How To Get The Biggest Yields With Autoflowering Cannabis
Autoflowers have finally earned the respect they deserve. More importantly, they have earned a place in your grow room. With our guide to achieving maximum yields, you will crop the biggest harvest possible from your autoflowers!
TAKING AUTOFLOWERING CANNABIS YIELDS TO THE LIMIT
Autoflowers grow blazingly fast and don’t rely on light hours to enter bloom. As they make growing weed a lot more convenient, autoflowering strains have become very popular as more high-quality strains appear on the market.
There are several things growers can do to encourage bigger yields from their autoflowers.
1. START AUTOFLOWERS IN THEIR FINAL CONTAINERS
Autoflowering cannabis will race from seedling to stash in a quick 60–90 days. When autos are stressed too much or their growth is otherwise slowed, they will still bloom at the same time, and your yields will suffer.
To max out yield, you should sow seeds directly into their final containers. Alternatively, you can germinate them using the paper towel method (or whatever your preferred germination method may be) and then put them straight into large pots. A healthy root zone must be fostered early.
2. USE BIGGER POTS
The bigger the pot, the more the roots will develop and the bigger your plant will be. If you constrain it in a pot that’s too small, your plant’s development and production will be reduced. It is recommended that you use 15–20-litre pots to maximise results without overwhelming your plants. A pot that is too big will be a waste of substrate and fertiliser.
3. CONSIDER POT MATERIAL
A healthy and strong root system means healthy plants with great yields. Consider “smart pots”, like the RQS fabric pot, to give you an advantage in this domain. With their ability to prevent plants from becoming root bound, fabric pots are better for overall development.
In addition, fabric pots make it nearly impossible to overwater your cannabis as they facilitate excellent drainage.
4. USE AN AIRY GROWING MEDIUM
Autoflowers grow fast and vigorously, and have only a limited time to do so. Because of that, you want to support their growth in every way possible. A loose and airy growing medium makes it easier for your autoflowers to develop a strong root system.
If the substrate is too compact, you can make it suitable for autoflowers by adding some perlite and coco coir. See our article here for more tips on the best soil for your autoflowers.
5. ADD A ROOT STIMULANT
Another way to support root development is by adding a root stimulant. One good way to do this is by introducing beneficial fungi into your growing medium. Mycorrhizal fungi increase nutrient and water uptake, protect plants from disease, and generally encourage an optimal growing environment.
Easy Roots – Mycorrhiza Mix
6. START SEEDLINGS INDOORS
Whether you are planning an indoor or an outdoor grow, make sure to start your seedlings indoors.
As you and your plants are on the clock from day one, you want to ensure your seedlings root well. A cool white CFL, appropriate LED, or even a sunny windowsill are adequate. Just make sure vegetative growth goes smoothly; ready or not, your autoflowers will bloom on schedule.
7. SUPPORT PLANT STRUCTURE
Staking or plant support of some kind may be needed to keep your plants upright and their buds healthy.
There are several ways you can go about this. Bamboo stakes and strings, trellis netting, or tomato plant cages can all be used to help a plant carry its heavy load. If you want more tips, see this article on five ways to support heavy buds.
8. OPT FOR 18 HOURS OF LIGHT
Opinions differ on whether keeping plants under a constant 24-hour light cycle is beneficial. 18/6 is still the most common, and will save you money on energy.
Indeed, you could potentially grow them with less light, but we are aiming for a huge harvest, so you’ll want to provide them with as many lumens as possible. More light, more buds. Easy.
When grown outdoors, your autoflowers will thrive in the fine summer weather. Sunlight for 18 hours is not essential because Mother Nature’s grow lamp is infinitely more powerful than any artificial bulb.
9. USE REVERSE OSMOSIS WATER
Your water may be fluoridated or chlorinated, or may contain other impurities that hinder healthy microbial growth in the soil. In short, if your domestic water is unsuitable for drinking, it won’t do good for your cannabis plants either. You can solve this by using reverse osmosis water.
Simply spoken, reverse osmosis is a filtration process that results in pure, ultra-filtered water. With this, you are in total control of the mineral profile of your water. This can benefit the growth of your plants and your yield.
10. DIAL IN NUTRIENTS AND PH
Autoflowers are usually smaller, so they drink and eat less compared to large photoperiod plants. If you’re using ordinary cannabis nutrients, a good idea is to start out with 50% or even 25% of the recommended dose.
Soil growers are advised to use lightly fertilised soil for autoflowering cannabis. Heavily fertilised soils will burn these babies. Aside from supplements like enzymes, vitamin B, and beneficial fungi, autoflowers don’t really require large doses of base nutrients during their short vegetative stage. Heck, with good-quality soil, your plants may do just fine without additional nutes all the way to harvest.
If you must add nutrients to the soil early on, do so sparingly. Generally, bloom nutrients and boosters are all that’s needed during their life cycle. Even in flowering, low to medium doses of nutrients will suffice. Over-fertilising plants is a common yield-thwarting mistake autoflower growers often make.
Easy Combo Booster Pack
If the pH is off, your plants can’t uptake nutrients even if they are present. The correct pH for your water when growing in soil is 6.0–7.0. With a few drops of pH up or down products, you can adjust your water to the correct pH window.
11. PRIORITISE CLIMATE CONTROL
Seedlings and young plants prefer a more humid environment, while flowering plants require significantly less humidity to avoid mould and rot.
At times, just a simple standing fan or leaving a window open is all that’s needed to create an optimal growing environment. If that doesn’t cut it, look into solutions such as a heater or air conditioner for your grow room.
12. USE CO₂
It is scientifically proven that plants use CO₂ as fuel for photosynthesis, and with more CO₂ in your grow space, there should be a noticeable difference in growth rate and size.
The thing is, it only makes sense to provide your plants with CO₂ if all the other conditions in your grow room are already optimal. If there are issues with temperature, humidity, water, or nutrients, address these first before looking into a more elaborate (and expensive) CO₂ system.
13. TRAIN YOUR PLANTS
Low-stress training (LST) is a non-destructive training technique that even beginners can use. As the name implies, it is a minimally invasive technique that doesn’t involve any major damage to plants.
All you do is carefully bend and tie down the stem and branches to encourage lateral growth. This way, more bud sites are exposed to your grow light, resulting in fatter nugs and bigger harvests.
If you’re an expert grower and not afraid to put a knife to your plants, you can see whether topping will work for you. Just ensure that everything else is under control before looking into these more-involved plant training techniques.
14. USE SEA OF GREEN (SOG)
The sea of green, or SOG, method involves growing many small plants in close proximity to max out space and yields. This is especially effective in otherwise small grow-ops, and there is no better candidate than autoflowering strains. Their fast growth and short stature essentially do everything for you. Plus, no pruning or excessive handling is needed.
15. USE PROGRESSIVE HARVESTING
It normally happens that the flowers at the top of the canopy mature faster than those at the bottom. Simply clip off the individual buds that are ready, and wait for the rest to ripen. Wait 1–2 weeks between each harvest and watch for signs that they’re ready to pick. Most autoflowering plants only require two cycles of progressive harvesting, but larger plants may need more.
16. DOCUMENT, REFINE, AND REPEAT
Nobody is born a master cannabis grower. To become an expert, you want to pay attention and carefully record each process used in your grow. Only this way will you notice which techniques render the best yields.
Something can always go wrong when growing cannabis. The key to high yields is swiftly and smartly identifying problems as they occur. As you refine your processes, the health and yields of your plants will improve over time.
THE TOP 5 HIGHEST YIELDING RQS AUTOFLOWERING STRAINS 2020
Perhaps more important than any other factor listed above, genetics have a huge influence on a given strain’s production potential. So, before we conclude our guide on achieving maximum yields with autoflowers, here is a list of the highest-yielding autoflowers from Royal Queen Seeds.
1. NORTHERN LIGHT AUTOMATIC
Northern Light is a legendary cannabis strain that derives from Afghan indica genetics. First bred in the 1970s US, and coming to Europe in the 80s, this indica is still a favourite among many cannabis lovers. The autoflowering variant Northern Light Automatic shines with all the goodies of the “big one”, without compromising on flavour and effect. Moreover, she is one of the highest-yielding autoflowers out there with a whopping 550g/m² indoors. She pleases with a sweet, earthy pine flavour and a cerebral effect that is happy and uplifting.
Autoflowering cannabis has come of age now both potent and productive. With our simple 10 step guide, your next autoflowering marijuana harvest will be huge.
How Much Do Autoflowering Cannabis Plants Yield?
There are several reasons a person may wish to grow autoflowering Cannabis at home, whether it be for taste, effect, medicinal value, or yield. The amount an autoflower can produce will be the difference between how full your curing jars get, and how successful you are as a grower.
Autoflowers can yield from 50-250g, but that can be affected by genetics, conditions, and nutrients, our top tips will help you get the most out of your autos!
1. What Does “Yield” Mean?
Yield refers to the estimated amount of buds produced and can be measured as dry or wet weight but after you’ve harvested, trimmed, and dry your cannabis plants, that is the final amount of dried buds and the official yield.
You will notice that seed banks will often display the yield in a square meter scenario, as opposed to the dried weight per plant. Not only can a figure such as “450-550gr/m2” be misleading, but there are also many variables that will play a factor in the outcome of this value.
If you’re wondering how to maximize autoflower yields, read along and improve your yields with our tips!
2. Factors To Consider
When growing autoflowering cultivars outdoors, the climate plays a massive role in the outcome of your yield.
Outdoor growers depend on the seasons to be able to get good yields from autoflowers, this happens because cannabis plants depend on the right temperature, humidity, and sunlight to thrive, and this will reflect on the quality and quantity of the buds you’ll harvest.
People who live in hot sunny climates will be able to grow autos all year long, with excellent results but those who experience shorter summers with a cold Winter may not harvest as much as someone in a tropical climate, however, they can expect to grow multiple times per year with superb results.
Now, when growing indoors you don’t have to worry that much about the conditions because you are responsible for controlling every single aspect of the growing conditions, this can be a good thing for more experienced growers but if you’re new to growing indoors, it can be quite tricky if you don’t have access or can’t afford the right equipment.
First half of vegetative
Second half of vegetative
First-half of flowering
Second half of flowering
As you may know, cannabis plants need certain conditions in each stage of growth, but as a general guideline, you should keep the temperature between 18-24°C and the humidity should be kept around 70% in the vegetative stage, gradually lowering it until you reach 60% near the pre-flowering stage.
Then, when your plants are starting to form the buds, the humidity should be around 50%, reaching 40-45% at the end of the flowering stage.
Not everyone has the luxury of growing in a meter square grow space, and some must resort to a small, discreet plant count that can be kept on a balcony, terrace, or back garden.
Depending on where you’re growing your cannabis plants, you will have to choose either a bigger or a smaller pot and this will end up affecting how big your plants grow, and consequently, the yields.
For example, if you are growing large-sized plants in 10-12 liter-sized pots, you will be able to harvest 50-150g per plant as long as the conditions are optimum, so if you prefer smaller plants and use smaller pots, the yields will be decreased.
- There is no need to grow autos in pots bigger than 12 liters.
- Sea of Green requires a smaller pot size of 5-7.5 liters.
- Planting directly into the ground is also a good option.
Supplementing your autoflowering plants with a rich source of N-P-K (macronutrients) and trace elements (micronutrients) is certainly one way to enhance production. Investing in organic nutrients or a complete living soil will be advantageous, as long as you maintain the ideal watering ratio.
This is because organic nutrients work different from synthetic nutrients.
Organic feeding consists of maintaining a good soil with beneficial microorganisms that form a symbiotic relationship with your cannabis plant, this way the fungi feed on the sugars produced by plants while they break down nutrients and retain water in the rhizosphere which makes it easier for your plant to absorb nutrients and hydrate.
On the other side, synthetic nutrients consist of feeding the roots directly, this means that you don’t have to maintain a healthy soil because synthetic nutrients can actually kill the microorganisms present, so despite being easier to feed synthetic, it’s easier to overfeed and end up burning your plants.
If feeding with synthetic nutrients, then follow the recommended guidelines when making your nutrient solution.
- You will want to feed your autos only plain water for the final 2 weeks, to allow the plants to flush.
- Some cultivars will be able to uptake higher amounts of a nutrient solution than others.
Another thing that will affect your yield is the number of plants you have in your grow space, you have the option to grow a few large-sized plants, or many smaller ones packed together in a Sea of green, each have their own advantages and disadvantages.
For example, if you’re growing in a 1m2 grow space you will have to choose between making the most of just one or two big plants or grow up to 6 smaller plants, this is up to you, obviously.
It is always a good idea to know in advance if you can grow a Sea of Green, SCRoG, or prefer to let your plants grow naturally.
Sea of Green
If you are choosing to grow many small plants packed closely together, then make sure the cultivar is well suited for that setup. You want to go for shorter plants that grow relatively homogeneous, this way you can fit in between 6-10 plants in a meter square, planting in 5-7.5 liter pots.
When growing in a SCRoG setup, you can go for whatever you want, obviously, you won’t be able to for 20 plants in 1m2 but because this technique consists of shaping your plants into a dense canopy, you can get away with growing from 2-5 plants in 7-10 liter pots. As long as you’re filling your SCRoG net properly, you’ll get a nice dense canopy and great results.
For some, it can be more practical to grow 1-3 bigger-sized plants, and for this, we recommend using a pot size between 10-15 liters to allow your plants to grow to their maximum, reaching up to 150cm in some cases.
When it comes to autoflowering cultivars, it is best to apply certain training techniques to different cultivars. This will encourage a much bigger and more productive harvest, exposing the plants to more direct light and increasing yields further.
We only recommend plant training if you can benefit from that or if you’ve had experience before because you can end up stressing your plants and that will have the opposite results, less plant growth, and lower yields.
There are two types of plant training, LST and HST, both of them serve growers to help modify and shape the structure of a plant to either make the most out of the light fixture or control the size of the plants if you have a limited grow space.
Low-stress training (LST) basically consists of bending or tying down the branches without mutilating the plants, as the name says, it’s less likely to stress your plants when compared to HST and it’s what its usually recommended for autoflowers but you can get away with HST if you know what you’re doing, have in mind that LST requires patience and more work when compared to HST because you are shaping your plants gently day by day.
High-stress training (HST) consists of mutilating your cannabis plants, either by topping, defoliating, or fimming, you will have the same results as when performing LST but you will have less work because once you’ve cut a part of your plant, the work is done.
- Low-stress training means to tie the highest parts of the plant down, to create an even-growing canopy of large-sized buds.
- It is best to avoid any type of plant training after your plants have started flowering.
- Using a SCROG setup can increase yield and allow for a much more efficient growing space.
If you’re a home grower and want to make the most out of each seed or if you’re a commercial grower and you prefer production before anything else, then finding the best genetics to aid in this job will give you the upper hand, obviously, growing the highest yielding autoflower is the way to go but there are basic things you should know.
There is a wide range of Indica and Sativa characteristics in hybrid autoflowering strains, with some being more rewarding than others when it comes to yield.
Now, don’t think that Sativa-dominant hybrids always yield more than Indica-dominant, even though Sativas grow more and consequently yield more, Indicas produce denser buds that, even though it might seem they produce less, they can end up weighing more.
So have in mind that although you should choose your genetics based on how much they yield (if you’re looking for high yields) you should choose a strain that better suits your growing style and your growing conditions.
Always keep in mind:
- Some cultivars may take longer to flower and yield more than others.
- Certain strains are better suited for cold and others for hot climates.
3. Our highest yielding autoflowers
Gorilla Cookies Auto
Gorilla Cookies is not only a high-yielder but also a truly powerful strain, resulting from the cross between two resistant strains, you’ll be amazed by the quantity and quality of this great genetics which grows around 100cm and can produce up to 600gr/m2.
This plant grows quite compact and bushy, similar to Indicas but it actually is a fine-balanced hybrid that offers the best of both worlds, you can expect really dense buds with a beautiful color mix and a thick layer of resin that makes the buds shine from afar.
How to best the best yields and tips and tricks to improve your yields with autoflowers!