Obtain Bigger Yields with Autoflowers by Changing the Light Schedule
A unique characteristic of autoflowering strains allows the plant to progress through its growth stages without being dependent upon light cycles. They automatically transgress from vegetative growth into their flowering stage without changing the light cycles. Because of this quality, many autoflower cannabis growers believe that leaving the lights on 24 hours each day throughout the life of the plant will produce a more significant yield.
While they do not require dark time to progress into the flower cycle, auto plants do need rest in darkness to store sugar carbohydrates needed to fuel energy. If an autoflower plant has light twenty-four hours a day, it is converting energy through photosynthesis continually with no time to rest. A period of time with no light allows the autoflower to convert and store that energy to use when light resumes. A schedule of 18 hours of light with 6 hours off or even a 20 to 4 interval provides sufficient time for the auto strain to fuel itself.
A Healthy Root System Equals a Healthy Plant
Providing essential basic requirements for the plant to develop a vigorous root system will ensure a bountiful crop. Autoflower cannabis strains require a light, airy growing medium to allow their root system to mature quickly. They prefer a pH between 5.5 and 6.5 both in substrate and nutrient uptake.
Auto plants grow prolifically in grow mediums that allow the roots to expand without resistance. A light, organic soil with additives of pumice, rice hulls, or perlite provides good drainage which is essential to carry oxygen through the root system. Since most organic soils contain essential elements and microbial life, additional fertilisation is not necessary for the first couple of weeks after planting.
Typically, cannabis plants will grow faster in soilless substrates and hydroponic systems. Keep that in mind as you monitor your autoflower’s growth stages if you choose one of these options. When growing in soilless substrates, ensure proper nutrient doses and pH balance throughout the plant’s growth cycles.
Due to their small stature and rapid development, the nutrient requirements for autoflower strains are typically much less than a photoperiod plant. Start with a dose of 0.25 of the recommended application rate for early growth in an autoflower plant, slowly increasing levels as the plant responds. Applying high doses of nutrients in early growth stages will cause more harm than good.
While cannabis plants love warm, humid environments, overwatering can cause a multitude of problems. Allowing your plant to dry sufficiently in between waterings promotes the root system to work synergistically to increase plant growth.
Increase Yields with Autoflowers Through Training Techniques
Due to their stout nature, autoflower cannabis plants do not require intervention to produce beautiful buds. However, training autoflowers to develop multiple bud sites can dramatically improve yields. While you want to avoid stress in any manner, some low-stress enhancements can be applied to increase your harvest.
Low-Stress Training (LST) is a method of bending branches to allow more light into the centre of the plant. This technique enables vertical branches to increase bud sites laterally as inter-nodal growth becomes exposed to more light. Instead of having one large cola on the main stem, multiple bud sites mature as the plant responds to more light.
Only apply Low-Stress Training techniques to young, healthy autoflowering plants. Due to their short life, any stress arising in the first couple of weeks of the plant’s life will be apparent. Stunted development, discoloured leaves, and slow growth are indicators that adjustments to growing methods need to be addressed.
You have probably heard that cannabis plants love their NPK, and this holds for autoflower cannabis strains, too. Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium are essential elements for plant development. Nitrogen is the fundamental component for plant growth in the vegetative stage. Although phosphorus and potassium are necessary during all plant growth stages, they are especially important as the plant transcends into the flowering stage.
You can achieve bigger yields with autoflowering cannabis plants by using nutrient formulas designed for both vegetative and flowering stages.
Higher levels of nitrogen introduced in early growth development help structure the plant. However, as the autoflower plant transitions into the blooming phase, begin reducing nitrogen levels in your nutrient recipe. Boosting phosphorus and potassium at this same time will tell the plant to stop making leaves, and instead direct energy into producing big, beautiful buds.
Keep a close eye on your autoflower plant when transitioning to a new nutrient recipe. Incremental changes in nutrient doses allow the plant to adjust to the different formula without additional stress. Decreasing nitrogen slowly while increasing levels of phosphorus and potassium similarly will help the plant achieve maximum yield.
Record Data to Learn How to Increase your Autoflowering Cannabis Yields
Whether you are a first-time autoflower cannabis grower or a seasoned veteran in cannabis growing, keeping accurate records of your experience will support further endeavours. Taking notes on plant care throughout the autoflower’s life cycle will teach you how the particular strain reacts to your methods.
Record nutrient doses, foliar spray recipes, and any pesticide applications administered to the plant during its life cycle. This information helps to determine if adjustments are necessary for optimal plant growth to produce a bigger yield from the autoflower cannabis variety.
Most importantly, record your autoflower cannabis strains growth development from seed to harvest. Data taken throughout the growth cycle reveals detailed information that will help you better understand the strain’s requirements for optimal growth. Applying this data to another plant of the same autoflower strain provides applicable methods to maximise yield.
For more information on growing autos and cannabis growing in general, check out our vast seed collection to find the perfect, easy to grow, high yielding autoflower for your next grow.
Want to learn more about growing autoflower marijuana strains? Check out our other useful guides:
– When to Harvest an Autoflower Strain