The preflowering stage is usually the period of explosive growth as a cannabis plant begins to flower. For autoflowers it’s a bit different because they do not mind as much about a sudden shortage of light. The stretch for autoflowers lasts about 1-2 weeks and isn’t nearly as heavy as it is for photoperiods (which happens mainly because of the drastic change in light cycle).
Autoflowering grow by QuantumSkies from GrowDiaries.
Hydroponics – In a hydroponics system, it is recommended to fill the reservoir with a weak nutrient solution once plants have 3-4 sets of leaves, unless they need it beforehand. Watch out for any signs of deficiency so you can be ready to feed from the moment the plants ask for it.
Rarely do you need to add store bought nutrients at full strength and most brands suggest overly high doses. Either way, for an autoflower you will need much less than you would for a photoperiod strain.
Calcium & Magnesium – Cal-Mag supplements are recommended if you are not growing in soil. Calcium and magnesium are both important secondary macronutrients essential for healthy growth but they are easily washed away in soilless grow mediums. They can be added alongside your feeding schedule and reduced throughout flowering.
In order to stimulate root growth and health, we can add root boosters to our soil or watering solution. Although not essential, these bacterial supplements can help to break down organic matter into food for the plant. In addition, the bacteria provide protection to the roots and encourage their development. Many growers use these throughout the grow cycle to avoid root problems.
It’s worth noting that the optimal pH for autoflowering plants is the same as for photoperiodic strains. In soil that would be around pH 6.5, and for hydroponics 5.8. Remember, the right pH for best nutrient absorption varies and depends on the stage of growth as well as the type of cannabis you’re growing.
The pH is an important factor in determining the yields of autoflowering cannabis strains. Whether you grow hydroponically or use soil as a medium, pH is critical. Although many growers assume that the plant is suffering from nutrient deficiencies, most issues crop up only due to pH imbalance.
You must also remember to train cannabis plants only during the vegetative stage. Doing so in the flowering phase will stunt the plant drastically. Many growers simply stay away from training autoflowers because they produce good yields even when they aren’t trained; however, a combination of any of the techniques mentioned above will deliver stunning results, which makes training plants a matter of personal choice.
It’s also critical to transplant only after the roots have filled out in the container since the soil will drop off in clumps with the roots stuck to them. In other words, wait until the plant is a little root bound. Since there are so many conditions, it’s best to start directly in the final containers. With no disturbance, you’re all set to get great yields.
1) Prepare ahead
7) Use proper training techniques
Containers must be proportional to the size of the plant. For example, medium-sized plants require at least 5–7 gallon containers whereas big plants need pots that are more than 11 gallons. Remember, the type of container you choose plays a major role as well. Autoflowers love aerated soil that drains very well, so use breathable containers like fabric pots that allow maximum drainage.
Autoflowers don’t give you a lot of time, so it’s critical to plan beforehand. What medium are you going to use? Soilless, soil or hydroponics? What nutrients have you chosen? Have you grown autos before? Have you bought the lights? What about ventilation? Have you set up your grow room?
Have in mind that the percentage recommended below is based on the amounts described on the package by the manufacturer!
Nutrients can come in different forms. The most common are diluted in water, mixed with soil, and in powder form to be used as a slow-release top dressing or to be mixed with the medium. Usually, beginner growers ask What are the best nutrients? That will depend on your preference and method of growing, there are basically two types: organic and inorganic nutrients and there’s a big difference between them, both of them can come in the three different forms we talked above but work in completely different ways.
Most nutrients are designed for photoperiodics, making it easier to over or underfeed and damage your autoflowering plant. That’s why we recommend following the best nutrient schedule for autoflowers which has been adapted for you to grow autos using nutrients designed for photos.
This type of feeding can be done in any type of substrate you prefer to grow in but for better results, we recommend using the following mix:
Remember that all cultivars are different so if your plants get hungry before the pre-flowering feeding you can go ahead and add the Organic worm castings as a top dress feeding, but it’s most likely that it won’t be needed with autoflowers.
After a couple of weeks in the vegetative stage, your auto will be mature enough to start developing flowers, when this happens your plants will start to develop pistils, which are a sign that your plant is entering the pre-flowering stage.
Organic focuses on creating and maintaining a rich medium filled with microorganisms. By using organic nutrients you’re not feeding the plant directly, you are enriching the medium where microorganisms present to feed on the nutrients, breaking them down and making it easy for the plant to absorb.