How To Get The Biggest Yields With Autoflowering Cannabis
Autoflowers have finally earned the respect they deserve. More importantly, they have earned a place in your grow room. With our guide to achieving maximum yields, you will crop the biggest harvest possible from your autoflowers!
TAKING AUTOFLOWERING CANNABIS YIELDS TO THE LIMIT
Autoflowers grow blazingly fast and don’t rely on light hours to enter bloom. As they make growing weed a lot more convenient, autoflowering strains have become very popular as more high-quality strains appear on the market.
There are several things growers can do to encourage bigger yields from their autoflowers.
1. START AUTOFLOWERS IN THEIR FINAL CONTAINERS
Autoflowering cannabis will race from seedling to stash in a quick 60–90 days. When autos are stressed too much or their growth is otherwise slowed, they will still bloom at the same time, and your yields will suffer.
To max out yield, you should sow seeds directly into their final containers. Alternatively, you can germinate them using the paper towel method (or whatever your preferred germination method may be) and then put them straight into large pots. A healthy root zone must be fostered early.
2. USE BIGGER POTS
The bigger the pot, the more the roots will develop and the bigger your plant will be. If you constrain it in a pot that’s too small, your plant’s development and production will be reduced. It is recommended that you use 15–20-litre pots to maximise results without overwhelming your plants. A pot that is too big will be a waste of substrate and fertiliser.
3. CONSIDER POT MATERIAL
A healthy and strong root system means healthy plants with great yields. Consider “smart pots”, like the RQS fabric pot, to give you an advantage in this domain. With their ability to prevent plants from becoming root bound, fabric pots are better for overall development.
In addition, fabric pots make it nearly impossible to overwater your cannabis as they facilitate excellent drainage.
4. USE AN AIRY GROWING MEDIUM
Autoflowers grow fast and vigorously, and have only a limited time to do so. Because of that, you want to support their growth in every way possible. A loose and airy growing medium makes it easier for your autoflowers to develop a strong root system.
If the substrate is too compact, you can make it suitable for autoflowers by adding some perlite and coco coir. See our article here for more tips on the best soil for your autoflowers.
5. ADD A ROOT STIMULANT
Another way to support root development is by adding a root stimulant. One good way to do this is by introducing beneficial fungi into your growing medium. Mycorrhizal fungi increase nutrient and water uptake, protect plants from disease, and generally encourage an optimal growing environment.
Easy Roots – Mycorrhiza Mix
6. START SEEDLINGS INDOORS
Whether you are planning an indoor or an outdoor grow, make sure to start your seedlings indoors.
As you and your plants are on the clock from day one, you want to ensure your seedlings root well. A cool white CFL, appropriate LED, or even a sunny windowsill are adequate. Just make sure vegetative growth goes smoothly; ready or not, your autoflowers will bloom on schedule.
7. SUPPORT PLANT STRUCTURE
Staking or plant support of some kind may be needed to keep your plants upright and their buds healthy.
There are several ways you can go about this. Bamboo stakes and strings, trellis netting, or tomato plant cages can all be used to help a plant carry its heavy load. If you want more tips, see this article on five ways to support heavy buds.
8. OPT FOR 18 HOURS OF LIGHT
Opinions differ on whether keeping plants under a constant 24-hour light cycle is beneficial. 18/6 is still the most common, and will save you money on energy.
Indeed, you could potentially grow them with less light, but we are aiming for a huge harvest, so you’ll want to provide them with as many lumens as possible. More light, more buds. Easy.
When grown outdoors, your autoflowers will thrive in the fine summer weather. Sunlight for 18 hours is not essential because Mother Nature’s grow lamp is infinitely more powerful than any artificial bulb.
9. USE REVERSE OSMOSIS WATER
Your water may be fluoridated or chlorinated, or may contain other impurities that hinder healthy microbial growth in the soil. In short, if your domestic water is unsuitable for drinking, it won’t do good for your cannabis plants either. You can solve this by using reverse osmosis water.
Simply spoken, reverse osmosis is a filtration process that results in pure, ultra-filtered water. With this, you are in total control of the mineral profile of your water. This can benefit the growth of your plants and your yield.
10. DIAL IN NUTRIENTS AND PH
Autoflowers are usually smaller, so they drink and eat less compared to large photoperiod plants. If you’re using ordinary cannabis nutrients, a good idea is to start out with 50% or even 25% of the recommended dose.
Soil growers are advised to use lightly fertilised soil for autoflowering cannabis. Heavily fertilised soils will burn these babies. Aside from supplements like enzymes, vitamin B, and beneficial fungi, autoflowers don’t really require large doses of base nutrients during their short vegetative stage. Heck, with good-quality soil, your plants may do just fine without additional nutes all the way to harvest.
If you must add nutrients to the soil early on, do so sparingly. Generally, bloom nutrients and boosters are all that’s needed during their life cycle. Even in flowering, low to medium doses of nutrients will suffice. Over-fertilising plants is a common yield-thwarting mistake autoflower growers often make.
Easy Combo Booster Pack
If the pH is off, your plants can’t uptake nutrients even if they are present. The correct pH for your water when growing in soil is 6.0–7.0. With a few drops of pH up or down products, you can adjust your water to the correct pH window.
11. PRIORITISE CLIMATE CONTROL
Seedlings and young plants prefer a more humid environment, while flowering plants require significantly less humidity to avoid mould and rot.
At times, just a simple standing fan or leaving a window open is all that’s needed to create an optimal growing environment. If that doesn’t cut it, look into solutions such as a heater or air conditioner for your grow room.
12. USE CO₂
It is scientifically proven that plants use CO₂ as fuel for photosynthesis, and with more CO₂ in your grow space, there should be a noticeable difference in growth rate and size.
The thing is, it only makes sense to provide your plants with CO₂ if all the other conditions in your grow room are already optimal. If there are issues with temperature, humidity, water, or nutrients, address these first before looking into a more elaborate (and expensive) CO₂ system.
13. TRAIN YOUR PLANTS
Low-stress training (LST) is a non-destructive training technique that even beginners can use. As the name implies, it is a minimally invasive technique that doesn’t involve any major damage to plants.
All you do is carefully bend and tie down the stem and branches to encourage lateral growth. This way, more bud sites are exposed to your grow light, resulting in fatter nugs and bigger harvests.
If you’re an expert grower and not afraid to put a knife to your plants, you can see whether topping will work for you. Just ensure that everything else is under control before looking into these more-involved plant training techniques.
14. USE SEA OF GREEN (SOG)
The sea of green, or SOG, method involves growing many small plants in close proximity to max out space and yields. This is especially effective in otherwise small grow-ops, and there is no better candidate than autoflowering strains. Their fast growth and short stature essentially do everything for you. Plus, no pruning or excessive handling is needed.
15. USE PROGRESSIVE HARVESTING
It normally happens that the flowers at the top of the canopy mature faster than those at the bottom. Simply clip off the individual buds that are ready, and wait for the rest to ripen. Wait 1–2 weeks between each harvest and watch for signs that they’re ready to pick. Most autoflowering plants only require two cycles of progressive harvesting, but larger plants may need more.
16. DOCUMENT, REFINE, AND REPEAT
Nobody is born a master cannabis grower. To become an expert, you want to pay attention and carefully record each process used in your grow. Only this way will you notice which techniques render the best yields.
Something can always go wrong when growing cannabis. The key to high yields is swiftly and smartly identifying problems as they occur. As you refine your processes, the health and yields of your plants will improve over time.
THE TOP 5 HIGHEST YIELDING RQS AUTOFLOWERING STRAINS 2020
Perhaps more important than any other factor listed above, genetics have a huge influence on a given strain’s production potential. So, before we conclude our guide on achieving maximum yields with autoflowers, here is a list of the highest-yielding autoflowers from Royal Queen Seeds.
1. NORTHERN LIGHT AUTOMATIC
Northern Light is a legendary cannabis strain that derives from Afghan indica genetics. First bred in the 1970s US, and coming to Europe in the 80s, this indica is still a favourite among many cannabis lovers. The autoflowering variant Northern Light Automatic shines with all the goodies of the “big one”, without compromising on flavour and effect. Moreover, she is one of the highest-yielding autoflowers out there with a whopping 550g/m² indoors. She pleases with a sweet, earthy pine flavour and a cerebral effect that is happy and uplifting.
Autoflowering cannabis has come of age now both potent and productive. With our simple 10 step guide, your next autoflowering marijuana harvest will be huge.
Best Pot Size for Autoflowering Seeds
Once you have purchased your Fast Buds seeds and have germinated them, full of excitement and anticipation, next you will need to decide on the pot size, medium and location. In this article we explain the best pot size for cultivating autoflowering Cannabis from seed until harvest, which pots are best, the importance of drainage, including our top tips.
1. What To Consider Before Planting
Before you just pick any pot and throw your seedling in there, it is a good idea to consider a few variables that may help sway your decision. Thanks to the diversity of autoflowering Cannabis and how well they adapt to all climates, the options to grow one large plant, use SCROG, grow several smaller plants packed closely together, or simply plant directly into the ground are available. Each has their own benefits and are better explained below.
1-4 Large-Sized Plants (10-15 liters)
If you are limited to plant count, or grow space then deciding to grow 1-4 large-sized plants will warrant the need for big pots such as 10-15L. The bigger the pots then taller the final plant should finish once harvest time comes around.
There is no need to grow an autoflowering seed in a pot bigger than 15L, and much of the medium will not be fully utilized, as if using a 10L pot for example.
6-10 Smaller Plants (6.5-8.5 liters)
Cultivating autoflowering Cannabis in a Sea of Green setup, using the right cultivar can reward a grower with great returns. An excellent way to use up all of the growing space and work with homogenous and uniform cultivars. Smaller pots of 6.5-8.5L will be fine.
You may have smaller sized plants resulting in lower yields, however, it will make up for that with the high number of plants.
Screen Of Green (10-15 liters)
For the more adventurous grower skilled in plant training, using a screen to grow your auto-flowering plants through has advantages when increasing yields. However, the screen may limit the mobility of your plants as they will be built into a net frame.
Using Custom Soil Beds
Another alternative if you prefer not to use mobile plant pots, is to plant directly into the ground. Preferably an organic soil bed that has been specially created for cultivating autoflowering Cannabis and is teaming with microbial life.
2. It’s All About The Roots
In the gardening world there is saying that the bigger the roots then the bigger the fruits, although when discussing autoflowering Cannabis, the root growth is somewhat limited. It is during the first 3-4 weeks where auto-flowering plants will use up Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium to aid the development of photosynthesis, chlorophyll production, and anchoring a well-established root zone into the medium.
It is the root zone that is responsible for the uptake and distribution of nutrients, minerals, and the distribution of growth hormone to the rest of the plant pathways. How deep and wide the root zone is will make a huge difference in what is occurring above the soil.
3. The Importance of Drainage When Growing Autos
There are a number of qualities your pots should have, and the most basic yet often overlooked is drainage. How well your plants can drain, promoting air exchange through the root zone, and allowing the medium to dry out, will play a big role in the growth and development of the cultivar.
Hydroton is small clay balls that are a bright orange color. Traditionally used in landscape gardening, and recirculating hydroponic systems, these nutrient-free and totally inert expanded clay balls work wonders to allow water to freely pass through.
Paired with coco coir at a 50/50 ratio or used to line the bottom 1-2 inches of your pots, hydroton will increase the number of air pockets present, encouraging roots to expand outwards in search of new oxygen-rich pockets.
Inadequate drainage will cause the growing medium to become waterlogged, over time reducing the oxygen around the roots. Not only will roots suffer when this occurs, but nutrient uptake and transpiration will also temporarily cease until the preferred conditions are met.
4. Which Pots Are Best?
Fabric pots are far more beneficial than traditional plastic pots with holes in the bottom. Not only are felt pots more environmentally friendly, but they can also be easily washed, re-used, and most importantly will promote root pruning.
In the same way, topping a Cannabis plant will cause the two crown shoots to grow in replacement of the one that was topped, root hairs will do the same. This, of course, occurs in the dark, warm environment that exists in the medium when root hairs travel to the side of the pots. As they come into contact with the outside air, they will form two root hairs and then turn back until the same process takes place repeatedly.
• Root pruning will produce a far superior plant in comparison to one grown in plastic pots.
• The concern for root-bound plants that will become stunted is eliminated with felt pots.
• They can be made at home to your custom size and easily washed and cleaned between use.
5. Top Tips On Choosing The Best Pot Size
1. Decide in advance based on your space what format of growing, works to your advantage. If 1-4 large-sized plants are more practical, or if a Sea of Green has more advantages.
2. No matter if you are choosing plastic or felt, make sure the pots have been totally cleaned and sterilized to the best of your ability. Especially if re-using the pot for a second or third run.
3. Lots of smaller-sized plants will yield the same amount as fewer large-sized plants, so do not be tricked into thinking a Sea of Green is not advantageous or worthwhile.
4. Do not use more than 15 liters of medium per auto-flowering plant. It is best to work with sizes 6.5-15 liter depending on the chosen style of growing, the cultivar, and the climate you are living in.
5. If you have a sewing machine, ordering a large roll of thick felt will allow you to customize your own pots, making them the exact size and shape you prefer.
6. Adding a bottom layer of hydroton clay balls at the base of your pots will improve drainage and the exchange of oxygen around the root zone.
6. In Conclusion
There is a balance between growing in a pot size that is too small and growing into something so large that the medium, nutrients, and vital grow space are not fully being taken advantage of. Fabric pots will increase root mass, prevent air pruning, and help save the planet at the same time. Learning which autoflowering cultivars adapt better to which scenario takes time and experience and will help give you the upper hand when it comes to efficiency and productivity. For smaller sized pots we advise Zkittles Auto , Gelato Auto , and Stardawg Aut o.
Once you have purchased your Fast Buds seeds and have germinated them, full of excitement and anticipation, next you will need to decide on the pot size, medium