Many growers have heard that autoflowers produce smaller buds than other varieties, but this is something of a myth. The good news is that with the right care, autoflower buds can grow nice and big, and sometimes even larger than Sativa's and Indica's.
For many years, autoflowering strains of cannabis were notably small compared to other varieties, and did not produce great yields, but nowadays, this is no longer the case. If you select the right autoflower strain for your requirements and take care of it properly, you can grow impressively large buds with great ease and enjoy super harvests. Follow our weed growing tips, and you will be able to maximize your autos in terms of taste and yield.
11 tips to get bigger buds on autoflowers
Autoflowers do well both indoors as outdoors, and you can finish blooming in the midsummer when the sun is at its most intense. However, because an autoflower grows and flowers a bit differently like cannabis plants that bloom based on the number of light hours, you also have to adjust your cultivation accordingly.
The secret to a great autoflower yield is size. Because an autoflower plant has a short life cycle, and the life days from germination to harvest are already genetically fixed, the vegetative phase for an autoflower is critical. Autoflowers are therefore programmed to grow explosively at a rapid pace.
1. Never repot
Autoflowers are not too fond of repotting. They simply have more important things to do with their limited time than recovering from a transplant. Don't put it on your autoflower, and be very careful of topping for the same reason. It is advisable to keep your autos in the same pot until harvest.
2. Choose a nice, large pot
It's much better to choose one that is too big than one that is too small. Give your autoflower room to grow, as even a compact strain needs plenty of room to develop a good root system. Don't go for less than an 11-liter tub.
3. Select an airy growing medium
Auto roots prefer to have less resistance and will grow much more quickly in an airy medium. Coconut coir is perfect, but since coconut has a tendency to dry out quickly, the smart grower adds a good amount of perlite to it. An autoflower will quickly get started with a 50-50 blend of coconut and perlite.
Related article: best soil for autoflowers
4. Prevent overwatering
Never give too much water, as too much water slows down the growth that an autoflower needs so much.
5. Do not feed at the start of the growth phase
To encourage rapid root growth, do not feed until the plant has developed four nodes. When you start feeding, apply a low dose and increase it gradually.
6. Do not give bloom fertilizer until the autoflower stops growing
To get the most out of the short growth phase, you should continue to give growth fertilizer until the plant really stops growing. The autoflower will have already started flowering by then because it starts after about 21 days. The growth of an autoflower with a cycle of about 10 weeks will only stop after about 6 weeks, until then give a growth nutrient.
7. Go for good autoflower genetics
Always buy from an established seed company with a good reputation, such as Weedseedsexpress, and see what some strains did to other growers. Choose a strain that has shown good yields, or select a smaller strain like Lowryder if you are growing in a minimal space. Nowadays, you can go in all directions with autoflowers, there are Sativa's, Indica's, and CBD hybrids from which to choose.
Tip: get the best autoflowering seeds
8. Go for a sea of green setup
If you intend to optimize your harvest per meter square, it is undoubtedly worthwhile to train your autoflowers using a SOG
9. Optimal environmental conditions
Maintaining optimal environmental conditions and avoiding large temperature fluctuations is essential if you want to increase yields. Cannabis thrives in daytime temperatures of 20-28 °C. The temperature should not fall below 15 °C during the nights. This applies to the entire cannabis life cycle, with a few exceptions in the case of cold-resistant strains.
Related article: Temperature and humidity for growing weed
10. Make sure the pH is balanced
The pH must be appropriately adjusted to allow the roots of the female cannabis plants to absorb nutrients effectively. You will never harvest juicy, big, fatty colas if your pH is incorrect. Hydro and coconut growers maintain 5.5-6.0. Soil is a bit more forgiving and will tolerate a pH of up to 6.5. Invest in special pH nutrients or a pH meter. Don't gamble and adjust the pH value every time.
11. Take care with the lighting
A T-Neon lamp is excellent for growing an autoflower. Choose a lamp in the growth spectrum in terms of color. You can boost the number of lumens as the plants grow. LEDs are ideal as they can be easily adjusted in terms of color for at various stages and do not use much energy.
Most home growers use 400W or 600W lamps. A standard grow tent - usually 1.2 x 1.2 x 1.2 m - is often equipped with 400W MH lighting. This is usually set on an 18/6-hour cycle for the vegetative phase. There is then a switch to 12/12 with 600W HPS lamps for the flowering period. Autoflowering strains, however, prefer a continuous 18/6 schedule throughout the life cycle. This is the standard for home growing.
Upgrading to more powerful 1000W lamps rarely results in a heavier harvest. Instead, the opposite is true. 1000W HPS lamps are red-hot. Without cooling and extra fans, they will probably burn the canopy and thus do not increase yield.
A more effective and modern option is to invest in cooler LED systems. Growing cannabis with LED lights consume much less power than HID lamps. They are not cheap, but the best systems can last for ten years. This is a rare example of where less really is more.
What should I do if my autoflower buds have stopped growing?
If your buds have stopped growing, it could be because they have a nutrient block. If you suspect this may be the case, you will need to give your plants a flush. Gently loosen the growing medium around the roots first, perform the flush and then leave for a couple of days with no water to allow oxygen to get to the roots. This will hopefully get your plants restarted.