Autoflower plants begin flowering on their own, and they make life easier. The growing period is shorter as well. If you decide to go with an autoflower, you might not know if inside or outside cultivation is the better choice.
This autoflower grow guide can show you how to become a pro at both.
Autoflower Grow: Outdoor vs Indoor?
One of the benefits of using autoflower strains is that you can grow them indoors and outdoors. There are pros and cons to each environment, and it is important to see which one works best for you. Continue reading to learn the advantages, disadvantages, and other helpful tips to get some beautiful plants.
Growing Autoflowers Outdoors
When autoflowers grow outside, they get plenty of energy from the sun. You do not have to put much effort into maintaining your plants. Not to mention, you can save a bit of money with an outside environment.
The plants create more resin, so you can end up with rich buds in the end. Overall, autoflower plants are smaller than other types of strains. However, outdoor cultivation can lead to taller crops. The average height is over 4 feet tall, but genetics can influence the size.
The downside of planting autoflower strains outside is uncontrollable conditions. The rain can be heavy and last for a while, and strong winds can damage your crops. Pests and small animals pose an issue as well. Also, there is the potential that pollen from a male plant makes its way to your females.
Growing autoflower seeds outdoors is all about planning and picking the best location. This guide will go into detail later on to explain the process.
Quick jump to: How to grow autoflowers outdoors
Growing Autoflowers Indoors
When inside, you have full control over environmental conditions. Not to mention, you do not have to worry about bugs or animals. Another great thing about growing autoflower plants inside is they reach their full potential all year round. You can pick an effective growing medium and act quickly if something is wrong with your crops.
One disadvantage of growing indoors is the costs. You need to spend money on pots, growing mediums, tents, pH meters, and other equipment. Not to mention, the energy bill can increase due to the frequent use of light bulbs.
You have to put in extra work to monitor and grow autoflower cannabis compared to outdoor cultivation. You likely will put in hours in controlling the conditions and training the plants. The average size of indoor autoflower plants is almost 3 ft tall.
Growing autoflowers inside involves prepping a room with the right equipment. This guide will go more in-depth on how to grow potent cannabis successfully.
Quick jump to: How to grow autoflower indoors
General Autoflower Grow Tips
Here are several tips to use when you manage autoflower strains. They are:
- Never repot
- Choose an airy growing medium
- Choose the right pot size
- Train carefully
- Do not overfeed
- Do not underwater
- PH level, temperature, and humidity
Some growers might repot autoflower plants to switch to a big container. Even with a gentle hand, you should avoid transplanting your autoflowers. The primary concern is that the change can shock the roots.
The shock could stunt plant growth for several days. An autoflower could take a while to recover from the stress. It is necessary to pick the right container before planting seeds. You do not have to worry about space restrictions, and you can avoid the urge to repot.
When you select a growing medium, it should be airy as well as nutrient-rich. Compact soil makes it hard for water to drain through. Of course, air must weave its way down to the roots as well.
The root mass should penetrate through the dirt easily, and heavy soil could lead to a stressed plant. However, the growing medium should not be too light. The roots will not get a good hold and support the plant.
As mentioned before, it is important to pick the right pot size before planting autoflower seeds. Larger pots give the growing plant the space it needs to get bigger. A smaller container could mean shorter marijuana.
You do not want to get a pot that is too large. After all, autoflower strains naturally are on the short side, so you could end up wasting soil. The best container size is between 1.5 to 2.5 gallons. You can always experiment to see which pots are a perfect fit for your autoflowers.
Many growers use different training methods all the time to maximize their yield sizes. You can use techniques for autoflower plants, but you should do so carefully. Avoid extensive training to reduce the risk of stunted growth.
The Low Stress Training method suits autoflowers the best. It involves bending the stem for better light distribution. Make sure the process occurs during the vegetative phase. Doing it too early or late could negatively affect the yield.
Too many nutrients can be a bad thing for autoflowers. Giving the plants a lot of nitrogen or phosphorus can lead to a nutrient burn. Brown leaf tips are a sign that an autoflower has a nutrient burn. The rest of the leaves become brown and curl in if the problem persists.
Overfeeding is a common mistake, and flushing can help fix the issue. Some growing mediums come packed with plenty of nutrients. Autoflowers can get enough support for the first few weeks.
Similar to nutrients, you do not want to give autoflower plants too much water. Different factors can lead to an overwatered plant, such as pot size and cold soil. The excess can disrupt growth and nutrient intake. The roots will begin to rot as well.
Overwatering is a frequent mistake, and allowing the soil to dry a bit helps fix the issue. You can resume giving water, but it should be less than before. Keep an eye out for signs like yellow, droopy leaves.
Autoflower cannabis plants thrive in somewhat acidic soil. It allows the plants to absorb all the nutrients. The best pH range is from 6.0 to 6.9, and the optimal number is 6.5.
When you grow your autoflowers, extreme temperatures could hurt the plants. Your crops can thrive anywhere from 70-85 degrees, and the vegetative stage can be on the warmer side.
As for humidity, the best range in the early stages is 40-70%. Ideally, the room should have about 55% humidity during the flowering stage. You can use a hygrometer to make sure the humidity does not get too high.
If you are new to growing autoflowers outdoors, here are some steps to help you through the process:
It is crucial to plan before starting your garden outside. Decide what type of seed you want to go with. Gorilla Glue autoflower is perfect for a sunny and warm environment, and it can handle rainy areas. The AK-47 autoflower is also a good choice for the outdoors. The classic Sativa strain is productive and can grow in almost any location.
Some growers prefer to buy Northern Light x Big Bud autoflower seeds. While you should be careful of high humidity, the strain can produce a great yield in temperate and dry climates.
Autoflower plants do not rely heavily on day and night cycles like feminized seeds. You have a bit more leeway on when to plant your seeds, especially in Mediterranean climates. Still, the best time would be in the spring.
March should be fine, and several people plant around this time to get multiple harvests by late fall.
While you can plant in the ground, the balconies and terraces are popular choices among cannabis growers. Autoflower plants should still get around 10-12 hours of sunlight a day. The different times of the year can affect how much light a spot receives.
Many people will plant in a location that faces south to achieve excellent results. Besides light, wind can play a crucial role in where you decide to grow autoflowers. Young plants can be vulnerable to strong gusts.
It is a good idea to prepare everything so that you are ready to go. Besides choosing the seed and location, you should get the necessary tools ready. The equipment would include items to germinate and grow the autoflower seeds.
Observe the natural soil outside. You likely may need to get a growing medium that has the correct pH and nutrients available. Not to mention, you should prepare some organic insecticide when the insects become a nuisance.
For the most part, germination cannabis seeds takes 48 to72 hours to complete. However, it can take a little longer sometimes. There are a few methods you can use to germinate an autoflower seed. Some people place seeds on a damp paper towel for a couple of days.
Older seeds can benefit from soaking in a cup of water. Do not leave it in for more than 36 hours. Peat pellets and starter cubes are efficient in getting the taproot to sprout. All you need to do is add water, and you can transport the cubes to the soil when the seed is ready.
Use a pencil to make a small dimple in the soil and carefully place the seedling inside. Cover it up and wait for the plant to mature. It should take 10-11 weeks until you are ready to harvest.
Based on the climate, make sure the plant has enough to drink. In case of rain, keep each plant apart for faster drying. As the autoflower moves to the vegetative and flowering stages, it will need different levels of each nutrient.
Use preventative measures to stop unwanted insects and creatures from ruining your crops.
The pistils of your plant can help you know when it is time to harvest your autoflower. Around 75% of them should be brown. Alternatively, you can get a magnifying glass to look at the trichomes. The trichomes should be milky white.
The harvest room should be 70°F with 50% humidity. With a pair of scissors, cut the base of the main stem. Then, you would remove the branches with pruners. You can use either the wet or dry method to trim your weed.
Related: how to harvest cannabis
Once the buds are trimmed neatly, it is time to dry and cure them. To dry, place the cannabis in a room with a cooler temperature and lower humidity levels. To cure buds, put the weed in a glass jar and keep them in the dark.
Now, you can enjoy your harvest! Remove the cured weed and consume them however you would like.
Autoflower Outdoor Tips
The first tip is to use a greenhouse. It is useful for protecting your autoflowers from the weather. Not to mention, you do not need to worry about surprise pollination.
Not all bugs are bad. For example, ladybugs are great for protection against larvae. Lastly, leave enough space in between each plant, so air can flow through the branches.
If you prefer growing autoflowers indoors, the steps you should follow are:
- Choose the right genetics
- Prepare the grow room and setup
- Use the right lights and soil
- Germinate seeds
- Grow the autoflower
- Harvest, dry, and cure
Multiple autoflower strains are perfect for the indoors, and each one offers genetics that give you an advantage. Critical Purple autoflower seeds thrive in this type of environment, and they are easy to germinate.
You can go with something like the Blue Cheese autoflower strain. The plant is great for novice indoor growers. Gelato autoflower also is suitable for the indoors, and the plant requires less maintenance than others.
You will need several items to prepare your setup for successful cultivation. First, select what type of room you want, or you can use a grow tent. Make sure the space has proper ventilation, and a carbon filter is useful.
A thermometer lets you know if the grow room is too hot or cold. Grab some pots, growing medium, and light bulbs as well.
There are different types of bulbs you can use. For instance, HID bulbs provide plenty of light but produce a lot of heat and electricity. Growing autoflower with LED lights is a popular choice among people due to low energy costs. Regardless of the bulb, make sure there is enough space between it and the autoflower.
As mentioned before, the best type of growing medium is one that is airy. Mixed soil is your best bet. For example, you might want some organic soil mixed with vermiculite, perlite, and coco fiber.
Germination is the first stage of the cannabis lifecycle that starts the root growth. You can use a damp paper towel for this phase. Find a brand that does not have pores and spray the paper towel if it dries out.
Seeds with a thicker shell can soak in water for about a day. Of course, some people use starter cubes since they are easier. No matter the method, you will begin the start of some gorgeous plants.
Young autoflower seedlings are sensitive to the environment. Luckily, you can control the air moisture, ventilation, temperature, and more. Keep an eye out for mold growth and get rid of any that you see.
Do not let the soil become dry, but avoid overwatering. Provide the correct amount of nutrients once the plant absorbs everything from the soil. You can train an autoflower plant, so it can grow multiple buds.
During the flowering phase, keep an eye on the pistils and trichomes. They let you know when it is time to harvest by changing colors. Most of the pistils should turn brown, and trichomes become white.
Cut down the plants and remove the branches. Cut off the large fan leaves and start trimming the buds. Some people use the dry method, and others use the wet method. For drying, you can hang your cannabis or put them on a drying rack.
Place the buds in a mason jar to cure them. The process greatly improves the quality of your cannabis.
Now that you have finished, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor! If you have time, you can plant new autoflower seeds for another harvest.
Autoflower Indoor Tips
The first tip is that you do not need to keep the light bulbs on 24/7. Around 12 hours a day should be good enough for some healthy growth. Before you harvest, take time to flush your plants. Flushing autoflowers helps get rid of extra nutrients that would affect the bud's flavors.
Lastly, you do not need to harvest all at once. Cut off the ripe buds and wait a couple of days for the others to catch up.
Final Thoughts on an Autoflower Grow
Growing autoflower plants is easy for growers of all skill levels. Still, they require plenty of care during cultivation. Some strains make the plants more resistant to some environmental conditions. Check out our autoflower seeds to get started.