How to Grow Autoflowers: Tips and Techniques for Maximum Yields

 

Autoflowering cannabis strains have become increasingly popular in recent years, thanks to their quick growth cycle and ease of cultivation. These strains are a great option for both beginners and experienced growers, as they require minimal maintenance and can produce high yields of potent buds.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the key tips and techniques for growing autoflowers successfully, including light cycles, plant training methods, growing medium, nutrient feeding schedules, and more.

 

What light cycles can you grow autoflowers on?

Autoflowers are unique in that they do not rely on a change in light cycle to trigger the flowering stage. Instead, they begin to flower automatically based on their age and genetics. This means that you can grow autoflowers on a variety of light cycles, but there are a few options that are particularly popular.

The most common light cycle for autoflowers is 18-20 hours of light per day for the vegetative stage, followed by 12-14 hours of light per day for the flowering stage. This mimics the natural light cycle of the sun during the summer months, which is when autoflowers typically grow best.

Some growers prefer to use 24 hours of light per day throughout the entire grow cycle, as this can result in slightly faster growth and larger yields. However, others argue that giving the plants a period of darkness each day can improve their overall health and vigor.

Ultimately, the light cycle you choose will depend on your personal preferences and growing conditions. Just be sure to provide your autoflowers with enough light to thrive, and avoid exposing them to any light leaks or interruptions that could disrupt their growth cycle.

What are the best plant training methods to increase autoflower yield?

Plant training is a technique used by growers to control the shape and growth of their cannabis plants, with the goal of maximizing yield and potency. There are several different training methods that can be used on autoflowers, including topping, LST (low stress training), super cropping, and more.

Topping involves cutting off the top of the main stem to encourage the growth of multiple colas, which can result in higher yields. However, this method can be risky on autoflowers, as it can slow down their growth and reduce overall yield.

LST involves bending and tying down the branches of the plant to create a more even canopy, which can help expose more of the plant to light and increase yields. This is a popular technique among autoflower growers, as it is non-invasive and can be done without risking damage to the plant.

Super cropping involves gently bending and manipulating the stems of the plant to increase its overall strength and size. This can be a useful technique on autoflowers, as it can help prevent the plants from becoming too tall and spindly.

Ultimately, the best plant training method for your autoflowers will depend on your personal preferences and growing conditions. Experiment with different techniques to see what works best for you and your plants.

 

What is the best growing medium for autoflowering strains?

Autoflowers can be grown in a variety of mediums, including soil, coco coir, and hydroponic systems. Each medium has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose one that works best for your needs.

Soil is a popular choice among growers, as it is relatively easy to use and provides a natural source of nutrients for the plants. However, soil can also be prone to overwatering and other issues that can stunt plant growth so if you are growing with soil make sure you amend it. A good soil mix for autoflowers should have good drainage, water retention and provide plenty of nutrients. 

Coco coir is another popular growing medium, as it is lightweight and provides good drainage and aeration for the plants. This medium doesn’t contain any naturally occurring nutrients, so growing using this would require you to add some synthetic nutrients. 

Additionally, it’s important to use an appropriate pot size that allows for adequate root growth and prevents overwatering. Keep in mind that autoflowers grow quickly and have shorter life cycles than photoperiod plants, which means they need consistent and appropriate feeding from the start.

 

Can I give autoflowers nutrients?

As with any cannabis plant, autoflowers require a balanced and appropriate nutrient feeding schedule to thrive. The best approach is to start with a nutrient-rich substrate or soil mix and supplement with additional nutrients as needed. It’s crucial to provide the plants with sufficient amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) during each stage of growth, along with other essential micronutrients and trace elements.

Many nutrient brands offer specialized formulas for autoflowering strains, which can simplify the feeding process. However, it’s important to start with lower doses of nutrients and gradually increase as the plants grow, to avoid overfeeding and nutrient burn. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use a reliable PH meter to ensure the correct nutrient uptake.

If you are not using autoflower nutrients, remember autos are much smaller than photoperiods so you will need to start off with about one quarter of the actual nutrients building up to a half dose during flowering time. Any more than this and you could give your plants nutrient burn.

 

How long do autoflowers take to grow?

One of the main benefits of growing autoflowers is their fast vegetative and flowering stages. An auto can grow from seed to harvest in as little as 8-12 weeks which is at least half the time it takes most photoperiods. Autoflowers mature based on time rather than the light cycle they are under, so they will begin to flower in weeks 3-4 no matter what.

However, keep in mind that the exact growth time of your autoflowers may depend on several factors, including the specific strain, growing conditions, and plant training methods. Additionally, some growers may prefer to give their plants a short vegetative phase by using a 24-hour light cycle for the first two weeks to promote healthy growth.

How much can one autoflower plant yield?

Autoflowers have a reputation for producing high yields of potent buds, despite their small size. While the exact yield of each plant may vary depending on the strain and growing conditions, autoflowers can yield between 25-150 grams per plant, with some strains producing even more.

The yield of autoflowers can be maximized by using appropriate growing techniques, such as LST, super cropping or defoliation to promote a more even canopy, as well as providing adequate light, nutrients, and moisture throughout the growth cycle.

Growing autoflowers can be a fun and rewarding experience, especially for those who want a quick turnaround. Autos are a great starting point for first time growers because they flower automatically, but also because they are small compact plants which makes them perfect for experimenting with in a small indoor grow.

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