What Are The Main Differences Between Autoflower And Photoperiod Cannabis Plants?

What Are The Main Differences Between Autoflower And Photoperiod Cannabis Plants?

Photoperiod vs Autoflowering Cannabis Plants: Key Differences Explored

Cannabis cultivation has evolved considerably in recent years, offering growers an array of options to suit their specific needs and preferences. One major distinction among cannabis plants is the difference between photoperiod and autoflowering varieties. In this article, we will delve into the main differences between these two types of cannabis plants, helping you make an informed decision when choosing the best variety for your cultivation project.

Photoperiod Cannabis Plants

Photoperiod cannabis plants, also known as regular or traditional cannabis plants, rely on changes in the light cycle to initiate their flowering stage. These plants require a specific balance of light and darkness, typically 12 hours of each, to enter the flowering phase. Photoperiod plants are sensitive to light exposure, and any disruption in their light cycle can significantly impact their growth and yield.

Light Dependency

The most significant difference between photoperiod and autoflowering plants is their light dependency. Photoperiod plants require a strict light schedule to transition from the vegetative to the flowering stage. This means growers must carefully manage the light cycle to prevent stress and ensure a successful harvest.

Growth Cycle

Photoperiod plants generally have a longer growth cycle than autoflowering plants. They can remain in the vegetative stage for several weeks or even months, depending on the cultivator’s preference, before transitioning to the flowering stage. This longer growth cycle allows photoperiod plants to grow taller and potentially produce larger yields. However, it also requires a more extended period of care and attention from the grower.

Training Techniques

Photoperiod plants are often more receptive to various training techniques, such as topping, low-stress training (LST), and high-stress training (HST). These methods allow growers to manipulate the plants’ structure, promoting more even light distribution and potentially increasing yield. However, employing these techniques requires skill and experience, making photoperiod plants better suited for seasoned cultivators.

Autoflowering Cannabis Plants

Autoflowering cannabis plants, on the other hand, are not dependent on light cycles to initiate the flowering stage. Instead, they rely on their genetic makeup, which includes the Ruderalis cannabis species, to determine when to flower. Autoflowering plants typically have a shorter growth cycle and are less demanding in terms of cultivation requirements.

Light Independence

Unlike photoperiod plants, autoflowering varieties do not require a specific light cycle to begin flowering. This characteristic makes them ideal for novice growers or those with limited control over light exposure. Autoflowering plants can thrive under various light schedules, making them a more forgiving option for inexperienced cultivators.

Speed and Convenience

Autoflowering plants boast a quicker growth cycle, often completing their entire life cycle within 8-12 weeks. This shorter period from seed to harvest makes them an attractive option for growers seeking a quick turnaround. Additionally, their smaller size makes them ideal for discreet or space-constrained growing environments.


Autoflowering plants are generally hardier and more resistant to environmental stressors, thanks to their Ruderalis genetics. This resilience makes them better suited for outdoor cultivation, where they can withstand fluctuations in temperature, humidity, and light exposure.


Choosing between photoperiod and autoflowering cannabis plants ultimately depends on your specific cultivation goals and experience level. Photoperiod plants offer more control over growth and the potential for larger yields, but require careful management of light cycles and a longer growing period. Autoflowering plants, in contrast, provide a quicker and more convenient growing experience, with less dependence on light cycles and greater resilience to environmental factors.

Understanding the key differences between these two types of cannabis plants will help you make an informed decision when selecting the best variety for your cultivation project. Whether you’re a novice grower seeking a low-maintenance option or an experienced cultivator looking to experiment with different techniques, there’s a cannabis variety that’s right for you.

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