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What are fast flowering cannabis strains?

How quickly a strain grows can be very important. Speed is vital for commercial and covert growers. And recreational cultivators often want their crop as quickly as possible. For many, the answer is fast flowering cannabis. Careful crossbreeding has created a range of fast flowering strains that offer all the benefits of photoperiods while flowering in much less time. Thanks to fast version strains, the fastest growing weed no longer means compromising on quality. But what exactly are these strains and how do they differ from traditional alternatives?

What Are Fast Flowering Strains?

Put simply, fast flowering cannabis is developed by mixing photoperiod and autoflowering strains. More precisely, by crossing the female clone of a feminized photoperiod strain with a feminized auto. This creates a strain that carries the autoflowering gene but is still light-dependent.

While autoflowering genetics aren’t dominant, their presence leads to faster flowering times. The result is a strain that can be harvested sooner while still providing the high yields and levels of potency of a traditional photoperiod.

Photoperiods, Autos and Fast Flowering Strains: What’s the Difference?

It’s a common misconception that fast flowering and autoflowering strains are the same. But standard photoperiods, autos and fast flowering strains are all different.

As the name suggests, autoflowering strains begin flowering automatically, usually around 3-4 weeks after they’re planted. Unlike photoperiod and fast strains, they don’t require changes in the light cycle to induce the end of the vegetation and the start of the flowering phases. As such, they require less interference from growers and are much easier crops to manage. The trade-off is that plants are generally smaller and produce lesser yields.

Photoperiod strains tend to produce bigger plants with higher yields and more potent buds. But they are also more work and take much longer to grow. Most will vegetate indefinitely on a light cycle of between 18-6 and 24-0 hours of light to darkness. Flowering can then be triggered by switching to a 12-12 cycle. This allows growers to control the length of the vegetation period and elongate it, leading to bigger plants and increased harvests. But plants also need more time to grow properly; the average harvest time for photoperiods is around four months after planting.

Fast flowering strains also require a change in the light cycle to begin flowering. But unlike photoperiods, they grow quickly; most fast version strains are ready to enter the flowering phase in a maximum of eight weeks.

They also produce bigger, hardier plants than autos, rewarding growers with enhanced yields and more potent buds. Like photoperiod strains, the flowering phase can be initiated by switching to a 12-12 light cycle, though fast strains are usually ready for harvest several weeks earlier.

The Benefits of Fast Flowering Strains

By hitting that sweet spot in between photoperiods and autos, fast flowering strains have a lot to offer. Naturally, their impressive combination of high yields and rapid flowering times is their main source of appeal for most growers. But there are a number of other advantages to growing fast flowering strains. Growers trying a fast strain for the first time can expect to notice a wide range of benefits:

  • Higher yields than autos: with a longer vegetation period, fast strains are able to produce larger, stronger plants with enhanced yields and higher cannabinoid levels.
  • Faster finishing time than photoperiods: their finely tuned genetics mean they’re ready for harvest more quickly than standard photoperiod strains. This is a valuable trait for commercial cultivators and a welcome benefit for recreational growers.
  • More harvests per season: the time shaved off by growing fast flowering strains instead of photoperiods allows for more growing cycles in the same time period. For many growers, this opens up the possibility of multiple harvests in a single season.
  • Lower indoor growing costs: shorter growing times also mean less time under the lights per harvest. For indoor growers, this can amount to considerable savings — especially if you’re growing multiple plants.
  • They can be cloned: unlike autos, fast flowering strains can be cloned. This photoperiod attribute is also held by fast strains, meaning their clippings can be used to create new mother plants.
  • Fast flowering traits get stronger in subsequent generations: desirable attributes are often watered down when one strain is crossed with another, particularly if alternative characteristics are more dominant in the other parent. But the quick-flowering genetics in fast strains get stronger as they’re passed down, making fast versions great parent strains.
  • They can be grown in almost any climate: many autoflowering and photoperiods struggle to grow in cold and wet climates. But fast flowering strains produce robust plants that can thrive in almost any indoor or outdoor environment. The ability to harvest earlier also enables growers to avoid the harshest parts of winter.
  • Plants are more resilient: lots of fast flowering strains have a great natural resilience to mold and fungi. Earlier flowering times also enable outdoor growers to avoid top rot by harvesting before the rainy season.

To Sum It Up

Once upon a time, to cultivate the fastest growing weed meant sacrificing yields or even quality. But fast flowering strains have changed that. Meticulous experimentation and breeding has created a range of strains that promise speed without compromise; fast flowering and high-yielding are no longer competing characteristics. The perfect middle-ground between autos and photoperiods, fast version strains are the best of both worlds when it comes to feminized cannabis strains.

 

 

MSNL Team MSNL Team / 17th December 2020

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