Auto-flowering strains from a decade ago were heavily hybridized with wild hemp and produced small and subpar quality flowers. However, modern auto-flowering strains from trustworthy breeders produce buds that are just as potent and beautiful as traditional photoperiod strains.
The autoflowers created today are not only great yielders but the fact that they generate tons of buds in less than 60 days cannot be ignored. Even the THC levels are as good as photoperiod plants, so credit must be given when it’s due.
If you’re a beginner wondering about the yields or if you’ve just bought autoflowers, you’re probably asking – what yields can I get with autoflowering cannabis? It’s perhaps the most common question and one that depends on a variety of factors. Now, you must understand that you may have the best autoflower in the world, but the yields depend on how you grow them.
The same applies to photoperiod plants. Heck, this rule applies to all plants. They may be the best plants with the most amazing genetics you’ve heard of, but they will perform only if you take care of them. So, let’s take a look at what you can do to increase the yields of autoflowers.
CHOOSE HIGH QUALITY AND HIGH YIELD AUTOFLOWERING STRAINS
The yields of any plant depend mostly on the type of strain you have. Some strains are perfect for stealth grows where they grow small. Since they are designed to grow short and help the grower, the yields will obviously be less compared to other plants.
So, basically, the yield depends on the strain. When shopping for autoflowers, the first thing you gotta look for is the genetics. Is the strain an offspring of a plant producing good yields? Usually, autoflowers can generate anywhere from 200 to 400 grams of great bud per meter square.
As you can imagine by now, the yields of a strain are very much dependant on the genetics. Now, assuming that you have a strain with fantastic genetics, you’re already at an advantage because they are predisposed to perform to the best of their abilities. However, you can’t just assume that the plants will do well even if you don’t take care of them. No, that just doesn’t happen.
There’s no magic wand to produce good yields because a lot depends on how you grow the plants. So, the next obvious question is: What can I do to produce good yields? Read on, and you’ll have the answers soon.
18 HOURS OF LIGHT
The light cycle is the most important factor to get good yields in autoflowers. Some growers take this to the next level by providing 24 hours of light constantly. This means that the plants don’t get a dark cycle at all.
Autos are the hardiest of all cannabis varieties and sure they can survive in tough conditions and with less light. But we are aiming for a huge harvest and to achieve this objective, autos need as many lumens as possible for 18 hours. More lights, more buds.
Although autoflowers grow with less light, the importance of solid equipment cannot be ignored. There are so many grow lights out there that you’re spoiled for choices, and you’ll naturally be tempted to go for the cheapest ones. However, you’re simply wasting time and effort by doing so.
Not even a strain with amazing genetics, such as Guerilla Glue, can help if you skimp on the grow lights. Most growers go with HPS lights since the initial investment for LEDs can be a little expensive. However, if you look around, you’ll see that even LEDs are affordable now.
Some growers argue that HPS lights make the buds swell to give you great yields, but LEDs are not to be left behind. Remember to do some research and purchase the best light out there whether it’s an LED, CFL or HPS light. In other words, light is like food to the plants and the process of photosynthesis works only when the plants get good light.
To put it simply, good lights equate to good yields, so help your autoflowers help you by pampering them with the best lights you can afford.
START AUTOS IN FINAL CONTAINERS
Photoperiod cannabis strains can essentially be kept in the vegetative growth stage indefinitely. In contrast, autoflowering cannabis will race from seedling to stash somewhere between 60-90 days typically. Speed is an attribute. But the grower must keep pace with the rapid development of autos.
Many growers make the mistake of treating autoflowers like photoperiod plants. Photoperiod plants are completely different. Like tomato plants, the seeds can be sown in small pots and transplanted later when the roots are well established. In fact, it’s recommended for growers to transplant at least once to get great yields.
However, the same rule doesn’t apply to autoflowers. Since they come with a specific timeline where every single day matters, it doesn’t make sense to transplant them and curb their growth. It’s very common for autoflowers to become stunted only because the grower transplanted them.
Therefore, start autoflowers in pots that allow them to finish their entire lifecycle without disturbance. About 8-10 gallons is perfect for any autoflower, but don’t do the mistake of using pots that are overtly big. Big pots reduce the chances of roots spreading out faster and it stunts the growth. Similarly, don’t use pots that are so small that it makes life difficult for your plants.
Some growers do transplant autoflowers, but they are way experienced with several harvests under their belt. Such growers understand how to transplant the plants without hurting the roots. In any case, if you absolutely must transplant because you made the mistake of sowing seeds in small pots, then wait for the right time.
For instance, let’s imagine that you sowed an autoflower seed in a plastic cup. As the roots spread out, you have no option other than transplanting it. In such cases, wait until you see roots coming out at the bottom. It indicates that the roots need more space to grow.
To transplant the plant, water it well and allow the soil to dry. The trick is to transplant when the soil is moist – not wet or completely dry. If the soil is completely wet, it becomes heavy and the roots tend to break off in clumps. On the other hand, dry soil breaks the roots again because there’s no moisture to help the roots.
Thus, water the cup or pot and wait for it to reach a stage where it’s moist. The next step is to prepare for the transplant. It must be done swiftly, so get the other pot ready with a hole in the center. Press down the top of the soil while holding the stem firmly with your index and middle fingers and tilt the pot.
Be careful to take the plant out slowly without breaking any roots. Broken roots will definitely hurt the plants and autoflowers take a long time to recover if they are stunted early. Cup the roots with your free hand and place the root ball gently on the second pot. Make sure that the hole is big enough for the roots. Fill the soil, and you’re done!
If you’re a beginner, it’s recommended to plant seeds directly in big containers to allow the autoflowers to produce maximum yields.
SEA OF GREEN (SOG)
The Sea Of Green or SOG method is devastatingly effective when combined with autos. That trademark rapid, vigorous growth and comparatively short stature of autos makes them ideally suited for the SOG method. No pruning is needed and that suits autoflowering cannabis too. This cultivation method is the best way to utilise the fast flowering nature of autos. And harness it for maximum yield.
Making sure not to either under or over water your marijuana plants is key to maintaining an effective wet-dry cycle. This becomes especially important with autos due their short crop time. This does not allow for stunted growth to recover nor soggy medium to dry out. You really cannot afford to lose a week to rejuvenate sickly autos.
Pick up pot/containers to evaluate whether they need water based on weight. This is easy to figure out and get into a rhythm. When you add water to the medium the weight increases so light containers will indicate plants need water.
Also, make sure never to leave pots sitting in pools of runoff water. It is an open invitation for root rot and pathogens. Keep the grow op hygienic. Drain that runoff after feeding.
For those that cannot easily pick up plant pots invest in a water meter or monitor device. This inexpensive piece of grow kit can be invaluable to the novice hydroponics cannabis cultivator. Water meters take out the guess work.
In the time it takes to grow a photoperiod cannabis strain from seed to weed you could crop two batches of autos. Even fast flowering photoperiod hybrids need 8 weeks to bloom. Most photoperiod strains will take 90-120 total to pull down a harvest.
In 120 days you could definitely complete two consecutive cannabis harvests of autos. Think about it, if you can cultivate two auto crops in that time frame and grow SOG style, it’s a no-brainer to double down.