potassium, and micronutrients to prepare for the plant’s reproductive (flowering) phase. The plants should continue to grow quickly and stack up flowering sites from weeks 3-8. During Weeks 8-12 the flowering

sites will bulk up and become dense, especially at the very end of the cycle.

Plants that grow during the summer when the days are long, warm, and sunny will ripen and be ready to harvest faster than in the winter where the shorter and colder days with less light can add an extra 10-20 days on the time to harvest. These plants have a strong appetite for light and heat! The more light they receive, the faster they grow and come to maturity. True autoflowering

plants can come to maturity even under a 24 hour daytime light cycle (no darkness/night). Weak, low watt lighting typically used to keep clone plants “in veg” will not speed up the growth of autoflower plants or prevent them from flowering.

One of the most important parts of growing day-neutral varieties is to minimize transplant shock. Any shock resulting from improper transplanting can contribute significantly to reduced yields. Unlike other agricultural crops, especially vegetables and flowers, day-neutral cannabis varieties want to be transplanted as fast as equipment and handling will allow for, or within 10 days of emergence.  The sweet spot is between day 7-10.   Each day after there is a marked reduction in overall plant size leading up to day 14 where we do not recommend transplanting after that.   

Other Related Blogs

Considerations in Breeding Cannabis Genetics for Potency

Potency in the Cannabis Marketplace The most important factor in Market Dynamics for a grower is potency, or more specifically, the percentage of THC in the flowers. A decade ago 10% was an acceptable average. Now, buyers balk at anything under 18%. This is the single...

What Soil Should I Use for Planting Autoflower Seeds?

More and more cannabis growers at all levels, from hobbyist to larger scale commercial indoor and outdoor farmers are discovering the benefits of running autoflower strains. Why? For back yard and/or basement warriors, autoflower strains, also known “day-neutral”...

Where Do Autoflower Seeds Come From?

Autoflower strains are those cannabis strains that start to flower automatically when the physiology of the plants are ready, regardless of the amount of sun/grow light hours they get. Since autoflower strains are not dependent on the duration of light to start...

Seed Cultivation is the Past and Future of Cannabis Agriculture

Introduction American agriculture is entering a new age of cash crops, with cannabis and hemp production leading the pack. Cannabis was estimated to have had a $28.3 billion market value in 2021, with signs pointing to nearly seven times that valuation by 2028. In the...

What Is Super Cropping? All You Need To Know

SUPER CROPPING An intensive high stress plant training technique that is practiced to improve cannabis plant productivity. It is simple yet efficient.    What Is Super Cropping, And Why Do You Do It?  Super Cropping is a high-stress training technique; although...

What Are Feminized Cannabis Seeds & What Are They Used For?

What are feminized seeds? Feminized hemp and cannabis seeds are produced to grow primarily female plants, while regular hemp and cannabis seeds have a 50% chance of being female.  Since cannabis is a dioecious plant, it evenly produces male and female plants, or...

Is There a Difference Between Cannabis or Hemp from Feminized AutoFlowering Seeds?

Is cannabis or hemp from feminized auto flowering seeds different? Cannabis or hemp grown from feminized autoflowering seeds is in essence the same thing, since hemp and cannabis are more so cultural distinctions than botanical distinctions. In other words, it all...

A Growers Guide: The Pros and Cons of Autoflowering and Feminized Seeds

Feminized Autoflowering seeds are becoming a more sought after choice for both small scale recreational and large scale industrial growers for a number of reasons. The most obvious reason they are increasing in popularity is that genetic advancement in the last 5-10...

How To Protect Your Cannabis Autoflower Crops from Severe Weather

Outdoor cannabis and hemp growers throughout North America face seasonal threats of excessive rain and humidity that can lead to significant crop loss via mold and mildew pressure.  Places like Michigan, where growers battle mold from early fall rains ranging from mid...

Feminized Autoflowering Cannabis and Hemp: Direct Sow vs Transplant

When you’re new to autoflowering cannabis and hemp farming, it’s best to kick off your operation with all of the necessary information. Arming yourself with knowledge will help ensure that your season will go off without a hitch. Experienced farmers everywhere know...

Are You a Grower Interested in Learning More?

Fill out our Grower Intake form and a member of our team will get in touch with you shortly!

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop