How to Germinate Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds

Regarding the wide world of growing, autoflowers have developed a reputation for low yields and quality. However, through the work of breeders and growers, those days are behind us.

Along with their hard work, there are various ways to help autoflowers reach their full potential. When asked how to maximize autoflower yields, it breaks down to training, nutrients, and environment. 

Grow your autoflower cannabis plants indoors 

The best way to grow a high yield autoflower is to grow it indoors. Growing indoors assures that you’ll have complete environmental control of your crop, and you can maximize their conditions and, ideally, their output. By having an indoor grow, you reduce the number of variables that can ruin your crop, like diseases and accidental pollination, and optimize for aspects like temperature, humidity, and wind resistance. 

Autoflower plant grown indoors
Autoflower plant grown indoors

Grow your autoflowering seeds in the same pot you harvest them in

To get the highest-yielding autoflowers, starting with a large pot is best to accommodate the entire plant’s growth. A small pot may restrict the plant’s growth, leading to lower yields. Additionally, transplanting the plant from a small to a large pot can cause unnecessary stress, slowing growth and reducing yields. Starting in the final pot also allows for better root development, as the roots can spread out and establish a strong foundation for the plant.

Don’t give your auto plants too many nutrients

Overfeeding your autoflowering plants can result in a nutrient burn, stunted growth, and lower yields. These plants have a shorter life cycle than photoperiod plants and, as a result, have a limited time to recover from overfeeding. Using a light hand regarding nutrients is best, starting with a lower dose and increasing it as needed.

High-yielding autoflowers run their course without nutrient lock-up, burn, or other deficiencies from feed issues.  Additionally, monitoring the plant’s pH level in the watering runoff is essential to ensure optimal nutrient uptake and prevent defects.

There are ways to increase the yield of autoflowering seeds, Download my FREE marijuana grow bible to learn how to get high yield.

Make sure your autoflowering marijuana plant is getting the 18/6 formula for light

Autoflowering plants have a set life cycle, and their growth is not dependent on the light cycle. However, providing your plant with 18 hours of light and six hours of darkness can maximize its yield.

This light cycle ensures that the plant has enough light to photosynthesize and grow, while the six hours of night provide the plant with time to rest and recover. It is worth noting, however, that different genetics perform differently for other light cycles. If you have multiple harvests under your belt, try adding or subtracting an hour in flower to see the difference in your plant’s performance!

Growing autoflowers in a large pot
Growing autoflowers in a large pot

Use a bigger pot to grow your auto seeds

Using a larger pot allows your autoflowering plant to grow more roots, providing more space to absorb nutrients and water. A larger pot also ensures better aeration, which is essential for healthy root development.

A pot of at least five gallons is recommended, although growers can use larger pots for even higher yields. A big autoflower comes from having the perfect conditions for plant growth and giving your root zone the space and support it needs.

Autoflower marijuana seeds

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Use airy grow mediums 

Airy grow mediums, such as coco coir, allow for better aeration and drainage, ensuring that your plant’s roots receive enough oxygen. This results in faster growth and higher yields.

It is essential to choose a high-quality grow medium specifically designed for cannabis and contains the necessary nutrients for healthy growth. It is vital to understand that airy mediums require more oversight since they drain quicker, so be prepared to give your plants multiple daily feeds. 

Add a cannabis root stimulant 

Root stimulants like mycorrhizal fungi can help your autoflowering plant establish a robust root system. This results in faster nutrient uptake, healthier growth, and higher yields. These products are usually powder or liquid and can be added to the growing medium when planting.

Get strong roots and maximize your autoflower yield with ILGM Marijuana Fertilizer

Train your marijuana plants 

Training your autoflowering plant can help maximize its yield by increasing light exposure, improving airflow, and increasing bud development. However, not all training methods are suitable for autoflowers, as these plants have a limited life cycle and can be easily stressed. Low-Stress Training (LST) is good, but pruning/defoliation, topping, FIMMing, and super cropping are not recommended as they can cause unnecessary stress and lower yields.

Can you use LST on your autoflowers? 

When dealing with how to get bigger buds on autoflowers, I recommend Low-Stress Training since it gives your plants room to grow without the worry of shock stunting their growth. ScrOG and SoG are the two best LST methods for autoflowering plants.

ScrOG is a recommended training method, as it involves tying down the branches to expose more buds to light and opening the canopy for increased airflow. This is the absolute best method to train your autoflower and will give you the best answer to how big do autoflowers get.

Does HST work for autoflowering weed plants? 

I do not recommend High-Stress Training methods for your autoflowers. HST creates too much shock in an autoflower because there is insufficient vegetative time for the plant to recover, leading to reduced yield and quality. Usually, HST is needed for photoperiod plants when you’re looking to manipulate certain aspects of the plant and give it enough time for recovery. 

Can you use Sea of Green (SoG)

Sea of Green is the other preferred method of growing autoflowers; the caveat is that you need multiple small pots and many quality autoflower seeds. The SoG method involves growing many small plants instead of a few larger ones, allowing for more efficient use of space and light. 

With autoflowers, the SoG method is beneficial because it will enable you to take advantage of the short vegetative stage and fast flowering time. By planting many autoflowering plants close together, you can quickly fill up a space and achieve high yields. Additionally, the smaller size of autoflowers makes them perfect for the SoG method, as they can easily fit into small spaces and require less vertical height.

Use reverse osmosis water and Distilled water 

Using reverse osmosis (RO) or distilled water for your autoflowers can prevent the buildup of minerals and impurities in your growing medium, negatively affecting plant growth and yields. These types of water have lower dissolved solids, which can lead to more stable pH and nutrient levels in your growing medium. It is equally important to understand that to get the highest-yielding autoflower; you’ll need to use distilled water and nutrients. 

Osmosis is quite an interesting topic, learn more about using reverse osmosis for growing.

Use proper nutrients and the necessary pH 

Understanding when nutrients need to be introduced into the plant’s feeding schedule is vital to growing a high-yield autoflowering plant. Nutrient feeds are typically labeled with NPK to denote Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium, respectively. During vegetative stages, the plant needs a feed high in Nitrogen but low in Phosphorous and Potassium, with the opposite being true during the flowering stage.

Need nutrients for your autoflowers? Check out ILGM’s fertilizer set!

Buy all-in-one marijuana grow set

Practice progressive harvesting 

Progressive harvesting can increase the yield and quality of your harvest by giving each branch time to mature and fully develop its trichomes. You’ll know when your auto is ready for harvest because the hairs on your buds will be amber, and the heads of the trichome stalks will be cloudy instead of clear. 

Autoflowers yield differently from photoperiod plants. Learn how much an autoflower yields.

Provide proper support for your auto plant 

A crucial part of growing your autoflower and ensuring you have the highest yield autoflower strains is supporting your plant and giving it whatever proactive or preventative treatments are needed for your environment. Cannabis plants communicate what they need and how they feel through many visual elements, so keep an eye on the leaves and always measure your runoff from feeding.

Use Co2  

Using Co2 in your grow is an effective way to get a high-yielding autoflower because it helps propel photosynthesis. Plants take Co2 and turn it into glucose, which they use to make energy, enabling more robust growth. Depending on your airflow system, you can hook up Co2 canisters to your air delivery system. 

Differences between autoflower vs photoperiod yield

Maximizing yield varies greatly between autoflowers and photoperiod plants. Autoflowers are more challenging to train than photoperiod plants because of their recovery timelines. The methods you use to make the highest-yield autoflower differs from methods needed for high-yielding photoperiods.

Autoflowers prefer less training

Autoflowers have a limited 8-10 weeks to grow, flower, and produce buds. They have a fixed life cycle that is not affected by the light cycle. This makes them ideal for growers who want to put less effort into plant training. 

Autoflowers are known for their ability to grow small and compact, producing dense buds. They do not require topping or extensive training, making them a low-maintenance option for beginners.

Autoflowers prefer less fertilizer

Autoflowers prefer lower nutrient levels. Overfeeding can lead to nutrient burn, which can reduce the yield. The recommended level of nutrients for autoflowers is lower than for photoperiods. With their short lifespan, providing nutrients in the right amount is crucial to achieve maximum yield.

Stress harms the autoflower grow cycle

Autoflowers are generally hardy plants and can tolerate harsh conditions such as temperature fluctuations and light changes. However, they must be more amenable to significant stress, like topping, pruning, or transplanting. Any significant stress can disrupt their growth cycle, reducing yield. That said, providing them with a stable and comfortable growing environment is essential throughout their life cycle.

Photoperiod plants produce more when trained and topped

Photoperiods have a more extended vegetative phase, allowing them to grow taller and produce more. They respond well to high-stress training techniques such as topping, pruning, fimming, and low-stress training, resulting in increased yields. With proper training, photoperiods can produce multiple colas, producing a heavy harvest.

Photoperiod plants can be kept in the vegetative phase longer

One advantage of photoperiods is their ability to stay in the vegetative stage for an extended period. This allows growers to control the plant’s size, shape, and yield better. With the right light, photoperiods can be kept in the vegetative phase for several months, giving growers more time to train and prepare the plant for maximum yield.

Harvesting autoflower strains is generally easier than harvesting photoperiod strains because they do not require a change in light cycles to trigger flowering. Download My FREE Harvest Guide to know everything!

Thrive in nutritionally rich soil

Like autoflowers, photoperiods will have a reduced yield and added stress when given too many nutrients. Still, photoperiods need essential micro and macronutrients to help them sustain their size and bear quality fruits with a full spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids. 

Make sure you consider the right things when cultivating high-yield autoflowering plants. Growing autoflower plants indoors allows for total environmental control, reducing the number of variables that can ruin the crop and optimizing aspects such as temperature, humidity, and wind resistance. A larger pot, airy grow mediums, and cannabis root stimulants help promote root growth, nutrient uptake, and higher yields. 

When training, use Low-Stress Training and ScrOG methods to avoid unnecessary stress that could lower yields, as autoflowers have a limited life cycle and cannot recover from HST methods. Providing 18 hours of light and six hours of darkness can also maximize autoflower growth during veg. One of the most significant factors you can account for before even putting a seed in the soil is picking the proper genetics for a yielding auto.

Autoflowers growing in soil
Autoflowers growing in soil

FAQs About High-Yielding Autoflowers

Are autoflower cannabis plants one and done, or can they have more than one harvest?

Autoflower cannabis plants can only have one harvest at a time; this differs from photoperiod plants which you can “reverse” back into a vegetative state. It’s best not to reuse autoflower plants or try to take clones from them since the shock will affect your yield. 

When should I start training my autoflower?

Begin training your autoflower around week three; this allows the plant to get a bit more stretch and has more branches to manipulate. Knowing when to start training is a central point to how to get bigger yields from autoflowers.

What is a good yield for an autoflower?

For a good grow cycle with high-yield autoflower strains, a good yield for your plant should be anywhere between 100-300 grams depending on the genetic lineage of the plant. 

How big do autoflowers get indoors?

Generally, autoflowers can reach heights between 1-3 feet, with some strains potentially growing taller due to the “stretch” from their genetics.

How big do autoflowers get outdoors?

Autoflowers grown outdoors can grow an average of 2-4 feet, yielding 50-150 grams. 

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