Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds: How to Grow Guide
Growing cannabis seeds can be difficult for many new breeders because of the amount of time and effort it takes to take care of them. Autoflowering seeds bring down the difficulty of growing cannabis plants by having a faster growth rate than regular strains.
You are likely asking how autoflowering strain differ from regular ones and what does it take to breed them? We answer both these questions with our autoflowering cannabis seeds how to grow guide.
Characteristics of autoflowering strains
There are several factors you need to know about autoflowering strains to determine if they are the kind of plants you want to grow. Auto strains have cannabis ruderalis genetics that is able to handle extreme environmental conditions. This includes the light cycle and harsh climate of the Northern Hemisphere.
As mentioned above, autoflowering seeds have a fast growing time of as little as two months. On the other hand, regular cannabis seeds can take around three to five months to grow. This characteristic not only let you harvest marijuana strains early, but it also allows you to breed the plants away from the cold seasons of Canada.
What makes autos shake some breeders’ heads are its size. This translates to a small yield when you compare it to their regular version. On the other hand, you can take advantage of autoflowering seeds’ height. You can easily hide them behind fences or other structures to breed your cannabis plants outdoors discreetly.
Proper germination of seeds
When you decide to try autoflowering seeds, you will want to give them a good head start with the right germination process. This is the stage where the cannabis seedling breaks out of its shell.
For this process, you will need some paper towels and two plates. Simply moisten the paper towel and place it on the plate. Gently put your seeds onto the moistened towel. Make sure there is a good amount of gap between the seeds. After positioning the seeds on top of the wet tissue, cover them with another moist towel. Put another plate on top of the wet paper towel and seeds to keep the moisture sealed. Put the plate with the seeds in a cool area that has no direct sunlight.
Your seeds will sprout within four to seven days. Young seeds may take around one to three days to break out of its shell. Make sure to keep the towel moist by spraying some water onto it.
When the seedlings have a healthy taproot, you will need to place them onto a medium where they will grow. They can thrive in a small pot that is two inches deep and filled with airy soil.
Dig a small hole that is about one inch deep. Use tweezers or chopsticks to place one of your autoflowering seeds into the small hole. Avoid using your fingers to transfer the seeds or even touching the taproot. Doing so can cause shock damage to the seedlings.
Growing medium for autoflowering seeds
Autoflowering strains grow best on soils that have good ventilation. Plant roots require air for a healthy growth. You will also want to have a soil that drains excess water while keeping a certain amount of it in the soil. Soil with a good drainage and retention ratio helps you keep your plants from drying out.
Another helpful factor of a good medium is its nutrient value. Nutritional soil can provide your autoflowering plants with the right nutrients for development.
Fortunately, the soil or medium is the least of your worries. You can find many suitable mediums in garden stores that provide a good amount of water retention and drainage for your autoflowering plants. Many even have a prepacked amount of nutrients that are good for any type of plants.
You can still improve the drainage and ventilation of garden store soil by adding one to three parts of perlite to the soil. Perlite gives your soil enough space to allow a good airflow to your plant’s roots.
If you want a more hands-on approach, you can create your own soil by using peat moss, compost, and perlite. A good ratio is three parts peat moss, three parts compost, and three parts perlite. If you can find vermiculite, you can replace one part perlite with this material.
Maintain soil pH balance
The pH value of the soil can significantly affect the development of your autoflowering cannabis plants. If the soil is alkaline or has a pH value of above 7.5, the roots cannot draw in important minerals from the soil such as copper and iron. When the soil becomes acidic or goes below 5.0, the roots cannot draw in certain nutrients like calcium and magnesium because of solubility issues. In addition, acidic soil increases the chance of your plants being hit with fungal diseases.
Autoflowering plants thrive in soils with a pH value of around 5.5 to 6.5. Soils in general, including ones, are taken from natural surroundings like forests, tend to be acidic because of decomposing materials. There is a general concept that store-bought soil will have the right pH range for cannabis plants. This is not true for all garden soil though. It is a good idea to check the pH range of the soil to see if you need to correct it.
If you plan to use homemade soil with peat moss, be wary of the material’s low pH range of around 4.5. Perlite and vermiculite materials can make the medium mixture pH neutral. Before transplanting your seedlings to a homemade soil, check its pH value. If it is slightly acidic, add some lime or alkaline material.
Feed with water only with minimum nutrient additive
Autoflowering plants require only water throughout its growing period. Unlike other cannabis strains, auto plants do not rely much on nutrient for a healthy development. On the other hand, nutrient additives can further help with the growth of your plants. In addition, you may need to correct
Avoid giving any nutrient supplement to your auto seeds during the seedling stage. Seedlings are very sensitive and are susceptible to nutrient toxicity. They will only require water with a neutral pH value.
If you are using store-bought soil, you do not need to add any supplement for the vegetative stage of your plants. Garden soil usually have enough nutrient to supply autoflowering plants for up to three to four weeks. For homemade soil, the compost will provide your plants with nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and another essential nutrient for its growth.
It is important to note that you still need to keep a close eye on your plants for any nutrient deficiency during its vegetative stage. Your autoflowering plants have a chance of missing a proper amount of nitrogen for growth development if you are cultivating them outdoors. Provide the appropriate nutrient supplement they show any sign of malnutrition.
As your autoflowering plants enter the pre-flowering stage, they will need plenty of nitrogen with and some phosphorous and potassium. A good ratio of the three nutrients is 2:1:1 respectively. During the flowering phase, your plants will need more phosphorous and potassium than nitrogen. The first two nutrients will help in the development of their buds. Supplements with two parts phosphorus, two parts potassium, and one part nitrogen are suitable for flowering plants. If you want better buds, look for supplements with more phosphorus than another nutrient.
Provide plenty of light
Even if autoflowering strains do not need to follow the usual photoperiod as regular strains, they will thrive better with plenty of light. One way of doing this is to cultivate your plants outdoors during the end of spring. Doing so will let your plants enjoy the summer period when the days are long.
If you plan to cultivate your plants indoors, you have plenty of option available. The most economical fixture to use is fluorescent lights. They provide a sufficient light spectrum to your plants and does not produce too much heat as other fixtures. Fluorescent bulbs are also cheap to replace. If your wallet can handle the high initial costs, LED fixtures can shower your plants with a wider spectrum that promotes a healthier development.
Autoflowering plants thrive well under constant exposure to indoor lighting. Many breeders were able to harvest high-quality buds by allowing the light fixtures to operate for 18 hours.
After going through our ‘autoflowering cannabis seeds: how to grow guide’, you now know how to get the most out of your auto plants. Giving your plants a head start with proper germination technique and using the right soil will lead to healthier plants. In addition, supplementing them with the right nutrients and giving them plenty of lighting can give you high-quality yields.