Autoflowering strains have Cannabis Ruderalis genes to thank for their independence of light. They tend to be fast finishers and produce less than photoperiod strains. However, some of the highest yielding autoflower strains will pleasantly surprise you!
There are definitely ways to work with your auto-flowering plants that’ll make it so they can compete with classic female plants in terms of production.
A flowering phase that lasts between six to eight weeks is not exceptional in the world of autoflowers. They are a great fit for impatient growers. But why settle for merely impatient, when you can be impatient and greedy?
Ideally, you want those auto-flowering ladies to finish reasonably fast with a hefty yield.
In this article, we’ll cover some auto-flowering cannabis basics including questions about yield, as well as how to improve on a plant’s production and which auto-flowering strains are known to be generous yielders.
The Main Advantages of Growing Autoflowering Plants
Autoflowering seeds have their perks and their downsides. When comparing to pure Indica or Sativa strains, pure Ruderalis plants are not the highest yielding ones, nor can they compete for the title of most potent/highest THC strains.
However, the auto-flowering seeds sold by various seed banks aren’t pure.
These strains have been altered to the point of being hybrids. They are mostly Indica and/or Sativa, with a smaller percentage of Ruderalis genes. Just enough to start flowering independently of the light. And enough of other (Indica/Sativa) genes to be more potent and produce more than its ancestor from Siberia.
The highest yielding autoflower strains have all the avantages of Cannabis Ruderalis and very little of its downsides.
Both experienced growers and novices can appreciate the fact they’re almost always fast finishers. A flowering time of 7-11 weeks depending on the strain is normal.
Beginning growers don’t have to worry about messing up the light cycles. Experienced growers might appreciate not having to focus on this aspect as well. Instead, you can put all of your attention toward the other facets of growing.
Late Starts Allowed
As a direct result of not depending on any amount of light, auto-flowering strains do not rely on the seasons. They can usually still thrive later in season outside, past the point where other (feminized) plants would have enough time to grow.
All of this makes combined makes auto-flowering strains relatively easy to grow.
How much do Autoflowers yield?
The potential yields listed by reputable seed banks are neither set in stone nor completely bogus. They are a good indication of what to aim for.
You’ll simply need to do your part of the work in terms of fostering happy, healthy plants for maximum yields. Small setbacks or growers’ mistakes come at a cost.
Whichever amount a seed bank lists for the expected yield of their highest yielding autoflower strains, please keep in mind that these harvest weights are not set in stone.
So while these numbers are tentative at best, the good news is that things can be done to improve your chances to get your plants to produce the maximum.
What’s the Highest Yielding Autoflower Strain?
|AK 47 XTRM||450g/m2||550g/m2||24%|
|Girl Scout Cookies||500-650g/m2||500-650g/m2||28%|
|Girl Scout Cookies Extreme||5-7oz/plant||5-7oz/plant||very high|
Not wanting to sound like a broken record, I’ve omitted the terms ‘autoflowering’ and ‘feminized’ from the table. All info refers to the auto versions, even though most of these strains also exist in simply feminized form.
How do you maximize Autoflower yield?
Maximizing the yield of an auto-flowering plant starts with the right choice of strains.
Certain auto-flowering strains are known to produce more than others, so if a high yield is important you’ll want to set yourself up for success by picking some genetics with the potential to achieve that goal.
Yield and potency go hand-in-hand, and starting with the best genetics is crucial for both.
Talented strain developers have worked hard on creating strains with as much THC as possible for plants crossed with Cannabis Ruderalis. Where you may see numbers in the upper twenties or even thirties (!) for other strains, autos with around 20% THC are generally considered high.
Another logical way to maximize the yield of auto-flowering marijuana is merely a matter of time. These plants finish faster than just feminized ones, which means you can potentially churn out two harvests in the time a photoperiod strain grows one. What auto-flowering strains lack in terms of yield they can make up for in speed.
Knowing that there is the potential for back-to-back rotations, the lesser yield of auto’s versus feminized plants doesn’t sound so bad now, does it? It’s a simple and straightforward way to get a higher yield – doing the same thing twice or multiple times in a row.
Techniques & Training: Sea of Green
While it may be true that in a one-to-one comparison, autoflowering plants typically can’t produce as much as the photoperiod ones, there are ways to take advantage of the fast growth and flowering of autos with a technique called SOG, “sea of green”.
The SOG growing technique consists of planting a large number of plants close together (creating said “sea of green”). This is a great way to maximize growing space and light exposure.
Autoflowers are naturally smaller than feminized plants, so they lend themselves well to this approach. You’ll need more seeds, though, since auto-flowering cannabis plants don’t clone well.
Basically, when looking at how much flower a nicely packed square area of autoflowering plants can produce in the same timeframe it takes other female plants to churn out one single harvest, those yield numbers may just be in favor of the autoflowers.
There’s a reason they are so popular, after all!
Techniques & Training: Low Stress Training
Another technique aims on boosting fewer plants to produce more. Low stress training involves guiding the plant’s branches so that it ends up with multiple large kolas instead of only one main one.
The tricky part with auto’s is that they grow fast. The window to apply some low-stress training techniques, such as tying down or scrog (screen of green), is between the moment where the first adult leaves appear and when the flowering stage starts.
Since an auto-flowering marijuana plant’s age determines when she starts flowering, some people like to ditch the ‘cycle’ part altogether and keep the lights on 24 hours. Others argue that any plant, including autoflowers, benefit from a period of rest and darkness to recuperate.
The reason behind giving autoflowers as much light as possible is simple: to have them grow as large as possible. Larger plants produce a higher yield but overall plant health is just as important for production.
Auto-flowering cannabis can be grown under either one of these light conditions, as well as a regular 12:12 set-up. If you’re also growing feminized plants in the space, for example, your auto-flowering ones may have to adapt to a more conventional cycle.
Opinions vary on what makes the perfect light cycle for auto-flowering plants. Some experimenting is in order, to form your own and see what works best for you.
For the highest possible yield, all while keeping plants healthy, giving them 18 hours of light a day (and 6 of darkness) is widely seen as a good way to go.
What Could Go Wrong?
Auto-flowering marijuana has many advantages. Their timer being set, regardless of light, for one. On the flip side, this perk can also work against you and what you’re aiming to achieve.
If a plant’s growth gets stunted for whatever reason, the yield will be very small. Low-stress training gone wrong can result in a strangely shaped plant with no prospects to recover before flowering starts.
The window to boost growth to the maximum is limited and defined. Failure to capitalize on the given time-frame doesn’t have to result in no harvest at all. Stunted plants simply can’t produce quite as much.
That’s how lessons are learned, though, and there will always be a fresh batch of seeds waiting to give it another go!
What is a Super Autoflower?
Speaking of the limited time-frame auto’s have for growth, what if there were a way to extend it by just enough to allow for larger plants and a bigger yield?
That’s where a super autoflower comes in. I’m sure there are enough specifics to the process to fill a thesis, but in a nutshell:
These strains have been back-crossed with non-auto-flowering strains in order to extend the vegetation stage. This gives them additional room to grow bigger, all while still having the flowering stage kick in automatically. Just a bit later.
The result is some (by comparison) rather monstrous auto-flowering cannabis plants that can take on their feminized competition, in size as well as potency. Hence the name ‘super-autoflower’.
AK 47 XTRM Auto-flowering
AK 47 XTRM is a creation by Amsterdam Marijuana Seeds.
Pacifists may not like the name of this strain but that’s about all there is to dislike. She literally checks all the boxes.
Easy to grow? Check. THC content? It’s respectably high, around 24% to be specific. CBD is listed as high too, although we aren’t given any specific value for this second-most-popular cannabinoid.
This is one of the highest yielding auto-flowering strain at AMS, with up to 450g or 15.9oz per square meter inside and 550g or 19.4oz per square meter outside.
Big Bud Auto-Fem
Big Bud Auto-Fem can yield even more than AK 47. However, the THC content is lower: between 5 and 15%. A medium-range THC percentage doesn’t have to be a downside, though. There are many situations in which this type of strain may be preferable to a real heavy hitter.
For the best prospects in terms of yield from your Big Bud auto-flowering plants, it is important to stay on top of nutrients and watering. Big Bud’s flowering time is 7-9 weeks and she’s a commercial growers’ favorite.
Get it right and you’ll be looking at terrific yields of up to 600 grams per square meter indoor and 800 grams per square meter outdoor. That’s 21.2 ounces and 28.2 ounces respectively. More than enough reason to make sure Big Bud auto-feminized ends her growing cycle with a (flowering) bang!
Being a 70% Indica strain, this is a good fit for the evening and nighttime use; or any other time, as long as you don’t need to be productive right after toking.
Girl Scout Cookies Auto-flowering Feminized
Dr. Seeds’ Girl Scout Cookies Auto-flowering is very easy to grow. The classic Girl Scout Cookies revisited as an auto-flowering strain – that’s good news for those who want to grow such a classic but not work with light cycles.
Flowering time is eight to nine weeks and she can produce up to 500-650 grams per square meter.
Girl Scout Cookies has won many awards and THC levels are up to 28%.
The fanbase for this American classic is immense. You can’t really go wrong with GSC, a world-famous hybrid that leans slightly on the Indica side. This strain is 60% Indica and 40% Sativa – there must be some Ruderalis, too, but it doesn’t specify.
Girl Scout Cookies Extreme Autoflower
Girl Scout Cookies Extreme Autoflower is another version of the famous strain by ILGM (short for ‘I love growing marijuana’).
She has received rave reviews and does best in warmer, Mediterranean-like weather but can handle other climates. Perfect for growing inside, too, especially since GSC Extreme Auto’s are relatively short and full plants.
These plants are robust, easy to grow, and can handle fluctuating temperatures. Girl Scout Cookies Extreme can yield 5-7 ounces per plant. Like most auto-flowering strains, they’ll be ready for harvest in 7-9 weeks.
What makes these plants unique is their low stature combined with a relatively high yield and very high THC levels. If those three things combined sound neat, GSC Extreme is a perfect candidate for your next grow-op.
ILGM is hand-down one of the most reputable and trustworthy online seed banks, which means ordering these GSC Extreme seeds is practically guaranteed to be stress-free. Because life is stressful enough as-is, ordering seeds shouldn’t add to it, right?! Woop, woop!
Moby Dick Auto-flowering
Wanna bet Moby Dick is one of those strains you’ll be raving about to your friends?
This auto-flowering Moby is a high yielder with 550g per square meter indoors. Outdoors, she can produce a whopping 900g per plant.
THC content is around 21% (CBD is low). Moby Dick’s high is energetic, uplifting and euphoric. Get ready for some powerful cerebral stimulation, which makes sense knowing that Moby is a Sativa-dominant hybrid.
The short flowering period (50-60 days) is to be expected from an auto-flowering strain. Another great characteristic of this strain, in particular, is her robustness and mold-resistance. Which makes sense, since Moby Dick is a cross between the famously robust White Widow and Haze Sativa.
Knowing how forgiving she is, beginning growers can confidently take on these Moby Dick Auto-flowering plants. Regardless of your skill level, you will be rewarded with buds that smell of vanilla, caramel, and toffee, as well as hints of eucalyptus.
The only issue with this strain is that the retailer, Pacific Seed Bank, has mixed reviews. Their score on Trustpilot is not good, however, they do write up answers to most complaints, which pleads in their favor. I’m not sure why one would choose to order from a semi-shady place when there are others with spotless customer service, except perhaps to get your hands on these Moby Dick seeds?
Strawberry Cheesecake (Auto-Fem)
Strawberry Cheesecake Auto (feminized) is an Indica-dominant hybrid strain by Seedsman. She can be grown both indoors and outside and takes around 12-13 weeks from seed to harvest.
THC percentage lies around 15% and CBD is low. Strawberry Cheesecake tastes fruity, and sweet with notes of citrus and also some potent skunk.
The plants produce dense, resinous buds, which puts them at risk for mold. When growing inside, it’s worth staying on top of humidity levels for this one! Outdoors, for lack of full control, we’ll just say this strain does best in warm and dry, Mediterranean-like climates.
Indoor yields are approximately 500g per square meter, while outdoors as much as 600g can be harvested from each plant. Strawberry Cheesecake flowers produce a lot of resin, which makes this strain a great fit for extracts and concentrates.
Zkittlez auto stays rather short, she doesn’t normally exceed 1 meter or roughly 3 feet. Between sprouting seeds and harvesting you’re looking at around 75 days.
About that harvest: inside it should be good: 400-500g per square meter. Outdoors it can be even better: up to 800g per square meter, according to the description.
Zkittlez plants have a strong odor, so proper carbon filtration is recommended inside. Buds have a complex fruity fragrance and taste, and very high THC – especially for an autoflower. This strain’s THC content of 25% rivals that of the more potent regular, feminized strains.
Best Auto-flowering Cannabis Seeds
There are so many cannabis strains! Under the right conditions, certain plants yield more than others, and these are some of the most promising contenders.
But who has the best auto-flowering seeds?
If the world of online seed banks can come across as a bit of a jungle, that’s because it is. It takes some browsing to find out which seed banks you probably don’t want to order from.
Learning from other people’s experiences by reading through niche forum threads is one way, but that can be time-consuming.
Before recommending a seed bank, I review their policies closely and cross-check as many reviews and comments online as there are, to make sure other people’s opinions are in line with my own.
Not every seed bank that some folks have had a negative experience with is a scam. However, more often than not, our personal findings will be confirmed by fellow growers out there.
About certain retailers, you’ll find lots of complaints. Some places have roughly equal amounts of very satisfied customers and disgruntled ones. And then we have seed banks that are widely known for their squeaky clean, sparkly, irreproachable reputation. As I said, it’s a jungle!
These are the most noteworthy and trustworthy seed banks, with an awesome auto-flowering seed selection.
Autoflowers’ forte is exactly what their name implies: to flower quickly and unrelated to the light.
The gene responsible for the automatic flowering of auto strains comes from the Cannabis Ruderalis strain, a hardy type of Cannabis with low THC levels. Ruderalis plants are well adapted to the short growing season in cold climates and the fast drop in temperature.
Thanks to the efforts of talented breeders, we can choose from many auto-flowering strains that have respectably high cannabinoid percentages. Yield-wise, same story. Most auto-flowering strains on the market contain only a small part of Ruderalis genes and perform much better than their pure Ruderalis ancestor.
When you choose to grow auto’s, that’s the trade. Autoflowering strains have the advantage of not depending on surrounding light for input. In terms of potency and yield, they score a bit less than their feminized version. That’s not to say that, with proper care and attention to detail, you can’t end up with a very worthwhile harvest.
How well the plants are taken care of is definitely most influential in the outcome, as far as THC/potency and yield go. Under ideal circumstances, the highest yielding auto-flowering strains have the potential to knock the competition out of the park!