Categories
BLOG

autoflowering light

Best Light Spectrum to Grow Autoflowers

When growing autoflowering plants indoor we need to simulate the environment they naturally grow in. The environment includes humidity, temperature, and the most essential of them all: light.

Either you prefer light bulbs or LEDs, you need the right spectrum in each stage for optimum growth.

1. What is Light Spectrum?

The light spectrum is the different colors (aka wavelengths) a source of light can emit. Light is measured in nanometers (nm) and each nanometer represents a band of light (a band of light is a section in the color spectrum). Humans can see a small part of the spectrum, between 380 to 780 nanometers, which means we can only see the colors ranging from violet to red.

Even though it appears white, the sun is a full spectrum light source and contains the whole spectral wavelength. That’s why rainbows happen. When raindrops refract light into individual wavelengths you can see all the colors (visible to humans) that make up sunlight.

In nature, cannabis plants grow under the sun, receiving the whole spectrum of wavelengths. This means we have to provide the maximum amount of wavelengths possible for the best development of our plant.

Although it’s not essential, it is considered good to provide the best light spectrum to encourage plant growth.

Remember this is not a rule, you can grow your plant from seed to harvest with any spectrum or amount of light but this can seriously affect your harvest.

2. Light Spectrums in Each Stage

During the vegetative stage, cannabis in the wild needs blue wavelengths to grow strong, big, and promote leaf growth. When growing indoors we aim to grow as many leaves as possible. With more leaves, there is more surface to absorb light, this way we ensure our plant develops a strong stem and branches preparing her for the flowering stage.

When entering the flowering stage, cannabis in the wild uses red wavelengths to promote bud formation. If we want to produce dense buds and increase yields we need to provide the plant red wavelengths, this will increase the rate of photosynthesis thus increasing bud formation.

• Tip: When experimenting with training, using “red” light will make plants grow taller, making it easier to train.

The general rules are “blue” light = shorter and stronger plants with more leaves, “red” light = taller and weaker (when compared to plants grown under “blue” lights) plants with fewer leaves.

3. Types of Light

Grow lights are usually divided into two kinds, light bulbs, and LEDs.

Light bulbs emit a limited scope of wavelengths meaning there are colors of the spectrum they don’t emit, therefore they are narrow-spectrum lights.

LEDs emit almost all the colors in the spectrum, they are composed of blue, red, and white diodes allowing them to emit all the wavelengths of the spectrum, therefore making them full-spectrum lights.

Light Bulbs: HPS, MH, CFL, and HID

Light bulbs come in four types: Metal Halide (CMH), High Pressure Sodium (HPS), Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) and High Intensity Discharge (HID).

MH bulbs are rated around 6500 Kelvin and are usually used in the vegetative stage because they emit a “blue” light (aka colder light).

HPS bulbs are rated at 2000 Kelvin are usually used in the flowering stage for their “red” light (aka warmer light).

CFLs are rated at around 5000 Kelvin, they emit a very weak “blue” light and are only used with seedlings and clones as they just need to develop roots for the first couple of days when the vegetative stage begins they should be transferred to a growing space with stronger lighting.

HID can cover from 3500 to 5000 Kelvin, they are similar to HPS but contains xenon inside, thus emitting a different spectrum and are more efficient while being more compact.

• Tip: You can also grow your plants under both CMH and HPS bulbs, this is called a mixed spectrum and will ultimately result in a better harvest.

Pros:

• Cheaper than average LED lights

• You don’t need to change the whole fixture, just replace the bulb

Cons:

• Electricity cost is higher if compared to LEDs.

• Need extra equipment for cooling.

• Requires changing bulbs (CMH to HPS) when entering the flowering stage.

Full Spectrum LEDs, and Infrared and UV Lights

All LEDs are full-spectrum lights unless advised, they may not contain all wavelengths but will emit the needed amount for each stage, unlike light bulbs, you won’t have to change anything other than your timer when you’re about to enter the flowering stage.

You can find full-spectrum LEDs that have UV and infrared diodes, if not, there are LEDs designed to emit those spectrums. They’re not that common in indoor growing but are said to benefit growers.

Just like everything else on the planet, cannabis plants are damaged by too much UV light but at the right amount. It can promote trichome production as the cannabis plants produce trichomes to protect itself from too much light.

As UV lights, infrared lights can harm your plants in excess but at the right amount, it can boost photosynthesis, affect yields, plant growth, and plant health in a positive way.

Pros:

• Used on the entire life cycle.

• Longer lifetime than bulbs.

Cons:

Note: It’s unusual to have UV and Infrared lights, they’re expensive and are NOT essential for growing good flowers. They’re recommended for more experienced growers who want to experiment with different spectrums.

4. Light Spectrums for Autoflowers

As most of you already know cannabis plants have two stages: the vegetative stage, and the flowering stage, needing a different light schedule and spectrums in each one of them.

Unlike photoperiodic, autoflowering plants start their life cycle in the flowering stage and depend solely on age to start producing buds. That’s why we recommend using a mixed spectrum of warm and cold light bulbs (CMH and HPS) or a full-spectrum LED during the whole lifecycle of your autoflower.

This way your plant will receive a complete spectrum of light guaranteeing the best flowers and biggest yield.

5. In Conclusion

The light spectrum is a small part of a much bigger system, there’s nothing as better light for your plant. But remember, the final product does NOT depend solely on your light.

Depending on which type you choose, either an LED or bulbs, you’ll have to adjust your growing environment accordingly to guarantee the best result possible.

When growing autoflowering plants indoor we need to simulate the environment they naturally grow in. The environment includes humidity, temperature, and the mos

9 Myths Surrounding Autoflowering Cannabis Strains

Autoflowering cannabis strains have changed the way cannabis is grown around the world. However, some growers are skeptical about their quality and the internet is full of myths and rumours arguing, that autoflowers are less potent, hardscrabble, and so on.

In this post we look at some of the biggest myths surrounding autoflowering cannabis strains. For more articles like this, follow the RQS cannabis blog.

MYTH 1: AUTOFLOWERING STRAINS ARE LESS POTENT

This is probably the most common myth circulating among the cannabis community, and we’re glad to say it’s not true.

This rumour most likely generated around the time of the release of the original Lowryder strain. A cross between Northern Lights #2, William’s Wonder, and a ruderalis variety, this is often considered one of the first autoflowering strains to hit the market.

Lowryder is a medicinal strain designed to help relieve symptoms of stress, insomnia, and pain. It was released over 10 years ago, and was originally less potent than some of the other cannabis varieties on the market at that time, producing light cerebral effects, that had a characteristically slow onset.

However, a lot has changed since the days when Lowryder first hit the streets. Today, autoflowering varieties have significant cannabinoid profiles, which can be rich in THC, CBD, and a variety of other compounds just like their feminized counterparts.

MYTH 2: AUTOFLOWERING STRAINS PRODUCE LOW YIELDS

This is another common myth about auto cannabis strains, and again we’re happy to say that it is false.

Much like the previous myth, this one likely originated at the time when Lowryder was first released. Lowryder, as the name suggests, was designed to be a small plant similar to the cannabis equivalent of a bonsai for the discrete grower’s windowsill or balcony. It grew to heights of only about 40cm and hence produced much smaller yields than regular cannabis varieties.

Some other autoflowering cannabis varieties followed suite, also featuring genetics, that left them reaching lower heights and consequently producing less bud than regular plants whose heights could be controlled with light. This is because most autoflowering varieties were traditionally created with stealth and speed in mind.

Today, while some autoflowering varieties still display these traits, others have been expertly bred to produce notable yields of high-quality weed. Thanks to more advanced ways of breeding autoflowers, new varieties can grow just as tall as regular photoperiodic plants and produce similar yields. The main factors that’ll influence this is the genetics of your strain, the strength of your lights, and other factors of your grow environment.

MYTH 3: AUTO STRAINS CAN’T BE TRANSPLANTED

This myth is partially true. Transplanting autoflowering cannabis strains is a little more complicated than repotting regular varieties.

To avoid any complications during their grow cycle, cultivators are generally advised to plant their autoflowering seeds in a container they plan to use through to harvest time. However, it is possible to repot an autoflower, as long as you’re gentle and careful.

The biggest concern when repotting autoflowers is shocking the roots, which consequently stunts the plant’s growth for up to 7 days, which is significant, because most live only between 60-90 days.

However, letting your plants get rootbound can be just as detrimental to their growth. So, if you have an autoflowering plant sitting in a small container, that you think might get rootbound, don’t hesitate about transplanting it.

To minimize the negative effects of transplanting, remember the following tips:

  • Always transplant your plants into the exact same soil or soilless grow medium.
  • Transplant your plants before their dark period and when their soil is dry.
  • Always pre-soak the medium you’re planning to move your plants into.
  • Always ensure your transplanted plants aren’t sitting deeper in the soil than they were before. Transplanting them deeper can cause stem rot, which can further stunt their growth.

MYTH 4: YOU CAN’T TOP AUTOFLOWERING STRAINS

This myth is a hard one to tackle as it divides many autoflower growers.

Some growers swear by topping their autoflowers, arguing that it creates more colas per plant and ultimately increases their yields. Others argue that, with such a short lifetime, the time it takes for plants to recover from topping actually decreases their yields.

Unfortunately, there is no black and white answer to this issue, as we’ve seen it go both ways. Whether or not you should top your autoflowers comes down to the genetics of your plants and your experience as a grower.

If, for example, you’re growing indica-dominant autoflowering plants like some Kush varieties, you probably shouldn’t bother with topping. These plants tend to have only a few internodes and minimal side branching, allowing them to develop big, thick pineapple-like colas.

Some sativa varieties on the other hand, like an autoflowering Amnesia Haze, might respond really well to topping. These plants can easily reach over 150cm and usually respond well to topping, especially during the early stages of vigorous vegetation, allowing for multiple colas and even light dispersion across the top of the plant.

If you want to experiment with topping your autoflowering plants, we suggests trying it out with some of our sativa varieties. You could easily invest in a pack of 3 seeds, leave one to develop without topping, and experiment on the other 2, giving them a top at different stages of the vegetation phase and taking note of the differences.

MYTH 5: RUDERALIS-DOMINANT STRAINS ARE CBD-DOMINANT

This is another extremely common misconception about autoflowering cannabis strains.

It is true, that all autoflowering strains contain ruderalis genetics, as that is what gives them the autoflowering trait. And it is also true, that Cannabis ruderalis varieties generally contain higher concentrations of CBD than THC.

However, just because a strain is ruderalis-dominant, that doesn’t mean it is naturally going to have a CBD-dominant cannabinoid profile. Thanks to advanced breeding techniques, breeders are now able to create strains, that are ruderalis-dominant, yet still contain higher levels of THC than CBD.

At the same time, breeders are also using the naturally CBD-rich traits of traditional ruderalis varieties to create strains with huge medical potential with high concentrations of CBD, like Fast Eddy (10% ruderalis, high in CBD and 9% THC) and Stress Killer (10% ruderalis, high in CBD and 11% THC).

MYTH 6: AUTOFLOWERING STRAINS DON’T FLOWER IN TIME

This is myth is an easy one to debunk.

Obviously, the flowering time of each strain varies. Most autoflowering varieties will be readay for harvest in between 60-90 days. When grown in a natural environment, any quality autoflowering plant will be ready for harvest when it should be.

However, the simple variables of a grow environment change that. A slight change in temperature, nutrient dose, or water availability can have a big effect on the way an autoflowering plant develops. Meanwhile, transplant shock, draught, or shock from topping can obviously have even bigger effects on a plant’s growth cycle.

These factors can easily stunt a plant’s growth by anywhere from 7 to 10 days, which will then push back your harvest. Hence, it is really important to minimize the risk of any of these factors or deal with them quickly and effectively, should they occur.

MYTH 7: AUTOFLOWERING STRAINS NEED 24H LIGHT CYCLES

This myth isn’t entirely true and depends a lot on the individual strain you’re growing.

It is true, that some autoflowering varieties perform better under 24h light settings and you should definitely keep up these conditions if you’re working with one of these strains.

However, it is widely known that photosynthesis works just as effectively in the darkness, and some strains will make that all the more obvious. In fact, the good old 12/12 light regime might even decrease yields and growth in some varieties that prefer longer dark periods.

While it usually isn’t recommended to flower auto strains in less than 16h of light, it ultimately comes down to the individual strain you’re working with and the individual results you’re getting.

MYTH 8: AUTOFLOWERING STRAINS CANNOT BE CLONED

This myth isn’t true. It is possible to clone autoflowering varieties by taking a small branch from a mother and letting it grow under a 24 hour light cycle. However, no one really bothers to do this, as the clones will usually produce lower yields than the mothers. That is why autoflowering seeds are created from previous seeds, not clones.

MYTH 9: AUTOFLOWERING CANNABIS BUDS ARE TASTELESS

Some growers are quick to argue that autoflowering cannabis strains are “all smell”, lacking both flavour and effect. This is definitely not true.

Buds from a decent autoflower created by a reputable breeder will have just as many complex aromas and flavours as those from a non-autoflowering variety. It all comes down to the individual strain and the skills behind the breeder who has created them.

At Royal Queen Seeds, we pride ourselves in creating top-shelf autoflowering cannabis varieties that, unless you grew them yourself, you couldn’t tell apart from regular photoperiodic plants.

To see for yourself, visit our store and browse our autoflowering strains today.

A-Pinene

Anti-Inflamatory
Bronchodilator
Aids Memory
Anti-Bacterial Also found in pine needles

Linalool

Anesthetic
Anti-Convulsant
Analgesic
Anti-Anxiety Also found in lavander

Beta-Caryophillene

Anti-Inflamatory
Analgesic
Protects Cells Lining The Digestive Tract Also found in black pepper

Myrcene

Contributes To Sedative Effect Of Strong Indicas
Sleep Aid
Muscle Relaxant Also found in hops

Limonene

Treats Acid Reflux
Anti-Anxiety
Antidepressant Also found in citrus

A-Pinene

Anti-Inflamatory
Bronchodilator
Aids Memory
Anti-Bacterial Also found in pine needles

Linalool

Anesthetic
Anti-Convulsant
Analgesic
Anti-Anxiety Also found in lavander

Beta-Caryophillene

Anti-Inflamatory
Analgesic
Protects Cells Lining The Digestive Tract Also found in black pepper

Myrcene

Contributes To Sedative Effect Of Strong Indicas
Sleep Aid
Muscle Relaxant Also found in hops

Limonene

Treats Acid Reflux
Anti-Anxiety
Antidepressant Also found in citrus

There are countless rumours about autoflowering cannabis varieties. In this post we debunk some of the most common myths about autoflowers.