One of the first decisions growers make before planting is choosing between photoperiod and autoflowering medicinal plants strains. Autoflowering medicinal plants are easy to cultivate – especially if you follow a good autoflower light schedule – and can be harvested within a shorter period.
By contrast, photoperiod strains produce much higher yields but they require more space, specific skills and light changes to induce flowering.
In this light schedule for autoflowers guide, you’ll learn about the different light options for growing autoflowers and which is the best one to use for your cultivar.
Do autoflowers need darkness?
- Compared to photoperiod strains that require at least 12 hours of darkness to trigger the flowering cycle, autoflowers don’t depend on darkness to flower. They automatically produce buds when they mature.
- Some growers use autoflower light schedules that deprive autoflower plants from light for a number of hours each day. As long as the dark period does not exceed 6 hours, the crop will still provide a high yield.
- If the exposure to brightness drops below 18 hours, you’re likely to get smaller plants and a reduced harvest.
Autoflowering vegetative and flowering stages
- Photoperiods and autoflowering medicinal plants go through a vegetative and flowering stage. A plant only grows leaves and stems during the former. It’s in the latter when it starts growing buds.
- For autoflowers, the vegetative period lasts about 2–4 weeks. Then, the flowering cycle begins.
- Typically, autoflower strains take 8–12 weeks to go from seed to harvest. Our autoflower seeds have growing times that are as short as seven weeks. Growing these autoflowering medicinal plants seeds feminized will give you a yield in a shorter period.
Which lights are best for autoflowers?
- With photoperiod plants, growers use blue lights for the vegetative period and more reddish-yellow ones during the flowering period. You can apply the same principle to your auto flower light cycle.
- During the vegetative stage, provide your plants a blue spectrum that ranges from around 400 to 550nm. This helps medicinal plants grow short and stocky.
- When they’re in the flowering stage, your autoflowering medicinal plants strains will need a red spectrum, with higher wavelengths from 550 to 700nm, to promote budding and produce large and dense flowers.
- Keep in mind that you can still produce a successful harvest even if you don’t provide a full spectrum. A medicinal plant will grow healthily as long as it gets bright light with some red and blue.
- There isn’t a best light for autoflowering medicinal plants. However, you’ll achieve better yields if you give your plants the spectrum they need during each stage.
What are the most popular autoflower light schedule?
Most growers agree that when growing autoflowering medicinal plants indoors, there should be between 18 and 24 hours of light a day.
The four basic light schedules growers use include:
- 18/6 light schedule
The 18/6 light schedule refers to 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness. It’s the most typical light cycle for autoflowering medicinal plants plants.
You’ll save on energy and the fewer hours of darkness allow the plants to rest, promoting robust growth. If you live where there’s lots of sunlight, you can switch off your lights during the six hottest hours of the day.
Your plants get time to rest.
You save money and energy because the process consumes less electricity than the 24/0 cycle.
You’ll need a timer.
Your plant doesn’t grow as fast as in a 24/0 schedule.
- 24/0 autoflower light schedule
This cycle is perfect if you’re growing autoflowering plants in a cold climate. Leaving your LED or HPS lights on 24/7 will mean consuming more electricity, but it’ll keep your plants warm, enabling them to develop faster.
Using this autoflower light schedule means you won’t need a timer. Your lights will be on until harvest time.
High possibility of a higher yield.
You don’t need a timer since you don’t need to switch off your lights.
It’s a costly process, as you’ll use more electricity.
Your plants don’t get rest.
- 20/4 light schedule
The 20/4 light cycle is becoming popular among autoflowering medicinal plants growers because it’s between the 18/6 and 24/0 light schedules. As you don’t leave your lights on the whole day, your plants will get some rest time.
It’s a perfect balance. You’ll have better yield results than the 18/6 schedule, and you don’t spend as much on electricity as in a 24/0 schedule.
- 12/12 light schedule
Growers usually use the 12/12 autoflower light schedule when they grow these crops in the same tent as photoperiods because it’s the light cycle for the latter.
It’s also the preferred schedule for those with a tight budget who can’t afford the electricity costs of practicing the longer light cycles.
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Proper use of UV IR containing luminaires to ensure your plants grow better and get more trichome density and THC content.
The role of UV: Increasing the THC content of plants, only be used in the last two weeks of flowering stage, and if be used at other times in the plants, may have a negative effect on plants.
The role of IR: Increasing the number of flowers , only be used in the early flowering period and stopped once buds begin to appear. This requires the IR and UV must be individually controlled.
UV IR separately control:
IR and UV only need to be opened separately during flowering, so we design IR and UV separately. IR is beneficial to plant flowering and fruiting, and UV can promote the formation of plant THC and CBD.
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