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how to grow autoflowering seeds outdoors

Growing Autoflowering Cannabis Outdoors

Published : Dec 23, 2019

In this guide to growing autoflowering cannabis outdoors, we’ll cover the benefits and particulars, as well as how to do it successfully. Finally, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of choosing autoflowering seeds vs feminized seeds for outdoor grows.

With each new generation of seeds, autoflowering cannabis becomes more potent, higher-yielding and better-tasting, without compromising speed. Today, most of these hybrids are just as good as photoperiod strains. This makes them extremely popular among indoor growers, and most people—including us—recommend cultivating them indoors.

However, growing autoflowering cannabis outdoors is totally doable. Use this helpful guide to learn why, how, and when to use automatic genetics outside, as well as what advantages they have over photoperiod seeds and clones.

WHY SHOULD YOU GROW AUTOFLOWERING CANNABIS OUTDOORS?

Growing autoflowering cannabis indoors gives you total control over the environmental conditions your plants are exposed to, including the total amount of light they receive each day. This is the key to consistent harvests and potency. However, there are several reasons some growers choose to cultivate automatic strains outside.

BIGGER YIELDS

Indoor growers maximise yields by packing as many plants as they can fit into their available space, as well as by increasing the amount of artificial light in their tent or grow room. Alternatively, some growers use high-stress training techniques to coax out greater harvests.

However, growing autoflowering cannabis under the sun will usually give you higher yields per individual plant. If you’ve purchased expensive automatic seeds and want to get the most out of each one, you may want to try an outdoor grow.

LESS EQUIPMENT

If you don’t have the space or the money to invest in a fully equipped grow room, growing autoflowering cannabis outside is a good idea. You’ll still have to buy good soil and nutrients, but you won’t have to factor in the cost of lighting, ventilation, or filtration.

SMALLER SIZE

Photoperiod strains can get massive outdoors. It’s not unusual for them to exceed 3m in height if the weather is warm and sunny for most of the summer. That’s fine if you don’t have to hide your grow, but it’s a major concern if you do.

Autoflowering cannabis, on the other hand, finishes so fast that it rarely has time to get taller than 1m before harvest. You can easily shield an autoflowering plant from view by placing it behind a fence or hedge. The smell might still reveal your secret garden, but you won’t have to worry as much about prying eyes.

PERFORMS WELL IN ANY CLIMATE

From the northernmost latitudes to tropical regions, growing autoflowering cannabis plants outdoors has certain advantages.

In cooler regions with short, damp summers, automatic strains ripen quickly, meaning mature buds can be harvested before an early freeze or a wet autumn. This protects your herb from loss due to rot, mildew, and mould.

In more temperate regions, you can easily reap multiple harvests per growing season when cultivating autoflowering cannabis outdoors. This practice allows you to enjoy cured herb well before any photoperiod plants begin to flower, and autumn harvests let you stock up for winter.

Of course, if you live in an area where the winters are particularly mild, or non-existent, you may be able to grow autoflowering plants outside all year long for a steady supply.

LESS RISK OF DAMAGE DUE TO MOULD OR PESTS

Because autoflowering plants have such a short lifespan, they’re less exposed to the conditions that support mould, pests, diseases, etc. This is true whether you grow inside or outside, but you have much less control in the great outdoors. If you’ve had a problem with mites, aphids, mould, powdery mildew, or bud rot when growing more traditional strains outside, give autoflowering cannabis a try.

PERFECT FOR GUERRILLA GROWS

Autoflowering strains are extremely hardy and require very little care. They don’t need to be trained, and they mature in just two months after germination, on average. That makes them perfect for guerrilla grows.

Find a remote spot that sees little traffic with good access to water, prepare the soil, and plant your autoflowering seeds. If the local wildlife likes to munch on young cannabis shoots, take precautions to shield them from damage using chicken wire or the like. After 8–9 weeks, your plants will be ready for the chop.

WHEN TO START AN OUTDOOR AUTOFLOWERING GROW

Autoflowering cannabis plants, like their photoperiod cousins, prefer strong sunlight when grown outside. They will flower even when exposed to 18–24 hours of light per day, but they need at least 10–12 hours of strong sunlight to produce good yields. Autoflowers can tolerate cold temperatures, but they’re not freeze-proof. That’s why the best time to start your outdoor autoflowering grow depends on where you live.

EXTREME NORTH

You can grow cannabis anywhere south of the North Pole, but the further north you go, the shorter the growing season will be. If you live in the far north, plant your seeds outdoors as soon as all danger of frost is over, somewhere between April and June.

If you plant your autoflowering seeds in June, you should be able to harvest in August. This timing avoids the worst of the cold, damp weather that develops as autumn approaches. By keeping the flowers as dry as possible, you minimise the risk of failure due to mould, mildew, and rot.

In the extreme north, you’ll only be able to fit one outdoor grow per season, even with autoflowering strains.

MILDER AREAS

If you grow weed a little further south, you can fit in two outdoor autoflowering grows per summer with proper planning. Start the first between late April and early May for a late July harvest. Immediately reseed, and the second crop should be ready before the end of October.

Keep an eye out for heavy fall rains and early frosts. It may be necessary to cover your second run with a tarp, buckets, or other protective material to protect the fragile flowers from harm in the last week or two.

MEDITERRANEAN REGIONS

If you live in a tropical region between the equator and the Mediterranean, you shouldn’t have any frost to worry about. That means you can grow autoflowering cannabis outdoors all year long. If you grow back-to-back, that translates to four or more harvests annually.

Of course, as you get closer to the equator, the total hours of sunlight each day will also get closer to 12 year-round. Although they will produce flowers with as few as 10 hours of strong sunlight per day, autoflowering strains prefer at least 16 hours for the best yield and potency. Grow sites very close to the equator may not be optimal for all breeds of automatic cannabis.

HOW TO GROW AUTOFLOWERING CANNABIS OUTSIDE

Growing autoflowering cannabis outdoors is very similar to growing from photoperiod seeds, but there are some slight differences. In short: growing autos is usually easier, and eliminates some of the more stressful factors associated with cultivation.

GATHER THE NECESSARY SUPPLIES

This list details the basic supplies you’ll need for an outdoor autoflowering cannabis grow:

– Autoflowering seeds
– Pots or grow bags, unless you’re planting in the ground
– Soil
– Nutrients
– pH test kit
– Bucket or watering can

CHOOSE A SITE

Pick a spot for your garden. If you’re planting in the ground, make sure your autoflowering cannabis will get as much sunlight as possible. View the site from all sides to ensure your plants aren’t easy to see. Even if discretion isn’t a concern due to legal reasons, you should take the possibility of theft into consideration. Plant close to a water source so you don’t have to tote heavy buckets of fluid frequently.

If you’re planting in containers, the site isn’t as much of a concern because you can move your plants as needed. Invest in a wheeled plant dolly to make it easier to move the pots as the plants get larger.

PREPARE THE SOIL

Purchase a high-quality organic soil mix, unless you prefer to make your own. This can be used to either fill containers or refill holes if you grow in the ground. In either case, good soil is key to growing any type of cannabis successfully.

GERMINATE YOUR AUTOFLOWERING SEEDS

You can germinate your autoflowering seeds in the same way you germinate photoperiod seeds: the paper towel method, root cubes, or sowing seeds directly in soil. As long as they’re fresh, most autoflowering seeds will germinate within a few days. Even older seeds rarely take more than a week.

Once germinated, carefully place your seeds in the ground or in their final pot. Unlike photoperiod plants, autoflowers prefer not to be up-potted (transplanted into progressively bigger pots).

WATER AND FEED AS NEEDED

As the young autoflowering plants grow, water and feed as necessary. Because this type of cannabis develops much faster than photoperiod strains, they may become thirsty or hungry faster than more light-sensitive breeds. On the other hand, you definitely don’t want to overwater or overfeed. Oftentimes, autos can be fed half-strength nutrients and will still produce impressive harvests in good conditions.

Unless you’re trying a guerrilla grow, check your young plants daily for signs that they require fluids or nourishment. As a rule of thumb, use plain water at least once between feedings. As autoflowering plants get larger, they may need to be watered daily, especially if they’re planted in pots or the weather has been particularly dry.

When feeding or watering, always check the pH level of the solution. Adjust as necessary to keep the value between 6.0 and 7.0 pH.

WATCH FOR MOULD & PESTS

Autoflowering strains mature so quickly that they largely mitigate the threat of mould and pests—but you can’t eliminate these problems entirely.

When you check to see if your autoflowering plants need to be watered or fed, give them a quick once-over for other problems. At the first sign of mould, remove the infected bud or foliage and relocate your plants to a drier area.

Visible pests like mites and worms can be plucked off by hand if the problem is minimal. Otherwise, try a safe pesticide like neem oil or insecticidal soap. These sprays can also be used weekly to prevent infestations. Just make sure not to spray directly on the buds.

HARVEST WHEN RIPE

Each breeder will provide an expected harvest time from germination for their autoflowering seeds. This time may be the same whether the seed is grown indoors or out, or it may be slightly longer for outdoor grows.

Don’t go strictly by the suggested time. Instead, watch for the trichomes to turn cloudy, for the pistils to change colour and shrink into the buds, and for the leaves to fade from green to yellow or purple.

When all the signs point to full maturity, it’s time to cut, dry, and cure as you would for any other type of cannabis.

AUTOFLOWERING SEEDS VS FEMINIZED SEEDS FOR OUTDOOR CANNABIS GROWS

Autoflowering seeds and feminized (photoperiod) seeds each have their pros and cons when grown outside.

On the positive side, autoflowering seeds grow quickly and need minimal care. On average, they reach full maturity in half the time it takes a photoperiod strain.

Autoflowering seeds have their drawbacks too. You can clone them, but there’s really no point. They will be at the same point of maturity as their mother, so by the time they recover and start to grow again, they’ll be at or close to their pre-programmed end of life, producing only a few small, fluffy flowers.

Speaking of recovery time, autoflowering cannabis plants don’t have much time to bounce back if they do encounter a problem. Let them dry out too much, overfeed them, or allow them to become infested with pests, and they’ll stall for weeks. However, their maturity point won’t be extended. This can greatly impact both their potency and yield. With autoflowering seeds, much more than with feminized seeds, you need to get it right the first time.

When it comes to yield and potency, there’s less of a gap between autos and traditional strains than there used to be. Breeders have discovered how to minimise the amount of ruderalis required, allowing them to preserve the final weight and THC of the other parent(s), while still keeping the autoflowering trait.

SUMMARY

Growing autoflowering cannabis outdoors can be a rewarding project when done right. Plan well in advance by choosing the best time to start your seeds and a good site with optimal light and water access. Monitor their progress so you can give them the right amount of water and nutrients, and so you can correct any problems immediately.

For your work and attention, you’ll be rewarded with a generous amount of aromatic herb that’s just as potent and tasty as weed grown from a similar photoperiod strain.

Learn how to grow autoflowering cannabis outdoors, including the reasons why you should try it. Follow our complete guide!

Easy ways to grow cannabis seeds outdoors

Easy ways to grow cannabis

More people than ever will grow a few outdoor auto’s in the coming season. In this blog we will explain some easy ways to grow Autoflowering cannabis. Here is what you can expect.

    Your auto’s should take about 3 months from start to finish.

The auto’s will probably be around waist-high at finish. In good conditions the best auto’s can reach 1.5m.

A good outdoor auto will yield well in optimum soil/sun conditions. Outdoor harvests of 150g per auto are possible. In cloudy and cooler conditions 30-50g per auto are more likely.

  • Assuming you grow good quality autofem seeds the cannabis you harvest from an auto will be the same premium quality cannabis that you are used to.
  • Growing auto’s outdoor is easy

    Growing auto’s outdoor is easy. If you have a poor growing climate then you need to decide which are the three predictably best months for weather and grow in them. It can help to germinate the seeds indoors and grow them indoors under e.g. fluorescent light for the first couple of weeks. This allows the seedlings extra protection during the most vulnerable period of their life.

    Varieties such as StarRyder, AutoDurban Poison, AutoFrisian Dew and AutoMazar are all proven outdoor varieties that have been bred with strong outdoor/greenhouse performance.

    Auto’s will be slowed down if the night temperatures regularly dip below 12ºC, this could add an extra couple of weeks to the grow. But outdoor growers can’t do anything about the weather conditions. However if you are growing autos in a greenhouse or a polytunnel the you can add a greenhouse heater which will allow the plants to grow faster.

    Its always good to wait until the last frost has gone before you think about putting your cannabis autos outdoors. Remember, if you live in a cool and cloudy climate, select the three warmest and sunniest summer months to get the best results.

    Growing in a hot, sunny climate

    If you are growing in a hot, sunny climate such as the Mediterranean then you may be able to get 2 or even three consecutive auto crops per year.

    For some growers this allows them to grow small numbers of autos throughout the year, which allows a steady supply of cannabis from a minimum number of plants.

    Auto’s are easier to hide

    One advantage of autos is the they are easier to hide than a 3 metre tall photoperiod plant. A few small auto plants between 50-100cm tall are easy to conceal. And auto’s only live for 3 months, thats half the time you need to keep a taller photoperiod plant hidden.

    Many urban auto growers are happy to have a few plants on their roof terrace, window, patio or back garden. A few cannabis autos are easily hidden behind some ornamental garden plants or vegetables and these days lots of urban growers grow a hidden plant or two outdoors at home.

    Possible grow locations

    And lots of outdoor cannabis growers are now planting a crop of autos in the countryside for a mid summer harvest. Autos stay short and bushy, they are ideal for hiding in areas of unused urban land near cities. A couple of autos can grow easily hidden in a patch of nettles. Unused building ground, land near canals, railways etc can often allow an auto to grow without anyone knowing.

    Google Earth is a great way to look for possible grow locations, but you will need to visit them yourself before final approval.

    And if you can get out to the countryside you will be spoilt for choice, there are countless places to hide a few autos. Forests, mountains and woodland are full of places, just look for an area which receives maximum sunlight.

    Grow close to streams/water

    River banks are ideal, and if you grow close to streams/water it makes it easy to get water to your plants in hot weather. Unused land between farmers fields is also a good place to hide an auto, the land is rarely checked and is usually good quality for growing. If the soil quality is poor (e.g. too sandy) then simply buy some supermarket soil and dig it in.

    Successful and experienced auto growers work hard to improve soil quality by adding nutrients, manure etc. This can really improve the structure and aeration of the soil and allow larger harvests.

    Prepare your grow location

    Determined outdoor growers will often spend hours preparing a grow location in the middle of a large bramble bush. A hidden grow location which has been created by clearing surrounding scrub can take a long time to create, but will often provide years of use since accidentally discovery is extremely unlikely. Such hidden grow plots are often accessed by well concealed entrances, sometimes these are accessible only by crawling.

    Over a period of several years the determined outdoor grower can find and use numerous local grow plots and successfully grow and auto, or two, in each one. Its a easy way to grow yourself a steady supply of top quality cannabis.

    Protect your crops

    Protecting your outdoor crop from animals is usually necessary. Slugs and snails can be kept away with slug pellets from the garden centre. Or you can try broken egg shells as a more organic alternative. And you will need to stop rabbits, goats and deer from eating your cannabis plants. You can protect your plants with a circular frame made from standard garden wire (‘chicken wire’) and held in position with tent pegs.

    Your autos only need 3 months outdoors before you can harvest them, and will need little care or attention so long as they have reasonable quality moist soil and sun. Once you have made your first successful outdoor auto grow you will wonder why you left it so long. Growing autos outdoor is fast, simple and easy. You can grow autos in the countryside or hide them in your own garden. All you need is a few seeds from a good quality seed company.

    2 Comments . Leave new

    Thanks guys just received my seeds today I got the auto berry feminized hidden very well nearly thought I got stooged. I got 5 free seeds as well but didn’t get the name of them would you guys know what free seeds you get with the auto berry feminized ?

    More people than ever will grow a few outdoor auto’s in the coming season. In this blog we will explain some easy ways to grow Autoflowering cannabis.