How to grow autoflower seeds
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- What are autoflowers?
- How long does it take to grow autoflower?
- Pros and cons of growing autoflowers
- How much do autoflower plants yield?
- Do autoflowers need nutrients?
- How to grow autoflowering plants
Cannabis seeds seem to be available in limitless options and it can be confusing when you have to choose. Should you go with feminized seeds? What about autoflower seeds?
Growing autoflowers can significantly speed up harvest time while delivering an ample yield of marijuana. Here are some autoflower pros and cons along with some growing tips to help you decide if this type of seed is right for your cannabis garden.
Planting autoflower seeds can significantly speed up harvest time while delivering an ample yield of marijuana. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
What are autoflowers?
As the name implies, autoflowers automatically shift to the flowering period without intervention. Whereas the flowering of photoperiod plants is dependent on cycles of light and dark, autoflowers zip through this growth stage according to their age. Autoflowering cannabis seeds may mature in as little as seven or eight weeks from seed to harvest depending on the strain .
There are a staggering 200+ autoflowering strains on the market for you to peruse. Some popular strains include Cream Caramel Auto, Afghan Kush Ryder, and Autoflowering Blueberry.
How long does it take to grow autoflower?
The timing of autoflowering plants depends on their size and classification. On one end of the spectrum, there are dwarf varieties, which are short in stature and are often ready to harvest within 10 weeks. In contrast, there are super autos, which grow taller (more than 6 feet high in some cases) and may not mature for more than 100 days. But in all cases, the time frame for growing autoflowering cannabis is shorter than for photoperiod strains and represents one of the seeds’ most desirable distinctions.
Pros and cons of growing autoflowers
Autoflowering cannabis offers an array of benefits, including the highest possible yield in the shortest conceivable time.
Here are four of the top reasons to grow autoflowering cannabis:
- Fast: The transition between the vegetative growth phase and the flowering stage can happen in as few as seven weeks.
- Simple: One autoflowering plant can produce hundreds of seeds, simplifying the germination process and eliminating the need to purchase more seeds.
- Flexible: Autoflowering seeds flourish in a variety of climates and environments. Even cities make hospitable environments for autoflowering cannabis seeds because artificial lighting doesn’t negatively affect them.
- Prolific: Growing autoflowering plants outdoors can mean multiple harvests in one season, giving you plentiful weed to enjoy now or perhaps dry, cure, and store for future use.
The disadvantages of growing autoflowering cannabis are more debatable, with some people claiming the harvest is lower quality. Others are concerned with the quality of the seeds before harvest and the possibility of purchasing those that do not in fact autoflower. Finally, some dwarf strains may produce disappointing yields, sometimes as little as half an ounce per plant.
How much do autoflower plants yield?
Just as harvest timing depends on the size and classification of autoflower plants, so does the amount of cannabis they yield. Regular plants tend to yield between 10 and 50 grams per plant, while the next level up, the super auto, can produce yields between 100 and 200 grams per plant. The abundant yield of a super autoflower can be a double-edged sword if you are working within the confines of a small space. So, use small spaces for regular autos whose yields are more manageable, and reserve larger spaces for those impressive super autos.
Do autoflowers need nutrients?
Like any other living plant, autoflowers do require nutrients, but administering them is a delicate balance. Going overboard on fertilizer can have adverse effects on cannabis seeds, just as feeding the wrong kind of nutrients can. Be sure to choose a fertilizer specifically formulated for autoflowering strains and then micro-dose rather than pouring on liberally. Lightly fertilized soil is optimal for autoflowering seeds and as long as you’re nourishing the plants with supplements such as vitamin B, enzymes, and fungi.
In addition, autoflowers need at least 15 to 18 hours of sunlight or LED light each day to thrive.
How to grow autoflowering plants
Now that you know the basics of autoflowers, let’s explore each step in the growing process. The following guide covers a typical 10-week growth cycle and highlights milestones for each week.
Germination: This initial stage occurs within three days, sometimes as soon as 24 hours. Choose a light potting soil mix or blend your own with peat moss, compost, moistened perlite, and moistened vermiculture, along with nitrogen-rich tablets containing other essential nutrients — plus a dose of good fungi. The ideal planting environment for your cannabis seeds has 70 percent to 90 percent humidity and is 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pour the soil into pots and poke 15-millimeter holes in the soil. Plant a seed in each hole, cover with soil, and watch for a seedling to emerge in the next several days.
Plant a seed in each hole, cover with soil, and watch for a seedling to emerge in the next several days. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Photosynthesis: Add more nutrients to your late-stage seedlings. Since you are growing autoflowers and not regular seeds, use only half the usual dose indicated on the package.
Vegetation: Change up the environmental conditions with low-stress training. Reduce the humidity to 50 percent, lower the temperature to 68 degrees, and feed twice per week.
The plants should be about six inches tall at this point.
During the vegetation stage, the plants should be about six inches tall at this point. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Late Vegetation: In this second vegetative phase, drop the humidity to 45 percent and keep the temperature stable at around 68 degrees. Water with half a liter every day and keep feeding twice weekly.
You may see some tiny pre-flowers crop up at this time.
Flowering: Sticky, resinous buds will make their first appearance during week five, giving you a preview of the bounty to come. Keep the humidity consistent at 45 percent but increase the temperature to about 71 degrees. Increase the water to a full liter each day and add supplement tablets twice a week. Look for those containing phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
The plants should be at least a foot tall now.
During the flowering stage, sticky, resinous buds will make their first appearance during week five. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Late Flowering: Don’t be surprised to see a flower forming in every bud after two weeks into the flowering stage. Drop the humidity to 40 percent and reduce the temperature back to 68 degrees. Water with 1.5 liters and feed the plants three times a week.
After this week, you’re in the home stretch of raising autoflowering plants to maturity.
Maintenance: It’s crucial to stop harmful intruders such as mold and spider mites, so check your cannabis plants daily and keep the humidity low at 40 percent. Maintain the watering and feeding schedule established in week six.
Your patience and care will pay off soon — harvest time is in the near future.
Weeks 8 and 9
Defoliation: Stop feeding the plants. Instead, flush them with a flood of water and then defoliate with a pair of shears . Defoliation helps the plants absorb more light while limiting the risk of damaging mold.
At the end of this two-week period, the eagerly anticipated harvest time will begin.
Harvest: Milky white trichomes and red-brown pistils on the buds indicate they are ready for harvest. Drying and curing comes next, then you can finally sit back and enjoy the sweet fruits of your labor.
Milky white trichomes and red-brown pistils on the buds indicate they are ready for harvest. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
How to grow autoflower seeds Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What are autoflowers? How long does it take to grow autoflower? Pros and
Autoflowering Cannabis Yields | How Much Can I Harvest?
There are several reasons a person may wish to grow autoflowering Cannabis at home, whether it be for taste, effect, medicinal value, or yield. The amount an autoflower can produce will be the difference between how full your curing jars get, and how successful you are as a grower.
Autoflowers can yield from 50-250g, but that can be affected by genetics, conditions, and nutrients, our top tips will help you get the most out of your autos!
1. What Does “Yield” Mean?
Yield refers to the estimated amount of buds produced and can be measured as dry or wet weight but after you’ve harvested, trimmed, and dry your cannabis plants, that is the final amount of dried buds and the official yield.
You will notice that seed banks will often display the yield in a square meter scenario, as opposed to the dried weight per plant. Not only can a figure such as “450-550gr/m2” be misleading, but there are also many variables that will play a factor in the outcome of this value.
If you’re wondering how to maximize autoflower yields, read along and improve your yields with our tips!
2. Factors To Consider
When growing autoflowering cultivars outdoors, the climate plays a massive role in the outcome of your yield.
Outdoor growers depend on the seasons to be able to get good yields from autoflowers, this happens because cannabis plants depend on the right temperature, humidity, and sunlight to thrive, and this will reflect on the quality and quantity of the buds you’ll harvest.
People who live in hot sunny climates will be able to grow autos all year long with excellent results, but those who experience shorter summers with cold winters may not harvest as much as someone in a tropical climate, who can expect to grow multiple times per year with superb results.
Now, when growing indoors you don’t have to worry that much about the conditions because you are responsible for controlling every single aspect of the growing conditions, this can be a good thing for more experienced growers but if you’re new to growing indoors, it can be quite tricky if you don’t have access or can’t afford the right equipment.
First half of vegetative
Second half of vegetative
First-half of flowering
Second half of flowering
As you may know, cannabis plants need certain conditions in each stage of growth, but as a general guideline, you should keep the temperature between 18-24°C and the humidity should be kept around 70% in the vegetative stage, gradually lowering it until you reach 60% near the pre-flowering stage.
Then, when your plants are starting to form the buds, the humidity should be around 50%, reaching 40-45% at the end of the flowering stage.
Not everyone has the luxury of growing in a meter square grow space, and some must resort to a small, discreet plant count that can be kept on a balcony, terrace, or back garden.
Depending on where you’re growing your cannabis plants, you will have to choose either a bigger or a smaller pot and this will end up affecting how big your plants grow, and consequently, the yields.
For example, if you are growing large-sized plants in 10-12 liter-sized pots, you will be able to harvest 50-150g per plant as long as the conditions are optimum, so if you prefer smaller plants and use smaller pots, the yields will be decreased.
- There is no need to grow autos in pots bigger than 12 liters.
- Sea of Green requires a smaller pot size of 5-7.5 liters.
- Planting directly into the ground is also a good option.
Supplementing your autoflowering plants with a rich source of N-P-K (macronutrients) and trace elements (micronutrients) is certainly one way to enhance production. Investing in organic nutrients or a complete living soil will be advantageous, as long as you maintain the ideal watering ratio.
This is because organic nutrients work different from synthetic nutrients.
Organic feeding consists of maintaining a good soil with beneficial microorganisms that form a symbiotic relationship with your cannabis plant, this way the fungi feed on the sugars produced by plants while they break down nutrients and retain water in the rhizosphere which makes it easier for your plant to absorb nutrients and hydrate.
On the other side, synthetic nutrients consist of feeding the roots directly, this means that you don’t have to maintain a healthy soil because synthetic nutrients can actually kill the microorganisms present, so despite being easier to feed synthetic, it’s easier to overfeed and end up burning your plants.
If feeding with synthetic nutrients, then follow the recommended guidelines when making your nutrient solution.
- You will want to feed your autos only plain water for the final 2 weeks, to allow the plants to flush.
- Some cultivars will be able to uptake higher amounts of a nutrient solution than others.
Another thing that will affect your yield is the number of plants you have in your grow space, you have the option to grow a few large-sized plants, or many smaller ones packed together in a Sea of green, each have their own advantages and disadvantages.
For example, if you’re growing in a 1m2 grow space you will have to choose between making the most of just one or two big plants or grow up to 6 smaller plants, this is up to you, obviously.
It is always a good idea to know in advance if you can grow a Sea of Green, SCRoG, or prefer to let your plants grow naturally.
Sea of Green
If you are choosing to grow many small plants packed closely together, then make sure the cultivar is well suited for that setup. You want to go for shorter plants that grow relatively homogeneous, this way you can fit in between 6-10 plants in a meter square, planting in 5-7.5 liter pots.
When growing in a SCRoG setup, you can go for whatever you want, obviously, you won’t be able to fit 20 plants in 1m2 but because this technique consists of shaping your plants into a dense canopy, you can get away with growing from 2-5 plants in 7-10 liter pots. As long as you’re filling your SCRoG net properly, you’ll get a nice dense canopy and great results.
For some, it can be more practical to grow 1-3 bigger-sized plants, and for this, we recommend using a pot size between 10-15 liters to allow your plants to grow to their maximum, reaching up to 150cm in some cases.
When it comes to autoflowering cultivars, it is best to apply certain training techniques to different cultivars. This will encourage a much bigger and more productive harvest, exposing the plants to more direct light and increasing yields further.
We only recommend plant training if you can benefit from that or if you’ve had experience before because you can end up stressing your plants and that will have the opposite results, less plant growth, and lower yields.
There are two types of plant training, LST and HST, both of them serve growers to help modify and shape the structure of a plant to either make the most out of the light fixture or control the size of the plants if you have a limited grow space.
Low-stress training (LST) basically consists of bending or tying down the branches without mutilating the plants, as the name says, it’s less likely to stress your plants when compared to HST and it’s what its usually recommended for autoflowers but you can get away with HST if you know what you’re doing, have in mind that LST requires patience and more work when compared to HST because you are shaping your plants gently day by day.
High-stress training (HST) consists of mutilating your cannabis plants, either by topping, defoliating, or fimming, you will have the same results as when performing LST but you will have less work because once you’ve cut a part of your plant, the work is done.
- Low-stress training means to tie the highest parts of the plant down, to create an even-growing canopy of large-sized buds.
- It is best to avoid any type of plant training after your plants have started flowering.
- Using a SCROG setup can increase yield and allow for a much more efficient growing space.
If you’re a home grower and want to make the most out of each seed or if you’re a commercial grower and you prefer production before anything else, then finding the best genetics to aid in this job will give you the upper hand, obviously, growing the highest yielding autoflower is the way to go but there are basic things you should know.
There is a wide range of Indica and Sativa characteristics in hybrid autoflowering strains, with some being more rewarding than others when it comes to yield.
Now, don’t think that Sativa-dominant hybrids always yield more than Indica-dominant, even though Sativas grow more and consequently yield more, Indicas produce denser buds that, even though it might seem they produce less, they can end up weighing more.
So have in mind that although you should choose your genetics based on how much they yield (if you’re looking for high yields) you should choose a strain that better suits your growing style and your growing conditions.
Always keep in mind:
- Some cultivars may take longer to flower and yield more than others.
- Certain strains are better suited for cold and others for hot climates.
3. Our highest yielding autoflowers
Gorilla Cookies Auto
Gorilla Cookies is not only a high-yielder but also a truly powerful strain, resulting from the cross between two resistant strains, you’ll be amazed by the quantity and quality of this great genetics which grows around 100cm and can produce up to 600gr/m2.
This plant grows quite compact and bushy, similar to Indicas but it actually is a fine-balanced hybrid that offers the best of both worlds, you can expect really dense buds with a beautiful color mix and a thick layer of resin that makes the buds shine from afar.
Need to know how big of a yield you can get from autoflowering cannabis? Find out which autoflowering strains produce the biggest yields for harvest.