Growing Autoflowering Cannabis Plants and What To Know

Growing Autoflowering Cannabis Plants and What To Know

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Autoflowering Cannabis plants have changed the way that many indoor and outdoor growers can work, due to the fact autos are very tough, resilient and will flower regardless of the amount of darkness. A massive hit in South America, Spain, Italy and now making waves in the US, autoflowering plants are fun, easy and highly practical, so in this article we explain all you need to know about growing autoflowering Cannabis plants, what to consider and our top tips.

What are autoflowering Cannabis plants?
To make it as simple as possible, autos are small to medium-sized Cannabis plants which will grow for 4–5 weeks in a vegetative state, then will proceed to produce flowers and buds from week 5 onwards. Thanks to the high level of breeding, growers can now experience traditional photoperiod strains as an autoflowering plant.

When it came to the harvest and a blindfold test, it would be difficult to know which was the original photoperiod plant, and which was the auto, and in regard to looks, the quality and bag appeal of the buds is almost identical. Autos have come a long way over the last 20 years, with some incredible autos available on the market.

Do autos need 12 hours of light to flower?
Unlike your normal photoperiod plants which are dependent on a darkness period of 12 hours or more to flower (12/12), growing autoflowering plants can be done with as little as 9 hours of light with impressive results, which is why many growers do so well outdoors. When growing autos indoors, they can be a great addition to the flowering room or can even be placed in the vegetative room where they will flower under 18 hours of light.


How tall do autoflowering plants grow?
There are many factors that can determine the final size and stature when growing autoflowering Cannabis plants. Typically, you can expect plants to grow between 60-120 cm tall depending on the genetics, size of the pot, amount of sunlight or indoor lighting they receive, nutrients and the time of the year when grown outdoors. Autos keep a low profile and are popular in busy cities with balconies and terraces, with some never exceeding 45 cm tall. Super Sativa’s Fat Pete’s Cookies Auto will grow the smallest size but with fat buds. The Auto Purple OG Punch and Auto Northern Dragon Fuel will grow the tallest size with massive buds resulting in very large yields.


Growing autoflowering plants outdoors in Southern Europe

In the South of Europe, the weather is often hot all year long, with very little rain. In parts of Spain, Greece and Italy, it is possible to plant autos between March until October with perpetual back to back harvests. The temperatures can rise to a blistering 40 degrees Celsius during certain times of year, with harsh dry winds, so starting with strong, resilient and durable autos will be your best bet for success during the most challenging heat waves.

For Southern Europe, we recommend Auto Bruce Lemon Diesel.

● Autoflowering plants can grow as tall as 120-150 cm tall in Southern Europe.

● Planting a high volume of autos in a Sea of Green formation works well.

● Autos are able to endure hot temperatures and high humidity levels.  

● Autoflowering plants grown during December to February will be smaller sized.

● Short and long flowering autos are an option in this part of the world.


Growing autoflowering plants outdoors in Northern Europe
Unlike the sand, sea and sun that most people enjoy on holiday in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe is the polar opposite and can lead to challenging weather and short seasons. Living in the UK and Holland is not the best for growing outdoors, however with autoflowering Cannabis plants, achieving top quality buds and good yields is easily possible.

For Northern Europe, we recommend Northern Dragon Fuel.

● Fast flowering autos will be the best option when growing in Northern Europe.

● Plants will typically grow as tall as 60-90 cm tall during the Summer months.

● When growing autoflowering plants in a greenhouse, a heater may be required.

● Providing the plants with protection from the wind and rain is essential to prevent mold.

● Planting autos from June until the end of August will produce the best plants and yield.


Which pot size is best to use?
The first 4 weeks are the most important stage when growing autoflowering Cannabis plants. It is during this time the plants will develop its root system and produce leaves, stems and establish itself as a 30-45 cm plant. The size of the pots that you use can play a major role in the size of the plants, how large their root ball becomes, which ultimately affects the yield. There are several ways to grow autos thanks to their versatile nature, and those are covered below.

1. Plant one autoflowering seed into a large sized pot such as 25–30 liters and provide plenty of nutrients.

2. Plant 3–4 seeds into a large sized pot such as 50–100 liters to produce a large bushy canopy and crop.

3. Using smaller sized pots, such as 10–15 liters, you plant a high volume of autos in a Sea of Green.

4. If you have good soil and a South facing plot, planting directly into the ground is a great option.

5. For those living in a city center, using 10 liter pots for balconies or terraces is the most practical.


Top tips for growing autoflowering plants
Top tip #1 - Keep autoflowering plants in a South facing location, so they receive as much sunlight as possible, especially during the first 4 weeks. Our top tip here is not to move the autos around once they have started flowering, unless you have to.

Top tip #2 - The bigger the pot that you grow the autos inside, will determine the final size of the plants. Avoid using small sized pots as this will typically produce dwarf sized plants that can yield very little. Our top tip here is to use a 25-50 liter pot for the best results. Never repot autoflowers because this will only slow down the development and result in smaller plants, resulting in less yield.

Top tip #3 - If you are living in Northern Europe, fast flowering autos will reduce the risk of pathogens such as mold or powdery mildew. Our top tip here is to avoid long flowering sativa dominant autoflower strains, and narrow your options down to a 70-100 day from seed to harvest window.

Top tip #4 - Autos are great for growing in a high volume, and keeping them well hidden. Many growers in Spain prefer to produce a crop of shorter sized plants that do not exceed 60 cm tall, with each producing around 15-25g per plant. Our top tip here is to compensate for the yields by increasing the amount of plants per square meter.

Top tip #5 - When it comes to nutrients, you will want to provide a nutrient designed for the vegetative phase for the first 4 weeks, then to switch to a flowering nutrient for the remainder of the plant's life cycle. Our top tip here is to keep it simple and flush Cannabis plants well when growing autoflowering plants.

Conclusion
Growing autos can be a very easy, low - cost and effective way to produce high grade buds with very little maintenance or plant support required. On the basis that you start with good genetics, a quality growing medium, a large sized pot, provide the plants with plenty of direct sunlight and make sure they are well topped up with nutrients, you can produce some incredible plants. We recommend having a play around with growing autoflowering plants indoors and outdoors, and finding out which methods work best for you personally!

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