Autoflowering cannabis strains are a popular choice because they flower much quicker than their photoperiod counterparts, usually within 5 weeks.
Beginner growers love autoflowers because they are easy to maintain and can be kept smaller. This means that they can be grown in smaller spaces and with less expensive equipment than the traditional methods.
Autoflowers fall under the genus ruderalis and were originally found in the wild.
It was an interesting find because unlike traditional cannabis it would flower several times a year. It contained very little THC and it wasn’t until breeders started to mix the ruderalis with traditional Indica and Sativa varieties that autoflowering strains were born.
Yes, you can trick an autoflower into flowering. However, since most strains will flower within 5 weeks there is no need to do this. The only time you would want to trick your autoflowering cannabis plants is if it goes beyond 7 weeks without flowering.
If your plant requires that much time to flower, then there is either something wrong with the genetics or your climate is so far off that the plant is stressed.
To force your autoflower plant into flowering you simply need to change the light cycle to 12/12 light schedule and it’ll eventually start to flower.
If your plant is healthy, however, it can cause unneeded stress which will affect the yield potential.
What triggers autoflowering strains to flower?
Unlike cannabis from the Indica and Sativa genus that rely on photoperiods to dictate what stage of their life they are in, autoflowers do what their name entails, they automatically flower.
It’s best not to go under 16 hours of light for your plant as they can still get stressed if the light cycle is not long enough.
You can safely have your autoflowers at 24 hours of light so don’t worry about forgetting to turn off the lights.
Why would you want to force your autoflower into flowering?
There really is no reason that you’d want to force your plants into flowering if they are autoflowers. They already have a shortened life cycle and produce bud much quicker.
Sometimes, though, you get stuck with poor genetics which can lead to deficiencies within the plant that cause it to flower later, or not at all.
Changing the photoperiod to 12/12 lighting will still trigger your autoflower into producing flowers, but it might also cause a plant to hermaphrodite or produce seeds.
It’s recommended that you let your plant do its thing
While manipulating the photoperiod will ultimately get your autoflower plant to start producing flowers, it is not necessarily something you want to do to your plant. The added stress will most likely set your plants’ growth back by a week or more.
You’ll need to assess the plant’s health and ensure that you have every other aspect of the grow dialed in.