Photoperiod cannabis strains are simply those which would be considered “regular”, as opposed to autoflowering. Marijuana growing in the wild naturally comes from photoperiod seeds, while autoflowering strains are created by crossing sativas and indicas with the autoflowering cannabis species ruderalis.
The Pros and Cons of Photoperiod Seeds
Autoflowering seeds will flower automatically at a certain point. Photoperiod seeds, on the other hand, won’t flower unless provided with the right light condition, and can take up to twice or three times as long to be ready for harvesting.
Depending on how you look at it, this could either be the biggest pro or biggest con of photoperiod seeds.
The longer growth cycle allows for photoperiod cannabis strains to produce higher quantity yields. In fact, when growing indoors, these strains can vegetate indefinitely, allowing growers to get some impressive height on their plants. The potential for long vegetative periods also gives growers more time to correct any issues with the plant before it enters the more fragile flowering stage.
At the same time, not every grower is up to the task of tending to plants for such a long period of time, and may not feel confident in their abilities to provide the correct light cycle. Beginner growers, who don’t need high yields and who want to put their skills to the test for the first time, might prefer autoflowering strains because they require less expertise.
But you shouldn’t let the fact that photoperiod seeds need a bit of extra attention put you off. Anyone can grow a photoperiod strain and benefit from higher yields and higher potency by doing so.
Light Requirements of Photoperiod Strains in Vegetative Growth
A newly planted cannabis seedling should not be receiving more than 6 hours of darkness over a 24 hour period. During this time, many growers either leave the lights on for 24 hours a day, or set timers for an 18/6 light cycle, where the seedling receives 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness a day.
As the seedling grows, these light cycles will keep it in the vegetative state. The marijuana plant will continue to vegetate and grow as long as the cycle remains unchanged, allowing you to choose how tall you want it to end up.
Light Cycle Required to Induce Flowering in Photoperiod Strains
Photoperiod marijuana strains can only be induced to flower when the light cycle is switched to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness every day. This reflects the outdoor light conditions at the end of summer, marijuana’s natural flowering time, and is a simple matter of changing the timer and switching to flowering lights for the indoor grower.
So, even if you are a first time grower, there is no reason for you not to try your hand at photoperiod seeds. It might take some extra patience, but with a bit of time and effort, you’ll end up with awesome bud and a great sense of accomplishment.