Auto-flowering strains of cannabis have become increasingly popular among both beginner and experienced growers due to their unique growing characteristics. These strains can enter the flowering stage without any change in light schedule, making them convenient and efficient to cultivate.
However, optimizing the light conditions for these strains is crucial to maximize yields and plant health. In this article, we will explore the best ways to optimize light for auto-flowering strains of cannabis. We will discuss the importance of the lighting schedule and the different types of grow lights and light spectra that can be used to achieve the best results.
Additionally, we will cover the different growth stages of marijuana plants and how they can be influenced by light conditions. Whether you are a seasoned grower or just starting out, understanding the unique light requirements of auto-flowering strains can help you achieve a successful and bountiful harvest.
The optimum amount of light to give auto-flowering strains is between 18-24 hours of light a day. While a 12/12 schedule is possible, it may result in smaller plants and reduced yields compared to those given more light. This is because auto-flowering strains spend practically their whole life in the flowering stage and require a specific amount of light to produce the best results.
The wild ancestor of auto-flowering plants, Ruderalis hemp, grows in the northern parts of Russia and may naturally experience nearly 24 hours of light a day in the summer. Therefore, a lighting schedule of 18/6 is perfect for beginners and uses 25% less electricity than 24 hours of light a day. However, a 24/0 light schedule can prevent the grow space from getting as cold at night.
It is essential to note that auto-flowering strains have different light requirements than photoperiod strains, and the total wattage of lights is more important to yields than the spectrum of light.
Blue lights are considered optimal for the vegetative period, while yellow/orange/red lights are optimal for the flowering period in cannabis growth. During the vegetative stage, blue lights with wavelengths between 400 and 500 nm promote plant growth by encouraging the development of vegetative foliage, stem, and leaves. This light spectrum enhances photosynthesis, chlorophyll production, and the development of strong stems and branches. Blue light also helps to prevent plant stretching and encourages the development of short, bushy plants.
During the flowering stage, yellow/orange/red lights with wavelengths between 600 and 780 nm are optimal for cannabis growth. These colors promote the production of larger, denser buds, and improve the quality of the harvested product. Red light, in particular, stimulates the production of resin, which contains the psychoactive compounds THC and CBD. Yellow and orange light, on the other hand, encourage the development of terpenes, which are responsible for the plant’s aroma and flavor.
By providing the optimal light spectrum during each stage of growth, growers can maximize their yields and improve the potency and quality of their product.
Marijuana Growth Stages
Marijuana growth stages are important to understand in order to achieve maximum yields and improve the quality of the harvested product.
The first stage of marijuana growth is the vegetative stage, where the plant focuses on growing stems, leaves, and roots. During this stage, the plant needs a lot of light in the blue spectrum to stimulate growth. The vegetative stage usually lasts for about 4-8 weeks, depending on the strain and growing conditions.
The second stage of marijuana growth is the flowering stage, where the plant starts to produce buds. Photoperiod strains rely on light schedules to determine when to start making buds, but auto-flowering strains will automatically leave the vegetative stage and start budding after about 2-3 weeks regardless of the light schedule they’re given. During the flowering stage, the plant needs a lot of light in the red and yellow spectrum to stimulate bud development. The flowering stage usually lasts for about 8-12 weeks, depending on the strain and growing conditions.
By understanding the different growth stages of marijuana plants, growers can optimize their lighting and nutrients to achieve the best possible results.