Want to start growing auto-flowering cannabis? Here’s all the info you need to get started! Learn how to grow autoflowering weed with our week by week autoflower grow guide. Plus bonus tips on growing autoflowers indoors or outdoors! What are the biggest mistakes you can make when growing autoflowering cannabis? Read the basics and find out how to take care of your strain's buds.
How to Grow Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds
Whether you’re new to growing cannabis or you’ve been growing pot for years, auto-flowering strains are possibly the best way to go. You could be growing autoflowers indoors in soil or setting up a hydroponic autoflower grow ; it doesn’t matter. Autoflowering seeds are ready for harvest in just eight weeks while still producing potent effects.
For the most part, growing autoflowers indoors or outdoors is the same as growing regular marijuana, except it’s a lot easier. However, to grow the best cannabis, you need to do more than know how to grow auto-flowering seeds. You’ll also need the best supplies. Don’t worry; a Pot for Pot has you covered.
What Does “Autoflowering” Mean?
Autoflowering seeds are typically a mixture of cannabis Sativa or Indica with Cannabis Ruderalis, a species native to Russia. People don’t grow Cannabis Ruderalis on its own because it typically lacks a high degree of THC content. But because this species grows automatically after seven weeks and fares well in cold weather, these traits have made them desirable to use for interbreeding.
An auto-flowering cannabis strain switches from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage automatically instead of requiring closely timed hours of light and dark. Photoperiod flowering seeds start to bloom after the summer solstice, while auto-flowering seeds flower after a specific phase of the development period. In other words, they grow automatically (hence their name, “auto-flowering”) when they reach the right size.
Autoflowering cannabis plants tend to be smaller than other cannabis plants, especially in comparison to Sativa strains (Indica tends to be shorter, regardless of whether they’re auto-flowering or photoperiod flowering). Compared to regular photoperiod flowering feminized cannabis, auto-flowering strains are better able to fend off mold and pests. Read more details and benefits (along with some potential challenges) to growing auto-flowering seeds below.
Planning for Your Garden
Autoflowering seeds are a great idea because they grow faster than regular seeds. They’re also preferred by many marijuana growers because they are easy to grow.
How fast a specific auto-flowering strain takes to reach harvest can depend on the type of strain. However, it generally takes 8-10 weeks for most strains. Some strains require up to 12 weeks.
The fact that autoflowers can grow so fast means they spend less time fighting off pests and viruses. On top of that, many auto-flowering strains are bred with strong genetics to fight off these risks. The end results are plants that are incredibly easy to grow, even if you plan on growing autoflowers outdoors .
The downside to an auto flower grow is that the yields will not be as large as traditional seeds. However, a smaller yield on something you are nearly guaranteed to be successful at is better than no yield from something a bit harder to grow. If it’s your first time growing these quick-growing seeds, try using an auto flower grow journal to document your journey. This way, there’s a record of your work, and you can improve upon it in the future.
In general, the best soil for autoflowers will have these key ingredients:
Light and well-aerated soil
Autoflowering cannabis needs a growing medium that is light and airy. This allows the roots to penetrate the ground easily and not struggle to get the nutrients that it needs. Heavy soils make it difficult for roots and water to penetrate the ground, making it difficult for autoflowers to grow.
Soilless mixes such as coco coir have no natural nutrients, so you always have to add nutrients to these. However, when using soil, this is not the case. Simply start with a mixture that already has what you need. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be easier said than done. Most soil will have some nutrients, but they may not be what you need. The best soil will have all the essential autoflower nutrients: Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorous.
Neutral soil pH is at 7. If the pH is below 7, that means the growing medium is acidic. If it is above 7, that means the soil is alkaline. Autoflowering cannabis plants thrive in a little acidic soil, so keep your soil pH ranges between 6.2 and 6.5.
You could, of course, experiment with making your own soil. If so, you’d only need peat moss, some compost, perlite, and vermiculite mixed in a 3:3:2:1 ratio. However, the easiest option would be purchasing a Pot for Pot’s Superb Soil , which is specifically designed to be the best soil for autoflowers.
Growing Autoflowering Plants
We think they are some of the most fun plants to grow because they are fast and manageable. They are a great gateway to growing your own at a low price if you are new to growing. And funny enough, if you’re an old green thumb, you most likely have never grown one before. Autoflowering plants are consistently grown from seed because you cannot make a clone from an auto-flowering plant due to the fact they start to flower from the get-go, and cloning them won’t restart their timer.
Because they evolved in such a harsh environment, these plants grow well outside and indoors . They do not need a specific light cycle when planting indoors, which makes growing them super easy. If you are not putting them into a dedicated growing environment, they will need a sunny window or a bright supplemental lighting source. These plants are light hungry, so the more light, the better. It still needs its beauty sleep, though. Try to let it rest for at least 4 hours of darkness so the plant can do its nightly functions. But she’ll still grow successfully under 24-hour lighting. We will cover lighting with more depth in a later blog post.
When growing outdoors, you can plant around mid-April, as soon as your seedling has hardened off. Hardening off is when the seedling is no longer a seedling and has developed a couple of sets of true leaves. Because Ruderalis hails from northern latitudes, it does better with the cold than regular cannabis; thus, you can get multiple harvests in one outdoor growing season.
Because of their short life cycle, it is best to only transplant them once, early in their life. These are flowering plants, so the less stress they experience ultimately will result in bigger flowers. Your container size will affect the size of your plant as well, so we recommend a minimum of 2 gallons. They grow great in hydroponics or soil but typically don’t want to be overloaded with nutrients. Since they stay small, so does their appetite.
Choosing Your Location
As we said at the beginning, autoflowers can be grown anywhere due to their sturdy and resilient nature. However, if you are wondering if there is a specific climate that all autoflowers prefer, the simple answer is, there is not.
Autoflowering weed is available in a variety of strains . Some are Indica dominant and prefer cooler temperatures, while others have more Sativa genetics and grow best with large amounts of light. What’s different about an autoflower is that it can grow in situations that a photoperiod version cannot. That’s thanks to its rubbish, also known as Ruderalis, background. Therefore, do not panic if you are in an extremely cold or warm climate. Find the appropriate strain, then choose the auto-flowering option.
How do autoflowers perform indoors?
Autoflowering cannabis can thrive indoors if you have the proper grow room setup and the right equipment. Keep a close eye on the humidity and temperature at different stages of growth for optimum growth.
If you are using lights, you can stick to a fixed light schedule (18 hours of light and 6 hours of dark) from seed to harvest. Autoflowers are ideal for growing indoors because they are short, and the space is limited. Also, within ten weeks, your plants are ready for harvest. In terms of autoflower yield , you will have better results growing your plants outside, but for the amount of cost in effort, it’s still worth it.
How do autoflowers perform outdoors?
You can grow autoflowers anywhere, but you will get the best results if you grow them outdoors. The only consideration you’ll need to make is the amount of sunlight your plants receive. Autoflowering plants should have at least 12 hours of light daily. However, it is even better if they can get about 16 hours, as this will promote optimum growth.
This is when you should be paying attention to the strain. If you reside along the Equator, select a strain that thrives in tropical climates. On the other hand, if where you live has colder temperatures, select strains that are best suited for those temperatures. Regardless of the climate, you want to make sure your plants are exposed to a minimum of 12 hours of light if you want them to produce something worthwhile.
In general, auto-flowering weed thrives in tropical climates. This is because the plants are exposed to more than 12 hours of light, which promotes optimum growth. In a tropical climate, you can have several (about four) harvests in a year because of the plant’s short lifecycle. In this type of climate, you can also grow auto-flowering marijuana plants year-round. The biggest consideration is excess heat. If the temperatures rise to above 80°F, you may want to invest in some shade so that your plants don’t burn or suffer from heat stress.
In cold climates, you won’t be able to grow year-round, but you can grow outdoors during the summer, as long as you ensure a minimum of 12 hours of light and protect your plants from frost.
Autoflowers and Lighting
Autoflowering seeds do not need a change in their light cycles like regular marijuana seeds. Now, that doesn’t mean auto-flowering marijuana plants don’t need light. However, it does mean that they will continue to grow whether or not the light source is ideal. If you want to make it better for your plant, you can provide as much light as you wish. You could even buy marijuana grow lights and shine them on your plants all day long – but you don’t have to.
That is the point.
This characteristic makes growing autoflowers outdoors perfect when you take advantage of mother nature’s natural light source. Whereas most plants can only grow during a specific season, autoflowers can successfully pull off two to three seasons instead of one. As long as you germinate your seeds by the beginning of spring, protect your plants from extreme temperatures (the 90s and above), and the humidity stays between 70 and 90%, you can enjoy a very long outdoor growing season.
How to Grow Autoflower Plants
Use this step-by-step auto flower grow guide to go from seed to harvest.
Week 1: Germination
It usually takes three days for autoflowers to germinate. This process is when the seeds come alive. Then, the root travels into the soil and leaves sprout above ground.
To start germinating your seeds, you will need the proper soil mixture. In general, autoflowers will need fewer nutrients than regular seeds; still, they will need rich potting soil to help support their rapid growth.
A typical do-it-yourself potting soil recipe includes compost, perlite, and peat moss, and perhaps a tiny amount of vermiculture. The easiest option, however, is starting with A Pot for Pot’s Complete Kit. It includes our Seedling Pot and Pellet, which is perfect for germinating auto flower seeds.
Once your seeds have sprouted, you’ll need to transplant them into their potting soil. If you aren’t using A Pot for Pot, you will need to carefully remove your seedling from its current home and place it in another. This process, unfortunately, can lead to shock. With a separate seedling system, such as the Seedling Starter Kit, this risk is reduced.
Week 2: Late seedling phase
At this point, your seedling has begun creating energy from its light source. If you are growing indoors, you’ll want to use LED lights to give your auto-flowering plant some light. Choose LEDs – they save energy and direct less heat. Plus, they are affordable. You’ll only need a single light to grow a large plant in an indoor autoflower grow setup .
You don’t need to use an LED light if you’re growing outdoors, although you can. Our Light for Pot can convert nearly any space into a suitable spot for growing autoflowers indoors.
Week 3-4: Vegetation is flourishing
Yay, your plant has reached the vegetative stage. That means you should be focusing on creating the best environment. This is when you’d add the reinforcements. But, wait, you don’t have that? If you started with the Complete Kit, you would.
This week is when the important stuff starts to happen. The fan leaves are sprouting, enhancing the photosynthesis process, and increasing your plant’s ability to create potent flowers. You should focus on keeping your plant watered (but not too watered!), maintaining a constant temperature, and making sure it has light (if growing indoors). Trust us; this is not the time to be figuring out fertilizers.
If you are growing autoflowers indoors, this is also the time for starting low-stress training if you’re into that sort of thing. Training is helpful; however, it can also be risky and should only be done during the early part of the vegetative stage. Training helps to form buds receive the most energy from their light source – and that is a good thing.
Week 5-6: Flowering
In week 5, small, ‘hairy’ sacs start to form on the nodes. These will become sticky buds.
As the flowering stage proceeds, you’ll want to continue lowering the humidity if you are growing indoors yet keep your plants well-watered. It is very easy to develop mold during the flowering stage, and that can ruin all of your hard work. That’s why you need to pay attention to the amount of water in the air and soil. Using a watering can help you keep track of how much you are giving your plants. We include one in our Complete Kits.
Week 7-8: Monitor and prepare
We’re almost done! See how easy an autoflower can grow? In week 7, you’re going to focus on maintaining the environment. If you have your plants outside, make sure it’s not too hot or wet. If they are inside, check the humidity. You should be near 40% humidity instead of the 70% you started with during the vegetative period.
You also want to look at the soil. Use a magnifying glass to identify any pests. Look at the leaves for signs of nutrient deficiency. If you’d like to be precise, you can use the Smartphone Camera Lenses included with A Pot for Pot’s grow kits.
If you used any nutrients, you’d want to start the process of flushing on week 8. This means you stop giving your plants anything other than water. You don’t want any of that stuff in your final harvest. Flood the plant’s soil so that any excess chemicals are cleared before the plant can eat any more of them. This will prevent those chemicals from remaining in the plant when it’s time to harvest. Repeat the flooding process multiple times for up to two weeks, but don’t overdo it. Allow your pot to dry out between flushings.
Finally, it’s time to do a little trimming. Find some trimmers and remove the small fan leaves from the bottom nodes. You can also cut off any fan leaves near the top that doesn’t look that great. This process will help your plant get more light and reduce the chance of mold developing.
Week 9: It is almost harvest time
You have finally reached the point where your time and energy are about to reap good results. However, you must maintain the perfect conditions before you officially get there, so your plant remains infestation-free.
Continue following the lighting, temperature, humidity, and watering guidelines that you’ve been following since the beginning of week 7. The fan leaves might look rust-colored or otherwise discolored; this is perfectly normal.
Week 10-12: Harvest time!
You’ve reached the best part of this autoflower grow guide – the end. Depending on your specific strain, you may be ready for harvest anywhere from 10-12 weeks. You’ll know it’s time when most of the trichomes are whitish, and the pistils are brownish-red.
Keep in mind regardless of how much you trained your plant, some buds automatically position closer to the light, and as a result, will finish ripening first.
Especially when growing autoflowers indoors, your results can vary depending on the strain and the quality of the seeds. If your plant seems to progress slower or faster than others, don’t let it bother you. Come harvest time; you may find that you were worrying about nothing.
Growing auto-flowering marijuana plants is already easy, but it’s even more so with A Pot for Pot. We don’t just provide the best pot; we also offer the best soil, nutrients, and tools for maintaining your marijuana garden. And we provide step-by-step instructions in our Complete Grow Guide, and ongoing online grow support. So if you want it easy and fast, growing autoflowers indoors in soil (or outdoors, weather permitting) with a Pot for Pot is hands-down the simplest way to go about it.
Growing autoflowers during winter
Autoflowering marijuana plants can grow in any climate; however, the plant will struggle in extreme temperatures, such as extreme heat and cold. However, an autoflower can survive most of these situations due to their hardy genetics. This includes growing during winter.
If your winters are mild, you should be able to grow autoflowers outside . Generally, marijuana plants do well in temperatures as low as 60 degrees. As long as there is enough light, even if it is a weak source of light, the plant will produce for a minimum of 12 hours. If this environment is not doable, or your winters are not mild, you can grow your plant inside with a stable light source.
Harvesting Cannabis in Humid Areas
In general, harvesting is pretty easy. However, if you live in a particularly humid climate, you may need to take a few extra precautions. Mold can severely impact your harvest and make it unusable. That’s why you need to dry your cannabis as soon as you harvest it.
Before you get started, make sure you have all the equipment needed ready. You are going to need:
- Mason jars
- Drying rack
- Fan or AC
Drying begins immediately after harvesting. If you leave your harvest sitting around to rest (especially if you’re somewhere humid), your plants might attract bacteria and fungi.
Here’s how you should dry weed in a humid climate:
- Set up a drying room in a barn or garage. Install a dehumidifier, some heaters, and a fan.
- Cut the whole plant and hang it to dry or cut piece by piece, branches, leaves, and buds. You can also lay them on a drying rack.
- Now it’s time to trim if you haven’t already. If you cut everything up before you dried it, that is considered wet trimming. If you dry the whole plant first and then trim, that is called dry trimming. Either way, when you trim, you are removing the unnecessary parts of the plant. Remove larger fan leaves to expose those cannabinoid-rich flowers.
- Slow dry your weed by maintaining a temperature of around 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the humidity between 50-60%. Do not try drying your cannabis in an oven or microwave unless you want to ruin the flavor.
- Keep checking on your drying marijuana regularly until it feels dry to the touch. You can also confirm by checking that the stem is snapping instead of bending. It takes about 3-7 days for the flowers to dry thoroughly.
- Once your cannabis is thoroughly dry, cure it for long-term storage .
If you are looking to grow marijuana in the easiest and fastest way possible, autoflowers are the ideal choice. If you are a new grower or want to grow outdoors in less than perfect conditions, autoflowers are an excellent choice. Autoflowering cannabis grows practically anywhere, so even if you are in a less than ideal climate, there is a strain that will thrive in your area. If not, you can always grow them indoors.
As long as you focus on how to grow auto-flowering seeds correctly and then take the time to dry and cure them, you’re likely to end up with a harvest that you’ll love. Growing autoflowers is quick and nearly foolproof. The only way it can get any easier is if you start with a Pot for Pot. .
Our complete grow kits include everything you need to go from seed to your very own supply of high grade medical cannabis.
Grow with the Sun
Grow Year Round
Seed Coupon Included
Online Grow Support
Harvest up to a pound
The Pros of Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds
Faster Flowering and Harvest
Autoflowering cannabis plants grow quickly and flower a lot faster than their photoperiod counterparts do. For example, some autoflowers can flower in as little as three weeks to 30 days after the seed is planted, while many photoperiod varieties take months before they transition into the flowering stage from the vegetative growth phase . If you want the fastest harvest, auto-flowering varieties are your surest bet.
The Plants are Small and Compact
One of the biggest pros (out of many pros and cons of auto-flowering seeds) is their small size. Because of their Cannabis Ruderalis heritage, auto-flowering marijuana plants tend to be smaller and more compact when compared to the ordinary Sativa, Indica , and hybrids of these two.
This smaller size makes auto-flowering cannabis plants suitable for growing in confined spaces , such as a closet or on your balcony. Their compact size also makes it easier to look after. It’s simple – if your plant grows past six feet and you can’t see the top of it, it will be harder to manage. Autos, however, rarely exceed four feet, so it is easy to trim, train, or otherwise care for them during the different stages of their growth.
No Change to the Light Cycle
Autoflowering cannabis seeds combine the genetics of Sativa, Indica (or hybrids of them) with Cannabis Ruderalis. Cannabis Ruderalis is a variety very few people know about because it is naturally smaller, with smaller buds that produce very little to no THC.
Older strains of Cannabis Ruderalis had few desirable qualities, such as an ability to grow very fast. This is because it is native to Siberia, where the growing season is shorter and daylight hours are fewer. As a result, Ruderalis, outside of its original growing zone, adapted to maturing quickly and switching to the flowering stage regardless of how many hours of sunlight it is receiving.
Autoflowering cannabis seeds exhibit this attribute. They switch into a flowering mode as a result of their genetic programming rather than environmental factors, such as the amount of light they are receiving each day. Therefore, you don’t have to bother changing to a 12/12 light cycle to induce the flowering phase in auto-flowering marijuana plants. Autoflowering strains require less maintenance , making them easier to grow.
They Are More Resistant
Another key benefit of auto-flowering marijuana plants is an easy growing experience due to their Ruderalis heritage. Because of their fast adaptation, as detailed above, these plants are hardy and resistant to several adverse conditions. Ordinary cannabis plants can easily succumb to many diseases and pests , but auto-flowering plants will stand up to such a threat and survive. Similarly, auto-flowering strains are also resistant to mold, overfeeding, and underfeeding, while regular photoperiod varieties will be adversely affected by these conditions.
If you live in an area where the climate can change rather quickly, or you aren’t too particular about maintaining the ideal growing conditions for cannabis, then opt for auto-flowering strains since these are more forgiving when conditions aren’t exactly right.
Let’s face it. While legalization has made growing cannabis easier, not everyone is pro-pot. Even in legalized areas, you still need to practice discretion . Autoflowering seeds are the best way to achieve this.
With auto-flowering seeds, you can grow compact cannabis plants in an inconspicuous part of your property without anyone asking what you are growing. Plus, their rapid growth makes it even less likely for visitors to notice them. Regular cannabis plants take a lot longer to reach full maturity, which only increases the chance that people will notice your plants. Since some auto-flowering cannabis strains can mature in as few as 8 or 9 weeks, the amount of time that it takes to reach harvest is a definite pro on the pros and cons of auto-flowering seeds list.
Less Space Needed
Whether you are a large-scale commercial grower or a hobbyist, you can benefit from the space economy that auto-flowering cannabis varieties provide. Since these plants are small, practically anyone can grow their own cannabis plants.
For example, you can grow auto-flowering plants on your balcony if you live in an apartment block. Heck, these plants can even feel at home inside a small closet t !
Faster Flowering Times
Autoflowering seeds tend to grow more quickly than Indica and Sativa strains, with some strains ready for harvest in as few as two months.
It usually takes 30 days, or about a month, for auto-flowering seeds to reach the flowering phase. During these first 30 days, make sure to make small lighting adjustments to avoid scorching the leaves. You should also ensure proper soil aeration so that your cannabis flowers on time. To do this, you can use our Coco Bricks. They come in our Complete Grow Kit and help aerate the soil and regulate moisture.
After you see pistils, you’ll only have to wait for another 45 to 60 days before the bloom cycle is complete and your plants are ready to be harvested.
Multiple Harvests Each Year
Autoflowering plants don’t rely on the amount of light available each day to enter the flowering stage. This independence means you can harvest outdoor-grown mature buds several times a year. How do you do it?
One way is to stagger your plants. Start a couple of plants a month or two before the rest. That way, you can harvest some plants while others are nearing maturity, and the harvest cycle continues.
You could also start a few plants at the beginning of your outdoor growing season and then plant a few more once the first few plants have finished. Because they grow so fast, there is plenty of time.
Many Autoflowering Plants Have CBD
Research into the medicinal value of marijuana is still ongoing, but we, so far, know a lot about the therapeutic benefits of cannabidiol (CBD). It is actually one of the most abundant cannabinoids in the cannabis plant.
The Ruderalis genetics in auto-flowering cannabis seeds lead to plants that are relatively lower in THC content and higher in CBD. This means that those looking to enjoy the medicinal benefits of cannabis can easily obtain it from these easy-to-grow plants.
However, if you are mostly interested in the high that cannabis can provide, autoflowers are still a good choice since many varieties offer high THC content (in addition to CBD).
Suitable for Beginners
People who are just starting out on the exciting journey of growing their own cannabis would be well advised to opt for auto-flowering cannabis seeds. They are easier and less demanding to grow than regular photoperiod strains.
For example, with regular strains, you need to monitor and change the light cycle so that the plants have 12 hours of darkness each day while in the flowering stage. Any light finding its way to the plants can make them halt their flowering and yield poor-quality buds. Light can also cause the plant to re-enter the vegetative phase and stay there for an indefinite duration.
Autoflowering strains are ideal for beginners because you don’t have to worry about lighting. They also grow much faster, leading to even faster rewards.
City Environments Don’t Affect Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds
People who grow regular photoperiod cannabis plants have to go to great lengths to exclude light from their grow facilities, and this task can sometimes seem near impossible. This is because the city or urban environments have artificial light that can “confuse” photoperiod plants into “thinking” that daylight hours are still more than the hours of darkness. The ambient light, therefore, tends to lower the quality and quantity of buds harvested from photoperiod cannabis strains.
However, auto-flowering cannabis plants remain unaffected by the ambient light in cities or the light which leaks into a grow facility when the tent tears or the grow facility gets damaged in any other way. The plants will, therefore, reach their full potential as long as you keep other necessary settings in order.
The Cons of Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds
Autoflowering cannabis plants are sometimes called dwarf plants due to their typically smaller size when compared to ordinary marijuana plants. While this smaller size comes with some benefits, as discussed earlier, those growing auto-flowering plants should be content with a lower yield since a small plant cannot sustain bigger, dense buds.
This lower yield can be an issue for the commercial grower who wants to maximize the returns earned from each plant. However, for a home grower, the yield produced from an auto-flowering plant is often more than enough. If it is not, it’s just as easy to grow multiple plants or choose auto-flowering cannabis seeds with higher than normal yields.
While lower yields might be a turn-off to some growers, the plus side is that auto-flowering cannabis plants are easier to grow indoors. Autoflowering seeds are good for at-home growers who don’t need to grow massive volumes and growers who live in compact spaces.
Lower THC Content
Ruderalis plants provide many of the desirable traits of auto-flowering plants, but they also produce one noticeably undesirable one. The buds of auto-flowering plants tend to be less potent in terms of their THC content . THC is responsible for giving marijuana users a “high,” so lower THC concentrations in a plant mean that you will not get as high as someone who has used buds from a plant with a higher THC content.
However, don’t let this dampen your zeal for auto-flowering cannabis plants. You can purchase auto-flowering cannabis seeds with higher levels of THC if you want a bigger kick from your plants.
Vulnerability to Grower Errors
The rapid growth rate of auto-flowering seeds is one of its major attractions, but this growth rate can be a double-edged sword. Faster growth can mean bigger problems if you make a mistake and the plant doesn’t have enough time to recover.
This is most noticeable when training your plants. There are two ways to train your plants. One way is low-stress training (LST). That’s when you’d bend the plant’s branches while they are still soft and pliable. The other training method is called super cropping. This method is very stressful to the plant since it is done when the branches have become harder, so they take longer to recover from this training exercise.
High-stress training methods, such as super cropping, are not a good idea for auto-flowering plants since they grow so fast. Remember, the clock is ticking on your plan’s lifespan, and any mistake made can lower the yield. Whereas training methods are designed to increase a plant’s yield, if done incorrectly on an auto-flowering plant, they will more than likely harm it.
You Can’t Clone Autoflowering Cannabis Plants
Sometimes you fall in love with a specific plant. Many times, a certain attribute (yield potential, for example) is so desirable that you’d like to reproduce it in future plants. This is doable through the process of cloning.
For photoperiod marijuana varieties, cloning is simple. You simply cut a small piece of the plant, and that cutting will yield another plant with the exact attributes of the mother plant. For auto-flowering varieties, this, unfortunately, does not work. You can only grow these types of plants from seed.
You should also note, however, that growing from clones is not the same as growing from seed. Although cloned plants will have the same attributes as their mother plant, they are also not as hardy as seed plants and are more susceptible to errors during the growing process.
Loss of Control
Agriculture has grown into science where professional cultivators can enjoy varying levels of control over their crops. In grow labs around the world, cultivators play with ways to delay the flowering phase of their photoperiod marijuana varieties. They do this to create bigger plants that subsequently yield a more abundant harvest.
Such control isn’t possible for growers of auto-flowering cannabis plants since these varieties change states (from vegetative growth to flowering) based on their age rather than on external environmental conditions. Purists who want some control over the growth process may therefore shy away from auto-flowering cannabis seeds.
Since auto-flowering seeds need more light, they can be slightly more costly if you’re just looking at your electricity bill. That said, auto-flowering seeds also require fewer nutrients during the vegetative cycle. As a result, the costs end up evening out. For more information on growing weed cheap, check out our article .
As you can see, there are many pros and cons of auto-flowering seeds, and you need to weigh the benefits against the drawbacks so that you make an informed decision. A Pot for Pot always recommends auto-flowering seeds for home growers because they are cheaper to grow , easy to maintain, and provide a good blend of THC and CBD. With just a little light, the right soil, water, and some love, you
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you maximize autoflower yield?
Make sure you avoid three things.
- Avoid Over Watering
- Avoid Re-Potting
- Avoid Topping & Filming
What soil should I use for autoflowering seeds?
Potting mix is ideal for autoflowering seeds. Primary ingredients should include decomposed moss and compost.
What size pots should I use for Autoflowers?
Perfect pot size for auto flower plants should be 1,5 to 2,5 gallons (5,6 to 9,4 liters)
What are the top 5 autoflowering strains for cold climates?
Here are 5 autoflowering strains for cold climates: Sweet skunk auto, Royal cookies auto, Royal critical auto, Purple queen auto, Northern light auto
What are the top 5 autoflowering strains for warm climates?
Here are 5 autoflowering strains for warm climates: White widow auto, Diesel auto, Stress killer auto, Royal critical auto, Royal jack auto
Will humidity affect growth of autoflowering cannabis?
Usually, cannabis plants hate high humidity, hence if you are trying to grow autoflowering plants indoors you must maintain optimum humidity
What is the best outdoor Autoflowering strain?
Here is a list of top 5 outdoor Autoflowering strains: Pineapple Express Auto, Diesel Auto, White Russian Auto, Super Silver Haze Auto, and Caramel Auto.
How do you get big yields from Autoflowers?
Avoid re-potting your autos. Instead, grow them straight in their final container. Give them plenty of light, and avoid over watering.
How much do Autoflowers yield outdoors?
High yielding autoflower seeds can yield up to 5-7 ounces, and average yield can be expected around 1.5-2.5 ounces.
Have more questions? Reach out to us at [email protected]! Enjoy your grow, and check out our grow kits if you’re ready to get started.
Learn how to cultivate marijuana. Find the best marijuana growing advice for seed germination, cloning, pruning, trimming, and curing to help maximize your yields.
Growing autoflowers indoors in soil & outdoors
Autoflower cannabis plants are a new development in the cannabis market, and it has really exploded the last few years – even Google knows it.
Searches for autoflowering marijuana have doubled over the last single year. Why? They’re looking for information on growing autoflowers!
The autoflower grow guide:
People are getting increasingly excited, interested, and curious about it. There is a good reason for all this excitement. This isn’t a typical marijuana trend; it could be a total game-changer.
Why you should grow autoflowers
Autoflowering weed gives growers a much easier time cultivating cannabis at home.
Unlike traditional types of weed, autoflowering cannabis doesn’t require a change in the amount of light exposure on their plants to induce flowering.
Growing autoflowers has the added benefit of faster growth, especially during the vegetative stage.
The average autoflowering weed strain only needs around 10 weeks (or less) to fully mature.
Outside of having a much easier time flowering, autoflowers are also reasonably small plants that can grow snugly in any indoor grow room.
Today’s autoflowers also no longer have the pitfalls of earlier autoflowering weed plants, which suffered from reduced yields and less potency.
Nowadays, on top of competing with standard strains in terms of potency and yield, autoflowers are more resilient to drastic temperature shifts that allow you to grow them all year round.
- They are smaller.
- This means they are easier to hide, harder to spot, and are, therefore, a safer choice with a greater variety of grow location options.
- in comparison to their size, and are even more resistant to pests and insects than other marijuana strains.
- No matter what the lighting situation is like in your outdoor or indoor grow setup, they follow the growth schedule embedded in their genes. They will flower after a certain amount of time, not after the light begins to change.
All this opens up a lot of new possibilities for many growers. This article is intended to keep you informed about this development in the marijuana world.
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What is autoflowering marijuana?
There are plenty of different autoflowering marijuana strains, and no two strains are exactly the same.
Some people think of autoflower marijuana plants as lower quality than more conventional and traditional types of marijuana.
Others consider it a godsend that makes life significantly easier for us growers.
Whichever category you fall into, it may be important to learn more about it, and the different options out there.
So what is an autoflower marijuana plant?
To fully understand this, it’s best first to know a bit more about marijuana itself.
Marijuana is a photoperiod plant, which means that its life cycle (specifically the flowering phase) is influenced by changes in the timing of exposure to sunlight.
Through this logic, growers can manipulate the growth of their indoor plants with ease.
Young cuttings can be spurred to enter the flowering phase simply by giving them 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness every night for a couple weeks.
Older plants growing outdoors won’t enter the flowering phase until this same light change affects them through the natural seasonal variations.
These don’t occur until after the middle of summer.
Autoflower strains of marijuana flower when the plants are a particular age, rather than flowering in response to changes in light exposure.
This means that, regardless of the weather and sunlight patterns, they will enter the flowering phase after a certain number of weeks.
This, understandably, has opened the door for all sorts of new possibilities in the marijuana growing world.
The addition of autoflower marijuana strains comes from the crossbreeding of ruderalis plants, with a “standard” marijuana plant.
Because ruderalis plants were not cultivated for their high THC content (given the fact that the THC levels were very low), they were not grown or used by smokers very often at all.
For this reason, the dominant traits of the first autoflower strain had to include high THC levels from the “standard” marijuana strain half, and the autoflower genetics from the ruderalis half.
Check this video by Willy Groff of an autoflower in time laps
The process was difficult, and largely unsuccessful at first.
For this reason, not too long ago, growers did not readily trust autoflower strains, because of their low yields and low THC levels.
They ended up being considered a scam, of sorts.
Things have changed, however.
The autoflower strains on the market today are just as reliable as any other strain – just be sure to purchase them from a reputable source.
The THC content will also be as high as it is described in the online information provided about the strain.
With these traits stabilized, and the number of high-quality strains of autoflowering marijuana increasing all the time, the dawn of the age of autoflower has finally come.
Autoflower cannabis strains
Autoflower strains of marijuana generally have a shorter life than other types of marijuana plants.
Their quick turnaround is part of their appeal for growers who want more than one harvest per season.
An autoflower strain usually takes around 10 weeks before they are ready to harvest.
When considering an autoflower harvest, it is important to remember that it will be different from the harvest of other types of marijuana.
Certain limitations that come with the plant’s not having the time to grow as long and that includes the fact that it will be smaller.
Consequently, the harvest will be, too. Your yield can only be so high when you grow smaller plants.
Some of the highest quality autoflower marijuana strains require ten to twelve weeks for full growth and flowering, to achieve the best possible harvest.
It mostly depends on the strain you grow.
Be sure to read the information provided for that specific strain, as well as any comments and tips from people who have successfully grown the strain before.
Best selling autoflower cannabis strains from the ILGM seed bank
How to grow autoflower weed
When you grow any kind of marijuana plant, it is crucial to start the growing season, and entire life cycle, rooted in strength.
With the short life span of autoflower marijuana plants, this is especially important.
The very beginning is the time to support your plants so they have as much growth as possible.
If this is not done, you may end up with a harvest that is infinitely more disappointing than the “normal” marijuana harvest failure.
The room for error is smaller with autoflowers.
For this reason, it is often recommended that people who want to grow autoflower marijuana plants start growing them indoors, with artificial lights they can control.
Indoor growing decreases the chance for error and favorably controls each aspect of your plant’s early life.
A strong start ensures that it will get everything it needs to thrive, both now, and later on.
Autoflower marijuana seeds
Properly germinating your marijuana plants is crucial to their healthy development, as well.
This can be done naturally in soil, or in a container without any growing medium. I always germinate my seeds in water.
Most autoflower marijuana growers I know actually prefer the paper towel method.
It simply involves placing a seed within a damp paper towel, or length of toilet paper, and putting it in a container of some sort that will retain moisture and humidity.
This should cause the seeds to sprout within days.
After they sprout, they should then be transplanted to their final growing medium.
After this, do not transplant them again if you can help it as autoflower plants are small and are vulnerable to greater transplanting shock.
Autoflower weed cuttings
For now, cuttings are not a great idea with autoflower marijuana plants.
The problem is that, while you can easily take a cutting successfully, you have to remember that the plants will autoflower after a certain age.
The cutting’s age will merge with the parent plant’s age.
This means they will flower at the same time.
So if you are growing a cutting of an autoflower plant, the final plant will be much smaller than the parent, when it enters the flowering stage.
When all this is considered, cuttings aren’t exactly worth it, as these particular plants are already small to begin with.
Autoflower weed by week feeding guide
Once your autoflower marijuana plants have reached two weeks of life, you can feed them a small amount of vegetative nutrients.
Feed them higher quantities of it gradually over time, until your plants are either six or seven weeks old.
Bio Bizz feeding schedule
Don’t switch over to flowering nutrients until you have visibly noticed a stop in its vertical growing.
Even if the flowering phase started a week earlier, don’t be premature with the flowering nutrients.
Be guided, instead, by the ending of vertical growth.
Lighting your autoflowering plants
Similar to regular marijuana plants, you can decide on one of two lighting options:
- One choice is to expose your plants to 24 hours of light per day
- The other is to allow them some rest every day, and give them 18hours of light, and sixhours of darkness. It all depends on your personal preferences, as well as the strain that you are growing.
One specific go-to example is to use 120-watt LED lights for the first few weeks of growth and keep it going for 21 hours each day.
In this case, the light should be set up between 70 and 80 centimeters away from the plants.
Once you have potted the older plants, you can convert to larger LED lights, and a schedule of 18 hours of light, and 6 hours of darkness.
Should you prune autoflowering marijuana plants?
While pruning (topping, specifically) can be done in a positive and helpful way with autoflower marijuana plants, certain modifications are needed when pruning regular marijuana plants.
For instance, the pruning needs to take place very early in your plants’ lives, to avoid obstructing their vegetative growth later on.
That being said, many growers claim that pruning autoflower marijuana plants at all is a bad idea and should be avoided altogether.
They say pruning will lower the autoflowers’ harvest.
If you really want to take the risk, try doing it with an autoflower strain that has been proven to take a bit longer than the others.
This way, it has more time to recover and grow, after the pruning has taken place.
What to expect from an autoflower harvest
If everything goes well during your autoflower grow season, what can you expect in terms of a harvest?
Keep in mind that the perfect environmental elements include being around 73°F, 55% humidity, 400 watts per m2 for light, good air circulation, plenty of oxygen, and a solid nutrient regimen (among other things).
To put it bluntly, your harvest will be proportionate to the length of time that your autoflowering weed plants grow.
In simplest terms, longer growth equals a bigger harvest.
Know the perfect time to cut your autoflowers when you download my free mini harvesting guide.
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Some strains that grow for about 3 months, for example, often average around 40 grams per plant.
While longer-growing super autoflower strains might get between 150 and 500 grams per plant when grown outdoors.
Choosing when to harvest is also difficult, and equally important to all the other decisions you might make when growing autoflower marijuana plants.
You generally need to check your plant’s trichomes to see when 50% of them are amber in color.
The amber color signifies the point at which harvesting should take place.
Make sure you stop watering the plants for at least one or two days before you harvest them so that their extra nutrients go away.
Curing and storing
Curing your autoflower marijuana buds helps them turn into the delicious product that every grower desires.
If you cure them poorly, then your efforts will not pay off in great taste. Curing should be done inside an airtight container.
This is so the moisture can spread throughout evenly, and move from the middle of the bud, where it is originally held.
During the process, open the container several times per day for a few days straight.
Eventually, you should only open it once a day or longer, until the buds are thoroughly cured, several weeks or months later.
Once they have finished curing, the buds should not have much moisture left at all. A tiny amount of moisture is still good for smoking, though.
Extra dry buds actually make the smoke more unpleasant.
Smoke it within several months, to one year. After a year, it is unlikely that the product will be as pleasant for smoking.
Keep it in a dark, cool location. Freezing it can keep it fresh longer.
How to grow autoflowers outdoors
Although there are certainly plenty of downsides to growing autoflower marijuana plants, they also have some very compelling advantages, as well.
Many would argue that their true value lies in being grown as outdoor plants.
Or, perhaps even better, many might grow them for some time indoors, and then finish their vegetation and flowering stages outdoors.
This usually involves between 1 and 1.5 months of indoor growth, to maximize their vegetative stage.
Then, they are moved outdoors (assuming the temperature is not colder than 50°F).
The reason this is considered such a good thing is because you can get several harvests within one plant’s normal growing season.
While a huge plant will get you a massive harvest at the end of its growth, it takes 8 to 9 months to ever get that far.
Of course, this also leaves more room for unexpected obstacles to mess up your harvest before you even get there.
With autoflowering weed, however, you can have numerous crops growing in the same space of time.
You are, therefore, achieving smaller harvests incrementally while avoiding a long wait to consume any of the buds.
Your work is secured, and you are given several “chances” within the same amount of time, in case one crop gets somehow ruined.
Autoflower marijuana plants will always be shorter than regular marijuana plants.
This means they will not be as easily spotted as the more massive marijuana plants (which definitely tend to attract unwanted attention).
Even if you are growing them in your own personal garden on your owned property, they can still easily go undetected throughout the span of their entire growth cycle, because of their small size.
For reference, the most efficiently grown autos have one square meter each to themselves to grow to their full size (and harvest) potential.
How to grow autoflowers indoors in soil
Just like there are perks to growing photoperiod weed plants outdoors, the same can be said indoors.
Autoflowering weed plants synergize perfectly with indoor grow rooms.
Week by week, an autoflower can grow freely without having to worry about space, as autoflowers don’t take much of it.
Many autoflowering weed plants grow no taller than 40 inches.
In terms of lighting, autoflowers work well under artificial grow lights. In particular, LED grow lights are a great option for growing this type of weed.
Despite costing more than fluorescent lights, LEDs will save you on both electricity and replacement bulbs. You can choose from full-spectrum LED lights or invest in two individual LED lights.
You’d want two different types because each stage requires a specific spectrum for the best possible yields.
A blue spectrum lamp benefits autoflowers in their vegetative stage, whereas a red spectrum is best for flowering.
To get the most yield out of your plants, you can leave the lights on 24/7. This method will cost you in electrical bills, and it’s only best suited for cold climates.
The typical ratio of 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness is best for autoflowering weed plants, as it’ll save you on electrical cost and give your plants time to rest.
However, lately, many growers have tried giving their autoflowers 20 hours of light and 4 hours of darkness since it produces better yields than the 18/6 ratio but doesn’t cost as much as leaving your lights on 24/7.
Outside of choosing the right type of grow lights and picking the ideal light schedule for your plants, you need to also choose the right strain for your indoor grow room.
To know what strain is the one for you comes down to personal preference and experience. Whether you choose sativa or indica doesn’t matter as much with autoflowering weed.
But, if you’re a first-time grower, don’t mess up simply because you don’t know how to grow. Stick to an easy-growing strain.
Growing marijuana is cheaper than buying weed, but the seeds cost money.
That’s why many growers prefer to buy a single set of seeds and continue growing them by breeding.
However, breeding marijuana is a lot more complicated than growing marijuana from seeds; that’s why we don’t recommend breeding autoflower weed.
Instead, leave it to the experts – us – to breed high-quality autoflowering marijuana seeds for you.
Many people wonder whether they should breed autoflower plants due to autoflowering weed plants’ short lifespan.
Because you can grow a lot more plants in the same amount of time, naturally, that means you could use a lot more seeds. They worry about the cost of buying autoflowering cannabis seeds year after year.
If this is your worry, you are doing it wrong.
The main benefits of growing autoflowering marijuana are lower costs and an easier experience.
You need less space, less time, and likely less electricity.
Supply should not be your concern. If you focus on growing the best marijuana with the highest yield, you’ll find that you’ll have more than enough weed to last you.
If you need some help with that, learn to increase yield by scrogging in this guide.
When it comes to breeding autoflowers, do not make it harder than necessary. Buy extra seeds and grow more plants.
Pros and cons of autoflower growing
Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of growing autoflower marijuana plants, instead of regular marijuana plants.
Pros of growing autoflowering weed
First of all, you have the chance to attain a higher variety of marijuana when you grow autoflower marijuana plants.
This is because of the shorter growing season.
So within one season, you can grow approximately three separate strains, and get that many different varieties of marijuana for smoking!
This is especially valuable for people who are growing just for themselves and prefer a range of highs, which can change depending on their mood or preference that day.
Therefore, growing autoflowers can help keep things fresh and exciting on the marijuana smoking front.
There is also somewhat less hassle involved — at least in certain aspects.
For example, you will not need a complicated setup with one grow room and one flowering room. That means that, even if you had the space for that many rooms, you could instead use that space to time your growing so that you can harvest every few weeks.
You also won’t have to be so careful with your lighting setup, and grow room light-proof sealing.
This is because light leakages have no impact at all on your autoflower marijuana plants’ flowering phase.
Another advantage is multi-crop systems, which are compatible systems that overlap nicely. They allow you to harvest a new crop every few weeks, and can be set up outside.
They don’t require much space in your garden and are unlikely to attract much attention if any.
In the case of power outages (which can be more frequent for people in certain locations), normal marijuana plants could have their growth and flowering phases interrupted, and their harvests consequently damaged.
You will not have these issues with autoflower marijuana plants.
It is also thought that, because autoflower marijuana plants contain genes from the ruderalis marijuana strain, they may be hardier than other types of marijuana plants.
This idea comes from the fact that ruderalis plants are very hardy, and can handle cold and other obstacles better than photoperiod plants.
These plants will also work well in indoor and outdoor areas that have height or size restrictions.
Finally, if your growing friends are already growing their own photoperiod marijuana, you can enjoy smoking your own marijuana, while they wait and wait for their own harvest to be ready.
Cons of growing autoflower cannabis
This is because you will need the same amount of light per plant although these smaller plants have smaller yields.
Light usage per gram less efficient than regular
Additionally, autoflower marijuana plants tend to be inconsistent in terms of their speed of growth, and their size. Even individual plants within one particular strain might have varying sizes and growth patterns.
This makes certain types of growing methods, like hydroponics, particularly difficult — if not impossible.
Sometimes it will be necessary to harvest one crop several times until all of the plants have been harvested because they flower and mature at different rates as well.
Some smokers of autoflower marijuana will complain that the aroma of their product is not as strong as that of regular photoperiod marijuana plants.
Whether this is a pro or con might depend on your own personal preferences, of course.
Male and female
A normal photoperiod marijuana seed has a 50/50 shot at being either male or female.
This is an unfortunate statistic for the average marijuana grower who is only interested in growing unfertilized female(sensimilla) plants.
If you get feminized seeds, on the other hand, you can expect nearly every seed to turn out female.
Autoflower marijuana seeds are not any different in regards to these ratios. Hermaphrodites can be expected in either case and should be watched out for, even if you are expecting all female plants, like when you purchase feminized seeds.
Super autoflower strains
If you have done any research into this new autoflowering trend, you have probably already discovered the term “SUPER autoflower” to describe many different seeds.
So, what are these super seeds, and how are they different from other autoflowering seeds?
The idea behind the super strains is that they are larger, but still share the same useful trait of flowering automatically.
They are stronger and hardier than regular autoflower marijuana plants, especially when it comes to resistance against mold or pests.
They were created specifically with the goal in mind of having bigger, higher-yielding autoflowering weed plants.
Autoflower weed seeds
Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of the autoflower marijuana plant growing process is deciding which of the autoflower seeds to buy first.
This is an especially important decision if you are a first-time grower or even a seasoned veteran who has never grown autoflower strains of marijuana before.
There are a huge variety of seed strains to choose from, so it is easy to get overwhelmed by all the options. The key is always to consider:
- What type of growing conditions the seeds will be planted in
- What ratio of THC to CBD you would like in the strain
- What taste and smell you prefer in your weed.
If you have clearly defined these main points, then you will have a much easier time choosing the perfect strain for you.
9 Mistakes To Avoid When Growing Autoflowering Cannabis
Autoflowers are too easy to grow if you avoid these 9 common mistakes. Find out if you’re growing autoflowering cannabis plants the right way in this article.
- 1. Knowing the basics
- 2. Time it right
- 3. Germination
- 4. Choose the right medium
- 5. Choose good containers
- 6. Do not transplant
- 7. Over and under-watering
- 8. Overfeeding and underfeeding
- 8. a. Macro and micronutrients
- 8. b. Ph levels
- 9. Harvest at the right time
- 10. Frequently asked questions about autoflowers
- 11. In conclusion
Autoflower cannabis has always sparked debates among growers in the cannabis community. Due to a dearth of knowledge or experience, many growers avoid growing autoflowers. Beginners are expected to only grow photoperiod plants, and while the fear of something new and unexpected is understandable, you might discover something more amazing if you just try. Autoflowers are really easy to grow but there are basic guidelines you should know, just like when growing other plants or vegetables. All plants are different and even though you can successfully harvest the first time you grow cannabis, there are common mistakes that are better to avoid. If you’re new to autoflower growing and are looking for an autoflower grow guide or want to know how to grow autoflowering strains, here are a couple of tips to have you growing in no time.
1. Knowing the basics
To set things straight, let’s begin by saying that autoflowers are really easy to grow. In fact, beginners can try growing autoflowers with little to no experience as long as they understand the basics 1 . And this is true for all plants. Can you expect to grow tomatoes if you’re clueless about using nutrients? Or, can you harvest cucumbers if you don’t even know when to harvest them? No? Similarly, autoflowers need you to follow a few basic guidelines like other plants, and you’ll do just fine if you take the time to understand them.
But what makes autoflowering cannabis cultivars so easy to grow? Well, there are a few beginner-friendly traits that set them apart from their photoperiod cousins. For one, they descend from a type of cannabis—known as cannabis ruderalis—that adapted to the harsh conditions of Siberia. All autos possess Ruderalis genetics, which endows them with impressive hardiness, good pest and disease resistance, and rapid growing times. If you’re an indoor grower, you won’t even need to adjust the light cycle to get them to flower. Now that you’re more familiar with autoflowering genetics, let’s take a look at what mistakes to avoid to achieve the best outcome possible.
After all, a plant that gives you lip-smacking buds in just 2 months deserves some research, eh? Autoflowers may scare you at first, but if you avoid a few common mistakes, you’ll harvest much more than you can imagine, and it only gets better.
2. Time it right
Timing is everything if you’re planning to grow autoflowers outdoors. Since autoflowers don’t depend on light to flower, you don’t need to worry too much. But, planting too early will generate smaller yields and planting too late affects yields too.
Frost must be avoided at all costs. Typically, most growers begin planting when spring is just around the corner. Depending on where you live, you can plant the seeds as soon as the frost clears. If you reside in a location that doesn’t receive any snow, go ahead and plant when the temperatures range between 22°C to 28°C (71°F to 77°F).
If you live in a particularly cold region, there are steps you can take to protect your plants from the threat of late frosts. Of course, starting seeds indoors will help here. Plus, doing so will help to speed up germination times. Moving them out into greenhouses and polytunnels will add an additional layer of protection as the seasonal frosts begin to wane. If you have no choice but to move them outdoors under the sky, consider covering young plants with bell cloches and mulching the surrounding soil with hay or straw as a form of insulation.
You can also leverage timing to take advantage of successive harvests. Staggering sowings by two weeks till break up the work that awaits come harvest time. It will help you space out all of that trimming, drying, and curing into easily manageable portions. Bigger plants can tolerate much higher temperatures but tender seedlings will succumb to extreme temperatures. Remember to avoid rainy seasons since the plant doesn’t receive too much light. Of course, the timing doesn’t matter if growing indoors, so sow those seeds whenever you wish!
For beginners, germinating the seeds is an important part of the entire process. To get better results, soak the seeds in plain water for at least 24 hours and wrap them in moist paper towels for a day or two. Use a ziplock bag to store the towels.
By soaking your seeds up to 48hrs and then keeping them in a moist paper towel you guarantee successful germination.
It’s important to keep the towels moist because the seeds can rot if there’s too much water. Similarly, the seeds won’t sprout if the towels are completely dry. Don’t make the mistake of directly planting the seeds, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. Once the seeds show a tap root, plant the seeds in the final container. Despite having to keep the seeds in damp paper towels, make sure they are not completely wet, too much water can rot the seeds. The best way to identify this is by smell if the paper towels start to smell like mold, immediately take them out and change the towels.
Sebastian Good gives you all the essential information about germination of autoflowering cannabis seeds.
Depending on your experience, you can also germinate your seeds directly in the medium, just make sure you’re not overwatering it because you can end up drowning your seeds. As you can see in the video, germinating in the soil is easy and doesn’t require anything extra, just be careful and you’ll see a seedling coming out of the ground in a couple of days.
4. Choose the right medium
Growing plants in hydroponic setups seem very cool, but soil is your best bet if you have no experience. Avoid using clay soils that clump up because autoflowers thrive in well-aerated soil. A soilless medium of equal parts of peat moss or coco peat, perlite, some airy soil, and sand is the best potting mix for autoflowers. If you don’t want to bother about fertilizing at all, you can even try growing autoflowers organically. There are various ways to make your own organic soil, but you can buy some in your local store to start with. Organic soil is premised with nutrients, so it’s ideal for someone that doesn’t have a lot of time. For growers that don’t mind putting in the efforts, composting and building super soil is the best soil mix for autoflowers.
There are a variety of different techniques to create healthy compost loaded with organic matter and beneficial microorganisms. If you can get your hands on enough green (grass cuttings, food scraps, coffee grounds, manure) and brown materials (cardboard, paper, woodchips) to fill a compost bin immediately, you can create a hot compost pile that will produce an excellent growing medium in as little as a few weeks. Simply add 50% green material and 50% brown material, stack them in alternating layers, and turn and water occasionally.
If growing outdoors, till the soil well and amend it with organic nutrients to produce a happy, healthy plant. But, no matter what you do while growing indoors, stay away from old used soil or sterilize it before you plant seeds to prevent diseases. If you have the luxury of a garden, you can leverage biodiversity in your favor to produce incredible auto specimens. Consider sowing companion plants such as basil, chamomile, and yarrow nearby to attract beneficial insects that will help to keep pest species away. If you live in a hot climate, low-growing ground cover plants such as winter squash will help to cast a shadow over the soil and, in doing so, boost moisture retention and reduce the amount of watering you have to do.
5. Choose good containers
Please don’t stuff seeds in plastic containers that make life hell for the poor roots. Use porous containers such as fabric pots or even Airpots to help the plants grow as much as possible. Autoflowers are typically small, but they need containers that are at least 5-8 liters in size.
Roots also need oxygen, although they need water to absorb nutrients, a lack of oxygen can damage and kill your plants.
Bigger autoflowers need bigger containers, so make sure you check the description before purchasing seeds. Root aeration is often overlooked, but it’s an important factor in determining your yields.
The appropriate pot size can also help you control the height of your cannabis plants, usually, a 12L pot will allow your plant to develop to its maximum, an auto in a 7L pot will grow up to 70cm and in a 3L pot will grow around 40cm.
If you’re growing autos outdoors in a warm climate, your containers will dry out fast—especially during heatwaves. To help improve water retention, consider applying a layer of mulch onto the top of your growing medium. Straw, hay, or leaf litter helps to produce more of a natural growing environment—how much bare soil do you see when walking through the forest? As well as breaking down and feeding soil microbes over time, these materials shield the top layer of soil from the sun and reduce water loss via evaporation.
6. Do not transplant
It’s important to start autoflowers in their final containers rather than planting them in smaller ones and transplanting them later. Sure, growing cannabis is like growing tomatoes, but autoflowers have a limited time period and can’t afford to lose days while the plant settles and searches for roots.
Some growers use small plastic cups to plant seeds. While this method may work with photoperiod plants, it’s not recommended for autoflowers. If you’re already committed the mistake of planting them in small containers, try to transplant the plant only when the soil is moist. If the soil is too wet, the roots tend to break, and if it’s too dry, transplanting becomes a pain. Of course, experienced growers do transplant autoflowers but it’s not really necessary.
7. Over and under-watering
Most plants die if you over or under-water them. Yes, autoflowers need water to grow, but it’s critical to supply it only when the plant needs it. It’s obvious that the timing is important even when the plants need water.
A way to check if the soil is dry is to use your index finger and stick it in the soil, if it comes out moist then the soil is still humid, although by doing this you won’t be able to know if the bottom is still wet so in order to get the timing right, lift the pots and check the weight. A dry pot will be easy to lift whereas container with lots of water will be heavy. The trick is to not let the soil go too dry or too wet, so water the plants only when the pot isn’t too heavy or light.
8. Overfeeding and underfeeding
Nutrients play a big role in growing autoflowering cannabis strains. Autoflowers are compact, so they don’t need loads of nutes in order to survive. In fact, autoflowers grow best when light fertilizers are used. It’s also important to feed the right nutrients at the right time.
Macro and micronutrients
For example, cannabis needs more nitrogen in the vegetative stage. In the pre-flowering stage, nutrients with more phosphorous are preferred, and in the flowering stage needs a lot more potassium than nitrogen or phosphorous. If you’re wondering what the term “N-P-K” printed on fertilizer bags means, it’s nothing but Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium. The plants also need other micronutrients along with calcium and magnesium, so it’s extremely important to get the dosage right.
Don’t make the rookie mistake of using Miracle Grow or any other fertilizer meant to grow vegetables. Autoflowers will grow well even if you do that, but since they have special needs, you might as well stick to nutrients that supply everything. From humic to fulvic acid to enzymes, you can do a lot to make the plants perform to the best of their potential.
Talking about nutrients, some growers try to make their own nutes. While it’s completely okay to do so, you should avoid doing it if you’ve never done that before. Nutrients are expensive and it’s tempting to make your own, but try to attempt that after you’ve gained some experience. Why? Because cannabis plants require a good blend containing all micro and macronutrients in exact concentrations to thrive. It’s not as simple as diluting a random fertilizer and feeding the plants. You not only risk burning the plants, but the yields will suffer drastically since the plants have no time to recover.
So, if it’s your first time, stick to commercial nutrients. And, the topic on nutrients is incomplete if you don’t talk about pH. Depending on the medium 2 you choose to grow, the pH must be regulated accordingly. Cannabis plants love acidic soil, so the pH must be maintained between 5.5 to 7 in both soil and hydroponic setups. If the pH drops below 6, the roots will not be able to intake vital nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, and phosphorous. Similarly, if the pH is too alkaline and goes above 7.5, the roots cannot take up micronutrients like copper, manganese, boron, etc. It’s very important to regulate the pH at all times to prevent nutrient deficiencies.
Here’s a quick table to help you understand pH better:
Nutrient Ideal PH Level for Absorption Nitrogen 6.0-8.0 Phosphorus 6.5-7.5 Potassium 6-8 Calcium 6.5-8.5 Magnesium 6-8.5
Sometimes, it just so happens that the plant refuses to respond even if you’ve done everything. In such cases, flush the plants with lots of water (at least double or triple the size of the container) to reduce any nutrient or salt buildup so that the plants can breathe again. Flushing is typically done at the end, but it doesn’t hurt the plant even if you do it in between because it reduces buildups to a good extent.
Some growers also flush during the pre-flowering stage, when the plants are transitioning from the vegetative into the flowering stage so they can start feeding from zero, as said above, this won’t hurt your plants but should be done properly.
9. Harvest at the right time
You’ve come all this way, and the end is almost near, so don’t screw this up now! Now you’re probably asking “how to tell if my autoflower is ready for harvest?” Well, after you’ve put in all the hard work, wait for the right time. Growers use microscopes to check the trichomes that usually indicate the right time, but you can harvest when at least 50 to 70 percent of the pistils are amber in color. While judging pistil colors works well for many growers, you can use trichome color as an accurate estimation for harvest time, too.
Have you ever noticed that white frosty layer on the surface of cannabis buds? They might not look like much to the naked eye, but these are tiny mushroom-shaped glands known as trichomes that produce all of the cannabinoids and terpenes that underpin the effects, aroma, and flavor of different strains. Low-cost forms of magnification, such as jewelers’ loupes, offer an up-close and personal view of these little phytochemical factories.
By assessing their color, you can get a good understanding of the maturity of your buds. Clear trichomes indicate that flowers are still too young and lack adequate levels of cannabinoids and terpenes. Aim to harvest when at least 50% of the trichomes you inspect are milky and opaque. If you wait too long, these glands will start to display an amber color, signifying the partial degradation of THC into CBN—a byproduct associated with a more physical and stoning effect.
If you wait too much, the buds tend to produce a couch-lock effect leaning more towards the Indica side while buds harvested too early generate unpleasant psychoactive effects. Also, the main colas ripen faster than the lower portions of the plant. Often referred to as popcorn buds, the lower portions stay small. However, harvesting the main colas and leaving the popcorn buds on the plant for a week more will increase yields dramatically. Be patient, and let Mother Nature do the rest for you! If you avoid these common mistakes when growing autoflowering cannabis, you’ll soon be rewarded with potent resinous buds that will last a long time if stored properly.
10. Frequently Asked Questions About Autoflowers
What’s the average autoflower size and how tall can they get?
Most autoflowers reach a height of around 50-100cm but a plant’s size depends on the genetics and growing conditions. Also, all strains are different so you will find Sativa and Indica-leaning autos; Most Indica hybrid autoflowers will stay around the 80-120cm mark but Sativa-dominant autoflowers can reach up to 175cm tall.
Can I grow my auto on my window sill?
Yes, you can, although it’s not recommended if you want to get the best results possible but if this is the only way you have, make sure your plant gets at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight a day and that you’re using at least a 10-liter pot.
Do autoflowers grow normal or smaller because of the Ruderalis genes?
The size of an autoflower can be influenced by several factors, genetics being the main one. More modern autoflower breeders breed their genetics to contain as little as Ruderalis genetics as possible, focusing on the more appealing characteristics such as size, structure, potency, and yields.
But when compared to a photoperiod plant, an autoflower has a limited lifespan so things such as stress, damage, or a bad environment can ultimately affect your auto’s height, so it’s ideal to provide optimum grow conditions to get the best results possible.
When is the best time to plant autoflowers outdoors?
This solely depends on your climate, you need to remember that autos prefer dry sunny days so if you’re planning to have just one grow cycle, you can start them 1-2 weeks into Summer, and if you’re planning to have 2 harvests, start the next one right after finishing the first one.
What yield can I expect per autoflowering plant?
The yields depend on genetics, environment, stress, growers skills, and etc.. But in general, you can expect between 50-110 grams per plant.
How long will it take for my auto to start flowering?
In general, autoflowers stay for 4 weeks in the vegetative stage, so about 4 weeks. Then your auto will start developing flowers for 3 weeks, and fattening up the buds for the last 3 weeks.
Most autoflowers take around 10 weeks from seed to harvest but may take longer depending on the phenotype and growing conditions.
This may vary according to the genetics and growing environment, have in mind that it’s just to give you an idea of what to expect, some autoflowers may take less and others take longer.
Yes, you can, although it’s not recommended because it can affect the yields. To prevent shocking your autoflowers and consequently affecting yields, it’s recommended to transplant 7-12 days after germination and if possible, use rooting cubes to prevent damaging the roots.
Can you grow autoflowering cannabis in a greenhouse?
Of course you can, you can grow autoflowers in a greenhouse all year round as long as you keep the inside temperature to a minimum of 15°C and there’s enough ventilation, airflow, and sunlight.
11. In conclusion
Autoflowers (aka self flowering seeds) are suited for beginner growers but it’s crucial you know the basics if you want to have a successful harvest the first time you grow cannabis, although you can learn as you go, it can be disappointing if you waste time and money, and end up with nothing to smoke.
Now that you know the basics and what to avoid, you’re all set up to start your first autoflower indoor grow.
If you’ve never grown cannabis before and are planning on growing our autos, feel free to ask us anything in the comment section below!