One of the most important breeding achievements in cannabis evolution has been the arrival of the latest high performance autoflowering cannabis seed varieties. The best auto genetics now routinely out-yield photoperiod varieties grown over the same timescales. Potency of the best autos has been the same as photoperiod varieties for several years. The evolution and progress of autos has been nothing short of dramatic. So how did all this come about?
1st generation autos. Proof of concept, but more work to do.
The first autos were brought to the mainstream by the Joint Doctor in the 80’s and 90’s – the 1st generation autos. Early pioneers managed to bypass the fundamental rules of cannabis which stated that a plant would only bloom when daily light hours were reduced. By allowing the auto cannabis plant to bloom under 20+ hours of daily light the plant would have a new photosynthetic advantage over photoperiod varieties. Bud production under 20 hours of daily light was of course much higher. However, first generation of autoflowering cannabis varieties lacked potency and yield. The short sighted breeders in the cannabis community chose to ignore autos. But the rest of us saw something much more interesting, and work continued.
2nd generation autos. Almost there, but not quite.
The 1st generation of autos showed a glimpse of the auto dream – blooming under 20 hours of daily light. It was a fantasy for most serious breeders. In Dutch Passion we refer to these as the 2nd generation autos which were mainly seen in the years from 2005 to 2010. Results were improved, the early adopters liked what they saw, but wanted more potency and bigger harvests
3rd generation autos. The wait was worth it.
The 3rd generation autos are those that we see from the premium seed banks today. The best auto home-growers routinely harvest 100-200g+ from their autos, and simply can’t distinguish between the potency of their autos and photoperiod varieties. But a word of caution, there is still a large gap between the best seed banks (who offer genuine 3rd generation auto genetics) and the rest of the seed banks, who are still struggling with inconsistencies in yield and potency. There are some great auto genetics out there, but that is only half the story, you also need the experience and techniques to be able to produce the seeds consistently.
Auto genetics for the home grower.
Many auto growers have forgotten the old concept of a bloom-phase and veg-phase. There is no need for separate veg and bloom tents, many people just set their auto tent on a perpetual light cycle of 20 hours. You can pop a new auto seed into the tent every week or two and harvest a mature female from the same tent as they mature. It allows a constant stream of plants from just one grow room. The staggered harvesting possibilities gives you fresh cannabis on a regular basis with just a single tent, as well as minimising the numbers of mature plants.
Autos for outdoor growing.
Outdoors, autos often take about 90 days from seed to harvest. Auto plants tend to stay around a metre tall outdoors, this makes them easy to hide. Autos are the only real way to get a mid-summer cannabis harvest. Growers in mediterranean climates can grow 2 or 3 successive auto crops in Spring, Summer and Autumn. Its a great way of organising your home growing in a way that minimises plant numbers and provides cannabis harvests at various stages in the year.