Early Flowering Cannabis
When you’re growing outdoor marijuana plants, you must think about their flowering and harvest time. Early finishing outdoor cannabis strains are ideal for many growers, especially those who live in climates where seasonal weather changes make things tricky. Generally speaking, early finishing marijuana strains are anything ready to harvest in the middle of September or even earlier (as opposed to October or even later harvest times).
Early finishing strains are fully grown and ready for harvest weeks earlier than other marijuana strains. Cannabis strains that finish early are ready for harvest between six and nine weeks after germination. That’s not long at all, even for colder climates!
Some strains are naturally early finishers, but still, do your homework – read the reviews and comments of other people’s experiences with the strain. Prepare accordingly, and you’ll manage to avoid many weather-related problems in the fall. This page features our selection of early flowering cannabis strains.
The Advantages of Growing Quick Harvesting Outdoor Cannabis Strains
Cannabis strains with a longer flowering time (or even an average one) finish later in the year, putting them at risk during unpredictable fall weather. Fall can mean early frost, unexpected rains, and other kinds of weather changes. These conditions are less than ideal and could lead to your plants not reaching their full potential.
In the Northern hemisphere, it is challenging to grow anything in October and November; marijuana is no exception. During these months, you must always watch out for early frost and plan accordingly, so your plants do not suffer (or even perish).
Growing outdoor cannabis strains that take less time to reach harvest has a lot of advantages. First of all, the less time needed to grow your marijuana plants, the sooner it’s ready to use. This is especially helpful for those growing marijuana for therapeutic use, for example.
With typical marijuana seeds, you must prepare for all sorts of weather changes, many of which never occur. Whether it’s heaters during a frost or covers during rain, you need to be prepared for anything. Even if nothing bad happens, the sheer fact that it could happen means researching and purchasing the necessary equipment to get through the final stretch in the fall.
With early finishing outdoor cannabis strains, you will not have to deal with any of that. If you can harvest your buds in the middle of September, you can finish before you even need to start worrying about things such as an early frost or a devastating downpour. This makes things much easier for the grower, whether you’re a veteran, returning grower, or a complete newbie.
The Difference Between Autoflowering and Fast-flowering
It’s easy to confuse autoflowering marijuana strains and fast-flowering cannabis strains. Both have shorter grow times overall than your average cannabis strain. However, there are noticeable differences between “regular” and autoflowering marijuana strains, and it has to do with light.
Cannabis strains are photosensitive. This means their various life cycle phases change according to the hours of light (or, more specifically, the hours of darkness) they are exposed to.
When the seasons go from spring to summer, the hours of daylight increase. Marijuana plants have their vegetative stages during the periods when the sun is shining for the longest number of hours. When the light starts to change and decreases to a certain point, cannabis plants move from their vegetative stage to their flowering phase. If the light never decreases (and the hours of darkness never increase), regular cannabis plants will remain indefinitely in their vegetative phase.
If you want to grow multiple harvests in one long summer, autoflowering plants are ideal. They can germinate early in the spring, harvest mid-summer, and do it again to harvest in the fall. Autoflowering marijuana plants follow their own internal clock, regardless of the external light exposure. Whether or not the number of hours increases or decreases, they will enter their flowering phase and are ready for harvest within a set amount of time. This also means autoflowering plants can absorb more light than regular plants.
Fast-flowering plants differ because they are still photosensitive. They still shift between life cycle phases with the changing seasons. Their similarity to autoflowering marijuana plants lies in the fact that both have shorter life spans than regular cannabis plants, and they are both desirable to many growers. The critical takeaway: fast-flowering strains can be autoflowering ones, but they don’t necessarily have to be.
Key Factors Affecting the Flowering and Harvest Time of Outdoor Marijuana Strains
The individual genetic lineage of your marijuana seeds can be the most critical determinant of the flowering and harvest time. It’s worth the money to spend a little extra on high-quality genetics because this can play the greatest role in multiple aspects of your plants’ lives.
These aspects include how successfully they germinate, how much they grow during the vegetation stage, and their buds’ quality. I Love Growing Marijuana sells only the highest quality genetics. Read some of the comments and reviews for proof.
However, even with the best genetics, natural variation can occur. That’s why you should choose a strain that is best for your environment and skill level and exhibits the specific traits you’re looking for (such as being some of the fastest-growing weed strains, for example).
Germinating your seeds is an essential step in your cannabis plants’ lives. It will set them up either for total success or utter failure (or something in between). While it might not seem as exciting as the flowering phase, some may argue that building a strong foundation during the germination process is essential to your plants’ success.
If your plants germinate well, they are going to do everything else well too. Early finishing outdoor marijuana strains will do what they do best (finish early) if they are set up for success during their first stages of life. If you mess up the germination part, they might have less optimal results, such as needing an extra week or two to be harvested.
Lighting is crucial for marijuana plants of all kinds, not only in terms of hours but also in quality. The lighting source can make all the difference in your cannabis plants’ success, including how fast and efficient they are to go from germination to harvest.
For indoor plants, this means choosing the right kind of lamps and bulbs. For outdoor plants, this means growing them in a place with excellent exposure to direct sunlight for much or most of the day. This can depend on your climate; if you live in a very hot area, for example, you may not want to fry your plants. But for the most part, marijuana plants love light, and they will do best if they get a lot of it.
4. Other environmental factors
Besides lighting, other climate factors can significantly affect the quality of your seeds, as well as the harvest and flowering time they have altogether. Pay close attention to not just the temperature and humidity but also pH levels in the soil or other growing mediums.
As far as temperature and humidity go, different strains can have very different preferences. Make sure you research in advance of buying your seeds to find out what type of outdoor grow climate works the best for your particular seed genetics. That way, you can provide the most optimal environment possible.
Part of the focus should also be measuring different environmental factors. Make sure you have a pH testing kit, for example. Ideally, keep a thermometer placed near your plants, as well as a hygrometer to measure relative humidity. This will also allow you to adjust your plans accordingly. If the temperatures are high and the humidity is low, for example, you may need to adjust the frequency of your watering schedule.
5. Nutrients and grow medium
Even if you’re growing outdoors directly in the natural soil, nutrients are an important factor to consider. Many outdoor growers will grow their plants in pots or other containers; however, other media besides soil are also options.
When growing in soil or other media, you’ll need to ensure three essential nutrients. These main nutrients are nitrogen, magnesium, and potassium. Your plant will require different amounts of each depending on what grow phase they are in. If you use nutrients properly, this can enhance your plants’ growth greatly. If you add too many nutrients, you could “burn” your plants. If you do not add enough, this will harm the quality as well. In either case, incorrect nutrients can impact when your marijuana plants are ready to harvest.
Top 10 Early Finishing Outdoor Marijuana Strains
Here are some of our fastest-growing weed strains and their characteristics.
1. AK-47 Autoflower
This Sativa-dominant strain (65% Sativa, 35% Indica) has THC that reaches levels as high as 20% and effects that lean on more of the mellowing and social side. Many people like to smoke it for its creative, happy, chill vibes. AK-47 taste and aroma include a combination of sour, earthy, sweet, and pungent.
When you grow the AK-47 Autoflower outdoors, you can expect it to take about 8 weeks from germination to harvest. This compact plant yields between 4 and 6 ounces per square meter.
2. Sour Diesel Autoflower
Sour Diesel has similar Sativa-dominant (60% Sativa, 40% Indica) characteristics combined with an energetic high. THC levels can reach as high as 20%, but the taste and smell are the celebrities. This strain is heavily sour and diesel, of course, but it’s also herbal, earthy, and lemon. It has an energizing yet relaxing effect that leaves you uplifted.
One of the best aspects of this strain is its resistance to mold, which is useful for any grower but especially for newbies. These compact plants grow best in steppe or Mediterranean climates and a flowering time of just 8 weeks.
3. Super Skunk Autoflower
This Indica-dominant strain (80% Indica, 20% Sativa) grows best in Mediterranean climates, but it is generally considered easy to grow. Its THC levels can reach 14%, making it an easy-to-enjoy strain for most people. Super Skunk has an interesting mix of flavors that include cheese, fruit, and earthiness. The effects will make you feel happy and relaxed, and maybe even a little sleepy.
These plants are on the smaller side and take about 8 weeks to get to harvest time. They usually yield between 4 and 6 ounces of bud per square meter.
4. Northern Lights Autoflower
This classic strain is nearly all Indica (90%), leading to incredibly relaxing effects. The THC levels found in these buds are usually around 18%, and it’s relatively easy to grow outdoors. It likes climates such as steppe or Mediterranean environments, and it is particularly mold-resistant, making it a good beginners’ strain as well. The flowering time is 8 weeks, and the yield will be between 4 and 6 ounces per square meter.
Northern Lights is known for its relaxing effect, but its smell is delightful as well. It smells and tastes like earthy, citrus, pine, and a bit of spice. Its euphoric qualities make it an excellent strain for relaxing or dealing with stressful times.
5. Gorilla Glue Autoflower
This hybrid strain (50% Indica, 50% Sativa) is known for its very high THC levels, reaching up to 26%. It’s easy to grow and is beloved because of its uplifting and relaxing effects. It tastes and smells like sweet and sour pine and earth, and it just makes users feel happy and chill.
Growing Gorilla Glue Autoflower is a breeze, with a short lifespan (8 weeks) and a decent yield (4 to 6 ounces per square meter). The plants are small and won’t take up too much space. Grow them in Mediterranean climates for the best results.
6. Bubblegum Autoflower
As you can tell from its name, Bubblegum has a pleasantly sweet, sugary taste. It also incorporates berries and fruit flavors. The combination of Indica and Sativa is soothing, as it starts by energizing and uplifting you, then finishes by calming you down and making you feel stress-free.
This perfect hybrid (50/50 Indica/Sativa) gets up to 17% THC levels and has a short growing period of just 8 weeks. It grows best in Mediterranean or Steppe climates, and it yields between 4 and 6 ounces per square meter of plants.
7. White Widow Autoflower
White Widow is a well-known strain that is known worldwide that’s also easy to grow. The autoflowering variety reliably flowers in about 8 weeks, regardless of light exposure. This hybrid strain (60% Indica, 40% Sativa) is well-loved due to its happy, social high that won’t make you feel stuck on the couch.
White Widow Autoflower doesn’t have the highest levels of THC – under the best circumstances, they can reach 19% -- but this is actually part of the appeal. Not only is it easy to grow, but it’s also easy to smoke too! People who smoke it describe a pleasant taste of woodiness, earthiness, and even a combination of spicy, sweet, and herbs. When you grow this strain outdoors, you can expect it to yield 4 to 6 ounces per square meter.
8. Blueberry Autoflower
This Indica-dominant strain (80% Indica and 20% Sativa) is known for its ability to make anyone want to chill, unwind, relax, and just be happy. As its name implies, it tastes and smells like berries and other fruits, as well as earth, pine, and general sweetness. It won the Cannabis Cup in 2000 for “Best Indica,” which comes as no surprise to people who choose to grow this strain.
From seed to harvest, you can expect the Blueberry Autoflower plants to take about 8 weeks. These plants yield between 4 and 6 ounces per square meter, and their THC levels are as high as 14%. They prefer mild and dry environments such as steppes or Mediterranean climates when grown outdoors.
9. Banana Kush Autoflower
This Indica-dominant strain (60% Indica, 40% Sativa) has a whopping 27% THC levels, making it some of the highest-THC options among the early flowering cannabis strains. They aren’t the easiest plants to grow, but they’ll flower in just 8 weeks and accomplish yields between 14 and 17 ounces per square meter. They smell and taste like sweet bananas, and they make you feel happy, uplifted, euphoric, and relaxed. When you grow Banana Kush Autoflowers outdoors, remember that they prefer a steppe climate.
10. CBD Kush Autoflower
This hybrid (50/50 Sativa/Indica) has very high CBD content (6-9%) and very minimal THC (6-9%). It is very fast and easy to grow, taking 7-8 weeks for the flowering time. This average-sized plant is not as compact as some other autoflowers; however, it is uniquely therapeutic. CBD Kush prefers Mediterranean or steppe climates for the best results.
CBD Kush has a pungent, citrus-like aroma and a spicy taste and smell. Its effects include sleepiness, relaxation, happiness, euphoria, and hunger. Many love this relaxing strain because it is unlikely to get you high. This is due to its low levels of THC.