4 Stages of growth in fast forward
Autoflowering cannabis cultivation always starts from seed. Let’s be perfectly clear and get this straight from the outset, you can’t crop autos from clones. Sure, you can take a cutting from a mature autoflowering plant and probably get it to take root too. But that little shrub will never grow to a decent size because it will transition to bloom too soon for you to bring more than a snack sized bud to harvest a few weeks later. This can be a fun botanical experiment or a novelty ganja gift for a friend but never a proper cannabis plant.
Timing is everything when you grow autoflowering cannabis. Just like photoperiod cannabis you can expect the same 4 stages of growth as follows: germination, seedling, vegetative and flowering. However, autos will race from seed to harvest and fly through each stage like a photoperiod plant in fast forward. On average contemporary autoflowering strains have a 60-90 day lifecycle.
TO TRANSPLANT OR NOT TO TRANSPLANT?
The paper towel method should deliver tap roots from split seeds in just 2 days. Many commentator’s will suggest you stick the germinated seeds directly into dirt or just whack them in straight out of the pack and into soil, but that’s not the best way to get your autos off to a strong start. Instead carefully insert germinated seeds in some peat jiffy’s or root riot cubes for the duration of the seedling stage. Shortly thereafter, sometime between day 7-10, when you can see healthy root development, is the moment you should make your first and final transplant into a bigger pot. A propagator is an essential piece of kit to keep the RH high and avoid sluggish seedling growth.
Time is always the key factor and there is not a day to waste. As soon as your autoflowering cannabis seeds germinate the clock is counting down to harvest day. Its so important to make sure you nurture your seedlings because there really is no time for them to recover from a botched transplant. Early delays will come back to haunt you when it’s time to harvest. Mistakes will cost you marijuana when you grow autos.
WHAT SIZE CONTAINER?
The optimal size container for autoflowering plants is the 10l-25l range, so a 15l smart pot is perfect whether you plan to grow your weed indoors or outdoors. Smaller more indica-dominant modern autoflowering hybrids are pretty squat, branchy and rarely exceed 60cm in height, although some have a stick of bud growth pattern and are best suited to a SOG or high-density farming. Bigger more sativa influenced super autos can stretch taller and peak close to 1.5m tall, of course there are plenty of pint-sized sativa-dominant autos available these days too. The majority of indica-sativa autoflowering hybrids will max out between 60cm-1.2m tall. Oversized containers are really not required. Remember these babies are not just more compact than traditional photoperiod cannabis they will accelerate through the stages of their lifecycle.
CAN YOU PRUNE AND TRAIN AUTOFLOWERING STRAINS?
The short answer is yes. Modern autoflowering cannabis has evolved so far beyond the disappointing Lowryders of the past it’s like trying to compare Homo sapiens sapiens with a lemur. You absolutely can let your green fingers work their magic on most contemporary autoflowering cannabis strains. The one possible exception being intensive combinations of multiple pruning and training techniques like those involved in main-lining.
However, there is nothing to stop even a beginner grower dabbling with some LST and/or Topping to increase yields. And grand masters can certainly fill out a ScrOG even faster with the right autoflowering genetics.
WHAT TRIGGERS AUTOS TO BLOOM?
In general, modern autoflowering strains will flower on or before they hit day 30. That’s 30 days post germination. But this is not always the case. Indoors under the preferred 20/4 or 18/6 light cycles this should prove to be accurate. In contrast outdoor growers are likely to experience greater variance. Spring conditions tends to prolong vegetative growth to closer to day 40. With just 13 hours of daylight progress is a little slower and overall plant size reduced. Summertime crops are almost always bigger and better as plants benefit from more intense sunlight for 16-18 hours per day. And even autumn auto crops can be impressive although not quite as bulky as the summer stash.
Autoflowering cannabis is genetically pre-programmed when to flower. Pot size seems to have no impact. Reduced hours of daylight don’t trigger them like 12/12 does for photoperiods. In fact, with as little as 6 hours of sun light per day or continuous 24 artificial illumination an auto can survive and progress through each growth stage and will not transition to bloom until its genetics activate flowering.
WHY YOU SHOULD GROW AUTOFLOWERING CANNABIS?
Autoflowering cannabis is awesome. High THC, CBD-rich, and diverse terpene profile varieties can all be found in contemporary autoflowering cannabis seed collections. Outstanding feminized autoflowering cannabis seeds are already delighting growers across Europe with high-grade homegrown. It’s about time you grew the cannabis of the future and discovered the potential of autoflowering cannabis.