The Benefits and Challenges of Fast Flowering Cannabis Strains

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Fast flowering strains are best for novice and inexperienced weed farmers.

However, they are all with flaws.

Discover their strengths and weaknesses.

Pros & Cons of Fast Flowering Marijuana Strains

The pace at which a strain matures is often a deciding factor while choosing the seeds to plant, especially for commercial and covert growers who value speed.

People who grow marijuana for recreational purposes usually want to get their harvest as soon as possible.

Thus, fast-flowering cannabis is the solution for these cases. 

Through careful breeding and selective cross-pollination, various cannabis strains with accelerated flowering times have been developed.

These strains have all of the positive characteristics of photoperiod plants but bloom in a significantly shorter time.

The quickest-growing weed no longer implies sacrificing quality, thanks to fast-growing cultivars.

But what are these strains, and how do they vary from conventional choices? 

What Are Fast Flowering Cannabis Strains?

Fast-flowering cannabis is produced by crossing photoperiod and auto-flowering strains.

To be more specific, a female clone of a feminized photoperiod strain is combined with a feminized auto-flowering one.

The result is a light-dependent strain that harbors the auto-flowering gene.

Although auto-flowering genetics are not dominant, their presence results in faster flowering times.

The result is a variety that can provide ripe buds earlier while still producing excellent yields and maintaining the same level of cannabinoids intensity as a conventional photoperiod.

Interesting read: Cannabis for Better Sleep: Its Impact on Insomnia and Sleep Disorders

What Is the Difference between Photoperiods, Auto-flowering, and Fast-Flowering Strains?

Fast-flowering and auto-flowering strains are frequently confused with one another.

However, conventional photoperiods, autoflowering strains, and fast-flowering cultivars are all distinct weed varieties.

Autoflowering strains, as the name implies, begin flowering automatically, usually 3-4 weeks after the seeds’ germination.

Unlike photoperiod and fast strains, they do not require changes in the light cycle to transition from a vegetative stage to the blooming phase.

As a result, they require less intervention from growers and are considerably easier to handle.

Plants are often smaller and provide lower yields due to this trade-off.

Photoperiod strains grow larger plants with greater crop yields and more robust buds. They are, however, more challenging to grow and take much longer to mature.

The majority will vegetate permanently on a light cycle ranging from 18/6 to 24/0 hours of light to darkness.

Switching to a 12/12 cycle will then cause flowering to occur.

This technique allows farmers to manage and lengthen the vegetative cycle, resulting in larger plants and more bountiful harvests.

However, these plants require more time to mature; the typical harvest time for photoperiods is four months after seed germination.

Adjusting the lighting pattern is also necessary for fast-growing cannabis seeds to start flowering.

In contrast to photoperiods, however, they develop rapidly; most fast-version strains are ready for flowering in a maximum of eight weeks.

They also generate larger, more robust plants than auto-flowering versions, providing growers with higher yields and more pronounced therapeutic effects.

As with photoperiod strains, the flowering phase can be triggered by transitioning to a 12/12 light cycle; however, fast strains are typically harvest-ready several weeks earlier.

Benefits of Fast Flowering Strains

Fast-blooming strains have much to offer since they hit the sweet spot between photoperiods and autos.

Most farmers are naturally drawn to their excellent combination of great yields and short flowering durations. However, there are also more advantages to growing fast flowering strains.

Growers who test a quick strain for the first time should expect to see a variety of advantages:

  • Higher yields compared to auto-flowering strains. Because fast-flowering cultivars have a longer vegetative cycle, they can produce larger, more potent plants with higher cannabinoid levels.
  • Faster growing than photoperiods. Because of their precisely honed genetics, these varieties are ready for harvest sooner than strains grown under typical photoperiod conditions. This is a crucial characteristic for commercial growers and an appealing benefit for cannabis enthusiasts growing for recreational uses.
  • More harvests per season. The time saved by cultivating fast-flowering seeds rather than photoperiods allows for more growing cycles to occur in the same period. Farmers thus reap weed buds many times during a single growing season.
  • Lower indoor growing costs. Shorter flowering durations imply less time under the lights every harvest. This can add significant savings for indoor growers, mainly if you’re producing numerous plants.
  • They can be cloned. Fast-blooming strains, unlike auto-flowering variants, can be cloned. Fast strains also have this photoperiod trait, which means their clippings can be used to grow new mother plants.
  • Fast flowering features become increasingly pronounced in succeeding generations. However, beneficial traits are frequently diminished when one strain is crossbred with another, especially if different characteristics are more prominent in the other parent. The quick-flowering traits in fast strains become more robust with each generation, making fast variants excellent parent strains.
  • They may be grown in practically any climate. While many auto-flowering and photoperiod plants suffer in cold and damp conditions, fast-flowering cannabis seeds, on the other hand, create strong plants that can flourish in practically any indoor or outdoor setting. Harvesting earlier also allows growers to avoid the most challenging portions of winter.
  • Plants are more resilient. Several fast-flowering types naturally resist mold and fungus. By harvesting before the wet season, outdoor producers can avoid top rot.

Cons of This Weed Type 

Consider the following disadvantages when evaluating whether quick flowering strains are good for you:

  • Lower yields. Crops with a fast-growing cycle are compact and produce smaller harvests, which is appropriate for their structure. These yields are lower than those of photoperiod plants but higher than those of auto flowers. 
  • Reduced cannabinoids. Growers say that many fast-flowering cannabis cultivars generate buds with lesser cannabinoids. However, improving cultivation procedures and purchasing high-quality seedlings can quickly mitigate these characteristics. 
  • Light dependence. Depending on your opinion on auto flowers, this aspect can be advantageous or disadvantageous. With light-dependent cultivars, you must be vigilant and adhere to strict schedules. It may also be slightly more expensive than growing autos. 

The Top 3 Fast Flowering Strains 

Determining which solutions are optimal for the fastest flowering strains may be challenging. Our top picks and a summary of each variant’s major characteristics are listed below. 

#1 OG Kush Fast Flowering Version 

This legendary cannabis strain’s quick-flowering version does not disappoint. The OG Kush fast variant crosses the original OG Kush and a mysterious hybrid autoflower.

The strain produces strong effects due to its 20-24% THC content. The flavors are a delicious mash-up of cherries and citrus, with hints of diesel.

Growing this cultivar is simple and suitable for people of all skill levels. Fast-growing OG Kush produces yields of 19 oz/m2 inside and up to 39 oz/plant outdoors.

#2 AK-47 Fast Flowering Variant 

The fast-flowering strain, named after a lethal weapon, will astound you. The AK-47 fast version is sativa-dominant, producing a calm cerebral high and a full-body buzz.

The flavors of AK-47 rapid-flowering marijuana include fruit, flowers, wood, and incense. You can anticipate harvesting 14-17oz./m2 indoors and 17 oz./plant outdoors if you grow these seeds. 

#3 Gold Leaf Fast Flowering Version

Gold Leaf is a unique Indica-dominant marijuana cultivar.

Although its origin is unknown, consumers claim this strain produces rapid euphoric and uplifting effects.

One hit of weed grown from Gold Leaf Autoflower will put you in a creative mood.

Because this strain affects you powerfully right away, remember that a little amount goes a long way.

You might end up couch-locked if you smoke too much Gold Leaf.

This strain has spicy and citrusy flavors.

Gold Leaf nugs are tiny and spherical, with amber and dark green trichomes. 

To Wrap It Up

Cannabis growers used to choose between speed and quality.

Yet, with extensive testing and breeding, engineers have developed seeds that promise speed without sacrificing yield.

Fast-flowering and high-yielding features are no longer competing.

Thus, the fast-version strains are the ideal compromise between autos and photoperiods.


The author of this material is Tia Moskalenko, an avid cannabis fan and researcher of new exciting techniques and opportunities for growing marijuana at home. Tia is a blogger at AskGrowers, sharing her experience and inspiring novice growers to try this project out and find their ideal cultivation conditions and strains.