We here at Spliff Seeds have assembled a list of tips for cultivating autoflowering Cannabis seeds that we hope will help those new to growing achieve the best yields possible. While the cultivation methods for autoflowering Cannabis seeds may be somewhat similar to that of photoperiod seed types, there are certain circumstances which will permit autoflowering Cannabis seeds to develop to their maximum capacity.
One of the key aspects you'll need to know about autoflowering Cannabis seeds is that they should be germinated in the same container that they will finish in. Using this methodology will ensure that the plant undergoes as little stress as possible. The fewer steps you take with autoflowering Cannabis seeds, the less chance of stressing the plants. Because of their short life cycle, short periods of stress can slow the growth rate of autoflowering varieties dramatically.
#1-The first thing you'll need to establish is the size plant container you're going to use. We recommend using a 20 liter container for the entire lifecycle of autoflowering cannabis seeds. Again, this is to reduce any chance of stressing out your plants. A 20L pot is the ideal size for autoflowering Cannabis, a larger pot will not increase yields by worthwhile amounts.
#2-Once you've acquired your container you'll need to decide which growing medium you're going to use. We advise using a soilless mix branded as a "light" mix for autoflowering Cannabis seeds. This will ensure that the mix is low in added nutrients while maintaining a nice, airy substrate for your plants to thrive.
#3- Fill your container with your light soilless mix of choice, then moisten the mix with plain water with a balanced pH of 6.5-7 until it's entirely damp, but not completely saturated. I typically allow the moistened container to sit for several hours (6 or more) to ensure that all the air pockets have settled.
#4- After the mix has had a chance to settle, simply press a small hole into the center of your container (no more than 1cm deep), drop the Spliff Seeds autoflowering Cannabis seed of choice in the hole, then brush your potting soil over the top. The most important part is to make sure that your seed does not receive any light until after it germinates.
#5- Next, you'll want to take a piece of plastic wrap or cling film and cover the top of your container to act as a humidity dome.
#6- Once the container is covered with cling film, merely place it in your grow space with the lights set to run for a minimum of 18 hours on and 6 hours off. The internet is filled with optional light cycles for autoflowering Cannabis seeds ranging from 16-24 hours of light per day. We however recommend running your lights for a minimum of 18 hours on and 6 hours off for most of our autoflowering Cannabis seed varieties during the entire grow.
By picking a light cycle and sticking to it you avoid any unnecessary stress to your plants, which will in turn help to improve its overall growth. That being said, we have experienced better growth rates and denser buds from some of our autoflowering Cannabis seeds using a light schedule of 20 hours on and 4 hours off. Some strains have even been reported to grow best under 24 hours of light per day. For most autoflowering Cannabis plants however, a rest period of at least 4-6 hours per day will help improve the health and overall size of your crop. The main reason we advise growing under 18 hours of light per day is because this consumes the least amount of energy while still being efficient. The difference in yield between 18, 20, 22 and 24 hours of light per day is relatively small. The biggest factors to help you decide on a lighting schedule are probably the price of energy and the local climate. Growers in very hot climates tend to prefer 18 hours of light per day because the 6 hours of darkness give them a chance to vent and cool their grow rooms. The opposite is true in colder climates, where 24 hours of light per day can help keep the temperature up without using a heater.
#7- Once the autoflowering Cannabis seed has opened entirely and shed its seed casing, it is time to remove the piece of plastic wrap covering the container so the plant can continue to develop aptly.
Assuming that your autoflowering Cannabis seeds have successfully sprouted into seedlings, it's time to concentrate on the vegetative stage of your plants’ life cycle. As we mentioned before, autoflowering Cannabis seeds desire an airy soilless potting mix with a moderately low nutrient content. Due to the initial moistening of your grow medium, the now sprouted seedling usually won't need water again for a period of 7 days or more. After 7 days have passed, you can begin checking the moisture content of your container by simply lifting it to determine its overall weight. If it's in need of water, you'll notice a significant difference in the container's weight compared to when it was initially moistened for seed germination.
It's best to use plain pH balanced water for the first 12-14 days of your autoflowering Cannabis plant's lifecycle. This will allow it to utilize the nutrients in your soilless mix without fear of what is referred to as "nutrient burn".
#8- After a period of at least 14 days has passed you can begin using a light growth nutrient. To avoid harming the plant(s), use about half the amount of nutrients that is suggested by the product's manufacturer. For example, if the nutrient manufacturer suggests using 20 mL per liter of pH balanced water, we recommend using 10 mL per liter of pH balanced water. If you notice the health of your plants starting to fail, simply decrease the amount of nutrient solution you're using per liter of pH balanced water until it improves. If your plant(s) remain healthy, continue using our suggested amount of growth nutrients for the next 2 weeks of the plant's lifecycle. After three or four weeks you should switch over to a nutrient solution designed for the flowering or blooming stage of plant growth.
After a period of just about 3 weeks, your autoflowering cannabis plants will typically begin establishing their flowers or buds. Some varieties or strains will take a bit longer than some, while others may start to flower or bud somewhat earlier. This is the time you'll see your plants start to stretch and grow at an exceptionally rapid pace. Depending on the variety of autoflowering Cannabis seeds you choose to cultivate, the plants will usually double in size over the next couple of weeks as bud sites start to develop. There's no need to increase the amount of bloom cycle nutrients you're feeding your autoflowering Cannabis plants with each watering unless your plant(s) start showing signs of cannabis nutrient deficiency. If your plants begins to appear deficient of nutrients, slightly increase the amount of nutrient solution per liter of pH balanced water.
#9- The growth rate of autoflowering Cannabis seeds varies from strain to strain. But most autoflowering Cannabis plants are typically ready to harvest after a period of 65-75 days. We recommend that you begin lowering the amount of nutrients to 25 percent of the manufacturer's suggestion at around 55 days of growth in order to begin what is referred to as the "flushing" process.
#10- Give your autoflowering Cannabis plant plain pH balanced water for the last 10 days of its life. Using this method will help make certain that all the residual nutrients have been properly leached from the root system leaving you with a clean burning end product.
#11- Now all that's left to do is to trim, dry and cure your buds, and of course to shop Spliff Seeds for more autoflowering cannabis seeds or other feminized cannabis seeds in order to start the cycle all over again! Because autoflowering plants don’t need any change in the light schedule, you could also opt for a continuous harvest strategy. By planting autoflowering Cannabis seeds one month apart for example, you can harvest a plant every month. You can also harvest multiple times per outdoor season using autoflowering Cannabis seeds, so make sure you time your grows accordingly!