Photoperiod Cannabis Overview

Photoperiod Cannabis Overview

Photoperiod cannabis strains are plants that develop only by changing the light cycle. Hence, they can bloom only under special conditions. Although autoflowering weed seeds are known for their small size and short maturation periods, these marijuana varieties grow significantly larger than traditional autoflowering strains. Photoperiod strains are more difficult to grow, but growers say that the results are worth it.

Cannabis Autoflower vs Photoperiod

Cannabis plants that are photoperiodic, or respond to seasonal changes in light cycles, tend to live long, productive lives. Some growers claim that growing photoperiod cannabis is more difficult than growing autoflowering ones. The reason for that is you have to cycle on a new light schedule in order to make these plants bloom. They are also taller than other types of cannabis bushes and require more care to be taken when trimming them and forming a crown.

However, the length of a photoperiod weed plant’s vegetative stage is not determined exclusively by outside forces; through their expertise, experienced growers can control the plant’s growth.

The Yield Level

Autoflowering marijuana strains grow compactly and mature rapidly. Unlike photoperiod weed varieties, they produce few large floral clusters. When it comes to cannabis photoperiod light schedule, it is a significant factor in the final quality of the plant.

The CBD/THC Ratio

Some growers prefer to grow photoperiod cannabis strains because they contain a high percentage of THC, the chemical responsible for a high. Autoflowers generally have higher cannabidiol and are a good choice if you’re looking for higher CBD content. This cannabinoid isn’t psychoactive and has a pleasant, therapeutic effect, which can help to alleviate symptoms of diseases including nausea, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and osteoporosis.

Training Difficulty

Those who grow photoperiod cannabis strains can do all sorts of training, trimming, and defoliation. The plant can be left in the growing mode for a while — even if you have made an error in growing it — unless the error is permanent.

Cannabis Defoliation

However, with autoflowering genetics, this is not the case. It’s tricky to train an autoflowering cannabis plant to grow the way you want it to. The herb will not have enough time to recover if you make an incision too deep, cut a branch, or cut off the inflorescence. It is crucial to be accurate and attentive when training autoflowering strain because even small mistakes can have devastating consequences. When harvesting from an autoflowering strain, be gentle; these plants are already growing quickly and do not have time to recover.

How Long Does It Take to Grow Photoperiod Weed?

If you want to grow great weed, there are a range of choices that you need to make. These include whether to use an outdoor or indoor grow operation, how much time and money you want to spend on your growing set-up, and what resources and skills you have available to you. But one of the first decisions that you should make is whether you’re going to use Indica or Sativa marijuana plants.

Growing Photoperiod Sativa Weed Plant

Successfully growing photoperiod Sativa marijuana plants requires knowledge of the length of daylight hours. Indoor Sativas can grow for as long as they want unless growers switch their lighting to a 12/12 cycle. Under the right conditions, plants will continue to grow until the length of the day begins to shorten. Sativa’s average vegetation lasts between 80 and 120 days.

The flowering stage of this type of cannabis lasts about 12-18 weeks—this can vary depending on the particular strain. Growers should not plant pure Sativa strains in temperate areas before the first frost because Sativas have no chance to reach maturity before the frost. Sativa-dominant strains that typically flower long before October can be harvested as early as November in outdoor gardens.

Average total lifetime of photoperiod Sativa:

  • Indoore: 21-34 weeks.
  • Outdoor: 22-37 weeks.

Growing Photoperiod Indica Weed Plant

Pure Indica strains are also known for their differences in dependence on daylight. However, Indica strains have shorter life spans than Sativa strains, which can be grown for up to 30-50 days. The flowering period of the Indica strains is slightly shorter than that of Sativas — generally, it is 40 to 55 days, depending on the strain. You can start harvesting crops grown outdoors in late September/early October if you planted them outdoor in May.

The average life cycle of photoperiod Indica:

  • Indoor: 10-15 weeks.
  • Outdoor: 11-17 weeks.

Growing Photoperiod

Other Factors Affecting Photoperiod Planting to Harvesting Times

One thing to keep in mind is that genetics isn’t everything, and the cannabis life cycle can be greatly affected by the conditions under which it was cultivated. The slowdown in growth is usually caused by a number of factors, including:

  • Too-voluminous pots. When cultivating indoors, don’t use pots that are too large (the root system will grow longer before it needs to be transplanted; you will therefore need to wait longer before harvesting).
  • All kinds of stressors are at play here. To get a healthy and fast-growing plant, pay attention to the needs of your plant: overfeeding or under-feeding with fertilizers, heat, light, water overflow or underflow, and improper humidity and temperature — all these can negatively affect the speed of development.
  • The use of methods to increase cannabis yields almost always involves the redistribution of energy from later-stage plant development to earlier-stage growth. As a side effect, certain life-cycle phases can live longer than they normally would.


When you’re first getting started growing your own cannabis, there are many different strains you can grow. This includes outdoor or indoor, feminized or non-feminized, and autoflowering or photoperiod cannabis. Photoperiod cannabis strains are often more expensive than autoflowering and feminized varieties. However, growers say that the results, like higher yields and a better high, are worth the cost and effort.