How To Grow Autoflowering Marijuana Seeds

Want to start growing auto-flowering cannabis? Here’s all the info you need to get started! 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. What are auto-flowering strains and what should you expect when you grow one? Learn what you need to know and get the pros and cons of auto-flowering vs photoperiod strains, and get grow tips and secrets to getting better yields/potency!

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
  • Hygrometer
  • Humidpacks
  • Dehumidifier
  • Heater
  • 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:

  1. Set up a drying room in a barn or garage. Install a dehumidifier, some heaters, and a fan.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

See also  Cbd Marijuana Seeds

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

Lower Yields

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.

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!

3. Germination

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.

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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.

PH levels

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!

Auto-Flowering Cannabis Strains Guide

Pictures of Auto-Flowering Plants – What do they look like at harvest?

Introduction to Auto-Flowering Cannabis Strains

Auto-flowering cannabis strains are the descendants of a wild strain of hemp first identified as “Ruderalis” in Russia during the early 1940s.

These are different from most strains of cannabis, which are known as “photoperiod” strains. Photoperiod plants don’t start flowering (making buds) until they get specific signals from the sun that winter is coming, and so need special light schedules to be induced into making buds.

Conversely, Ruderalis plants don’t need any type of signal. Instead, Ruderalis plants start flowering when they reach 3-4 weeks of age no matter what’s going on with the sun or light schedules, and their buds are ready to harvest only a few months from seed.

Auto-flowering strains start automatically making buds (flowering) when they’re 3-4 weeks old. On average, plants are ready to harvest ~3 months from germination. Sometimes even less!

By living such a short life, Ruderalis cannabis plants were able to survive in Russia with short summers and extremely long winters. Unfortunately, just like other types of wild hemp, wild Ruderalis buds contain very low levels of THC. Wild Ruderalis plants were also very small and produced tiny amounts of bud, which might make them seem useless to cannabis growers.

Fortunately, a forward-thinking breeder realized that the auto-flowering capability and short growing period of Ruderalis strains might be useful to hobbyist cannabis growers, even though the wild Ruderalis plant wasn’t going to work all by itself. This unknown breeder started intermingling Ruderalis plants with famous strains of photoperiod (regular) cannabis in order to increase bud potency while carefully breeding plants to retain the auto-flowering capability.

These days auto-flowering strains, originally known as “Lowryders,” are found at most seed banks alongside photoperiod strains. Although the wild Ruderalis ancestors contained almost no THC and were tiny, most modern auto-flowering strains produce buds that are comparable in potency to other strains of cannabis due to many generations of diligent breeding.

The best modern auto-flowering strains have been bred to produce bigger and denser buds than the original Ruderalis plants. Buds have also been bred to be as potent as photoperiod strains.

Genetics Make a Huge Difference with Auto-Flowering Strains

The original Ruderalis ancestors stayed small and weren’t potent, as were the original auto-flowering strains, so the breeding history of an auto-flowering strain is crucially important.

As breeders have been able to make more specialized strains, they’ve tailored the effects and growth patterns for different needs and purposes. As a result, each strain grows differently, just like with photoperiod strains. That’s why it’s always a good idea to read the breeder’s description of a strain when buying seeds. Some auto-flowering strains get particularly tall, while others tend to stay short. You’ll get the best results if you match your strains to both your setup and each other!

These two auto-flowering plants are the same age and were grown in the same setup! Genetics makes a huge difference to your final results, so it’s important to pick the right auto-flowering strain for your goals! The small plant is White Widow Auto & the huge plant is Onyx Auto.

The following two autoflowering plants are also the same age (70 days from germination) and grown in the same environment. One plant stopped growing and started making buds after just a few weeks, resulting in a tiny plant with one bud that is just about ready to harvest already. The other plant kept growing for almost 2 months before budding in earnest, which means the plant is far bigger but the buds still need a lot more time before they’ll be ready to harvest.

These two auto-flowering plants are also the same age and and grown in the same environment! The small plant is Auto Chemdawg & the huge plant is Super Lemon Haze Auto.

I hope these two examples help show why it’s important to get the right auto-flowering strain for your goals and setup! If you want a small, fast plant you won’t be happy with your results if you purchase a tall strain, or vice versa.

Because of their short vegetative stage and lifespan, in general most auto-flowering cannabis strains tend to stay relatively short, and are ready for harvest around 3 months from germination.

The really exciting part is the auto-flowering world is evolving quickly. More and more breeders continue making new auto strains. We’re starting to see better and better yields, more nuanced potency, and a lot more variation when it comes to harvest times, plant size and growth rates.

Auto-Flowering vs. Traditional Cannabis Strains

Unlike traditional (referred to as photoperiod) strains, autos don’t need any special kind of light schedule to “tell” the plant to start budding. With a photoperiod strain, a cannabis plant needs 12+ hours of darkness a day to initiate flowering.

When growing photoperiod cannabis plants outside, flowering naturally begins when the days get shorter. For outdoor growers, this means that plants must be planted in the spring, and they grower must choose strains that will finish in time before winter.

Indoor growers cultivating photoperiod strains can initiate flowering at will by giving plants longer dark periods (usually by putting their grow lights on a timer). For indoor growers, this means the grower needs to make a light-proof grow space to allow for 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness each day while the plants are flowering.

For an auto-flowering cannabis plant, a grower doesn’t have to worry about light schedules. Each auto-flowering plant starts blooming after a few weeks no matter what light schedule is provided. For outdoor auto growers, there’s no need to match up the strain with your local time zone or plant at the perfect time – simply plant autos when you know you have at least 2-3 months of warm, sunny weather.

When growing auto-flowering plants outdoors, you don’t need to worry about light schedules. You just need to ensure your plant will have 3 months of warm weather (above 60°F) and your climate is likely suitable to grow auto-flowering plants. These auto-flowering plants were ready to harvest before summer was even over:

For all growers in a hurry to harvest, an auto-flowering plant will almost certainly be ready to harvest more quickly than any other type of cannabis strain.

How long until harvest?

Auto-Flowering

Generally, autos are ready to harvest sooner than photoperiod plants. Most autos are ready to harvest 2-3 months after being sprouted from seed.

For the first few weeks, autos (auto-flowering plants) only make vegetative growth – stems and leaves. After their short “vegetative stage” ends, the plant will start making buds and continue to grow taller even while their buds are forming.

It’s only until a few weeks before harvest that most auto-flowering plants stop growing “up and out.” At this point, auto-flowering plants put all their energy into fattening buds, and buds can gain substantial weight during the last few weeks.

When purchasing auto seeds, good breeders will be able to tell you how long the strain will take until harvest. It’s important to note that most strain breeders will tend to provide the shortest time frame they can, and many autos will produce better yields and higher potency if left for a week or two (sometimes even three) longer than recommended.

How do I know when to harvest my plants? – Basically in addition to the visual appearance of buds, you can look at your buds under a magnifier to know exactly when to harvest for top THC potency.

Photoperiod

Photoperiod strains usually take longer to harvest than autos. In general, photoperiod strains are ready to harvest 3-4+ months after being sprouted from seed, though the final time depends heavily on your grow style and which strain you choose. Even photoperiod plants flowered from seed tend to take longer than an auto-flowering plant to be ready to harvest, and the yields are much lower. Photoperiod plants do best when given some time in the vegetative stage before they start flowering, and aren’t as well suited to quick harvests.

Auto-Flowering vs Photoperiod: Which Yields More?

Auto-Flowering Strains

Autos generally yield up to about 4 ounces of bud per plant when taken care of throughout their life, but the amount of bud produced has a lot to do with the grow setup.

Many growers end up yielding 1-2 ounces per auto or even less, especially if starting with poor genetics or when using a sub-par lighting setup. Like all cannabis plants, autos need a lot of light to produce good yields!

In some cases, growers with a lot of experience, great starting genetics and perfect conditions can yield up to 6 ounces per auto-flowering plant or more.

For example this indoor Dutch Passion AutoMazar plant yielded above 900g (more than 30 ounces of dried bud) from just one plant under about 1000W worth of light. Normal yield for this strain is about 100g, so this – admittedly extreme example – demonstrates what a great setup and grow experience can do for your yields!

When considering yields, it’s important to remember that one of the advantages of growing auto-flowering cannabis strains is most growers can produce several harvests a year (since the lifespan of each auto plant is very short).

Photoperiod Strains

Photoperiod strains can have a lot more variation in yields than auto-flowering plants. This is due to the fact that photoperiod growers have a lot more control over the size and shape of the plant, which in turn has a huge effect on yields.

Outdoors, your yields depend a lot on your climate. Warm and sunny weather with many hours of light a day will produce plants with bigger yields.

Indoors, generally your setup is the biggest determining factor of your yields.

Which is more potent? What about smell and taste?

While there are currently fewer auto-flowering strains to choose from, the potency for autos and photoperiod cannabis plants is comparable. Auto-flowering buds are not significantly less potent.

However, one major difference is that many auto-flowering strains tend to have higher amounts of CBD in their buds than photoperiod strains (because Ruderalis plants are high-CBD). CBD is a cannabinoid that is known for having medical properties as well as reducing anxiety.

But in general, a modern “Blue Cheese” auto has been bred to have similar bud characteristics as a “Blue Cheese” photoperiod plant.

Things have come a long way since the original low-potency “Lowryder” auto plants!

Smell, Taste and Visual Appeal – When it comes to smell & taste, the same rules apply. While there are fewer auto-flowering strains to choose from (though the list is growing each day), the smell and taste of each strain is similar to their photoperiod counterparts.

The one visual difference I’ve seen is that auto-flowering buds tend to be a little bit leafier (grow more leaves among the buds) than photoperiod strains, which means they may need a little extra care during trimming to get rid of all the leaves.

It’s important to note that some photoperiod strains grow in the same way, and I don’t believe that extra leaves during the budding process is necessarily a bad thing. If anything, the extra leaves seem to power the growth of buds, causing them to swell up more in a smaller amount of time and less light that photoperiod strains.

Are auto-flowering strains better for medical marijuana?

An important characteristic for medical marijuana patients is that auto-flowering buds tend to contain higher levels of CBD than photoperiod strains.

CBD is a cannabinoid that is known for having medical and anti-anxiety properties. Most photoperiod strains these days are high THC, low CBD, and it can be hard to find high-CBD photoperiod strains. Learn more about THC vs CBD.

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This makes auto-flowering buds an attractive choice for some medical marijuana patients who are looking for higher CBD cannabis strains. There are also auto-flowering strains that are bred principally to be high in CBD. It’s difficult for many growers get clones of one of the famous high-CBD photoperiod strains, and auto-flowering strains can make it easier for some patients to get access to CBD.

When I grew auto-flowering strains, the buds felt more medicinal (as opposed to recreational) than the majority of strains I’ve grown. Even in higher doses, the effects weren’t as “racing” as some of the really high-THC, low CBD strains. The buds all made me feel very pleasant and helped melt away stress, without being overwhelming. I think some people might actually prefer the effects of auto-flowering buds, even if they’re not patients, and I believe autos may be a great choice for some medical marijuana patients.

How big will each plant get?

Auto-Flowering

Autos tend to stay short naturally. In fact, in most conditions it is difficult to produce very large auto-flowering plants because they have such a short lifespan. They only grow bigger for about 1-2 months. The rest of their lives are spent fattening buds.

On average, autos grow 1-4 feet tall by harvest time; generally, auto-flowering plants will stay under 4 feet in height. The final height of each auto depends a lot on the strain you choose and whether you provide enough light. You can also use some non-stressful plant training methods like bending tall branches over (low stress training) to help prevent stretchy autos from getting too tall.

Photoperiod

Do autos need a special light schedule to start making buds?

Do auto strains needs a special light schedule? In a way, yes!

Autos Should Get 18-24 Hours of Light a Day for the Best Yields

Why are light schedules important anyway?

Auto-Flowering Strains

Auto-flowering strains will automatically start flowering (making buds) after around 3-4 weeks, a time period dependent on the specific strain. You cannot change this; autos will automatically start flowering due to an internal countdown. After they start making buds, they will stay in the flowering stage until harvest time. Harvest is usually 2-3 months from seed and depends almost completely on the strain.

Therefore, with auto-flowering plants, there is no special light schedule “needed.” The grower does not need periods of darkness to initiate the flowering stage and get plants to bud properly. You can grow an auto-flowering plant from seed to harvest even if you were giving just 12 hours or even 8 hours of light a day and it will still make buds and be ready to harvest. However, to get the best yields you want to take advantage of the fact that you can give autos a lot of light each day since more light each day = more growth = bigger yields.

One advantage of this internal timeclock is that auto-flowering strains can be grown outdoor in a city environment where the ambient light at night may be too bright for photoperiod plants to be able to make buds. Autos don’t care if they’re exposed to light at night. This can also be used in warm climates to get plants to grow outside the normal growing season. For example, as long as it’s warm enough you could start a plant in April outside and it will be ready to harvest by July, which is much sooner than you’ll be able to harvest any photoperiod plant (all of which are ready to harvest in mid to late Fall).

Note: The auto-flowering internal clock is why it’s recommended to never take clones from auto-flowering strains – clones will be on the same time clock as their mother. Learn more about why it’s not recommended to take clones from auto-flowering plants.

Photoperiod Strains

Photoperiod strains need to be on a 12-12 light schedule to initiate flowering. When growing outdoors, photoperiod plants naturally start making buds as winter approaches and days grow short. However, most indoor growers put their grow lights on a timer to initiate and maintain a 12-12 light schedule during the flowering stage until harvest. This need for uninterrupted darkness is why it’s important to create a light-proof growing environment when growing photoperiod plants indoors.

The term “12-12” stands for 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark each day, and it “tells” photoperiod plants to enter the flowering stage and make buds. During their daily dark period, photoperiod plants need to receive complete darkness without interruption. This light schedule initiates flowering, and must be maintained throughout the entire flowering stage until harvest.

If photoperiod plants receive too much light each day, or are exposed to light during their dark period, they will either produce hermies (bad) or revert back to the vegetative stage (stop making buds). If you will be unable to provide complete darkness to your plants during their night period, it’s recommended that you choose to get an auto-flowering strain, which isn’t affected by light at night.

Are Autos Easier to Grow?

Auto-Flowering Strains

In some ways, auto-flowering strains are more simple to grow than photoperiod strains, but there are some additional considerations. For example autos do poorly if the grower runs into major problems during the beginning of the grow because an auto jumps straight into the flowering stage even it’s not doing so hot.

The auto-flowering White Widow plant pictured to the right is sick and stunted. Because of the auto-flowering nature of this strain, the grower was unable to nurture the plant back to health before the flowering stage began. In this picture, the plant is 2.5 months old (started from seed like all autoflowering plants), and the buds are nearing their harvest window even though they’re still small and airy. As a result, the total yields from this plant will be very low (just a few grams). This can be discouraging as the grower must start over with a new seed in order to try for a bigger harvest.

Autoflowering strains begin making buds and continue on their short internal time-clock regardless of their health. If you make a lot of mistakes, you will not have time to remedy the plant and you may end up with a small stunted plant.

On the flip side, if your grow doesn’t go as well as planned, at least it will be harvest time in just 2-3 months, you’ll learn a lot, and you’ll have the opportunity to try again. That being said, autos are essentially very simple and a first-time grower can easily get a great harvest on their very first grow. Plus, auto-flowering plants (and cannabis plants in general) are hardy! As long as you give them basic care, they will reward you!

Photoperiod Strains

Photoperiod plants are able to recover from major growing problems in the vegetative stage when grown indoors because the grower can give the plants as much time as needed to recover before switching plants over to the flowering stage.

In some instances, photoperiod strains of cannabis may be easier to grow indoors if you are a new grower because you can give yourself as much time as to fix problems in the vegetative stage. During this stage, cannabis plants are hardy and can easily bounce back from problems. Even if you make a lot of mistakes, you can still get big yields because unlike with autoflowering strains you are in control of when the flowering stage begins.

Once the flowering cycle is initiated, your plants are more “set” as far as their overall health and structure. Once a cannabis plant starts budding, there is basically a countdown until buds are ready to harvest just like autos (this amount of time is mostly based on the strain). Though the plant may have an initial last “stretch” of vegetative growth when the light cycle is first changed over, as the plant approaches harvest towards the end of the flowering stage, almost all growth halts except for the development of bigger buds.

Are autos better for growing outdoors?

Auto-Flowering Strains

Auto plants are suitable for growing outdoors in almost any climate that has at least 2-3 months of warm, sunny weather every year.

Requirements for growing auto-flowering strains outdoors are pretty simple…

  • Lots of direct light each day. Auto plants should receive 5+ hours of direct light each day. More is better. In general, more light = bigger yields.
  • 2-3 months of warm, sunny weather. When planting seeds, you should ensure that the weather will stay warm and sunny for at least 2-3 months from when the seed is first planted.

Photoperiod Strains

When growing photoperiod plants outdoors, it’s important to make sure you plant your seeds at the right time and choose a strain that is suitable for your climate.

When growing photoperiod strains outdoors…

  • Plant in Spring. Photoperiod plants need to be planted outdoors in late Spring, after days have grown long enough to support a vegetative stage. It’s safe to put plants outside in late April for the Northern Hemisphere, and late October for the Southern Hemisphere.
  • You can start plants indoors. Photoperiod plants can be started indoors if it’s too cold to put plants outside during your spring, or if you would like to grow bigger plants than would normally be possible in your local environment. Just make sure indoor plants get at least 14+ hours of light each day.
  • Choose the right photoperiod strain for your climate. A strain suited to your environment needs to be chosen with your climate in mind to ensure that buds are ready to harvest before winter. What this means is you need to ensure the strain’s “flowering stage” is short enough for your climate. The length of a photoperiod strains flowering stage is primarily determined by genetics; outdoor photoperiod plants will start flowering when days grow short as winter approaches. It’s important that you choose a strain with a flowering period short enough to allow buds to mature before it gets too cold or rainy. Cannabis plants cannot survive freezing temps or torrential rain, so you need to choose a strain that will be ready to harvest before winter sets in. Generally, “Indica” strains have a shorter flowering stage and are more suited to colder climates with short summers. “Sativa” strains are more likely to have longer flowering stages, and are better suited to warm climates with long, sunny summers.
  • Make sure photoperiod cannabis plants are not exposed to light during their night period. When growing photoperiod plants outdoors, being exposed to light at night can prevent them from flowering, or cause them to have other problems. While moonlight or starlight won’t bother your plants, it’s important they’re not grown near spotlights, street lights, or other bright sources of light at night.

Can I use plant training methods on auto-flowering strains?

Can I Top an Auto? (full article with instructions)

Auto-flowering strains respond well to very light low stress training (LST) such as bending the plants to “open up” lower branches to light.

Bend too-tall branches down and away from the center of your plant

Plant training is a tactic that helps cannabis growers increase yields indoors by exposing more buds to strong, direct light from the grow light.

When training autos, the idea is to use bending to open up the plant so it grows flat and wide

A view from the side so you can see how those plants were trained to grow flat and wide

Training allows all the bud sites to grow directly under the light, so they get as big as possible

Many growers do not recommend exposing autos to plant training methods that involve cutting the plant (topping, FIMing, main-lining, etc.) as the autoflowering vegetative stage is short and plants often don’t have enough time to recover before they begin flowering.

Because of the quick time schedule, it is important to avoid stressing auto-flowering plants during their grow because the plants don’t have time to recover from problems.

However, when plants are fast-growing and healthy, many growers defoliate, top or FIM their plants with great results. When is it okay to top an auto?

Photoperiod

Since photoperiod plants can be forced to remain in the vegetative stage for as long as the grower wants, a grower can take advantage of a variety of plant training methods to shape/train the plant during the vegetative stage, including LST, topping, FIMing, main-lining, ScrOG, etc.

Training methods along with a properly timed light schedule can be used to produce very small or very large plants…whatever the grower wants!

Can I clone auto-flowering plants?

Auto-Flowering Strains

A clone is when you take a cutting of a plant and allow the cutting to grow into its own plant. Autoflowering cannabis plants cannot be cloned effectively because new clones are on the same internal “time clock” as their mother, and therefore any clone taken from her will die when she dies.

Because of this, auto-flowering clones live short lives and most growers strongly recommend against cloning auto strains because they stay extremely small and will not live long enough to produce good yields.

While autos can’t be used to make clones, it is possible to make seeds using a male to pollinate a female auto-flowering plant.

Photoperiod Strains

Photoperiod plants can be cloned, which means that a grower can continue to make more and more plants from a single seed. Cloning is a great way to get unlimited free plants which are almost exactly the same as each other.

So, You Want to Grow an Auto-Flowering Plant!

Which breeders can I trust for good auto-flowering seeds?

Which breeders can I trust for good auto-flowering seeds? These auto breeders have dedicated themselves to developing auto-flowering strains in particular, and have gained popularity for their consistency and quality.

Some Excellent Auto-Flowering Cannabis Breeders:

There are many other great breeders that offer auto-flowering seeds, but the breeders listed are known for breeding some of the best auto seeds when it comes to ease of growth, potency and yields. Let us know if there’s an auto-flowering cannabis breeder we should add to this list!

Pictures of Auto-Flowering Plants

Now here are some pictures of Autos (by various breeders and growers) to help give you an idea of what to expect when growing an autoflowering strain of cannabis.

From left to right: Dinafem Critical Jack, Dinafem Sour Diesel, Dutch Passion Blue AutoMazar

Using a small 250W HPS light, I harvested 190.4 grams, or about 6.7 ounces, between the three plants. This was my first auto-flowering grow and I was blown away by the yields, the time-to-harvest and especially the potency!

Lowryder Original
by hypermx

This was the final height of a “Lowryder” auto plant grown in a very sunny window. Lowryders tend to stay the smallest of almost all auto-flowering strains. This plant ended up having very small yields because it was grown in a window. It’s difficult to find a window that gets 5+ hours of direct sunlight each day, and generally it’s recommended that most growers avoid growing in a window if they want to get decent yields.

These are my 4 x Fastbud #2´s (this strain has now been bred into Ice Cool Auto, which may be even better). I chopped 2 a couple of nights ago and the others today. Day 65 from seed under a mixture of 400 & 600W HPS.

I´m a bit confused by this strain. The buds are quite skinny but they have weight to them and are dense as f*ck. Took a sample and quick dried and it’s a really nice smoke. Comes on really buzzy, then mellows out and gives mad munchies.

They smell incredible. Fruity and sweet, and they are very sticky.

Total dry weight for the 4 plants was 145g plus about 25g popcorn so around 6 oz in total.

View full album by Santacabrera here:
http://imgur.com/a/MndDF

These are pics of my Black Cream autos that are coming down early next week. They could come down now, but I haven´t got time to do it this weekend.

Note: Autos by Nirvana are marked with a plus + sign.

Grown in a Space Bucket using FFOF (Fox Farms Ocean Forest) soil, Big Bloom Nutes, 1 gallon bucket, 135watt cfls, inside a Spacebucket.

The pics show the plant just before harvest on Day 62. (it probably could of went 2 more days but too late now). It was untrained. I wanted to see how she grew naturally in the bucket to see how I would need to adjust for the next grow. I was going to dry the bud in the spacebucket about there was just way too much to fit all the bud in the bucket with good ventilation and space.

She had really close nodes and it shows in my opinion! From day one I kept the plant right on the lights and just lowered them down in the bucket as she grew. I think that help keep the plant from stretching which was perfect in the bucket!

View full harvest album by -Johnny5-: http://imgur.com/a/sp7SZ

Note: Autos by Nirvana are marked with a plus + sign

Grown in a Space Bucket. From the Grower: These f*cking SpaceBuckets are awesome. Finally, Day 75, I pulled this plant down for harvest. She smells so freaking good it’s ridiculous. Berry/fruity type of smell, really sweet. She “was” standing at just around 18 inches. Grown in a 1 gallon pot, with FFOF (Fox Farms Ocean Forest Soil) and Big Bloom Nutes. This plant received around 134 cfl watts for 18 hours a day. ZERO Training! (will train the next grow, she was hitting the top of the bucket). The pic on the right is the main cola up close.

This is my second grow but my first grow with auto flowering plants. I have the lights set on 18:6. They are in 5 gallon pots with Promix soil. I am also using technaflora nutrients.

Final yield was about 1.5 ounces.

White Widow Auto by Pyramid Seeds
by GorillaMass

  • Grow Lights: used a total of 6 CFLs, two on each side plus two under the reflector lamp. 6 x 23w 6500K for veg. and 6 x 23w 2700K for flower.
  • Happy Frog Soil
  • FloraNova Grow/Veg and Bloom Nutrients
  • 2 Honeywell fans

Light Schedule is 20 on and 4 off (20-4). Used that light schedule for the whole grow. This is my first time growing. The plant ended up being just under 2 feet tall at harvest. Harvested on day 67 from seed.

View full harvest album by GorillaMass: http://imgur.com/a/43VNJ

Simple grow guide for growing auto-flowering plants in soil

This simple guide to growing autos indoors uses…

Extra Growing Tips for Autos

Low to Medium Nutrient Needs

Whether you grow in soil, coco coir, or a full hydroponic setup, auto plants tend to prefer relatively low levels of nutrients compared to many other cannabis strains.

When it comes to adding extra bottled nutrients, start at ¼ strength of the recommended dose or less, and only add higher levels of nutrients if needed. In hydro use “vegetative” nutrients until you see the first signs of flowering (pistils / white hairs) around 3-4 weeks. In good soil, you don’t need to add any nutrients during the vegetative stage. After the first signs of buds, start adding “flowering” nutrients at very low strength (¼ or less to start)

Potted Auto Plants

Potted auto plants tend to do best in an airy potting mix with lots of drainage (plenty of drainage holes, and something like perlite to help add more drainage to your growing medium). This helps makes sure roots get plenty of oxygen so plants grow as fast as possible.

If growing in soil avoid choosing a “hot” (lots of nutrients) soil mix. BioBizz Lightmix soil or Fox Farms Happy Frog are good choices that don’t have too many nutrients to start. With any soil mix, it’s recommended to add about 30% extra perlite for increased drainage.

Size & How to Control Height of Auto-Flowering Plants

The final size of your auto plants is largely dependent on the strain you get. Some strains, such as Lowryders, have been bred to grow extremely short – less than 1-2 feet. Other strains can grow taller, up to 4 feet tall or even more.

As a general rule of thumb, auto plants tend to double or triple in size from when they first start showing signs of flowering/budding (usually when plants are about 3 weeks old from seed).

There are also some plant training methods that are effective for giving you more control over the final size and shape of your auto-flowering plants.

The most important thing to remember with autos is to avoid using any plant training method that involves cutting the plant. When reading about cannabis training techniques that involve cutting the plant such as topping, FIMing, or main-lining, please remember that these techniques were developed for photoperiod plants and are not well-suited to auto-flowering strains.

Instead, the best way to control height and size with autos is to use low stress training (LST) which involves bending tall branches and using gardening wire or soft ties to hold down the branches.

Here’s a great LST example by Santacabrera showing how to gently bend the middle colas of an auto-flowering plant down and away from the center without cutting or harming the plant.

Bend too-tall branches down and away from the center of your plant

When growers LST auto-flowering strains of cannabis, the general idea is to gently pull branches away from the middle of the plant, so that the plant looks like a star when viewed from above. This helps expose the lower branches to more light, while also keeping plants short. It’s important to only bend stems that are young, when they’re still soft and flexible. Older stems become woody and hard to bend.

This technique can be used on auto plants that are getting too tall for your setup, or for any stem that is growing taller than all the others. Most indoor growers want to keep a flat, even canopy when growing indoors to get the most from their grow lights.

Best Light Schedule for Autos

Most indoor growers report getting great growth rates when keeping light schedules on an 18/6 light schedule (18 hour of light and 6 hours of dark each days). 20/4 is another popular light schedule for indoor auto plants. Some growers will give 24 hours of light to auto plants, but others believe that auto plants develop better when given at least a few hours of darkness each day.

When growing autos outdoors, basically you just want to give your plants as much direct sunlight as you can each day. Other than that, you don’t need to worry about light schedules When growing outdoors, more hours of direct sunlight = bigger yields. It is almost impossible to give plants too much light when growing outdoors (as long as heat is under control).