8 Top Tips on Growing Autoflowering Cannabis Outdoors

04 Mar 2023

Springtime is around the corner, and that means the start of the outdoor season. Autoflowering Cannabis plants are able to flower without needing 12/12 and be planted outdoors, allowing a growing to achieve perpetual harvests every 2–3 months. In this article, we provide 7 top tips to consider when planting autos, to give you the upper hand when growing outdoors in 2023.

Top Tip #1 - Fast Flowering Genetics
Depending on the genetics, autoflowering Cannabis plants will typically require between 65–100 days from seed until harvest, with sativa dominant strains requiring the longest to mature. Unless you are living in a tropical climate such as The Mediterranean or California, flowering and achieving a good-sized yield can be difficult in colder climates, especially during the earlier stages of the year. 

Our top tip here is to work with fast flowering autos that can be harvested within 9–10 weeks of planting. The advantage of using quick flowering varieties is they will produce great results in a more challenging climate, and reduce the risk of exposure to mold or powdery mildew. 

Top Tip #2 - South Facing Location
One of the most important things for an autoflowering plant is to receive as much direct sunlight as possible, consistently. This means that the pots with the autos should be kept in one location, with the South facing being the most desirable as the sun will set in this direction. 

Our top tip here is to move the pots around your terrace or garden to try and get as much light exposure as possible, but ultimately you will want the plants to face South. One thing that autos love the most is consistency, so as long as the plants are kept in a South facing spot, they will adapt the best and be exposed to the most amount of light each day.

Top Tip #3 - Avoid Repotting
Autos will have a 3-week vegetative period before their ability to flower without requiring 12/12. It is during this time that they will focus their energy on producing roots and foliage. Unlike photoperiod plants, repotting autos can cause plants to become stunted and stressed.

Our top tip here is to start your autos in large sized pots such as 15–20 liters and then to leave to grow for the entire lifecycle. You will also find there is a direct correlation between the size of the pot, the amount of sunlight the plants will receive and the overall size of the plants. 

Top Tip #4 - Poly tunnels and Greenhouses
Poly tunnels are handmade greenhouses made from plastic tubing and polystyrene plastic sheeting. They can be made into all shapes and sizes and offer protection from rain, wind and the cold snappy nighttime temperatures. Poly tunnels also offer some privacy from close by neighbors and will keep the plants in a warm and humid environment.

Our top tip here is to build your own poly tunnel and to keep it in a South facing location. The actual materials will not cost much and as long as you construct a solid frame, then the poly tunnel will last for years. Alternately, keeping the autos inside a greenhouse will also allow the plants to stay warm and well protected during their most delicate and earliest stages.


Top Tip #5 - Avoid High Stress Training
Plant training is a way of changing the shape and structure of a Cannabis plant during the vegetative stage (18/6). Using training techniques can often increase yields and the number of buds produced. Unlike photoperiod plants which can be systematically trained for up to 3–4 months at a time before being flowered, autos do not like any type of high stress training. 

Our top tip is to avoid pinching out the plants early on, and allow them to simply get as big as possible, in the largest container size. When applied high stress techniques to autos, the result will be small sized and slow growing plants with a significantly small yield.

Top Tip #6 - Feeding Nutrients
If you are new to growing autos and have decided to see what all the hype is about, then knowing what nutrients to give them and when, plays a massive role. There is not actually any need to change any dramatically in terms of nutrients and as long as you can provide them with plenty of Nitrogen during the first 3-4 weeks, then you will have a healthy and happy garden.

Our top tip is to use a feed that is for example 5-1-4 or 3-2-3 NPK value. Then once you enter week 4-5, you can then switch up flowering nutrients that will be higher in Phosphorus and Potassium, for example 3-7-8. It is also very important to flush your autos, meaning that during the final 14 days before the harvest date, you feed with plain water only to allow the plants to wash away any undissolved salts and internal nutrient reserve, enhancing the taste and a smooth and clean smoke.

Top Tip #7 - Companion Plants
If you are living in an area with neighbors close by, or simply need to keep a low profile and discreet garden, then try using companion plants. These are normal plants which can easily be sourced from a local garden center, and will allow your short and stocky autos to blend in with their surroundings. 

Our top tip here is to go to the garden center and invest in lavender, clover, dill, chamomile, mint, coriander, marigold, rosemary and thyme. These companion plants will also keep insects away and add color and camouflage to your garden, and not cost much to buy.

Top Tip #8 - Perpetual Harvests
One of the best things about working with autoflowering Cannabis, is that an experienced grower can obtain back to back harvests every 90–100 days, and is able to pull off 3 top quality harvests per year under the right conditions. Harvesting perpetually outdoors can be highly advantageous for a grower who is reliant on their indoor harvests also, allowing them to maintain a good balance and always have something to smoke. 

Our top tip here is to have a goal of planting from March until May, May until July and July until September. It is during these pinnacle months when you will achieve the best results, the most amount of sunlight and the temperature not being too cold. 

Growing autos outdoors is one of the most fun experiences you can do as a grower, and it also allows you to see how diverse this plant truly is. It can take time to dial in autoflowering plants, however once you do, the quality and quantity of the flowers produced can be top shelf. 

If you live in a hot and tropical climate, then you will have tremendous results with autos, and those who live in Europe may find better success with fast flowering autos. Good luck this year and knocking out back to back harvests of high grade medicine!