Fertilizing Autoflowers 101
What is an autoflower?
An autoflower plant automatically enters the flowering stage from vegetative after a certain period of time. Unlike other cannabis strains, autoflowers don’t need a specific light cycle to flower. This makes them considered to be easy to grow. The average cannabis plant grown indoors is harvested in 3-5 months while autoflowers are ready in 7-10 weeks.
Why choose an autoflower over a traditional strain?
Autoflowers can be easier for inexperienced growers and are often a good starting point to getting into cannabis growing.
- They can be grown outdoors without worrying about the 12 hour light cycle
- They require less nutrients to grow
They flower quicker than photoperiod strains which results in product faster
They are smaller and more discreet than other strains of cannabis
They are high in CBD
They are strong and resilient plants. Autoflowers can grow almost anywhere and with limited assistance.
Autoflowers will flower at any time of year!
High in CBD, but often lower THC content
They produce a small yield
Some consumers dislike the taste, smell, and high that comes from an autoflower plant
Cannot be cloned
Where did autoflowers come from?
Autoflowering strains are one of the most interesting things to happen to cannabis genetics in a long time! Autoflowers come from C. Ruderalis, a cannabis strain native to Russia and Eastern Europe. Because of the harsh climates and short growing seasons, ruderalis evolved to be a hearty plant that can flower without the shorter days required by photoperiod cannabis strains, sativa and indica.
Ruderalis tends to be low in THC, however, plant breeders have taken it and crossed it with high potency sativa and indica strains. After several generations of crosses and back crosses, have achieved strains that are both high in THC, and will flower without the need of a 12 hour light cycle. Autoflowers grown in northern climates can be put into the ground outdoors and a plant with a high quality end product will grow without the shorter days signalling fall time.
Autoflowers generally result in a smaller yield compared to photoperiod cannabis.
Autoflower Feeding Schedule
These are a few general things to try:
- After the seedling emerges from the ground and sprouts the second set of true leaves (the ones with the jagged edges not the ones with the smooth edges which are the cotyledons), feed with 1/4 strength of the recommended rate of week 1.
- Once the plant has started to develop finger leaves, the dosage can be increased to what is recommended for week 1 of vegetative growth.
- Like any other type of plant, adjust fertilizer strength based on the plant’s reaction. If it has a pale colour, you should add more fertilizer. If the leaves begin to curl or you see signs of tip burn, you should scale back the amount of additives.
- Once the plants show signs of flowering, immediately switch to the feeding program to week 1 of flowering.
- Since these plants are generally on the small side a weaker regiment can be used. Try at 80% of the recommended dosage with a maximum of 1000 PPM (0.5 scale). Here again observe the plants, your strain might accept higher doses but be cautious at first.
Between these suggestions and our regular feeding schedule, you should be able to tweak your feedings enough to get some great results!
For beginner cannabis growers, autoflowers are generally recommended as they are easy to grow and very forgiving!
If you are new to growing, Future Harvest offers our Easy Grow + and Easy Bloom + powdered nutrients. They are a 1 step, pH stable, complete nutrient formula. It provides you with all 12 essential nutrients and sugars. Growing an autoflower plant with our Easy Grow and Bloom is basically foolproof. Even for the most inexperienced growers!
Good luck! And remember you can always reach out to @futureharvestdevelopments on instagram if you have any questions or need advice.
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