Planting Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds
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Planting autoflowering cannabis seeds is a relatively easy process, but to get the most out of your plants you need to follow a series of steps that are completely different from those that seasonal seeds have. An autoflowering cannabis seed needs a bit more care than normal seeds. You need to speed up the growth as much as possible so you don’t get teeny plants with no more than 5 blunts on them. We’re going to give you a series of things you’ll need to do in order to get the most out of your plants.
Germinating Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds:
The first thing that you’ll need to do is germinate the seed properly, using the paper towel method that we’ve talked about here before.
Once your seeds have germinated or opened, however you prefer to call it, you’ll need to prepare some small Teku 7×7 pots with soil, don’t use jiffy pellets or anything like that as the roots need plenty of space to grow.
Fill the pots with soil first and then water them; once the plant breaches the top of the soil you mustn’t wet it again. If you water it before the seed has come out then it will probably move up towards the surface which can cause a whole list of other issues. The best thing to do is to water first and then wait to water it again until the sapling grows a bit.
Bury the seed about half a cm to 1cm down into the soil, making a hole with a pen or a toothpick and putting the seed inside with the little root facing downwards. Cover it with a bit of soil without compacting it too much and leave it there until the plant begins to grow above the soil. What we usually do is leave it for 24h with light during this process until you transplant the seed to its main flowerpot. If you don’t have grow lights then use the most powerful one you can so that it doesn’t get too cold in the pot.
Up until this point the process has been exactly the same for seasonal seeds, but that’s about to change. You’ll need to wait for the plant to break the surface and have that little growth spurt that cannabis plants tend to get when they’re looking for light. This can take 4 or 5 days, and you’ll need to keep a close eye on them so you don’t leave them for too long. Make sure that the plant doesn’t begin to develop in that flowerpot, the maximum time you should leave the plant in it is 6 days.
Now is when you’ll need to transplant your autoflowering plants to their permanent home. Autoflowering strains that take two months prefer pots that are about 7L, whereas those that take three months much prefer pots that are 11L, no bigger.
Fill the flowerpots to the top with soil, nice and compact so that when you water the water doesn’t go all the way to the bottom, although make sure you don’t compact it too much as the plants need a good oxygen/water ratio to breath and grow; with no oxygen the roots won’t be healthy at all and you’ll end up with a dwarfed plant. You’ll need to keep the light at 20h until the end, or make sure it’s in a spot where it can get the maximum amount of sunlight hours.
Once those pots are full of soil, you’ll need to make a hole to stick your small plant in. Make it deep, as you’ll need to bury part of the trunk as well, to the point where the bottom of the trunk is just 5cm long from the soil to where the first leaves are. Then, water the edges of the pot little by little so the soil gets properly humid.
The reason you need to bury part of the trunk is because even more roots can come out of that small piece of stem, and it also gives the plant stability and strength so that it doesn’t bend and break and it can spend more energy on growing branches and foliage. The more roots it grows the more the plant will grow, which is how you can easily speed up the growing process. Once you’ve buried it, water the plant with about a liter of water mixed with a low concentration of growth fertilizer; some substrates absorb water easier than others, so it might be trial and error in your case and you’ll need to adapt the amount of water to how absorbent your soil is.
I use a liter of water with Canna Terra Professional, and no excess water comes out of the holes in the flowerpot which means it’s adequately watered. You can read all about substrates here.
From this day onwards you’re going to need to check and see if the soil is dry; until it is completely dry you shouldn’t have to water it again, and this should take about 7 days. The best way to check if the soil is dry is by lifting up the pot; if it’s still pretty heavy then it still has water in it.
The next step is watering with growth fertilizers once it’s dry after that first watering. You should be at around day 13 or 14 and you’ll have noticed a bit of growth in the last couple of days. For watering, you should make your mix in a bottle with just one glass of water per pot at this stage. The next day check and see if the pots are heavy; if they’re dry then give them another glass of water but if they’re not don’t water them again until the next day. If the soil is extremely dry the next day then you’ll need to give it two glasses of water. Up the dosage as time goes by little by little and this process of dryness and water will make the plant grow a nice root system, as well as an amazing production.
Before you realize it, it will be day 25 and your plant should be beginning to flower. It no longer looks like the plants you had before, does it? You haven’t changed the seeds, just the method. Now all you have to do is follow the typical flowering steps that every seed needs; a flowering stimulant to begin with, a flowering base, a fattening products once the buds have formed, and end it all by washing out the roots. Flowers take about 20 days to properly form and the fattening period lasts about 2 weeks rather than four weeks for a seasonal seed; once you see the flowers forming properly then you need to use the fattening product.
We’re sure that if you follow these steps you’ll be extremely happy with the results that your autoflowering plants will give you compared to other grows you’ve tried. You might even see some of the mistakes that you made corrected in this article. Many people will probably say to never transplant autoflowering plants, but those people won’t get specimens as big as you will if you follow this guide!
You can find a wide range of cannabis seeds by clicking here.
Author: Javier Chinesta
Translation: Ciara Murphy
A complete guide to planting autoflowering cannabis seeds; get the most out of your plants with these fool proof steps to growing autoflowering strains.
The Best Soil For Growing Autoflowering Cannabis
Autoflowering cannabis strains are known to be hardy and easy to grow. Despite their low-maintenance and photo-independent nature, they can still benefit from optimised soil and nutrients to reach maximum yield and quality.
Autoflowering cannabis strains are known as the easy option when it comes to cultivating the herb. Their hardy nature, fast growth, and ability to flower without a change in photoperiod make them a prime choice for both beginner and advanced growers alike. These sturdy strains often require little maintenance and allow sufficient room for error; however, when chasing the optimal yield and bud quality, a few boxes need to be checked. One such box is adequate soil.
Autoflowering strains contain genetics from Cannabis ruderalis, a subspecies that evolved and adapted to extreme weather and light cycles far into the Northern Hemisphere. Such adaptations and the resulting hardy nature of autoflowering strains mean that they aren’t too picky about soil. However, to encourage them to reach their true potential, an optimal soil mix should be applied.
LIGHT AND AIRY SOIL
Autoflowering strains favour light and airy soil with less nutrients than photoperiod strains would prefer. It’s best to make your own soil mix as opposed to purchasing a ready-made mix from stores, as they may be too high in nutrients like nitrogen.
Heavy potting soil will stress autoflowering varieties, preventing their roots from accessing adequate amounts of air. Roots may also have a difficult time penetrating and growing through a heavy medium.
This basic recipe offers a soil mix that contains adequate nutrients, as well as materials that will help to boost the aeration of the soil medium.
- 3 parts peat moss
- 3 parts compost
- 2 parts perlite, pre-wet
- 1 part vermiculite, pre-wet
GO EASY ON THE FERTILISER
Autoflowering strains are usually short and compact, a genetic trait stemming from the ruderalis subspecies. This characteristic, along with their rapid growth times, means that autoflowering strains don’t actually need that many additional nutrients.
Most autos will only stay in the vegetative phase for a short period of time, meaning they won’t require a huge amount of veg nutrients like nitrogen. Adding too much can actually burn autoflowering strains, so feed them conservatively.
During the seedling phase, your autoflowering plants won’t need any nutrients. Growers can start supplementing with nutrients about 2 weeks into the grow, but should do so lightly to avoid damaging the crop.
Even during the flowering phase, autoflowering varieties don’t need a huge amount of extra food. Bloom nutrients and boosters can still be applied, but with a less-is-more approach. Pay close attention to your crop and apply when you deem necessary.
The pH scale is a measurement of how acidic or alkaline a substance is. The scale features 14 readings, with 7 being neutral, numbers lower than 7 being acidic, and numbers over 7 being alkaline. Soil can vary in pH, with differents plants thriving in varying levels. Autoflowering strains are similar to photoperiod varieties in that they prefer a slightly acidic soil medium.
Growers should try to keep their soil within an optimal pH range of 6.2–6.5. If purchasing soil, make sure the product is suitable in terms of acidity. If you need to regulate the pH of your soil, there are numerous products available to achieve this.
The soil that your autoflowering plants are growing in isn’t merely a medium that the roots sit in while the plant grows—it’s much more than this. The soil is a diverse and thriving web of life that includes symbiotic organisms and pests alike.
Whether you are cultivating your plants indoors within a grow room or tent, or outdoors within greenhouses or garden beds, your soil can be supplemented with beneficial microorganisms.
As all growers will know, especially those who raise their crop in the great outdoors, there are many pests out there with an appetite for fresh cannabis leaves, roots, stems, and flowers. These critters take many forms, and lots of them reside within the soil. Parasitic nematodes can be a problem, eating cannabis roots from both the insides and outsides.
Autoflowering cannabis strains have different soil requirements in comparison to their photoperiod counterparts, preferring light and airy media.