Fast-flowering strains combine photoperiod genetics with autoflowering genetics. They have been engineered to grow and mature faster than traditional cannabis plants. This means quicker harvests and increased yields compared to autoflower strains. Fast flowering strain yields can match those of photoperiod cannabis varieties.
Understanding fast flowering weed and how it differs from established photoperiod and autoflower cultivars is key for growers of any level. This article’ll dive deeper into these differences, how fast-flowering cultivars are made, and their added benefits.
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The difference between fast-flowering and autoflowers
The primary difference between fast-flowering cannabis variants and autoflowering cannabis variants is how they flower. Fast-flowering variants are photoperiod dependent (they need light manipulation to flower and mature). The light cycle will need to be turned back or “flipped” from 18 hours on and 6 hours off to 12 hours on and 12 hours off for the plants to transition from their vegetative stage into their flowering stage.
This is in contrast to autoflowering strains, which automatically go into their flowering period within 4-6 weeks of germination from seed. Thus, fast-flowering cultivars give growers the benefits of sturdy and potent photoperiod strains in a shorter period of time.
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How fast-flowering strains are made
There has been a surge in the development of fast-flowering strains due to the increased demand for cannabis products. Breeders utilize selective genetics and hybridization techniques to produce these fast-version strains. In the case of fast-flowering cultivars, the breeders selected genetics from plants that flowered faster than some of their sisters.
Sometimes, fast-flowering cannabis varieties are made by introducing photoperiod plants to pollen from autoflower plants. This introduces even more fast-flowering genetic traits to the new phenotype (strain). After that, breeders stabilize the Ruderalis genetics by reintroducing photoperiod genetics through a process called “back-crossing”.
This produces fast-flowering, photoperiod-dependent, and cloneable cultivars.
Growing fast-flowering strains
One of the significant advantages of growing fast-flowering cannabis strains is that they’ll reach the flowering phase quicker than traditional light-cycle dependent strains. The flowering time for these strains can range from 6-8 weeks, while many traditional photoperiod strains can take 7 -to 10 weeks or longer.
The shorter flowering period allows growers to turn over more crops. Additionally, fast-flowering strains can be grown multiple times a year in the same space, potentially increasing yields and profits.
Fast-flowering strains can have a longer period of vegetative growth and training if desired, giving growers more options.
Pros and cons of fast-flowering strains
Besides the reduced growth cycle time, fast-flowering plants are also more resistant to pests and diseases than traditional strains. This is likely because they mature quicker, leaving less time for diseases and pests to take hold.
Fast-flowerers are also more resistant to environmental factors such as temperature changes and extreme weather conditions, making them easier to grow in a wider range of locations. The shorter growing times also allow for more potential harvests on a yearly basis.
While fast-flowering strains have many advantages, they also have some drawbacks. One of the main disadvantages is a potentially smaller yield than traditional strains. Lower yields occur because these strains complete their life cycle much quicker than traditional strains. That means they have less time to develop and grow. Additionally, fast-flowering strains may produce lower levels of THC and other cannabinoids than traditional strains.
Fast-flowering strains may also require more immediate attention from growers due to their shorter lifespan. Any potential errors or mistakes may mean extending the growth cycle or delaying flowering for the plants to recover.
Are fast flowering strains good?
This is a tough question to answer. It all depends on what you consider “good”. Fast-flowering strains are a good option for growers looking for decent yields of potent flowers in less time than photo cultivars take. But, due to shorter growth cycles, as I stated before, the yield might not be as high as with ‘regular’ photoperiod plants, which get all the time they need to fully flourish.
Fast-flowering cultivars also offer more customization for growing and training than autoflowers, as well as more time to recover from any potential mistakes or accidents that might occur.
So, yes. Ultimately, fast-flowering cultivars are “good” if you want training flexibility and production speed with a decent and potent yield compared to most autoflower varieties. But if you’re looking for fully optimized yields, our feminized photoperiod options are a ‘better choice.’
What is the fastest-growing cannabis strain?
There may be some debate as to which cannabis strains grow the fastest. Afghani and Skunk strains tend to be the fastest-growing from what I’ve experienced. However, those were regular photoperiod cultivars.
When you look online, pretty much every site has its own lists, each with different strains of claiming to be the fastest. But are those claims justified? It’s hard to say since no one has really tested it. The only thing we can say for certain is that autoflowering seeds can be harvested earlier than many of their photoperiod counterparts. And when it comes to subspecies, sativa tends to need longer than indica plants.
Check out our list of fast flowering strains to see which ones we think are our fastest. And if you’re new to growing or just want some great information on enhancing your current skills, download Robert’s free Grow Bible here.
Learn more about cannabis seeds
If you want to learn more about types of strains and different types of cannabis seeds. Delve into these related guides: