Like any other living plant, autoflowers do require nutrients, but administering them is a delicate balance. Going overboard on fertilizer can have adverse effects on cannabis seeds, just as feeding the wrong kind of nutrients can. Be sure to choose a fertilizer specifically formulated for autoflowering strains and then micro-dose rather than pouring on liberally. Lightly fertilized soil is optimal for autoflowering seeds and as long as you’re nourishing the plants with supplements such as vitamin B, enzymes, and fungi.
As the name implies, autoflowers automatically shift to the flowering period without intervention. Whereas the flowering of photoperiod plants is dependent on cycles of light and dark, autoflowers zip through this growth stage according to their age. Autoflowering cannabis seeds may mature in as little as seven or eight weeks from seed to harvest depending on the strain .
Do autoflowers need nutrients?
Planting autoflower seeds can significantly speed up harvest time while delivering an ample yield of marijuana. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
During the flowering stage, sticky, resinous buds will make their first appearance during week five. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The timing of autoflowering plants depends on their size and classification. On one end of the spectrum, there are dwarf varieties, which are short in stature and are often ready to harvest within 10 weeks. In contrast, there are super autos, which grow taller (more than 6 feet high in some cases) and may not mature for more than 100 days. But in all cases, the time frame for growing autoflowering cannabis is shorter than for photoperiod strains and represents one of the seeds’ most desirable distinctions.
Most seeds that you will buy are regular seeds as described above, but here are a couple more types.
Cannabis is grown from one of two sources: a seed or a clone. Seeds carry genetic information from two parent plants and can express many different combinations of traits: some from the mother, some from the father, and some traits from both.
How weed seeds work
Once you see the taproot, it’s time to transfer your germinated seed into its growing medium, such as soil.
However, potency in autoflowering varieties has increased significantly since their initial introduction, with some breeders crossbreeding the low-THC ruderalis with other more potent varieties.
However, a type of cannabis called Cannabis ruderalis, which developed in extreme northern conditions without much sunlight, will begin flowering once the plant reaches a certain age—they automatically start flowering regardless of the amount of light they receive, hence the name “autoflower.”
You don’t need to harvest your entire plant all at once! Chances are, the top buds may be done earlier than some of the lower buds further away from your lights. These buds may need a little more time to ripen. So instead of taking your clippers and collecting them all, take only the topmost buds and allow the others a few days more to finish.
You can find out more about making an optimal potting mix for your autoflowers in our blog **The Best Soil For Growing Autoflowering Cannabis.
60–65 days from planting your seeds. Since many autoflowers won’t get taller than 50–70cm, they are ideal for growing indoors, where space is often limited.
TIP 13: HARVEST GRADUALLY
As previously mentioned, autoflowers are less forgiving when it comes to major or sustained errors, which means you must water your autoflowering girls properly.
With all the benefits of growing autoflowers indoors, it’s not surprising that they are immensely popular, and not just among those new to cannabis growing. Here are some vital tips on how to best grow autoflowers indoors, so you can look forward to great harvests!
After your cannabis plants have sprouted, don’t feed them for at least two weeks. Even then, you may only want to give nutrients if a plant shows signs of a deficit, like yellow leaves. Autoflowers grown in standard potting mixes should do well all the way to flowering with no additional nutrients. From here, you can start to administer bloom-specific solutions.
Autoflowering cannabis tends to be at its healthiest when given just the right amount of nutrients. In some cases, plants can go through the entire seedling and veg phases without any supplemental nutes, as most soil mixes already contain enough macronutrients and micronutrients to support these phases of growth.