The Ultimate Guide to Growing Autoflowering Cannabis Strains
Cannabis cultivation has evolved significantly over the years, and one of the most exciting developments in the world of cannabis is the advent of autoflowering strains. These strains are highly sought after for their convenience, making them an attractive option for both novice and experienced growers. In this comprehensive guide, we explain everything you need to know about growing autoflower cannabis strains. From seed selection to harvesting, we cover all the essential aspects, including key factors like seed types, growth stages, light, nutrients, and environmental conditions.
There are various types of seeds available on the cannabis market. Below are three of the most common.
Autoflowering seeds are a type of cannabis seed that has been specifically bred to automatically switch from the vegetative growth phase to the flowering phase based on age rather than changes in light cycles. This means that autoflowering plants will start flowering after a certain number of weeks, typically around 2-4 weeks from germination, regardless of the amount of light they receive. This unique trait makes autoflowering seeds popular among growers looking for a quick and convenient way to cultivate cannabis, as they often have a shorter growth cycle and are more compact in size compared to other seed types.
Feminized seeds are cannabis seeds that have been selectively bred to produce only female plants. In cannabis cultivation, female plants are prized for their ability to produce potent, cannabinoid-rich flowers, while male plants are typically discarded as they do not produce the desired buds and can pollinate female plants, leading to seed production. Feminized seeds ensure a higher likelihood of growing an all-female cannabis crop, which is particularly important for growers who want to maximize their flower yield and avoid the complications associated with male plants.
Regular seeds are non-feminized cannabis seeds that can grow into either male or female plants. They represent the natural and unaltered genetics of the cannabis plant. When cultivating from regular seeds, growers have a 50-50 chance of getting male or female plants. This can be advantageous for breeders who wish to create new strains by crossbreeding different plants, but it requires vigilance in identifying and removing male plants to prevent unwanted pollination. Regular seeds are also favored by growers looking to maintain genetic diversity within their cannabis garden.
The autoflower strain of cannabis is relatively easy to grow but familiarizing yourself with the stages of growth in this step-by-step guide will help you map out your cultivation journey.
1. Germination and Seedling Stage
The germination process is the first step towards growing autoflower cannabis. Here, you initiate the growth of your seeds by providing them with the right conditions for sprouting. This typically takes 7-14 days, and the process can be accelerated by using techniques like pre-soaking or using a humidity dome.
Once your seeds have sprouted, they enter the seedling stage. During this period, you need to ensure they receive ample light (18-24 hours per day) to support healthy growth. Be gentle with the young plants to avoid causing stress, and monitor their moisture levels to prevent over or underwatering.
2. Vegetative Growth
Autoflowering cannabis plants quickly transition to the vegetative stage. During this phase, they grow rapidly, focusing on establishing a robust root system and healthy leaves. Pay attention to nutrient levels, humidity, and temperature to ensure optimal conditions for vegetative growth.
Balancing nutrient intake is critical during the vegetative phase. Autoflowers generally require fewer nutrients compared to photoperiod strains. Keep an eye out for signs of nutrient deficiencies, as this can lead to stunted growth and other issues. Feeding schedules should be adjusted accordingly, with a gradual increase in nutrient levels as the plants mature.
Low-stress training (LST) is a technique that involves gently bending and tying down branches to encourage lateral growth and increase light penetration. This method is ideal for autoflowers, as it allows for improved canopy development without causing undue stress.
3. Flowering Stage
The flowering stage is where the magic happens, and your autoflower cannabis plants start producing buds. Depending on the strain, flowering times typically last for a specific number of weeks, ranging from 7 to 12 weeks. Monitoring the number of weeks and the overall development of your plants is crucial for timing the harvest correctly.
Autoflowering marijuana plants thrive under a light schedule of 18-24 hours of light per day throughout their entire life cycle. Unlike photoperiod strains, they do not require a reduction in light hours to trigger flowering.
Harvesting at the right time is crucial for obtaining the desired potency and flavor of your buds. Monitor the development of trichomes to determine the optimal harvest time. Clear or cloudy trichomes indicate readiness, while amber trichomes suggest a later harvest for a more relaxing effect.
Pay close attention to the bud sites when harvesting. Remove large fan leaves to improve light penetration and airflow, but avoid removing too many leaves, as this can stress the plant.
Cultivation Tips for Autoflowering Cannabis Plants
Autoflowering cannabis seeds are popular thanks to their easy-to-cultivate genetics. However, achieving a successful harvest still requires an abundance of work and dedication. To make cannabis plant growth seamless, here are tips for cultivating cannabis:
- Choose the Right Cannabis Seeds: Start with high-quality autoflower seeds from reputable seed banks. The quality of your seeds is the foundation of a successful grow.
- Select the Appropriate Soil: Use well-draining, airy soil with good water retention. It’s crucial to maintain the right moisture levels without risking root rot.
- Consider Your Space: Autoflowering plants come in various sizes. Ensure you have enough space to accommodate the size of the strain you’ve chosen. This is essential for both indoor growers and outdoor growers.
- Understand Strain Traits: Different autoflower cannabis seeds have varying traits, including growth patterns and yields. Research your chosen strain to understand its specific needs and characteristics.
- Lighting with LED Lights: For indoor growers, invest in quality LED lights to provide the right spectrum of light for optimal growth. LED lights are energy-efficient and suitable for the entire growth cycle.
- Manage Humidity Levels: Keep a close eye on humidity levels. During the vegetative stage, aim for 40-70% humidity, reducing it gradually as plants enter the flowering stage to prevent mold.
- Training Techniques: While high-stress training is discouraged, you can use low-stress training (LST) to encourage lateral growth and improve light penetration without causing light stress. Training improved success rates so it is worth the extra time for a bountiful harvest.
- Pot Size and Planting: Choose the right pot size to accommodate the expected plant size. Avoid pots that are too large, as they can lead to overwatering and slow growth. Plant seeds directly into their final containers to minimize transplant shock.
- Nutrient Management: Maintain a balance of nutrients, avoiding both excess and deficiency. Keep a close watch for signs of nutrient lockout and adjust your nutrient solution as needed. Autoflowers often require fewer nutrients compared to other strains, but work to ensure they are still receiving the essential nutrients required.
- Harvest at the Right Time: Monitor your plants week by week to determine the optimal harvest time. Pay attention to the development of trichomes, and harvest when they reach the desired level of maturity. This will ensure larger yields and impressive quality.
Be vigilant for signs of pests, including spider mites and other insects. If pest infestations occur, consider using insecticidal soap or other appropriate treatments to protect your crop.
The risk of mold can be a serious issue, especially in high-humidity environments. Proper airflow and humidity control are crucial for preventing mold growth. Inspect your plants regularly for signs of mold and take swift action if detected.
Stunted growth can be caused by various factors, including nutrient imbalances, environmental stress, exposure to excess direct sunlight, or poor-quality seeds. Address these issues promptly to promote vigorous growth.
Buy Cannabis Seeds Online
Seed to Soul is a leading distributor of premium cannabis seeds, catering to the growing demand for high-quality strains in the market. Our company is committed to providing customers with top-of-the-line cannabis seeds from the most reputable breeders around the world.
At Seed To Soul, we believe in the potential of cannabis to improve grower’s lives, and we are passionate about helping our customers find the perfect strains to suit their needs. Whether you are a first-time grower or a seasoned veteran, we have the knowledge and expertise to guide you through the process of selecting and growing the best cannabis seeds.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, autoflower strains come in various sizes. Some are compact and ideal for stealthy or indoor grows, while others can grow larger and produce higher yields. The size often depends on the specific strain and environmental conditions.
Consider factors like size, growth speed, yield potential, flavor, and THC/CBD levels. Research the specific traits of different strains to find one that suits your preferences and growing environment.
Autoflowering plants generally require lighter nutrient schedules than photoperiod plants. Start with a milder nutrient solution and adjust as the plants grow, being cautious not to overfeed.