how to germinate autoflower seeds

Tips for Cultivating Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds

We here at Spliff Seeds have assembled a list of tips for cultivating autoflowering Cannabis seeds that we hope will help those new to growing achieve the best yields possible. While the cultivation methods for autoflowering Cannabis seeds may be somewhat similar to that of photoperiod seed types, there are certain circumstances which will permit autoflowering Cannabis seeds to develop to their maximum capacity.

Germinating Your Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds

One of the key aspects you’ll need to know about autoflowering Cannabis seeds is that they should be germinated in the same container that they will finish in. Using this methodology will ensure that the plant undergoes as little stress as possible. The fewer steps you take with autoflowering Cannabis seeds, the less chance of stressing the plants. Because of their short life cycle, short periods of stress can slow the growth rate of autoflowering varieties dramatically.

#1– The first thing you’ll need to establish is the size plant container you’re going to use. We recommend using a 20 liter container for the entire lifecycle of autoflowering cannabis seeds. Again, this is to reduce any chance of stressing out your plants. A 20L pot is the ideal size for autoflowering Cannabis, a larger pot will not increase yields by worthwhile amounts.

#2– Once you’ve acquired your container you’ll need to decide which growing medium you’re going to use. We advise using a soilless mix branded as a “light” mix for autoflowering Cannabis seeds. This will ensure that the mix is low in added nutrients while maintaining a nice, airy substrate for your plants to thrive.

#3– Fill your container with your light soilless mix of choice, then moisten the mix with plain water with a balanced pH of 6.5-7 until it’s entirely damp, but not completely saturated. I typically allow the moistened container to sit for several hours (6 or more) to ensure that all the air pockets have settled.

#4– After the mix has had a chance to settle, simply press a small hole into the center of your container (no more than 1cm deep), drop the Spliff Seeds autoflowering Cannabis seed of choice in the hole, then brush your potting soil over the top. The most important part is to make sure that your seed does not receive any light until after it germinates.

#5– Next, you’ll want to take a piece of plastic wrap or cling film and cover the top of your container to act as a humidity dome.

Best Light Cycle For Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds

#6– Once the container is covered with cling film, merely place it in your grow space with the lights set to run for a minimum of 18 hours on and 6 hours off. The internet is filled with optional light cycles for autoflowering Cannabis seeds ranging from 16-24 hours of light per day. We however recommend running your lights for a minimum of 18 hours on and 6 hours off for most of our autoflowering Cannabis seed varieties during the entire grow.

The biggest factors to help you decide on a lighting schedule are probably the price of energy and the local climate. Growers in very hot climates tend to prefer 18 hours of light per day because the 6 hours of darkness give them a chance to vent and cool their grow rooms. The opposite is true in colder climates, where 24 hours of light per day can help keep the temperature up without using a heater.

#7– Once the autoflowering Cannabis seed has opened entirely and shed its seed casing, it is time to remove the piece of plastic wrap covering the container so the plant can continue to develop aptly.

The Vegetative Stage of Your Autoflowering Cannabis Plants

Assuming that your autoflowering Cannabis seeds have successfully sprouted into seedlings, it’s time to concentrate on the vegetative stage of your plants’ life cycle. As we mentioned before, autoflowering Cannabis seeds desire an airy soilless potting mix with a moderately low nutrient content. Due to the initial moistening of your grow medium, the now sprouted seedling usually won’t need water again for a period of 7 days or more.

After 7 days have passed, you can begin checking the moisture content of your container by simply lifting it to determine its overall weight. If it’s in need of water, you’ll notice a significant difference in the container’s weight compared to when it was initially moistened for seed germination. It’s best to use plain pH balanced water for the first 12-14 days of your autoflowering Cannabis plant’s lifecycle. This will allow it to utilize the nutrients in your soilless mix without fear of what is referred to as “nutrient burn”.

#8– After a period of at least 14 days has passed you can begin using a light growth nutrient. To avoid harming the plant(s), use about half the amount of nutrients that is suggested by the product’s manufacturer. For example, if the nutrient manufacturer suggests using 20 mL per liter of pH balanced water, we recommend using 10 mL per liter of pH balanced water. If you notice the health of your plants starting to fail, simply decrease the amount of nutrient solution you’re using per liter of pH balanced water until it improves. If your plant(s) remain healthy, continue using our suggested amount of growth nutrients for the next 2 weeks of the plant’s lifecycle. After three or four weeks you should switch over to a nutrient solution designed for the flowering or blooming stage of plant growth.

The Flowering Stage of Your Autoflowering Cannabis Plants

After a period of just about 3 weeks, your autoflowering cannabis plants will typically begin establishing their flowers or buds. Some varieties or strains will take a bit longer than some, while others may start to flower or bud somewhat earlier. This is the time you’ll see your plants start to stretch and grow at an exceptionally rapid pace. Depending on the variety of autoflowering Cannabis seeds you choose to cultivate, the plants will usually double in size over the next couple of weeks as bud sites start to develop. There’s no need to increase the amount of bloom cycle nutrients you’re feeding your autoflowering Cannabis plants with each watering unless your plant(s) start showing signs of cannabis nutrient deficiency. If your plants begins to appear deficient of nutrients, slightly increase the amount of nutrient solution per liter of pH balanced water.

#9– The growth rate of autoflowering Cannabis seeds varies from strain to strain. But most autoflowering Cannabis plants are typically ready to harvest after a period of 65-75 days. We recommend that you begin lowering the amount of nutrients to 25 percent of the manufacturer’s suggestion at around 55 days of growth in order to begin what is referred to as the “flushing” process.

It’s Harvest Time!

#11– Now all that’s left to do is to trim, dry and cure your buds, and of course to shop Spliff Seeds for more autoflowering cannabis seeds or other feminized cannabis seeds in order to start the cycle all over again! Because autoflowering plants don’t need any change in the light schedule, you could also opt for a continuous harvest strategy. By planting autoflowering Cannabis seeds one month apart for example, you can harvest a plant every month. You can also harvest multiple times per outdoor season using autoflowering Cannabis seeds, so make sure you time your grows accordingly!

We here at Spliff Seeds have assembled a list of tips for cultivating autoflowering Cannabis seeds that we hope will help those new to growing achieve the

Planting Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds

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Planting autoflowering cannabis seeds is a relatively easy process, but to get the most out of your plants you need to follow a series of steps that are completely different from those that seasonal seeds have. An autoflowering cannabis seed needs a bit more care than normal seeds. You need to speed up the growth as much as possible so you don’t get teeny plants with no more than 5 blunts on them. We’re going to give you a series of things you’ll need to do in order to get the most out of your plants.

Germinating Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds:

The first thing that you’ll need to do is germinate the seed properly, using the paper towel method that we’ve talked about here before.

Once your seeds have germinated or opened, however you prefer to call it, you’ll need to prepare some small Teku 7×7 pots with soil, don’t use jiffy pellets or anything like that as the roots need plenty of space to grow.

Fill the pots with soil first and then water them; once the plant breaches the top of the soil you mustn’t wet it again. If you water it before the seed has come out then it will probably move up towards the surface which can cause a whole list of other issues. The best thing to do is to water first and then wait to water it again until the sapling grows a bit.

Bury the seed about half a cm to 1cm down into the soil, making a hole with a pen or a toothpick and putting the seed inside with the little root facing downwards. Cover it with a bit of soil without compacting it too much and leave it there until the plant begins to grow above the soil. What we usually do is leave it for 24h with light during this process until you transplant the seed to its main flowerpot. If you don’t have grow lights then use the most powerful one you can so that it doesn’t get too cold in the pot.

Up until this point the process has been exactly the same for seasonal seeds, but that’s about to change. You’ll need to wait for the plant to break the surface and have that little growth spurt that cannabis plants tend to get when they’re looking for light. This can take 4 or 5 days, and you’ll need to keep a close eye on them so you don’t leave them for too long. Make sure that the plant doesn’t begin to develop in that flowerpot, the maximum time you should leave the plant in it is 6 days.

Now is when you’ll need to transplant your autoflowering plants to their permanent home. Autoflowering strains that take two months prefer pots that are about 7L, whereas those that take three months much prefer pots that are 11L, no bigger.

Fill the flowerpots to the top with soil, nice and compact so that when you water the water doesn’t go all the way to the bottom, although make sure you don’t compact it too much as the plants need a good oxygen/water ratio to breath and grow; with no oxygen the roots won’t be healthy at all and you’ll end up with a dwarfed plant. You’ll need to keep the light at 20h until the end, or make sure it’s in a spot where it can get the maximum amount of sunlight hours.

Once those pots are full of soil, you’ll need to make a hole to stick your small plant in. Make it deep, as you’ll need to bury part of the trunk as well, to the point where the bottom of the trunk is just 5cm long from the soil to where the first leaves are. Then, water the edges of the pot little by little so the soil gets properly humid.

The reason you need to bury part of the trunk is because even more roots can come out of that small piece of stem, and it also gives the plant stability and strength so that it doesn’t bend and break and it can spend more energy on growing branches and foliage. The more roots it grows the more the plant will grow, which is how you can easily speed up the growing process. Once you’ve buried it, water the plant with about a liter of water mixed with a low concentration of growth fertilizer; some substrates absorb water easier than others, so it might be trial and error in your case and you’ll need to adapt the amount of water to how absorbent your soil is.

I use a liter of water with Canna Terra Professional, and no excess water comes out of the holes in the flowerpot which means it’s adequately watered. You can read all about substrates here.

From this day onwards you’re going to need to check and see if the soil is dry; until it is completely dry you shouldn’t have to water it again, and this should take about 7 days. The best way to check if the soil is dry is by lifting up the pot; if it’s still pretty heavy then it still has water in it.

The next step is watering with growth fertilizers once it’s dry after that first watering. You should be at around day 13 or 14 and you’ll have noticed a bit of growth in the last couple of days. For watering, you should make your mix in a bottle with just one glass of water per pot at this stage. The next day check and see if the pots are heavy; if they’re dry then give them another glass of water but if they’re not don’t water them again until the next day. If the soil is extremely dry the next day then you’ll need to give it two glasses of water. Up the dosage as time goes by little by little and this process of dryness and water will make the plant grow a nice root system, as well as an amazing production.

Before you realize it, it will be day 25 and your plant should be beginning to flower. It no longer looks like the plants you had before, does it? You haven’t changed the seeds, just the method. Now all you have to do is follow the typical flowering steps that every seed needs; a flowering stimulant to begin with, a flowering base, a fattening products once the buds have formed, and end it all by washing out the roots. Flowers take about 20 days to properly form and the fattening period lasts about 2 weeks rather than four weeks for a seasonal seed; once you see the flowers forming properly then you need to use the fattening product.

We’re sure that if you follow these steps you’ll be extremely happy with the results that your autoflowering plants will give you compared to other grows you’ve tried. You might even see some of the mistakes that you made corrected in this article. Many people will probably say to never transplant autoflowering plants, but those people won’t get specimens as big as you will if you follow this guide!

You can find a wide range of cannabis seeds by clicking here.

Author: Javier Chinesta
Translation: Ciara Murphy

A complete guide to planting autoflowering cannabis seeds; get the most out of your plants with these fool proof steps to growing autoflowering strains.