Disadvantages of Autoflowering Marijuana Strains

After the last two blogs I decided it’s best to discuss disadvantages of autoflowering marijuana strains before accusations of bias are hurled. Some of the claims against autoflowering strains are a wee outdated, but I’ll discuss them.

There are numerous disadvantages growers will cite as their reasons for not planting autoflowering seeds and it’s worth discussing their points to provide people a full understanding of the advantages and disadvantages.

1. Lower Yields

For many the smaller yields of autoflowering strains will be the biggest turn off. Lowryder was notorious for it’s small yields and people avoided it in droves. Over the years it’s been improved upon, especially with crosses from other breeders that have plumped up their own varieties.

Make no mistake, autoflowering strains are not commercial croppers and they aren’t going to make appearances on dispensary menus. Growers, even new ones, have visions of incredibly large hefty yields and autoflowering strains for many don’t live up to those dreams.  

I recommend spending some time on SeedFinder to research yields before committing. According to their own reports, Homboldt Seed Organization’s Dedoverde Haze has yields of 40-150 grams per plant while a Mazar Auto from Expert Seeds is 45 grams per plant. Dinafem’s Moby Dick auto may produce anywhere between 40-180 grams per plant while it’s non autoflowering counterpart has a much higher yield.

2. Higher Electricity Bills

To achieve respectable personal level yields, the light schedule for autoflowering strains is much longer. These strains thrive on twenty hours of light and we’ll do our math on this number.

Autoflowering cannabis strains use 140 hours of light a week and can finish in 70 days or less. A plant that finishes in 70 days is going to consume 1400 hours of total light from start to finish.

A healthy vegetative phase for regular seeds is approximately four weeks or 28 days. To do a 28 day veg your plant consumes 504 hours of light and for seventy day flower 672 hours are needed. Over the plants 98 day growth cycle it requires 1344 hours of light.  

Carefully weigh the quicker finishing time (28 days or more) against the possibility of higher utility costs. Many autoflowering growers don’t use HID lights, which can present a whole kind of different problems.

3. Adjusting For LED Lights

Many autoflowering growers opt to also experiment with alternative lighting methods. With lights on much longer some people choose to grow with LED lights or other kind of grow bulbs. These lights, though effective, have their own slew of problems including producing lower yields and speeding up the finish.

Like autoflowers, some growers outright dislike LED lights, but that’s a discussion for another day. Switching from HID to LED can pose it’s own challenges.

This isn’t a problem if you’re growing from HID, but a HID in the early seedling growth can prove to be very challenging.   

Getting the right height distance is important because autoflowering strains may become stunted if they’re too close and too stretchy if the light is too far away.

I’ve grown autoflowers using an LED light and figuring out the distance from bulb to plant proved to be challenging because the back of the hand method doesn’t work.

4. Size Matters Autoflowering Runts

Many growers are turned off by autoflowering strains smaller size. Bigger plants is something growers are into and the larger the better in many eyes. Guess, we’re just trained to like large beefy plants.

Growing several different kinds of autoflowering seeds I’ve come across the runt of the litter a few times. Friends have too. Runts happen in seed packets. Not all the time, but some of the seeds become very stunted.

All the strains are doing great and there’s this one plant that just won’t get with the program. When you come across a runt, it’s best to just replace it with a different seed.  

5. Starting Bucket Size Challenges

Autoflowering seeds have to start in the bucket they finish flowering in. They do not like to be transplanted and this can pose some problems. Many experienced growers start their seedlings in ‘beer cups’ or smaller containers to allow for great root development.

This can’t be done with autoflowering marijuana seeds because they hate to be transplanted. Getting them started in bigger buckets has a few challenges, but they can be easily overcome.

6. Less Potent Pot

The ruderalis creates less potent pot is a huge complaint amongst growers. Many of these people haven’t grown autoflowering strains and speculate the ruderalis makes the weed weaker.

The early reviews of Lowryder was it had a weaker higher. Over the years this issue has been corrected, in my opinion.

I’ve reviewed some amazeball autoflowering strains. I’d suggest the taste, flavor and strength is there when grown properly. More breeders are crossing their popular strains with ruderalis with great success. I’m not sure this is an issue anymore, but people are holding onto this idea.

7. Lack Of Autoflowering Marijuana Strain Selection

Another complaint that is a wee bit outdated. These days there are numerous different kinds of autoflowering strains. As their popularity among growers has grown more breeders have offered autoflowering strains of their strains.

A remarkable 345 strains turn up doing a very simple Seed Finder search. I think the argument of lack of variety is not valid. Autoflowering strains are clearly becoming more popular as growers discover them.

Matt Mernagh is the author of Marijuana Smoker’s Guidebook The Easy Way To Identify and Enjoy Marijuana Strains available now from Amazon, iTunes or instore at Urban Outfitters

Matt Mernagh
Matt Mernagh

Matt Mernagh is author of Marijuana Smoker's Guidebook The Easy Way To Identify and Enjoy Marijuana Strains (http://amzn.to/1bRlaGm) by Green Candy Press and hosts a weekly weedy webcast The Menahuana Zone on Pot.TV every Tuesday. The Mernagh Ruling is a test case of Canada's cannabis laws and was spearheaded by Mernagh, lawyer Paul Lewin and 22 witnesses from across Canada.



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  5. Anonymous on

    pass the pipe dream pleeezzze! a kilo, if this were so no one
    would be growing any photoperiods!!!! lies, all the time lies!!!

  6. Anonymous on

    one kilo,my ass!

  7. Anonymous on

    One think different produced 538 grams dry weight dp seed co check out there pics and check out youtube. one auto ultimate a master grower got 1 kilo off of a plant at autoflower

  8. Anonymous on

    Your info is so outdated two words THINK DIFFERENT by dutch passion under a true 400 watts of led produced in excess of 538 grams dry weight

  9. Anonymous on

    How about writing an article about how pathetically lazy and horribly poor writer you are?