In the following text, we describe the basic features of autoflowering cannabis. Please scroll down for the list of in-depth articles about this type of weed.
Modern autoflowering cannabis strains are direct descendants of Cannabis ruderalis. And ruderalis is a small, fast-flowering subspecies of hemp that grows naturally in Northern Europe and Siberia.
For a weed grower, the most important feature of both ruderalis and autoflowers is their ability to start flowering automatically.
When and Why Does Cannabis Start to Flower?
Photoperiod plants—people often call them feminized though it’s not quite correct—are short-day plants. It means that they track the duration of days and nights and only enter the flowering stage when days and nights are more or less of equal length.
If you give them more than 14-15 light hours per day, they will never start to flower.
Autoflowering cannabis, on the other hand, starts to produce flowers after 2-3-4-5 weeks from sprouts. It is a neutral-day plant, meaning that it’s not sensitive to how many hours of light it receives daily.
Why is it Important?
Outdoors, you can grow an autoflower plant in any season (provided that it’s warm enough and sunny). You can sow your seeds in April and harvest buds in June (in Northern hemisphere).
In contrast, photoperiod varieties always finish in fall. It doesn’t matter when you planted them. Let’s visualize this with the following table:
Indoors, you can induce the flowering of photoperiod strains by switching your timer to 12/12 (12h of light and 12h of darkness). Autoflowers will perform with any light schedule.
How Long Do Autoflowers Take?
Autoflower time from seed to harvest varies from strain to strain and from phenotype to phenotype. The fastest of them can finish in two months. 10 to 12 weeks is a more realistic timeframe for most of them.
The speed may also depend on the light schedule. The longer the day (e.g. 24/0), the longer the life cycle (at least for some of the strains). Adverse growing conditions may delay the onset of flowering and hence the harvest. The same goes for high-stress training techniques.
Many varieties react to the size of the pots. They start to flower as soon as there’s no more space left for the root system to grow. Conversely, in bigger pots or outdoors, the same strain would keep growing for a couple of more weeks and only then begin flowering.
The same genetics usually takes a week longer to mature outdoors compared to indoors.
Shorter Life Cycle Factors
Longer Life Cycle Factors
Less day hours
Smaller size of pots
Longer day hours
Yield and Potency of Autoflowering Cannabis
For obvious reasons, the question of quality of autoflowers is the most important one. Autos are fast, okay, but aren’t they bad because of that?
Rest assured: modern autoflowers are everything a grower and a smoker expect from a top-shelf weed strain. They are vigorous, high-yielding, and potent. Not exactly on par with the best photoperiod strains of today, but certainly better than many old-school varieties.
Autoflowering cannabis is a great invention. Many people who couldn’t grow their own bud before now have this opportunity for the first time. And those growers who have been cultivating photoperiod strains successfully can also give autos a try. Their unique feature of automatic flowering offers a lot of flexibility in terms of setting up your grow and timing your harvest.
Autoflower Clones: Don’t Try to Find Them for Sale. Here’s Why
Cloning cannabis is a very convenient way of plant propagation. And buying clones, where it’s legal, is probably the easiest way to start a grow. The other thing that makes the life of an amateur grower so much easier is using autoflowering genetics. You put two and two together, you want autoflower clones. But does anyone sell them?
While autoflowers CAN be cloned, what you can’t do is keep them from flowering. Autoflower clones may begin to flower even before they have rooted. And, once in flower, you can’t revert them back to veg. As a result, autoflowering clones will stay small and yield very little.
So your best bet is to grow autos from seeds. Luckily there are enough online vendors that will deliver them right to your door. Click this link if you want a reliable seed shop that has shipped close to a million orders to practically all the countries in the world, including the U.S. and the UK.
Why Buying Autoflower Clones is Virtually Impossible
The reason is that you want two mutually exclusive things from these autoflowering cuttings:
you want them to flower automatically,
you DON’T want them to flower automatically, at least not till they’re big enough for your needs.
Autoflowers are a special kind of cannabis. The presence of Ruderalis genes in their DNA makes them ignore the light cycle. It doesn’t matter if you’ve planted them in spring or summer or fall. They simply don’t care for how long the days or the nights are.
And indoors, they don’t care for the light schedule. Whether 12/12 or 18/6 or even 24/0 or anything in between, it doesn’t change their timeline. They come up out of the soil, have short but vigorous veg, and then enter the flowering stage which doesn’t last very long either.
And when you take cuttings and root them as autoflower clones, the transition to flowering doesn’t slow down. Well, maybe for a couple of days compared to the main plant. So your autoflowering clone will be nothing but a rather small branch with a handful of flowers on it. It will never have a chance to develop into a large multi-branch bush.
Compare this with the results of a most unremarkable, run-of-the-mill Gorilla Glue Autoflower grow. You simply don’t want to purchase clones if you can buy seeds like these.
Cloning Early Versions and Fast Versions
When browsing seed shops, you may come across varieties that have ‘fast version’ or ‘early version’ added to their names. These strains are photoperiod-dependent, but they have enough autoflowering genes in them to start and finish flowering (outdoors) a couple of weeks earlier than normal photoperiod strains. A very handy feature for climates with short summers. You CAN clone these genetics and keep them in veg indefinitely. We’d say offering fast/early version clones for sale would make sense.
Taking Autoflowering Cuttings from Superautos
Superautos isn’t an official term or anything. These plants are supposed to be normal autoflowers, but, for some reason, they don’t start to flower automatically. When dealing with a superauto, the grower may need to change the light schedule to 16/8, 14/6, or even 12/12 before the plant transitions to the flowering stage. You can clone such genetics, too.
Well, that wraps it up. Stop looking for autoflowering clones. Nobody sells them. Or if they do, they shouldn’t. Autoflowers are a kind of genetics that are only grown from seeds, not clones.
All images in this post were taken from GrowDiaries, the world’s largest weed-growing community.
Can Autoflowering Plants be Cloned? Is It Worth It?
Cloning feminized seeds is a quite simple procedure, and many growers know how to do it. But what about autoflowers? Can autoflowering plants be cloned?
Technically, autoflowers can be cloned. You just choose a side branch that is long enough to take as a cutting and then root it. But the clone will start flowering soon after, so you can’t make it big and productive. And you can’t turn it into a mother plant.
All this makes cloning an autoflower rather impractical. Why take a cutting if you can get better results just leaving the branch on the plant? Well, if you have extra room and some small containers to spare, you can try cloning an autoflowering plant in the following two scenarios:
Your autoflower is too bushy, and you have to prune some of the branches. You can just throw them away, or you can root and grow them next to the main plant.
You have accidentally topped an autoflower while training it. It will certainly put a dent in your final yield, but, if you make the cutting root and flower, you may redeem a few grams.
Can Autoflowering Plants be Cloned? This Grow Says They Can
A grower from the Growdiaries community who calls himself StickyFingah420 kindly shared his experience of cloning an autoflower. He resorted to this technique because he had accidentally broken a branch on his FatsBuds Zkittlez Auto.
In his case, the result was spectacular. But most probably, his overall yield would be better if not for this accident. Just check out this Gorilla Glue Autoflower grow journal to see how modern autoflowering genetics perform if nothing goes wrong.
So, the grower fimmed his Zkittlez Autoflower in week 3 from seed. This resulted in 8 potential side shoots from the main stem. The accident happened in week 5 from seed as the grower put too much strain on one of the branches in the second pair and it snapped. So instead of 8 potential side shoots, only seven remained on the main stalk.
Fimming in the third week. 4 side shoots are there, another 4 have yet to develop.
The 4th week. 6 bigger branches and 2 mangled and tiny (in the center).
Week 5. Out of three shoots (left, central, and right) at the 2nd node, the right one broke off.
Week 7. A lot of secondary branches and a very dense canopy.
Zkittlez Auto in week 11 and after the wet trim. (Click here to buy these seeds.)
The plant recovered from the stress, grew many more side shoots, got dense and fat, and produced 42.7 g (1.51 oz) of dry bud. Now let’s look at how the cutting was doing.
The grower put the cutting into a yogurt cup filled with soil. He cut the fan leaves in half to reduce their evaporation area. Zkittlez Auto seems to have very strong genetics because not every strain would root in soil.
Week 6. The clone rooted and transplanted into a bigger pot.
Week 8. The buds are starting to form.
Week 11. The Zkittlez Auto clone at harvest. (Click here to buy these seeds.)
When it became evident that the clone was alive, it was transplanted into a 2.5-3-liter plastic pot and kept in the same grow tent as the main plant. It was in the pre-flower mode soon after re-potting and then began to flower and finished just a few days later than the main plant.
The grower didn’t say what the yield was, but you can guess it by just looking at those fat and seemingly dense flowers. The broken branch certainly didn’t go to waste.
This is for those of you who like to scroll down to the end of the post to see the bottom line.
Can autoflowering plants be cloned? Yes, they can. Just don’t do it on purpose. Because it won’t increase the yield. And there’s no way you can keep the autoflower genetics you liked by taking a clone and making it into a mother plant. Autoflowers simply don’t work that way. You’ll need feminized seeds for this.
Gorilla Glue Auto is an insanely popular genetics thanks to its extreme resin production and other unique features that we’ve covered in our Autoflower Gorilla Glue review. In this post, we’ll describe the process of growing this strain based on an actual Gorilla Glue Autoflower grow journal.
Gorilla Glue Auto was grown in coco, under a 270W LED, and the whole grow cycle took 13 weeks (8 weeks of flowering). The grower performed LST and very light defoliation, and he accidentally topped the main cola. Nevertheless, the plant yielded 76 g (2.68 oz) of resinous buds.
JohnnyBlaze is a long-time member of the GrowDiaries community, but this particular Gorilla Glue Auto diary appears to be his first attempt ever. As a grow space, he used a small (about 3’x3’) corner nook in his attic bedroom and hung a 270W LED light there. The only other equipment was an oscillating fan used for air circulation. A very basic setup indeed.
8.6 ft2 (0.8 m2)
No. of Plants
7.62 oz (216 g)
Yield per Plant
Yield per Watt
2.54 oz (72 g)
How to Grow Gorilla Glue Autoflower in Veg
Let’s have a look at this plant’s day-by-day progress through the vegetative stage and maybe glean some useful tips from it.
Week 1: Germinated in Coco
As a medium, the grower used a classic 70/30 coco/perlite mix. He decided to put the seeds straight into the medium, without pre-soaking or germinating them. All three, including one FastBuds Gorilla Glue Auto, emerged after 4 days.
Since this Gorilla Glue Auto grow was started in the middle of January, this was convenient in terms of temperature. In summer, an attic grow room would probably be too hot. As it was, the day/night temps were almost perfect:
Week 2: Good Progress so Far
In week 2, this Gorilla Glue Auto grow was chugging along just fine, and the seedling looked big enough for her age. She was planted straight in an 18-liter (4.76-gallon) smart pot, and this presented a conundrum of how to water her when she was still very little. You can see in the photo above that the grower was watering just a small area around the seedling.
Since most coco mediums don’t come pre-amended with nutrients, he had to add some from week 1. He chose the products by Advanced Nutrients which are kind of pricey but very popular among cannabis gardeners. Most probably, for a reason.
For the first two weeks, it was only the 3-part pH Perfect combo — Grow, Bloom, and Micro. These products contain all essential macro- and micronutrients. Later, the plants would get a calcium/magnesium formula—an absolute must in coco—and then a whole line of other supplements.
Week 3: The Start of LST
Toward the end of week 3, the plant was big enough for the low-stress training. The guy had never done LST before, and he was nervous. As we shall see soon, he was nervous for a reason.
This Gorilla Glue had never been a stretchy and lanky plant, but now, with LST, she was shaping up to be a very squat, dense, and bushy plant. We’d say that the guy also managed to find the perfect (or almost perfect) distance from the light, and this helped keep Gorilla Glue and two other autoflowers nice and compact:
Week 4: Defoliation and Cal-Mag Sprays
Week 4 was the last week of the vegetative phase in this Gorilla Glue Autoflower journal because, by the end of this week, the first pistils began to come out.
The flowering stretch was yet to begin, and the plant was so dense, the gardener found it difficult to train her. He decided to raise the light 4 inches (see the chart above) to make her expand a bit. He also performed light defoliation and pruned a couple of shoots that were completely shaded.
Although none of the girls showed any signs of a deficiency, the gardener thought they would benefit from cal-mag showers. That’s why he was foliar-feeding them with a 6.2 pH solution of Advanced NutrientsSensi Cal-Mag Extra. By the way, this formula contains not only calcium and magnesium but also iron.
Week 5: A Spurt in Growth
With the first hairs having appeared in the previous week, this autoflowering Gorilla Glue was clearly in the pre-flowering stage by now. And she really exploded, gaining not so much in height but in girth. She was the second biggest lady in this grow cycle — right after a Blackberry (which would come out a very good producer).
The next and final stage of this Gorilla Glue Autoflower indoor grow wasn’t especially short but quite trouble-free. Well, apart from the accidental topping in the very first week of flowering.
Week 6: The Main Top Gone for Good
Week 6 was the low point in this Gorilla Glue Autoflower grow journal because the main stem snapped during LST. The grower tried to salvage it with a splint and a piece of tape, but the damage was too great. The loss of the main flowering top stunted the plant, but this was strong genetics, and she quickly recovered. However, this accidental topping would negatively affect the outcome.
Topping an autoflower is a controversial subject. Follow the link if you want to learn more and see examples of successes as well as failures. But the gist of it is that modern autoflowers can be topped if they are healthy, vigorous, and haven’t begun to flower yet.
Now, that the flowering was already underway, the grower upped the doses of the staple nutrients and added two more Advanced Nutrients products:
Nirvana, 0.85% potassium (K); recommended for use starting from week 7 and till the final flush; stimulates bud formation by helping the plant with the accelerated turnover of carbohydrates during the bloom phase,
Big Bud Coco, 1.74% phosphorus (P) and 3.4% potassium (K) plus Ca, Mg, S, and iron (Fe) chelates; use it from the 2nd week of flowering and stop 3 weeks before harvest; makes the buds bigger and more potent.
Week 7: Practically on Cruise Control
In the 7th week from seed, Gorilla Glue Auto was already 2 weeks into flowering and forming a lot of bud sites. She was still receiving the same diet as in the previous week — a rather rich cocktail of nutrients with TDS readings at around 1000 ppm. She didn’t show any issues, and the grower would raise the level to 1200 ppm for the last 4 weeks of the flowering stage. Again, with no nute burn, lockouts, or deficiencies.
Week 8: Stretching Yet Some More
At this point in Gorilla Glue Autoflower grow journal, the grower noted how fast the girl had recovered from the snapping of the main cola earlier. Things like that are very traumatic, and it’s not every autoflower that can get better after them.
The flowering stretch was still very fast but almost over, and the plant would grow for only another week and reach her final height of 90 cm (35+ inches).
Week 9: A Healthy Girl with a Good Appetite
In week 10, there were some troubles in the garden, but none with GG. She displayed no deficiencies (like Blackberry did) and looked much bigger and healthier than Cream Cookies. Her diet was still the same, and she seemed to like it.
The grower definitely helped the matter with maintaining a very good pH. He probably kept it too high in the first 3 weeks but then decreased it to 5.6. This is within the acceptable 5.5–6.0 range for coco.
Week 10: Change of Diet to Fatten Things Up
Week 10 saw a big change in diet because the grower had just received more nutrients by mail. He decided that his Gorilla Glue Autoflower grow would benefit from the following:
Overdrive, a PK formula to maintain the momentum of bud maturation (perfect timing for this one),
Rhino Skin, this source of silicon makes the branches more rigid and robust (for best results, start it from the first week of flowering),
Sensizym, this mix of enzymes helps break organics accumulated in the root zone (a questionable choice for this grow).
By this time, the Gorilla Glue started to smell really amazing and strong. Although there were two other plants in this indoor garden, the grower kept mentioning only the smell of GG.
Week 11: One More Nutrient Added to the Mix
In week 11, there was another change in the feeding regime. As the manufacturer recommends stopping Big Bud three weeks before the harvest, the grower replaced this supplement with Advanced NutrientsB-52 which contains kelp and seaweed extracts and can be used in two installments:
in the first 2-4 weeks from seed,
in mid- to late flower.
Now, all of the Gorilla Glue Auto nutrients amounted to 1200 ppm. The grower knew the harvest was approaching, and the buds looked fat, dense, and frosty. However, he didn’t have a magnifier to look at the state of trichomes. So, trying to decide when to harvest this sugary beauty was really a guessing game for him. He thought he’d give her another two weeks.
Week 12: In the Homestretch Now
It seemed hardly possible the week before, but now the Gorilla became even more glittery with trichomes. The guy said he never saw so much resin on a plant in his life. And the buds kept filling out. Luckily, there were no issues with mold or bud rot although the grower failed to bring down humidity to the optimal level of 35-45% for the end of the flowering phase.
Week 13: A Five-Day Flush, Then Darkness Treatment
The grower finally purchased a loupe to inspect the trichs, and, since they were cloudy now, he started the flush with RO water pH’ed to 6.2. The buds kept swelling up even now, and after 5 days of flushing, Auto Gorilla Glue was put in darkness for 72 hours as a way to stress her into even more resin production.
The End Result
On day 95 from seed, this Gorilla Glue Auto grow journal was officially over. She yielded 330 g (11.64 oz) of wet-trimmed flowers and 1.5 grams of finger hash. The buds were hung to dry for 8 days — until the stems began to snap when trying to bend them. Then they went into glass jars for curing.
The 76 g (2.68 oz) of dry bud was a great outcome for a first-time autoflower grower, and the stuff was top-notch. It had an earthy smell with a pine background and sour and diesel notes. The effect was more on the body, with about a 40/60 sativa/indica ratio.
The plant was easy to grow. In veg, she benefited from LST and became very bushy. She then stretched quite a bit at the beginning of flowering. We’d say not to top Gorilla Glue Auto (or any other autoflower) if you’re looking for yields. However, if you HAVE to top—for whatever reason—the plant will probably recover and still deliver a nice harvest.
Gorilla Glue Auto also loves high doses of nutrients and converts them into lots of oversized and frosty colas. With pH within the recommended range, there’ll be no issues with lockouts and deficiencies. At least, if you use Advanced Nutrients.
The resin production is WAY above average, and the smell is strong and extremely pleasant. Happy growing, everybody!
All images in this post were taken from GrowDiaries, the world’s largest weed growing community.
Autoflower Temp and Humidity: With Real-Life Examples
When you grow cannabis of any variety, either photoperiod or autoflower, temp and humidity are the number two and number three most important conditions. Number one is light, number four is CO2.
Autoflower temp and humidity requirements are practically the same as for cannabis plants in general. Autoflowers thrive with day temperatures around 23–28°C (73–82°F) and a drop of no more than 5–10 degrees at night. The humidity should be ideally between 40 and 60%. Ruderalis genes presumably make autoflowers more cold-resistant.
It’s important to keep temp and humidity in your autoflower garden within the acceptable range because otherwise plants slow down photosynthesis or stop it altogether. Cold stress or heat stress also shock weed and stunt its growth. So does very dry air, while the opposite—too much humidity—can cause issues with mold and bud rot.
Dealing with excess humidity is especially important during the flowering phase. When buds are getting fat and dense, mold and bud rot are very common problems. Novice growers don’t even imagine these problems exist—until they see their entire crop spoiled beyond salvation.
Especially dangerous is the temperature drop when lights go off. The air quickly cools, can hold less vapor, and the excess vapor condenses as dew on every surface, including buds. Coupled with low temperatures, this creates a perfect environment for mold growth.
Start with purchasing a thermometer and a hygrometer. Ideally with remote sensors so that you can place them inside the grow tent while keeping the monitor outside it. This will allow you to keep track of temperature and humidity without opening the tent. Both the thermometer and the hygrometer should be placed at canopy level.
Proper ventilation is the single most important thing that will take care of temperature and humidity, as well as a constant supply of CO2-rich fresh air. In most cases, an extractor fan alone is enough, especially if it has adjustable speeds. The more advanced extractor fans for grow rooms have temp and humidity sensors of their own. They can be programmed to keep environmental conditions at the desired level.
Air Conditioners and Heaters
Experienced growers may replace ventilation with air conditioning. In this case, a grow room needs to be hermetically sealed and requires a source of CO2, such as CO2 tanks. It’s doable but rather complicated for an amateur grow.
While too high temps are a constant worry for many growers—because grow lights generate a lot of heat—low temperatures are less frequent. Usually, this happens when people grow in a garage, attic, basement, and other such spaces.
It can get especially cold at ‘night’—when lights are off. However, with autoflowers, you don’t have to turn off lights at all. Most autoflowering strains can be raised from seed to harvest with a 24/0 light schedule. But if you feel like nighttime is necessary and are worried about a temperature drop, buy a thermostat-controlled electric heater.
Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers
If the air is too dry, you can use a hand mister to regularly spray some water on tent walls and other surfaces. Or even plants themselves although not during flowering, or else you’ll run the risk of mold.
You can use such a simple ‘device’ as a towel on a coat hanger with one end dipped in water. The towel will draw up water like a wick and then evaporate it. You can increase the rate of evaporation by making a fan blow on the towel.
However, a more serious approach would be buying an electric humidifier. It needn’t be very big. Even a bedside humidifier may be enough for a 3’x3’ grow tent.
If you have the opposite problem—the relative humidity in your grow room is too high—you can try and reduce evaporation by mulching or covering the surface of your pots. Also, make sure there are no open containers with water in the tent. However, the plants themselves create a lot of vapor in the process of transpiration, so you probably can’t do without an electric dehumidifier.
Autoflower Temp and Humidity Changes from Seed to Harvest
We already mentioned the importance of decreasing humidity during the flowering stage. And also explained the reason. Now we can show more specifically how autoflower temp and humidity requirements change throughout a plant’s life cycle.
The table below shows just that, along with the issues you may have if your temp and humidity readings are way off the mark.
Ideal Day Temp
Poor germination rates
Stunted tap root
Seeds won’t germinate
Yellow/dry tap root
Ideal Day Temp
Damping off (pythium)
Ideal Day Temp
Ideal Day Temp
Less potent buds
Slowed down bud growth
Drying & Curing
Too Cold & Damp
Too Hot & Dry
Evaporation of terpenes
Smoke smells like hay
If you can’t keep your environmental values within the given ranges, don’t lose sleep over it. It’s not really an exact science. Just keep in mind two things:
Humidity should be higher at the start and gradually decrease by harvest time.
It should be warm throughout the life cycle but a bit cooler during flowering.
Again, you may note that the flowering stage requires special attention in terms of autoflower temp and humidity. We already mentioned the risk of mold and bud rot due to low temperature and high humidity.
The other concern is the concentration of THC and terpenes (aromatic substances) in buds. Too high temps during flowering cause terpenes to evaporate, making your smoke bland and flavorless. And the same thing happens when you dry and cure your buds after harvest. As for THC, the heat either suppresses its production or ‘burns out’ what’s already there. In either case, buds grown in hot conditions tend to be less potent.
When Autoflower Temperature and Humidity Are Off: Examples
The grower kept the relative humidity too high (at 55%) in flower and discovered bud rot in week 11. Bud rot, or botrytis, is a kind of fungus that loves high humidity. As for temperature, botrytis thrives when it’s colder than normal or there is a sharp drop in temp between day and night. However, high temps coupled with high humidity may also cause bud rot.
We can’t say that in this grow the temperatures and the humidity were really that wrong. The day temps might have been too high, and the difference between day and night too great. Also, the relative humidity could have been lower for the whole of the flowering stage, especially in the last couple of weeks. The mold probably appeared because the buds were so huge and dense, and the slightly wrong temp and humidity played their part, too.
In this outdoor garden, there were several autoflowering and photoperiod strains, but only one plant reacted to summer heat with cupping leaves. This symptom is indeed very often the consequence of heat stress, but sometimes it is due to calcium deficiency. What is different about calcium deficiency is the presence of black spots on affected leaves.
At the end of this grow, the temperatures ran out of control. Especially the night temperatures which were the same as day temps for two weeks. And that was the most likely reason for foxtailing which is the growth of new elongated shoots on maturing buds.
The grower made a mistake of planting his outdoor garden in the middle-of-July heat. At the same time, the nights were rather cool. This temperature stress weakened the seedlings and made them susceptible to pythium, aka damping off. As a result, the stems just above the soil thinned and the seedlings fell over.
In this outdoor run, the autoflowers were finishing in the middle of autumn when warm days and cool nights led to the dew forming on leaves and causing powdery mildew. The grower didn’t monitor the relative humidity of the air, but it doesn’t matter. When the dew forms, it means the RH is 100%.
Temp and Humidity Requirements of Different Autoflower Genetics
Indicas and sativas have different genetic heritage, so keep it in mind when planning for your autoflower temperature and humidity.
Originate in hot and humid tropics
Have open, well-ventilated bush structure
Buds are airy or drawn out
Are less susceptible to mold
Don’t like cold but are tolerant of humidity
Originate in the arid mountain climate
Have a dense, poorly ventilated bush structure
Buds are compact and hard
Are susceptible to mold and bud rot
Don’t like high humidity but tolerate cold
Frankly, if you grow autoflowers, all this is of minor concern. Most autos on the market today are more or less well-balanced hybrids with the indica/sativa ratio fluctuating in the 60-40 to 40-60 percent range. When buying such seeds, it’s a toss of a coin which phenotype you’ll get — indica-or sativa-leaning.
Autoflower Outdoor Temperature and Humidity
Outdoors, autoflowers are very rewarding because you can bring them to full maturity in any 2-3 months of the growing season. Even in very cold climates, there are at least 2 months of what may be called summer weather. And if the season is long enough, you can have several consecutive harvests. Or choose the optimal period in terms of temperature and humidity.
We’ve written a separate post about outdoor marijuana temperature (it has all the numbers you’ll need). Let’s stress just a couple of points here:
better start your seeds indoors and transfer them outside at 2 weeks from sprouts,
try not to expose young plants to day temps lower than 15°C (59°F) and night temps lower than 10°C (50°F),
make sure night temps never get below freezing point,
if possible, time the grow so that it’s not too hot during flowering.
Btw, transferring an autoflower outdoors can be stressful for its root system. Click the link below to learn just one hack of how to reduce transplant shock.
In colder climates, it’s best to plant your autoflowers in a greenhouse which will protect them from cold weather, rain, and strong winds. A greenhouse can also extend your growing season by two whole months.
The one mistake you should avoid is sealing your greenhouse completely for the night. The thing is that when the air inside the greenhouse cools down on a cold night, heavy dew forms on everything. A couple of nights like this and your crop will begin to rot, get covered by powdery mildew and what not.
So leave the greenhouse open for the night to let the excess moisture evaporate. It’s better when it’s very cold but ventilated than kind of cold and sealed off hermetically.
Although we were talking about autoflower temp and humidity, the general principles apply to any weed variety. If you want vigorous and healthy growth without any issues, try to always be in control of environmental conditions. If you manage to keep them within the given ranges, you’ll get tons of chunky heavy buds at harvest. Happy growing!
All images in this post were taken from GrowDiaries, the world’s largest weed growing community.
Can You Defoliate Autoflowers? Grow Questions Answered
A grower asks: “I have a Gelato Auto in my 2’x2’ grow tent, and she is 2 weeks into flowering, very bushy and quite tall. Can you defoliate autoflowers? I have already removed a few lower fan leaves but I think she needs a more thorough haircut in the middle.”
You certainly can defoliate autoflowers if this will improve light penetration and air movement inside the canopy. It’s safest to do selective defoliation — when you take off only the bare minimum of leaves. Heavy defoliation is possible with stronger autoflower genetics, but make sure you follow our guidelines.
Can You Defoliate Autoflowers in Flower?
In the situation described above, the grower can and probably should defoliate his autoflower because she’s tall and bushy. First of all, this means she’s healthy and can take some abuse without skipping a beat. Second, her being tall means that lower bud sites are probably too far from the light. If they are also shaded by fan leaves, they’ll never amount to anything worthwhile.
You either remove the fan leaves shading the lower buds or—if the distance from the light is too great—pluck off those lower buds as well. It’s better to make the lower portion of the bush completely barren and channel the energy to the tops.
If you need to do a lot of defoliation to expose every promising bud site to light, make sure you remove only mature leaves that wouldn’t grow any more. Also defoliate no more than one third of all the fan leaves in one go and wait at least a week before the next defoliation session. Usually, it’s safe to trim your plant in this manner until she stops her flowering stretch.
After that—in late flowering—defoliation usually does more harm than good. You may admire the look of all those exposed frosty colas, but they would probably yield more if you didn’t trim them in late flower.
The question of how to defoliate autoflowers in the vegetative phase is also a common one. Again, it’s best to be very selective about it. Fan leaves are especially important in veg because they are solar panels that convert light into energy. They also store lots of nutrients that can be transported to other parts of the plant and used there.
So think twice about removing any of the fan leaves during veg. Here’s a quick checklist for you:
Are fan leaves blocking light from lower side shoots?
Will those side shoots grow more vigorously if they are not shaded?
Is the canopy too dense to be properly ventilated?If you answer ‘yes’ to any of those questions, then maybe you should defoliate your autoflower by removing a leaf or two at a time.
If you answer ‘yes’ to any of those questions, then maybe you should defoliate your autoflower by removing a leaf or two at a time.
Some growers also apply high-stress training techniques, such as topping, on their autoflowers, and, as a result, they turn into a wide bush with a great number of flowering tops. Those tops are usually close together, and the foliage between them makes the bush impenetrable to light and very poorly ventilated. In this case, heavy defoliation before the start of flowering is almost a must.
Just make sure the transition to flowering hasn’t started already. Otherwise, it’s too late to heavily defoliate now. You don’t want to subject your plant to even more stress at this point. So give her a week to begin flowering for real and then defoliate.
We hope this answers your questions. And if you have more, please refer to our more comprehensive article on autoflower defoliation.
All images in this post were taken from GrowDiaries, the world’s largest weed growing community.
Autoflower Defoliation Sweet Spot: When and How Much?
Not long ago, people used to think of autoflowers as something fragile, finicky, tiny, and potentially low-yielding. The common stance was that anything could shock and stunt them. Hence, the autoflower defoliation was a big no-no, the same as transplanting and various high- and low-stress techniques. Luckily, that has changed.
Autoflower defoliation has become a standard canopy-management method, and we’ll show you how and when to perform it. Armed with these guidelines, you’ll learn to use autoflowers trimming as the means to achieve bigger plants and over-the-top production.
The Most Important Question — Why?
Autoflower defoliation shouldn’t be thought of as some devilishly clever way to cheat Nature. We don’t need to cheat. We just see a problem and help plants deal with it. If there’s no problem, we leave them alone.
So let’s look at the situations where you can benefit your autoflowers by trimming and defoliating them:
Better canopy ventilation. If you’re afraid there’s a lack of air movement in the bottom part of the bush or inside it, remove the excess foliage. Or else you can run into problems with mold.
Increasing light exposure. Probably the main reason for autoflower defoliation indoors. Make sure that fan leaves don’t shade any bud sites. And if they do, remove them.
Getting rid of old leaves. When a plant has sucked all the juices out of lower fan leaves, there is no reason whatsoever to leave them on branches. If the lower leaves are still green, don’t shade anything, nor block air movement, it’s okay to leave them.
Slowing down a particular branch. Sometimes one of the top shoots is growing too fast and is overtaking all the rest. One of the ways to curb its growth and allow the rest of the branches to catch up is to defoliate it.
Reducing overall perspiration during drought. I used to do this in my guerilla growing days. I prefer to let my outdoor plants grow naturally, but during a heat wave I defoliate more generously. The less foliage, the less precious water the plant loses.
There are definitely quite a few cons to autoflower defoliation. Let’s look at them too.
Each leaf contributes to photosynthesis. Chemical reactions inside leaves produce building materials and energy to be used elsewhere in the plant. So defoliate only if you think that the benefits of defoliation outweigh the leaf’s contribution to photosynthesis.
Each leaf is a depo of essential elements. So-called mobile nutrients (N, P, K, Mg, and Mo) can be transported from older leaves to new growth as needed. So if you notice a deficiency of any of these nutrients, you’ll only make things worse by defoliation.
Slowed down growth due to stress. Autoflower defoliation, pruning, topping—they all produce a spike in jasmonic acid. It’s a kind of a stress hormone which makes plants temporarily suspend growth and direct the saved energy to wound healing. On the other hand, the right amount of stress can produce just enough jasmonic acid to actually make weed more potent, as one study suggests.
Risk of hermaphroditism due to stress. It’s not the worst kind of stress (not as bad as chaotic light cycle, for example), but in weaker genetics it can be enough to make female plants produce male flowers (hermies).
These drawbacks don’t give enough reason to forget about autoflower defoliation altogether, but you should always make sure the good outweighs the bad. And sometimes you might prefer a little less invasive and stressful procedure like leaf tucking.
Leaf Tucking: The Alternative to Autoflower Defoliation
If larger fan leaves are in the way but you think it’s best to leave them on the plant for now, you can tuck them under a branch. Let’s have a look at one way this can be done.
A skillful grower who calls himself Bloombuster obviously hates autoflowering defoliation and uses the ‘x-leaves’ technique instead. He takes two opposing fan leaves, tucks them under a branch and ties them together by their petioles.
At harvest, the plant is a monster. Maybe too leafy to some people’s taste, but a very generous producer.
Gorilla Cookies Auto (FastBuds) – 220g (7.76oz) from 1 plant – Buy These Seeds
Heavy Autoflower Defoliation as a Yield Boosting Technique
So far, we’ve only been talking about selective defoliation of autoflowers. You cast a critical eye on your plant and remove only those parts that don’t fit your vision.
However, many growers see defoliation (especially heavy defoliation) as a kind of a magic bullet As if it somehow could automatically transform your plant into a super producer. This view was given a boost by the rise of schwazzing, a form of extreme defoliation.
Schwazzing was popularized by the book Three a Light. The name obviously means ‘three pounds of dry bud per a 1000W light’. The book describes at what stages in a plant ‘s cycle heavy defoliation should be performed and how many days of rest to give your plants between sessions and what nutrients to feed them. People love clear and easy-to-follow guidelines like this.
Btw, schwazzing was developed for photoperiod genetics, not autoflowers.
Nevertheless, some growers experiment with extreme forms of autoflower defoliation too. Obviously, they hope to come up with some step-by-step instructions that will guarantee bigger yields every time. We’d say it’s wishful thinking because every strain is different. Moreover, every batch of seeds in a strain and every seed in a batch are different. So it’s a flip of a coin how your particular autoflower will react to heavy defoliation
Having said that, we’ve compiled a short list of guidelines that most autoflower defoliation enthusiasts agree on:
don’t remove more than ⅓ of fan leaves at a time,
remove only those leaves that have stopped growing,
allow for at least a week between sessions,
you can defoliate in veg but not just before the transition to flowering,
it’s okay to defoliate during flowering (weeks 2-3) but only before the stretch is over,
never trim leaves in late flower (after approx. week 8 from seed).
A Sample Autoflower Defoliation Schedule for the Whole Life Cycle
As you can see in the table above, a special case is defoliating an autoflower before harvest. If you do this right before chopping your plant or right before subjecting her to a dark period before harvest, it’s not really defoliation. It’s rather a form of wet trimming. You’re going to remove all fan leaves anyway, and often it’s more convenient to do this while the plant is still standing in her container.
And even if you give her a day or two to mature under the light after this heavy trimming, it’s really okay. The stress might actually make buds even more potent.
A Few Examples of Heavy Autoflower Defoliation
In our first example, a grower who calls himself chubbs decided to subject his autoflower to heavy defoliation in week 7. For many reasons, this auto hadn’t been growing vigorously from the start, and the heavy defoliation hardly helped. Besides, the guy chose to defoliate his autoflower before harvest a little too early — at least one full week before the chop. The yield wasn’t spectacular, but the quality of the buds was top-notch. Probably, thanks to the strong genetics.
Forbidden Runtz Auto (FastBuds) – 17 g (0.6 oz) from 1 plant – Buy These Seeds
Example 2. In addition to topping and mainlining a Girl Scout Cookies Auto by Fastbuds, the grower calling himself HobbitGDF defoliated her heavily in week 5. All these high-stress training techniques probably delayed the start of flowering—till week 7. As a result, the buds were only ready after a full 13 weeks from seed.
Girl Scout Cookies Auto (FastBuds) – 71g (2.5oz) from 1 plant – Buy These Seeds
In our third example, the grower (Canamatoes) did multiple toppings and mainlining and performed a thorough defoliation on several occasions. The one in the picture is in week 6 (the second week of flowering). The Kosher Cake Auto by FastBuds responded great and yielded 261g (9.21oz) of top-shelf bud.
And finally, the grower (Cali_Grown_420) used less stressful methods, such as FIMming, and defoliated more lightly and only once—in week 5 (the first week of flowering). In the picture, you can see one of three plants. All three have yielded 308g (10.9oz).
Cream Cookies Auto (FastBuds) – 308g (10.9oz) from 3 plants – Buy These Seeds
Combing through Growdiaries, we have seen quite a few successful autoflower grows involving heavy defoliation. At the same time, many results were less than spectacular. Sometimes, it seemed that a simpler approach would lead to a more generous yield.
Often, when a grow journal shows a MONSTER bush at harvest, it’s impossible to find a picture where you can tell that the plant has just been defoliated. Because the grower defoliated only moderately, a few leaves here and there, nothing radical.
This smart approach to autoflower defoliation seems to work best. But maybe you have a different opinion. Tell us what you think in the comments.
How Long do Autoflowers Really Take vs What is Promised?
The reason autoflowers are so popular is the incredibly short time it takes them to fully mature. But, for many growers, it sounds too good to be true. Hence the suspicious question: how long do autoflowers really take?
The good news is that autoflower time from seed to harvest is more or less what seed breeders promise, that is not very long. You can scroll down right now and look at the infographics where we show how many weeks autoflowers take compared to their specifications.
Or, if you’re new to the game, let’s take a look at what makes an autoflower seed to harvest time so short.
Autoflowers Flower Time Doesn’t Depend on the Light Schedule
Let’s start with traditional cannabis strains. They are short-day plants, aka photoperiodic, or simply photoperiod. If they grow naturally, photoperiod varieties only start to flower at the end of summer or at the beginning of fall—when the days become short enough.
In indoor setups, the flowering begins only if you set your timer to 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night (12/12). And if the days are longer (e.g. 18/6), cannabis just keeps on growing and no flowering happens.
Seed producers have traditionally selectively bred cannabis for the earlier onset of flowering and shorter life cycle, but Nature beat them to it. That is to say, it ‘created’ Cannabis ruderalis, a small-statured feral plant that is adapted to very short Siberian or North European summers. Breeders have learned to add ruderalis DNA to traditional varieties to create autoflowers.
Autoflowers flower time and the whole life cycle are so short because they start to flower automatically in a couple of weeks from sprouts. Outdoors, they can be grown and harvested in any season (provided that the weather is warm enough):
in spring (when days become longer),
in summer (when days are the longest),
in autumn (when days become shorter again).
Moreover, in milder climates, you can even grow autos in winter. Just make sure that the day temperature is at least 15°C (59°F) and there are no night frosts.
Indoors, you can use any light schedule — from 12/12 and all the way to 24/0. Whatever is most convenient to you. It’s because longer light hours usually don’t affect autoflowers flower time.
This wasn’t always the case. Just a few years ago, it was a common complaint on forums that an autoflower keeps growing. Obviously, the expression of ruderalis genes in such a plant was too weak, so it wouldn’t flower at 24/0 or 20/4. Sometimes, even a 18/6 light cycle was too much. People were advised to switch to something like 16/8, 14/10, or even 12/12.
There’s even a term for this type of plants — superautos. Superautos tend to be big and high-yielding, but take forever if you treat them like normal autos. Today’s breeders do their best to create autoflowering varieties that never require any changes in light schedule.
How Long do Autoflowers Take in Different Conditions?
When planning how many weeks for autoflower you’ll need, take into account the following:
Indoors or outdoors. In our experience, the same autoflowering strain usually takes a week longer when grown outside. This may be due to the less controlled growing conditions (see 2 and 3), or to the fact that outdoor weed is mostly grown in beds and not containers (see 4).
Ideal vs subpar environment. The flowering in autos is triggered by size/maturity, rather than age. Obviously, plants reach the target size faster if the conditions are right and there’s no stress. And if the growth of an auto is stunted or slowed down for some reason, the start of flowering will be delayed.
DWC vs soil. In hydroponics and soilless mediums (coco), seedlings tend to develop faster than in soil. This means that they’ll be several days faster to reach maturity and enter the flowering phase.
Pot size. In smaller containers, autoflowers take less time. The reason is that when root tips reach the walls of a container, it gives plants a signal that there’s no more available space (and resources) and that they better switch to flowering.
Training an Autoflower: How Many Weeks This May Add?
When working on this post, we asked ourselves this question: how many weeks do autoflowers take if you use low-stress/high-stress training methods? So we have screened 60 grows for such techniques as topping/fimming, defoliation, and LST.
Frankly, we didn’t see any pattern here. Please look at the tables below for yourselves. As you can see, we have sorted all grows by the length of the cycle — shorter cycles first. If LST/HST methods really affected the length of the grow, they would cluster at the bottom of each table. This doesn’t seem to be the case.
In a separate post, we looked at how autoflower topping affects the yields. The findings were rather ambiguous, but interesting.
How Long Do Autoflowers Really Take?
For insights, we turned to Growdiaries which is a large enough growing community to contain many answers.
We took 4 most popular autoflower breeders, then 6 most popular strains from each breeder, and finally 10 finished grows from the top of each list. All in all, we’ve scraped the data from 240 grow journals.
So, to answer your question—how long do autoflowers really take—look at the distribution of dots on the infographic. Please note that the baseline (‘0’) is what a particular breeder promises. And you can mouseover on a dot to glean some more info.
As you can see, these 4 breeders specify autoflower time from seed to harvest more or less realistically. Many growers really do cut down their plants within the given timeframe, and for others, their autoflower seed to harvest time is even shorter. Nevertheless, there are many instances where growers had to wait several weeks longer.
Interestingly, the more cutting-edge auto genetics by FastBuds take longer than older strains by this same breeder. Obviously, they’re recently less preoccupied with speed than with size/yield of their creations.
A Still Deeper Look
We’ve gone into more detail with FastBuds and six of their strains. Our goal here was to find an answer to the following question: how many weeks do autoflowers take if you train them or transplant them and how do they react to different light schedules? As mentioned earlier, we found no correlation.
Autoflowers are the fastest marijuana variety on the market. Quite often, they finish as fast as a breeder promises, or even faster. And if an auto takes longer, it usually reaches greater size and brings in better yield.
Anyway, regardless of the time it takes them, no modern autoflowers depend on seasons/light schedule, and they always flower automatically.
There’s much controversy on the subject of autoflower topping. Only a few years ago, it was a no-brainer: topping an autoflower would lead to catastrophic results in terms of size and yield. Today, autoflowers have become so strong that topping and other forms of high-stress training often don’t hurt them.
Moreover, when you grow autoflowers indoors, it’s paramount to keep them short and spread-out, so that each flower top is at the same distance from the light. Often, it can be achieved with low-stress training (LST), but sometimes LST is not enough. In such cases, autoflower topping can give you more advantages (flatter canopy & more flowering tops) than drawbacks (the risk of stunted growth and longer life cycle).
In a separate post, we’ve described several grows of xxl autoflower strains, and some of the most amazing results there were achieved through topping. We’ve also investigated the autoflower seed to harvest time in actual grow reports and found—among other things—that topping doesn’t seem to affect the speed of autoflowering cannabis.
When to do Autoflower Topping
So you’ve decided that topping a autoflower would benefit your indoor grow. Here’s a list of conditions that will raise your chances of success:
Your autoflower should be mature enough. You risk shocking a young seedling with an HST technique if you perform one too early. Look through the examples below to see at what age other growers did the topping.
The plant should be healthy and vigorous. If it shows any deficiencies, suffers from a pest attack, or is growing slowly for some other reason, wait till it’s well again. Or give up the idea of topping altogether.
There are no other radical changes in your garden. It’s best not to top an autoflower right after a transplant, or when you change nutrients, the type of light, or light schedule. Any change can be a stress factor, and stress factors compound. Together they can shock your plant into remaining a dwarf.
Your auto hasn’t yet begun to flower. The start of flowering signals weed plants to begin stretching the available branches and maybe grow some new foliage, but stop anything else, like growing new roots and new side branches. So don’t expect your autoflower to become noticeably bushier in the blooming stage. And autoflower topping won’t make any difference, either.
What is Topping, Anyway?
We assume that you already know what ‘topping’ means and how it is performed. So, this is only a quick reminder. Topping means pinching off the plant top. It’s done to switch off apical dominance and direct energy from the top (apex) to the secondary shoots (side branches).
Please note that you can do several toppings on a single plant: first top the main stalk, then the side branches, and, when they fork, top again their apexes. By spreading flat these multiple branches, you can get a very short and symmetrical plant. This technique is called mainlining, or manifolding. There are a couple of examples of this below.
There are two ways of topping:
Topping proper, when you cut off the growing point completely. In this case, instead of one central cola, the plant develops two tops. They grow from the topmost node, just below the cut-off apex.
Fimming, when you DON’T cut off the growing point completely (hence the name of the method — FIM, or “Fuck, I missed!”). If you do this right, the mangled apex will recover and grow two additional shoots. There will be 4 equal-size tops instead of one central cola.
Autoflower Topping Results in Real-Life Grows
Initially, we wanted to take just one strain—Orange Sherbet Auto by FastBuds—and find enough grow reports where it was topped and where it wasn’t. The idea was to see how much autoflowers topping affects yields in the same genetics.
However, comparing topped vs. untopped autos of the same variety doesn’t give much insight. The final results are all over the place. So, instead, we compiled two sets of 5 strains each: in one set, the topping was successful, and in the other, not.
We hope you’ll have fun looking at these autoflower topping examples. Please pay attention to the names of the strains and the growers’ nicknames, too. Sometimes, one and the same strain or one and the same grower doing exactly the same thing result in totally different outcomes.
I do love her, she will be topped, probably 3 times starting in about a week, pinned, lollipoped and defoliated regularly ..... Day 18, I topped her again yesterday and you wouldn't know it. She is on track growing and right where I think she should be. Not like her sister zkittlez ..... Day 28, the ocd kicked in again ffs and I topped everything again for the 4th time. Ive never done 4 so Im interested to see what happens ..... I gave her a boot camp that alot of plants don't survive and she never flinched or missed a beat. She is one tough cookie!
Fimmed her on day 20 ..... She reacted well to training, quickly overcame the stress or repotting and fimming and is growing fine ..... FIM didn’t go as planned. However, the procedure significantly affected the development of the middle nodes and made the side branches grow vigorously. The plant grows quite fast
Both plants have motored through initial training with LST and fimming without skipping a beat. I've read so many mixed opinions on topping / fimming autos, it was a hard decision to make. In the end, I decided to give it a try and find out for myself. If I'd had any concerns about the plants ability to cope, I wouldn't have done it, but if your plant is looking strong and healthy then it may be something to think about ..... for this grow right here? I think it was a good decision I'm extremely happy with the results.
she seems to be doing fine with the topping still growing but seems to have slowed down vertically which is good cause my last purple lemonades were monsters at 36 inches from pot ..... I am hoping it will be more bush style instead of tree ..... it’s just super healthy no matter what I do it did seem to stretch a good deal this week but I think the topping helped slow it down ..... huge yield this time at 138 grams plant finished around 34 inches from pot
Day 16: Her 6th node was well enough established for me to squeeze in there with the clippers and top her above the 5th node ..... Day 17: It’s been one day since she was topped and she hasn’t slowed down one bit. Growth has been fantastic over the past 24h. She is strong!
Blue had a solid start right out of the gate. She grew nice thick, full leaves and was happy as a clam cake.... Until I decided to FIM ?♀️ ….. Blue didn't seem to like it all that much, and as she began to grow out I did a poor job of opening her up enough to get proper sub-canopy circulation ….. Looking back now, I should have done a better job at doing a bit more defoliation than I did - but I found myself holding back once I had realized the stress I caused the plant from the FIM. That was a mistake.
I only wish she had stretched more, the 3rd topping did her in! Take notes ..... Please don't top this 3 times! I never will I can tell you lol! Maybe top once or just lst! This was the smallest plant I have ever grown in my life and I believe it was from over training.
12/12. She got topped today ..... 14/12. Day 20. She reacted very well to topping and started growing faster
..... The yield was low. She need to be tied down next time because she stretched a lot in no time.
Accidentally broke the main branch while adjusting LST. It was a clean cut. I could have taped it together and see if it recovers but decided to just remove the entire broken branch and consider this plant has been topped. My rationale is rather than the plant wasting its energy on recovery, it could use that energy on developing the lower nodes ..... Total dry weight for plant 2 came to 24g. Rather disappointing. It didn't have enough time to recover from the accidental topping. It was too close to flowering.
A useful tool in the arsenal of an experienced grower, autoflower topping isn’t a foolproof HST method. Use it when it’s really necessary and when some less invasive LST technique isn’t going to cut it (no pun intended).
Also, make sure the autoflower you choose is really strong and capable of handling the stress. The ones we used in this review are a good starting point. Click on a picture of a strain to find more about it and, possibly, buy it for your next successful grow.
Growing marijuana outdoors can be as simple as putting seeds or seedlings into the ground and only coming back for the harvest. Nevertheless, using autoflower outdoor nutrients can turn even an average producer into a xxl strain. We’ll show you what nutrients to feed your autoflower plants outdoors.
Often, it’s Best to Go Organic
We personally have achieved great results by simply growing autoflowers next to tomatoes and giving both the same treatment.
If the soil is rich enough for a regular vegetable garden, just amend it with some organic supplements, like wood ash, a few handfuls of compost from your compost pile, or some composted manure. Then, throughout the season, just add grass clippings or heaps of weeds. They will serve as both the mulch and the source of nutrients that will slowly seep into the ground.
You can further increase the availability of organic nutrients to your autoflower plants by inoculating the soil with beneficial microbes. There are lots of inoculants on the market today. These ones are most often used for cannabis:
Advanced NutrientsVoodoo Juice – 5 billion beneficial bacteria in every liter,
Advanced NutrientsTarantula – 10 million viable beneficial bacteria per gram,
Advanced NutrientsPiranha – a special combination of ecto and endo mycorrhizae,
Bush DoctorMicrobe Brew – concentrated fungi and bacteria + nutrients.
You Can Use Cheap Generic Nutes
Nothing is easier than going to the nearest gardening center and buying a bottle of nutrients that was designed for other crops, but can as well serve an autoflower grower.
As always, make sure that for the vegetative growth you use a fertilizer that contains more N (nitrogen) than P (phosphorus) and K (potassium). And when your cannabis starts to flower, switch to a fertilizer that shows more P and K in its N-P-K numbers. Read the instructions on the label carefully and try not to give your autoflowers more than ¼ to ½ of what’s recommended. Hungry weed is always healthier than overfed weed.
If there’s a choice between organic and synthetic nutrients, we suggest that you choose organic ones. This way it’s easier to avoid overfeeding and nutrient burn, and the smoke will be cleaner, healthier, and more flavorful.
Autoflower Outdoor Nutrients Specifically Designed for Cannabis
Today, there is a big, thriving, and rapidly growing industry that caters to weed growers. So there are many exciting and even miraculous products on the market. Let’s look at some of them.
Fox Farm Nutrients
FoxFarm produces a wide range of products for different crops. Some of them are quite effective as autoflower outdoor nutrients. It’s arguably more convenient to choose some of their dry fertilizers for an outdoor grow, including slow-release formulas. Another good option would be soluble products because they are cheaper than liquid ones.
Here are three examples:
Marine Cuisine (NPK – 10-7-7) is a slow-release organic nutrient; it’s a mix of sea plants that you’ll only have to apply once at the beginning of the season.
Open Sesame (NPK – 5-45-19) is a high-phosphorus fertilizer that will stimulate the formation of flowers at the start of the budding stage.
Beastie Bloomz (NPK – 0-50-30) contains high amounts of phosphorus and potassium which will boost the swelling of your buds.
Fox Farm’s Open Sesame & Beastie Bloomz: Both worked well. I misjudged how long my plant was gonna flower for so I didnt get to use these at the exact moments I had wanted to but everything turned out beautiful.
Earth Juice’s Bloom Original Formula & Catalyst: I added this at the end in hopes to increase potency or resin production but once again I misjudged my plants bloom cycle so it wasn’t as effective as it could have been
Green Buzz Liquids offer 100% organic fertilizers which are fine tuned to the needs of cannabis plants at the different stages of their development. You can purchase not only well-balanced formulas of macronutrients (NPK), but also a lot of amendments, boosters, and enhancers.
Organic Grow & Bloom (NPK – 4-2-6 and 2-3-4), for veg and flower phases, respectively,
Organic More PK (NPK – 4-6-10), to really boost the budding,
More Roots, to increase the root mass,
Humic Acid Plus, to stimulate nutrient uptake,
Fast Buds, for faster transition to flowering,
Big Fruits, for up to 25% bigger buds,
Living Organics, another great inoculant to make plant food more available and protect cannabis from environmental stress.
Green Buzz Liquids: they went along nice with this grow,mutated my buds into hard rock solid ones,as to expect from good nutes
CANNA make their products specifically for marijuana growers, that’s why any of them can be used as autoflower outdoor nutrients. Even those that are meant for a totally different medium and setup, like an indoor grow on coco coir.
CANNA is what the grower quoted below used (along with many Advanced Nutrients supplements). The fertilizer formula that he chose is CANNA Coco A+B. It consists of two bottles. You add both one after another and together they have the NPK of 5-4-3. Besides, they contain all necessary micronutrients.
Canna: Easy to use, does what it says on the bottle.
Advanced Nutrients: I have been impressed by the results I have seen with this brand. I may change my base nutrition to the connoisseur range on my next grows.
This company is very popular with cannabis growers and for a reason. BioBizz products are reliable and easy to use. The staple of their line are Bio-Grow (nutrients for veg), Bio-Bloom (nutrients for flower), and Top-Max (blooming stimulator). However, for their Outdoor Try-Pack BioBizz have chosen a different set:
Bio-Bloom, the perfect ratio of NPK + enzymes & amino acids,
Fish-Mix, fish emulsion + Dutch sugar beet extract to feed beneficial bacteria in the root zone,
Top-Max, a mix of of humic and fulvic acids.
In the grow cited below, the gardener used another two supplements:
Alg-A-Mic, seaweed extracts to prevent or overcome stress,
Acti-Vera, an aloe vera extract to make plants stronger and healthier.
BioBizz: Excellent product worth the extra money compared to Flora Series
When looking for autoflower outdoor nutrients, never ever forget about Advanced Nutrients. We have already mentioned their two inoculants—Tarantula and Piranha. But this company offers a very long list of exciting nutrients and supplements. Below are just a few of them:
Big Bud, a careful blend of P, K, and amino acids,
Bud Factor X, boosts the production of resin and terpenes like no other,
Bud Ignitor, for faster onset of flowering and more numerous bud sites,
Bud Candy, sugars, aminos, and vitamins for huge and sweet-tasting buds,
B-52, a source of vitamin B for stress & heat resistance and better nutrient uptake,
Flawless Finish, to flush your buds for cleaner and tastier smoke.
Advanced Nutrients: Maybe I used too much nutrients, next time I will try and find a balance… | Bud Ignitor: Incredible boosting Flawless Finish: From now on i will always use this Advanced Nutrients product. I’m in real love with this one
B.A.C.: I have nothing bad or good to say, just a good nutrient brand.
Atami: It’s a 10. Essential #1, this product has been, is and will be the best.
An outdoor cannabis grow shouldn’t be complicated or expensive. Odds are that any weedy patch will turn into a great garden and bring you enough bud to live through the winter. But if you decide to spend some money on nutrients, the result can be even better. And we have got you acquainted with a few reputable producers whose products won’t let you down.
And maybe you already have some outdoor growing experience—good or bad—with a specific line of nutrients. Please feel free to share it with your fellow-gardeners in the comments section.
We have our own share of personal experience with XXL autoflower strains, but, for this post, we have combed through Growdiaries for some champion autoflower grows. Let’s start the countdown!
XXL Autoflower Strains Ranked by Real-Life Yield
#10 Green Poison XL Auto (Sweet Seeds)
This is a balanced indica-sativa hybrid with 15 to 20 percent THC, a pleasant sweet and fruity smoke, and a mellow easy-going high. The breeder has selectively bred this strain for several generations making sure that all plants have about 25% longer stems than their predecessors. As a result, Green Poison XL Auto has more bud sites and heavier yields.
Grow another round of these stanky ass weeds,
Sweet Seeds comin with that fire on these!
not another xl out there stackin such cheese, show it to your growmies gonna take em to their knees
Jigga please, these seeds grow trees
Tallest in the garden, other autos like “jeez”
“She a beast, blocking all my breeze she is. Look at all her shiny crystals, cola in my shiz it is”
A taller, wider, and more productive strain when grown outdoors, Royal Gorilla Auto is leaning to the indica side. Its highly resinous buds have a bold taste of Diesel and Kush and smell of pine and citrus fruit. Thanks to 20% THC, this hybrid is amazingly potent. Its alround euphoric high makes you both glued to the couch and very stimulated mentally.
Make sure to check out other XXL autoflower strains in the large and glorious Gorilla family.
The Royal Gorilla Auto is quick, she finished on time and came in at 682 grams wet weight which is good for an autoflower in a pot that size running soil.
Northern Light Auto is an old-school indica lineage that is available practically in any seed bank’s collection. This xxl autoflower version by RQS produces compact plants with a huge central cola and much smaller side branches. Perfect for SOG. You’ll get tons of buds that have a pleasant sweet smell and relax you without making your body immobile, nor killing your motivation to do your chores. A nice physically calming and mentally envigorating stuff to smoke from late afternoon till it’s time for bed.
What a blast I had doing my first grow ever and getting this result!
This candy-flavored treat is celebrated for its intense sweetness. Its berry and fruity overtones become overwhelming after a proper cure. The THC level of 23% is something to awe even seasoned smokers, and newbies can give up growing for good after just one harvest. The buds are simply so potent that they may last you for years. The effect of Zkittlez Auto is a hybrid one. It starts all in the head and then settles in your body for long three hours or mellow relaxation.
She came on thick and fast from germination and stayed that way through to Harvest… Had a good experience keeping her wet and pushing the her nutrient levels.
#6 Auto Blueberry Ghost OG (Original Sensible Seeds)
The Blueberry line isn’t exactly famous for its xxl yields, but this hybrid of Blueberry and Ghost OG seems to be an exception. Auto Blueberry Ghost OG produces oversized and heavy buds with a strong and clean flavor of berries and fruits. The high first overwhelms you with a surge of euphoria and then morphs into a loud body buzz—like a roaring applause for the great job on the part of the breeder.
This is a moneymaker, 180 g in 13 weeks is a great outcome.
Girl Scout Cookies is the flagship of the new-generation cannabis coming from the US West Coast. This autoflowering version by FastBuds gives you a chance to grow the same quality buds as the patrons of California’s dispensaries enjoy. The aroma is one-of-a-kind. It combines the smell of coookie dow with a background of Kush and earth. The high envigorates you mentally, but makes your body immobile for hours. Doesn’t matter because you don’t have to be anywhere else to feel completely happy.
This is my second time growing a Girl Scout Cookies autoflower! … She grew with vigor, and yielded a sticky bounty!
Big Bang Auto was bred for commercial yields, but also to be commercially appealing. With a frosty appearence like this and large solid flower clusters it can’t be anything but. The smoke is also very pleasant: mellow, soothing, and very effective medicinally. You can use this weed for pain and lack of appetite.
… never grew anything in my life before and i gotta say im happy with my results… they were easy, took my countless mistakes of overwatering like a champ, and responded really well to LST and defoliation. ive never trained a plant before so u can imagine but she just loved all the trainings and always fully recovered only after a day later. overall, a very tolerating strain. PERFECT for newbies who are bound to make a mistake or 2. Exceptionally high yielding for an Auto…
Pineapple Express Auto is an undying classic. This particular version by Barney’s Farm has so much more than the champion yield to recommend it. You’ll fall in love with the mouth-watering juicy flavor of this marijuana, as well as its high that melts away any stress and drowns you in perfect happiness.
Very easy and strong one, would recommend for beginers and for experienced growers if they look for a plant you can’t kill, I’ve tried 😉 … Not always good conditions but good light, fertilizers and a lot of air for the roots did their jobs good, still I am very amazed by capabilities of this strain
There are newer and trendier xxl autoflower strains in FastBuds collection, but people still go bonkers when they see Pineapple Express Auto. These plants are so frosty, you’ll end up smoking stem and branches, too. Or at least rub them till all the resin that covers them sticks to your fingers. Been there, done that. With so much THC, the effect is strong and long lasting, intensely relaxing and free of paranoia. The flavor is a rich tropical mix.
She was a “slow and steady wins the race” phenotype! 6 weeks veg + 8 week flower…. This lady holds my personal record, for my largest yield from an indoor plant!!!
#1 Among XXL Autoflower Strains — Purple Lemonade (FastBuds)
This plant embodies everything you look for in a modern xxl autoflower. It’s gigantic, insanely productive, and tolerant of any abuse that a newbie grower can throw at it. The finished product is picture perfect, has a bittersweet zesty taste, and creates a unique high. Despite its indica dominance and 22% THC, Purple Lemonade does not create a stony, groggy, drowsy feeling. If anything, it rather boosts your energy, leaving you motivated and creative.
Make sure u have room for this variety! Absolutely monstrous! The more u train the bigger and more fruitful she gets… so get that finger work going! Every cola was a donkey dick glorious!
The one below didn’t quite make the cut yield-wise, but we simply couldn’t pass on such a beauty!
Original Auto Northern Lights (FastBuds): An XXL Autoflower Strain All the Way
Actually, 330g (11.64oz) from two plants is a great result, especially in a 24”x24” (0.5m2) tent.
The huge colas of Original Auto Northern Lights are completely frosted by THC crystals and taste like rich soil with hints of spices and fruit. Smoke them after a long day, and your body will get filled with heavy-handed drowsy euphoria. This is the perfect remedy for nighttime relaxation.
More XXL Autoflower Strains
The 11 strains we described above have demonstrated their ability to bring insane amounts of bud. Choose any of them, and you’re on your way to outsized harvests.
And if you want something else (different names, flavors, genetics, etc.), check out this list of high yielders. We have pre-filtered them for autoflower xxl yield, but you can filter them further until you hit on something that perfectly suits your needs.
Organic Autoflower Grow: Taking Care of Soil, Roots, Nutrients
Organic farming is such a hot topic right now for the simple reason that people have become conscious about what goes into their bodies: be it food, drinks, or smokables. If you have ever tested buds resulting from an organic autoflower grow, you know what we’re talking about. The smoke is clean and full-flavored, never feels harsh on your throat or lungs, and often produces a crisp, well-defined effect, without additional grogginess or disorientation. Or a heavy head in the morning, for that matter.
Organic farming means also so much more: respect for Nature, caring for the preservation of resources, promoting the sustainability of ecosystems and the health of soil, plants, and animals, not just people. For all these reasons, we encourage you to always use organic methods.
Organic Autoflower Grow: What’s Involved?
As you may have already guessed, the organic approach is always a holistic one. It means that we focus not on the plant itself, but on its entire environment. And we manipulate this environment to achieve the results we need.
An organic autoflower grow means that we don’t feed the plant, but the beneficial microbes populating the soil, not the roots, but the mycorrhizae living in a symbiotic relationship with them. And organic nutrients are never absorbed by plants directly, but first need to be processed by microorganisms.
Now let’s talk about each component of a successful organic autoflower grow.
1. Organic Soil Mix
Soil is the single most important factor in the production of top-shelf buds. It is especially true of autoflowering genetics. The thing is that the life cycle of autoflowering vs feminized plants is very short and it’s so important to create a sound basis for success from day one. Give your plant’s enough medium for the development of a healthy root structure and supercharge it with enough raw matter and enough living things to make it digestible, and you can probably use fresh water till harvest and still get amazing results. That’s how important a good organic soil mix is.
An organic soil recipe, often referred to as Super Soil, can include the following basic ingredients (please note that the percentages are just the ballpark values, so feel free to experiment, but avoid making the mixture too ‘hot’):
50% peat- or sphagnum-based soilless mix (provides the bulk of the medium),
10-20% mature compost (some organic nutrients + lots of microbes),
10% earthworm castings, or vermicompost (the same),
10% perlite (helps saturate the medium with O2 which is necessary for roots),
fungi/mycorrhizae/bacteria (turn raw organics into available plant food).
The last item is actually the most important one and is basically what organic growing is all about. The rest is just bed and board for the little creatures. The question is: how can you inoculate your Super Soil with them? Well, microbial life is all around us. So you can simply give your soil mix enough time to be naturally populated with living things. Or you can speed up this process by adding some store-bought probiotic preparation.
Tip: You don’t have to be a DIY enthusiast to use super soil for growing autos. There are a number of ready-made organic soil mixes available online. Some are concentrated, others have just a normal strength. All have a host of microbes with unpronounceable Latin names and enough food for their colony to start multiplying as soon as you add some water.
We know that some of you prefer to come up with their own proprietary formulas or just love to experiment. So here’s a list of additional things a good organic soil can include:
Bone/Fish Bone Meal,
With all these additives, a little goes a long way. So make sure that collectively they don’t make up more than 5-10% of the volume. A mixture that is too concentrated can actually hurt the roots of cannabis, and you may need to do a lot of flushing to make the medium comfortable for the root system again. Conversely, if you have made a too weak soil mix and this resulted in a slow growth of your autoflower, adding more plant food during each watering is fairly easy.
Mycorrhizal fungi are such an important part of organic soil that they deserve a special mention.
Let’s visualize a root system of a marijuana plant. It consists of a complicated network of strands (some thick, others very thin) that extend into every nook and corner of the medium and are meant to absorb water and nutrients from it.
Well, believe it or not, but some of those thinner strands aren’t actually roots of the cannabis plant itself. In fact, they are separate organisms — a special kind of fungus called mycorrhizae. Yet these fungi look exactly like roots and perform the exact function of roots. Meaning they help to find and absorb the nutrients for the marijuana plant to uptake. So, by pre-mixing a mycorrhizae concentrate into the medium or by watering your plant with a mycorrhizae supplement, you literally provide it with an additional root structure. And bigger roots mean more rapid water and nutrients uptake, fatter buds, and heavier yields.
3. Liquid Organic Nutrients
Now that you’ve read about super soil and mycorrhizae, you understand that feeding your organically grown autoflower can actually be a one-time event. Everything your plant will need from seed to harvest may well be pre-loaded into the medium (if the container is large enough and the mixture is rich enough).
However, most of the time, growers also use bottles with liquid organic nutrients throughout much of the grow. Luckily, today’s market offers an insane amount of different product lines. The truth is that you can grow weed even with non-specific fertilizers, meant for other cultivars. So ANY organic product designed specifically for cannabis will guarantee an enormous success.
As a feeding schedule, you can choose from several options:
let your autoflower take everything she needs from soil during weeks 1-2 and then start adding organic feed, …
let the soil be the sole source of nutrients for the whole veg and only use fertilizers in flower, …
avoid using liquid nutrients till your plant starts to look hungry or shows the signs of deficiencies, presumably in the later stages of flowering, …
mix a super soil and then use only fresh water till the day you chop.
What will work best for you, depends on the following factors:
the size of the container; the more the volume, the longer you can go without using liquid nutrients; a 5-gallon pot will be enough for the whole cycle for most autoflowers,
the type of the medium; a coco/perlite mixture, rockwool, or DWC have no nutrients of their own and so you’ll have to add nutrients with every feeding,
the growing conditions and the growth rate; the more powerful lights you use, the higher the demand for CO2, water, nutrients, and everything else).
Also don’t forget that watering requirements are different for when you choose organic nutrients as opposed to synthetic ones. In the latter case, you want to avoid the salts build-up and should water your pots till 20% of what you pour runs off. In organic grows, you want the opposite: to retain as much precious microbial life and plant food in the medium as possible. So you water slowly until you see first drops coming out of the drainage holes, and then stop.
Organic Autoflower Grow: A Sure Way to Success
An organic autoflower grow lets you harvest buds of superior quality and is a very beginner-friendly method. It can be as easy as preparing a rich soil mix, inoculating it with bacteria and mycorrhizae, and then letting them do their thing all the way till harvest.
Of course, the devil is in the details. But the beauty of organic growing is that you can’t kill a plant even if you get many of those details wrong. So start experimenting! And if you already have some experience with growing autos organically, please share in comments what did and didn’t work for you.
Transplant Autoflower from Solo Cup w/o Shock: An Easy Way
It is very easy to shock a plant and stall its progress when you transplant autoflower into a bigger container.
Experienced growers would tell you to avoid autoflower repotting altogether. It means that you plant your seed or sprout straight into the final pot. Otherwise, you may run into two kinds of trouble.
First of all, the final size of your plant may get restricted by a too small pot size because autoflowers tend to start budding as soon as they are root-bound.
Second, repotting autoflowers is a risky procedure. The plant’s delicate root system can be so shocked, that it would stop developing for several days, maybe even until the flowering stage begins. And, as you may well imagine, you’ll have a very diminutive plant with weak side growth at harvest. And the yields wouldn’t be worth the wait.
Still, sometimes, you simply can’t do without a transplant. The obvious example is when you grow your autos outdoors, but start them indoors. This is a common practice because you shouldn’t expose very young seedlings to harsh weather. It’s best to give them two weeks or so of optimal conditions indoors and only then put them outside.
And here is a very simple method that I use and find very satisfactory.
Transplant Autoflower the Easy Way
Let’s take two party cups to put one inside the other. One of them we leave intact except that we make a couple of small drainage holes in the bottom. As for the other one, let’s cut a lot of slits in the bottom and the sides. After the transplant, the roots will grow outwards through these slits.
To do this, all we need is a sharp knife and 20 minutes of patience (for every pair of cups).
Those who know what DWC is will see that the result resembles those net pots that hydro growers fill with clay pebbles or rockwool and put seedlings in them. The net pots also allow roots to freely grow through the bottom and the sides and into the bucket with the solution.
For this experiment, I used 300 ml (10 oz) party cups, but a smaller one would probably be enough, too.
Our goal is to keep our autoflower seedlings in solo cups for two weeks, that is till the moment when a very rapid vegetative growth begins.
Let’s have a look at the roots when our seedling is already big and sturdy. You simply slide one cup out of the other. As you can see, the roots are sticking out the bottom and the sides.
I’m talking about transplanting autoflower strains outside, but in this experiment of mine I actually repotted my auto into a bucket with soil to be grown under artificial lights. Doesn’t really matter because the procedure is exactly the same. Just make a hole in the ground the size of the cup and stick it there.
The Best Time of Day for Repotting Autoflowers
In the past, I used to wonder when to transplant autoflower seedlings. I mean the best time of day for it. Now I do all my repottings before ‘nightfall’. This way, the plant and its root structure will have several hours to get used to their new surroundings before the sun goes up (or the lights turn on). Daytime, with photosynthesis and perspiration and all, is a much more stressful time for a plant.
Transplant Autoflower Results
So I was watching my repotted plant closely, and was happy to see that it never looked ‘tired’ and didn’t stop growing for a single day. In the photo gallery below, you can see daily snapshots of my auto both just before and after the transplant:
————- THIS IS WHEN I DID THE TRANSPLANT ————-
So Can You Transplant Autoflowering Plants?
You can definitely transplant autoflower plants if a situaltion calls for it, but please be extra careful and make sure that the roots experience the least amount of shock. And our method of using a solo cup with slits cut in it is clearly a simple and effective way of achieving that.