Tips to get the best yield from your autoflowering cannabis plants
Autoflowering cannabis plants are something of a hot trend in the world of weed cultivation. They flower rapidly and can produce a fantastic crop, so it is obvious to see why. However, there are also plenty of horror stories out there, even from experienced growers, whose first attempts at cultivating autoflowering cannabis have ended with scrawny plants and few viable buds. Follow these simple steps and you’ll have a harvest to be proud of.
Prepare to succeed
Benjamin Franklin famously said that when we fail to prepare, we prepare to fail. Was he talking about how to grow weed? We’ll leave that for the historians to debate, but preparation is essential for autoflowers, as the rapid grow time means you’ll end up in trouble if you try to do things on the hoof. Soil, nutrients, lights, ventilation – have them all in place before you plant and always be thinking a week or two ahead.
Some people like to start their seeds in one container and then move them when they start to grow. That works ok with photoperiod plants, but with autoflowers, you are best off planting them in the container that the final plants will finish in. Again, it is all down to time. Transplantation inevitably results in a degree of shock, and you just don’t have the luxury of a spare week for them to get over it.
Monitor pH closely
pH levels are important for any cannabis plant, but they are absolutely critical with autoflowers. In fact, pH imbalance is the most common cause when something goes wrong. This is particularly the case with hydroponics, where you should aim for a pH as close to 6 as possible. If you are growing in soil, it needs to be a bit higher at around 6.5. Stray more than 0.5 from those targets and the yield will inevitably be affected.
Don’t kill with kindness
We’ve all seen those well-meaning mothers stuffing their portly children with candy. Keep that image in mind when dealing with the nutrients for your beloved plants and don’t overdo it. Autoflowers have smaller roots than photoperiod plants, so you need to adjust your feeding schedule accordingly to avoid nutrient burn. Start with half or even a quarter of what’s recommended and see how the plant responds. As a wise man once said, you can always put more in, but you can’t take it out.
Get the light right
The great myth about autoflowers is that you “don’t have to worry about the lighting.” It’s true that they are far more adaptive to different light conditions, but for an optimum yield, you need optimum light. That equates to 18/6, which means 18 hours of light to six of darkness. If you are growing outside, 12/12 is fine, as you can’t beat natural sunlight. For indoor cultivation, LEDs are the best option. The plants will love them, and you’ll thank yourself for making the investment when you see the reduced electricity bill. Good luck!