Q. What makes autoflowering plants different?
Autoflowering plants differ from traditional varieties of cannabis, as they bypass the vegetative growth stage, going straight from seedling to flowering without delay. As such, they more compact and quicker to finish than traditional varieties. In addition, autoflowering varieties have a very predictable outcome in terms of size, yield and lifespan, rather than relying on outside factors such as light cycle or time of year.
Q. How do autoflowering plants work?
Regular plants have a well-defined vegetative stage, which can be more or less long dependent on the area or latitude where it is grown. Most cannabis plants look for cues in light, or daylength, in order to trigger their flowering.
In practical terms, with autoflowers, flowering is dependent on the age of the plant instead of outside factors. The age of a plant relates to how many days it has been growing, but also, indirectly, to the amount of heat units it receives. So what we have done, is basically get rid of the vegetative stage. So indoors, there is no need for separate cloning and vegging rooms. Indeed there is no need for cloning at all with feminized seeds. Indoors, autoflowers will finish at the same time, whether you give them 12, 16, or 20 hours of light, though the latter plants will be more productive. An autoflowering strain has a definite due date, that only depends on when it was planted, not the time of year, just like a pregnant mom. Plant in March, harvest in July. Plant in July, harvest in September. It’s so simple that some people don’t get it at first. Until they see it at work. Then the usefulness is obvious.
Q. Where do autoflowering plants come from?
What we have done is incorporate genes from wild types of cannabis, which already contained this trait, into drug-type cannabis. And truthfully I wasn’t the first to do this. Sensi Seeds came out with Ruderalis-Skunk many years ago, and laid some groundwork. The difference is, it was marketed alongside all the regular varieties, and the potential wasn’t widely recognized back then. Also the word “ruderalis” scared some die-hard pot purists who turn up their noses at anything related to what they regard as “bushweed,” not realizing the potential buried there. See: Lowryder: Origins
Q. Who can benefit from growing autoflowering plants?
Anyone discreetly growing their own personal stash (license holders, of course), but especially home-growers with or without any previous growing experience. Anyone working with a small space, whether indoors or out, and looking for a quick turnover. It can be just about anybody, including a regular grower who likes to have some stash during the dry season, while waiting for larger plants to mature. Anyone with an extra spot in their backyard or roof. Anyone who likes to keep their stash close to home, or grow under the neighbors’ noses without them noticing.
Q. What type of yield can someone expect with your seeds? What’s the typical THC percentage contained in your strains?
Typically ¼ to 1/2 ounce for the dwarf types. The larger types can yield 1-2 ounces in dirt. Double those figures for hydro. THC content is generally between 8-16%. See our chart in the grower’s guide.
Q. What’s the biggest yield you or one of your customers has achieved with your strains?
From what I know, the highest yield was 96 grams for Lowryder#2, in hydro buckets. It’s likely that more can be achieved with the newer, larger autoflowers.
Q. Do autoflowers hold any value for medical users?
Certainly, there have been some good reports in that department. Most of it is anecdotal so I will save this question for a future report. I am currently conducting a study that will compare my strains, by providing them to licensed medical users. There will always be strains that are better adapted to certain therapeutic uses, and not for others. There is a lot to learn here, and I would like to see more work done with autoflowers in places like California, which is at the forefront of the medical movement, to determine the factors involved.
Q. How do you keep your genetics alive, since it is not possible to keep in a vegetative state (clone)?
The same way that most types of plants have been kept for thousands of years. Instead of using clone mothers, the way most commercial cannabis strains are usually maintained, we keep breeder seed, which is always selected from the best plants from the previous crop. Only breeder seed is used to plant new seed crops. While a seed crop might contain 1000 individuals, only about 10 plants are selected to ensure our supply of breeder seed. Periodically, breeder seed of 2 distinct generations can be grown together to ensure vigour. This is how our varieties are slowly but steadily improved.
Q. How and why do you produce feminized seeds?
If you are a gardener interested in producing female cannabis flowers, then feminized seeds can save you a lot of space and trouble. Our own technique for producing female seeds was developed by friends who discovered that colloidal silver, a safe and easily obtainable substance, could reverse sex on a female cannabis plant. While I won’t go into detail, I will say that it’s a bit of plant magic that allows us to avoid using any hard-to-find or potentially toxic or mutagenic chemicals. It is more of an organic method – no hormones are used. It’s a very elegant procedure, akin to alchemy.