Wondering how to grow autoflowering marijuana strains or looking where to buy it? In this guide, we explain all you need to know. How to grow Autoflower seeds ? Autoflowers are feminized cannabis seeds, also known as auto seeds or autoflowering seeds. 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.
Growing Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds [Guide]
Do you desperately want a cannabis garden but don’t have the time to dedicate? If so, autoflowering seeds are potentially the answer to your prayers! These unique strains flower automatically rather than waiting for a specific lighting cycle. Generally speaking, your plants will begin flowering after a vegetative stage of just 2-4 weeks.
The autoflowering phenomenon has only gained traction in recent years. Strains of this nature include Cannabis ruderalis genetics, a species of marijuana first described by D. E. Janischewsky, a Russian botanist, in 1924. When you cross ruderalis genetics with indica or sativa varieties, you get plants that grow and flower without intervention.
This guide outlines everything you need to know about autoflowering cannabis seeds. This includes tips on growing them, pros and cons, and five of the best strains on the market.
EDITOR’S CHOICE – Homegrown CannabisCo
Homegrown CannabisCo are the masters when it comes to seeds. Offering a massive variety of cannabis seeds that are well categorized, not only does this company create a resource for superb quality options including feminized seeds, it also provides extensive growing information for those looking for some support along their journey.
Autoflowering Cannabis: What Is It?
With regular ‘photoperiod’ marijuana plants, an outdoor grower must rely on the seasons. Meanwhile, an indoor grower must change their lighting cycle. For instance, to force your plants to enter the flowering stage, you need to create a 12/12 light cycle. The change in light duration lets the plants think winter is coming, and it starts flowering accordingly.
As the name suggests, autoflowering marijuana strains flower automatically rather than waiting for a specific light cycle. These plants produce buds when they are ready, which means there is no reason to mess with your lighting.
While the yield and potency of photoperiod weed remain higher, the gap is closing. As breeding techniques become more advanced, it is now possible to produce autoflowering marijuana strains with significantly increased levels of THC. They also produce far bigger yields.
For example, strains such as Amnesia Haze Automatic produce up to 14 ounces of bud per square meter planted. Royal Gorilla Automatic contains up to 20% THC. With fewer disadvantages than ever before, it is no wonder that ‘auto’ plants are becoming increasingly popular.
It takes as little as eight weeks from seed to harvest. Therefore, you can enjoy several batches of autoflowering plants each year. While they were traditionally small and squat, even that aspect is changing. Auto Sweet Soma seeds can produce plants that grow as high as 155cm, for example! You can still get small plants such as Royal Jack Automatic that seldom grows taller than 80cm if you wish.
Your Exclusive Autoflower Grow Guide
When using auto-flowering cannabis seeds, make sure your plants have as much support as possible throughout the process. Ideally, you will begin your autoflower grow indoors with artificial lights you can control. This tactic reduces the likelihood of error and increases the possibility of a strong start.
Autoflowering Marijuana Seeds
Proper germination is pivotal to the healthy development of your autoflower marijuana plants. You can go down the traditional route of using soil or try a container with a growing medium. The paper towel method is probably the easiest way to germinate your autoflower seeds.
After your seeds begin to sprout, the next step involves transplanting them. Ideally, you will only do so once because autoflowering seeds are susceptible to transplanting shock.
Transplanting auto-flowering seeds is more complicated than their photoperiod brethren. However, it is a myth to suggest it is impossible to do so more than once successfully. You can re-pot an autoflower if you are extremely careful. If you need to transplant your autos to a larger pot, make sure they end up in the same soilless growing medium or soil as before. Also, complete the process before their dark period when their growing medium is dry.
Avoid Early Cuttings with Autoflowering Marijuana Strains
We don’t recommend taking cuttings during the early growth stages of auto-flowering weed. The plant will autoflower at a specific point. Therefore, the age of the cutting will merge with the age of the parent plant. This means they will flower at the same time. If you grow a cutting of an auto-flowering plant, the final version is significantly smaller than the parent when it reaches the flowering stage.
Training Your Autoflowering Weed
It is best to complete the training process during the vegetative stage. It is essential to act fast because this stage is only a couple of weeks long in autos. We recommend using a low-stress training (LST) method, such as pulling the plants down sideways to help boost upwards growth. When they start flowering, prune them for up to a week into the flowering stage and do NOT top them.
You shouldn’t prune an auto-flowering plant in the same way as its traditional counterpart. First and foremost, all pruning should begin early in the life cycle, or else you risk hindering its growth.
Best Lighting & Climate for Autoflowering Marijuana Plants
With autos, you are allowing plants to flower when they should be in the vegetative growth stage. This means you can autoflower rather late in the season (September) or very early (March). Please note that the plants can only grow with adequate warmth. Exposure to excessive levels of moisture could result in rot.
We recommend growing autoflowering plants indoors if possible. Ideally, your plants will grow in a room with a temperature of 68-77 degrees Fahrenheit with 50-70% humidity.
Plants with ruderalis genetics are tougher than those without but still require light to produce food for themselves. Many autoflower growers still believe that providing light 24/7 is best for their plants. This process enables them to absorb CO2 during the photosynthesis process continually. Ruderalis plants grew for a long time in the northern hemisphere. In that situation, they were exposed to 24 hours of light a day on occasion.
24-hour lighting will result in fast initial growth. However, it usually slows down after a few weeks because the plant is without adequate rest. The 18/6 schedule offers a delicate balance of plenty of light with ample rest. You also save money on your energy bill! For instance, in one month, using an 18/6 schedule against a 24/0 schedule saves you 180 hours’ worth of light!
The 20/4 schedule is potentially a happy medium. However, the 18/6 option is the most sensible because your plants need a few hours of darkness each day for specific metabolic processes. Whatever additional yield you attain from constant lighting is more than offset by the increase in your lighting bill!
Feeding Your Autoflowering Plants
The latest generation of auto-flowering plants are more prominent than their predecessors and produce a bigger yield. As a result, they need more nutrients than their first-gen counterparts. Even so, on average, an auto-flowering plant still requires fewer nutrients than photoperiod plants. Make sure you water them for the first two weeks as they begin to grow.
There is no need to add nutrients during this period. By week three, you can begin adding nutrients and increase the feeding rate weekly. Remember, the vegetative stage is short, so you need less nitrogen. Light feeding is ideal unless you notice a nutrient deficiency. You’ll need to alter the nutrients once the plant hits the flowering stage.
Harvesting Autoflowering Marijuana Plants
The best method of harvesting auto-flowering plants is to take the colas and allow the lower buds to become denser before harvest. As these plants grow so quickly, they usually don’t have time to develop a canopy. As a result, you need to keep the buds that are lower down on the plant. These days, it isn’t unusual to find automatics that produce up to 22 ounces per square meter.
Since you can grow 4-5 batches a year, it adds up to a lot of buds! We also recommend preparing the next crop as you are harvesting. Pop seeds before you collect your existing plants to ensure your garden is continually producing. The fact is, you don’t need to worry about changing lighting because your plants automatically flower!
Curing & Storing Autoflower Weed Strains
Many of the same drying, curing, and storing rules apply with auto-flowering cannabis plants. You can dry your buds by hanging them upside down for a few days. Store them in airtight containers but ensure there is a bit of space in each jar. Initially, open the jars once a day for a few minutes.
After a week, opening the jars once every 2-3 days will suffice. Your bud is ready for use once there is only a small amount of moisture left. Transport your weed to a sealed container and use it within a few months.
Where to Find Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds
It is relatively easy to buy autoflowering seeds online. There is an increasing number of reputable websites that sell them. Alternatively, you can find them in a local dispensary, but purchasing the best autoflower seeds is a challenge at first.
When making the decision, ask yourself the following questions:
- What level of THCand CBD are you looking for?
- Do you have a preferred taste and aroma?
- What kind of growing conditions will you plant the seeds in?
It is also crucial to purchase feminized seeds. Otherwise, around half of your crop will consist of male plants, which could ruin everything. If you have a small grow room, purchase an indica strain because they usually grow smaller. If you have a larger space, buy sativa autoflower strains. They are typically bigger and provide a higher yield.
Now, let’s take a look at five autoflowering strains worth considering for your cannabis garden.
Five Awesome Autoflowering Strains
1 – Amnesia Haze Auto
Amnesia Haze Automatic combines 30% ruderalis, 20% indica, and 50% sativa genetics. It is a nice option if you want a sativa-dominant strain that doesn’t take forever to flower. By the standards of autoflowering strains, it is a large plant that can reach 120cm in height.
What interests growers is the fact that it can grow from seed to harvest in just ten weeks! In the past, autoflowering strains were fairly weak, but Amnesia Haze Automatic contains up to 18% THC. Its yield is up to 14 ounces per square meter planted, which isn’t a million miles behind many photoperiod strains.
Apparently, it is a crossbreed between The Bomb, Ultra Haze, Champagne Haze, and a few other popular strains. Users claim that it offers a nice sweet and spicy taste. Also, it offers an uplifting cerebral high that can be used to manage the symptoms of depression and perhaps boost your appetite.
It’s easier than you think!…
2 – White Widow Auto
This autoflowering option is a new cross of White Widow, which is widely regarded as one of the finest strains around. It looks just like its photoperiod counterpart with wide dark green leaves and glistening trichomes. While it has many traits that made its traditional version so popular, the auto version has a total crop time of under 85 days!
The buds provide users with an indica effect, and its woody, intense aroma and taste combine beautifully with a hint of lemon. White Widow Automatic has been bred for several years to ensure genetic stability. The plant can grow to 100cm, although it is more likely to hit 50cm. The overall yield is up to 9 ounces per square meter, although some growers claim they have attained a yield of 16 ounces.
White Widow Automatic is potent, with a THC content of 15-20%, and is often used to help with pain, insomnia, stress, and nausea. For best results, grow it under 24/7 light as much as you can. It is 20% ruderalis, 40% indica, and 40% sativa.
3 – Quick One Auto
Quick One Auto’s creators didn’t take too long to decide the name of this autoflowering strain! It was one of the first members of the Royal Queen Seeds collection and is a cross of Northern Lights, Ruderalis, and The Williams Wonder. It contains 30% ruderalis, 60% indica, and 10% sativa genetics.
When Quick One was released, it was among the fastest-growing strains ever. While there are even quicker growing autos these days, Quick One is still lightning with a total grow time of around 8-9 weeks. However, you may want to give it an extra week for a more mature final plant.
Its yield can reach a decent 12 ounces per meter square indoors but is just 6-7 ounces outdoors. It offers a fresh, herbal aroma with a pleasant taste that has citrus notes. Quick One won’t grow much taller than 50cm, making it ideal if you’re stuck for space. Its THC content of 13% is low by today’s standards, but it is still a good smoke for novices.
4 – Easy Bud Auto
Easy Bud Auto isn’t a household name, which is a great shame. As you can probably guess, it is among the easiest autoflowering strains to grow. Therefore, beginners should be casting their eyes toward it. It is a durable plant, and there are few growing conditions where it won’t provide at least a few grams of high-quality buds.
It was created by breeding an indica-dominant hybrid (possibly White Indica) with an unknown ruderalis plant. It has 30% ruderalis, 55% indica, and 15% sativa genetics. Royal Queen Seeds created it, and its total growing time is 8-9 weeks, whether you grow it indoors or outdoors.
Its height ranges from 40-70cm and works best when using organic nutrients and soil as your growing medium. It doesn’t require many nutrients and thrives under most light sources. It can provide up to four ounces of bud in optimal growing conditions. With a THC content of 12%, it won’t provide a devastatingly potent high, but it is an easygoing smoke that offers decent body intoxication.
Easy by name, easy by nature!…
5 – Royal Jack Auto
This autoflowering strain is a cross of Jack Herer and a Ruderalis plant. It is named after the legendary activist who wrote The Emperor Wears No Clothes. The strain’s genetic makeup is 30% Ruderalis, 30% Indica, and 40% Sativa. With a total growing time of around nine weeks, you could benefit from several harvests per year if you are motivated.
Royal Jack Auto shouldn’t grow any taller than 80cm, and its yield is around 4-5 ounces per plant. Overall, with a THC content of around 16%, this autoflowering option provides you with a relatively potent, Sativa-dominant high that could boost your level of creativity. Users are also rewarded with a fresh and peppery scent from what is a very satisfying smoke.
The Pros and Cons of Growing Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds
By now, it probably seems like a no-brainer to grow auto-flowering marijuana any chance you get. However, some disadvantages come along with the host of benefits that autoflower strains provide. Here is a brief list of the pros and cons of autoflower marijuana vs. regular marijuana.
Pros of Autoflower Marijuana Strains
The shorter growing season means you have a higher level of autoflowering varieties. Imagine having the opportunity to grow five different strains in a single season! Multiple harvests are especially useful if you enjoy the growing process and are keen to sample as many marijuana types as possible.
If you grow marijuana the traditional way, you’ll typically require a specific grow room and a separate flowering room. With autoflowering weed, you only need a single space. If you have several rooms, you can time your growing to guarantee a harvest every few weeks.
If you grow in a typical manner, you have to ensure your grow room has light-proof sealing. It is a disaster if this gets breached. In contrast, a light leakage has no discernible impact on the flowering stage of your autoflower marijuana.
As autos contain ruderalis genes, they are more robust than other marijuana plants. Remember, they are based on plants that could grow in harsh Russian weather conditions. A typical cannabis plant will have its flowering and growth phases interrupted if there is a power outage. This fact could play havoc with their growth cycle. You don’t have this problem with an autoflowering plant.
There are auto strains with a flowering time of just five weeks! Add in a 2-4-week vegetative stage, and you could theoretically grow a strain from seed to harvest in only seven weeks. Bubble Kush Auto, for example, is ready to collect 7-8 weeks after sprouting. Therefore, you can enjoy multiple harvests each year.
While varieties of autoflowering strains are getting bigger, you can still find versions that grow to about 40-50cm. Consequently, you can plant them in a closet, tent, or even on a balcony! You could also hide such a plant in a remote field if the grass is tall enough! Also, autos don’t require a ‘support system’ to hold up long branches that could bend or break as the buds get larger.
No Messing About with Lighting
There is no need to change your light cycle to a 12-12 schedule. Therefore, you can keep a consistent lighting schedule all year round if you wish. With this possibility in mind, you can grow auto-flowering plants at different stages in the same room!
How to grow autoflower seeds
How to grow Autoflower seeds ? Autoflowers are feminized cannabis seeds, also known as auto seeds or autoflowering seeds. What makes these cannabis seeds different is their unique growth cycle. Traditional photoperiod feminized seed varieties start to flower when light hours are reduced from 18 to 12 hours. Outdoors photoperiod feminized seed varieties are induced to bloom by the days getting shorter.
Autoflower varieties don’t need the day light hours to shorten in order to initiate bloom, it happens automatically. Many indoor growers cultivate their autoflower plants under 20 hours of indoor light.
How to grow autoflower seeds : Life cycle
Most autoflowers have a life cycle of about 10 to 12 weeks for indoor growers. After germination the seedlings will grow and start to flower automatically usually after 4-7 weeks indoors. Most indoor growers of autoflower seeds harvest their plants around 10-12 weeks after germination.
Outdoors the autoflower growth cycle can take a couple of weeks longer due to the cool temperatures, reduced daylight hours and the effects of the weather. Cold nights, for example, can delay the growth of an autoflower. In general autoflowers can take between 10-15 weeks when grown outdoors, depending on the climate you live in.
Growing Autoflowers in short summers
Autoflowering varieties have been especially important for outdoor growers. Normally cannabis is planted outdoors in the Northern Hemisphere around April and harvested around October. This gives a 6-7 month lifecycle when growing feminized photoperiod cannabis seeds. However some countries have summers that are too short to allow outdoor growing over this time period.
Growers in these countries have to resort to either indoor or greenhouse growing and sometimes this was not always convenient/safe for the grower. Autoflower seeds changed that. Even growers in Scandinavia are able to find a suitable sunny 10 week growing window and the result is excellent quality marijuana. In Mediterranean and some temperate climates up to 3 successive crops a year are possible with autoflower cannabis seeds.
Typical questions about Autoflowers
These days lots of growers use autoflower seeds for home cultivation or professional legal cannabis cultivation. You can expect high THC levels, easy and uncomplicated growing and heavy yields. You can grow them under any light cycle indoors or outdoors. Feminized autoflower seeds are a fast way to get a harvest of top quality cannabis whether you are growing indoors, outdoors or in a greenhouse.
How do Autoflowers compare to normal photoperiod outdoor varieties?
Autoflowers can be ideal for a discreet but sunny corner of your garden, greenhouse, patio or an outdoor guerrilla spot. Compared to normal outdoor varieties an autoflower will usually yield less. That’s because photoperiod cannabis varieties can grow for about 6 months. This gives them plenty of time to reach heights of 2-3 meters outdoors, or more. However autoflowers grow for a shorter period, typically 12-15 weeks outdoors. This allows autoflowers to stay much smaller and more manageable. One other convenient feature for growers is that autoflower seeds can be grown multiple times during a spring / summer period. You may be able to get 2 or even 3 successive outdoor autoflower crops per year.
How big can autoflower plants get?
As a result of the short lifecycle of these plants, autoflower seeds often produce smaller, more compact plants. Most autos grow to about 1 meter in height. Some autoflowers, mostly Sativa dominant ones, can exceed this height and grow taller. Varieties like Auto Daiquiri Lime®, Auto Xtreme® and Auto Glueberry OG® are known to grow and reach heights of 1,50m.
How much yield can I get from my autoflower plant?
Although the life cycle and height of autoflowers is short, they can produce excellent yields of top quality cannabis. Of course, just with any cannabis seed, much depends on the experience and skill of the grower. Much also depends on the grow conditions, lighting, nutrition etc.
How much cannabis can you grow from an autoflower seed/plant? Often around 50-100 grams is a typical result. Some customers who have grown them in Southern Europe have reached yields over 200 gram from a single outdoor autoflower. Indoors growers with good conditions yields can exceed 200 grams per plant. The most experienced growers using hydroponic grow techniques such as deep water culture with an optimized environment (including LED grow lights) can achieve 500-1000g of dried buds from a single auto plant.
Make no mistake, if you are growing autoflower seeds in good conditions, you can get XXL THC rich crops. You can also get CBD rich autoflower seeds, with varieties such as CBD Auto Compassion Lime, CBD Auto White Widow and CBD Auto Charlotte’s Angel.
How many hours of light does my autoflower need?
What is the best light schedule for autoflowers? Because autoflowers start to flower automatically, it doesn’t really matter. Many people grow autoflowers with 20 hours of daily light all the way from seed to harvest.
Can I grow autoflowers on 24 hours of light?
Some people grow autoflowers under 24 hours of daily light. So it is possible to grow autoflower plants without any dark period during their entire life cycle. However Dutch Passion feel that having a dark period has many benefits.
For one it saves electricity, and the difference in yield is not that significant. Also, in hot climates it can be very useful to set your dark period during the hottest part of the day, allowing the temperature in your grow room to remain as cool as possible. This reduces the chance of heat and light stress.
Some people even feel that resin production may actually increase during the dark periods. So although it’s possible to grow autoflower seeds under 24 hour light from seed to harvest, we advise using a 20/4 light schedule for your autoflower cannabis plants.
What size pot do I need for my autoflower plant?
“the bigger the pot the larger a plant can get”
The general rule with cannabis plants is “the bigger the pot the larger a plant can get”. For photoperiod plants this is often very much true. But since autoflowers are so small and only grow for a short period, a size of 10L-15L is already sufficient to grow a decent size cannabis plant. Still growing your autoflower seed in a larger pot might just help push it to a larger sized plant.
When growing autos outdoors in a sunny and hot climate we recommend using a slightly bigger pot, somewhere in the 20-50L range. The extra soil and root space gives the plants a larger buffer zone for those sunny tropical days where temperatures can reach 30-40ºC. This maximises the amount of water available to the roots and minimises the chances of the root ball drying out.
Do autoflowers provide the same quality cannabis as normal photoperiod varieties?
In the very early days of autoflower seeds, the first generation autos lacked the yields and high THC content for mainstream appeal. But the work done on second and third generation autoflowering seeds has changed all that.
These days there is hardly any difference in quality between the normal photoperiod cannabis varieties and the best autoflower seeds. Some autoflowers can even reach potency levels above 20%. But do your research carefully. There are still plenty of low quality autoflower seeds available and the difference between the best autoflower seeds and the worst ones is significant. Choose a cannabis seedbank with a proven track record!
Where can I buy autoflower seeds?
Dutch Passion has a fully proven autoflower cannabis seed collection with plenty of cannabis cups and awards. You can order cannabis seeds online from the Dutch Passion website or from one of the official resellers.
Find the perfect variety for you, and simply follow the steps. You can even select express shipping, which ensures that your cannabis seeds will be delivered within 24/48 hours after your payment is received. All orders are shipped discretely.
Autoflower seeds and Dutch Passion
Autoflower seeds have created a surge of interest in the cannabis community since they were first introduced. As with the creation of feminized seeds, Dutch Passion have played a key role in the development of autoflowering seeds. Dutch Passion currently offers one of the best and most extensive collections of autoflower seeds available. And we work hard to promote and develop new ones each year.
Dutch Passion’s auto flowering seeds have rapidly become best sellers. Many growers have found that the unique properties of autoflower seeds were just what they required. Easy, quick and convenient – try growing some soon!
7 Comments . Leave new
ich habe zusätzlich Sorge, dass außer Autmazar Automatics andere Automatics an den Eisheiligen um den 15. Mai erfrieren. Könnt ihr darauf mal irgendwo eingehen. Auch wie hoch die wegen Frist sein sollten, wenn man sie im April oder viellicht ist März schon möglich, aussetzt? Reicht eine Indikadominanz, um das zu verhindern?
Mir fehlt auch ein Bezug zur Geruchsstärke, weil danach oft von Anderem gesucht wird, um eine Haschpflanze aufzuspüren. Gibt es welche, die nicht über 5 oder 10 Meter zu riechen sind?
Frost can always be an issue indeed if you start growing outdoors to early. These days it hardly freezes in May but you should still be careful.
All plants that are in bloom will smell, but this is mostly during the last stage. If you grow an autoflower you will have a short period of time where you will smell the plant.
Frost kann immer ein Problem sein, wenn Sie zu früh im Freien wachsen. Heutzutage friert es im Mai kaum noch ein, aber Sie sollten trotzdem vorsichtig sein.
Alle Pflanzen, die blühen, riechen, aber dies ist meistens in der letzten Phase. Wenn Sie einen Autoflower anbauen, haben Sie eine kurze Zeit, in der Sie die Pflanze riechen werden.
First time grower. Growing autos WW and lime in a greenhouse. Just wondering if you have any advice on greenhouse growing. I can’t really control the temperature because of where I’m living. Although we’ve had a great end of April /May. Sunlight has been strong but we’ve still gotten some wet and windy days here and the plant seems like it is a bit behind it’s growth cycle from what I’m reading online but most info I’ve found has focused on full outdoor or indoor growing Cant really find too much on greenhouse methods. Just wondering will the plant still go through its flower and veg phases? Or am I over thinking it and as long as growing it will be fine? Maybe a bit small or stunted but it will finish it’s cycle to harvest? Thanks in advance for any help
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|
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!