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how to grow autoflowering weed indoors

How to grow autoflowers?

Beginners, but also advanced growers and a huge group of commercial growers, have a preference for autoflowers which isn’t surprising at all as an autoflower grow features great advantages. You can harvest quickly, the growing process is very easy and you don’t need much to let the plant grow. A successful cultivation is therefore almost always guaranteed.

Wondering how to grow autoflowering seeds? Use our autoflower grow guide below!

The advantages of an autoflower grow

Many growers who never grew an autoflower before wonder if autoflowers are worth growing. We therefore listed the advantages below so you can decide yourself!

  • Fast harvesting
  • Simple growing process
  • High cultivation yield
  • Little space needed
  • Suitable for indoors and outdoors

The fact that autoflowers are popular among growers proves the above advantages. Moreover, you can choose from many different types of top quality autoflowers, which have greatly improved in quality in recent years. New generations of autoflowers produce more weed in less time (usually harvest within 12 weeks) and are also of better quality. In short: enough reason to try it yourself.

Indoor or outdoor growing?

Basically there is no such thing as the best way to grow autoflower strains. Just like any other type of marijuana seeds, an autoflower plant can be grown indoors as well as outdoors.

In this article we explain step-by-step how to grow autoflowers indoors and outdoors, what you need, which varieties are available for beginners and how long they should be grown. Depending on your situation and preferences, you decide whether you want to grow the autoflower indoors or outdoors.

Growing autoflowers indoors in soil

Many growers choose to grow their autoflower indoors which is not strange when you look at the advantages.

Advantages of growing autoflowers inside

Autoflowers are ideal to grow indoors because of their many advantages. We list them for you.

  • Little space needed: Autoflowers are relatively small plants and therefore very suitable for growing in a small space.
  • No complicated light regime: You grow them without having to adhere to a light schedule. Give them light 12, 16, 18 or 24 hours a day, for example. The autoflower always blooms!
  • Good yields: Autoflowers can tolerate a lot of light and as the experienced grower knows: light means weight. And more weight means a higher yield.
  • No problems with rot and moulds: By growing them in a controlled indoor space, the chance of top rot is very limited.
  • No burden of excessive wind or rain: Unlike outdoors, you don’t have to worry about the weather conditions.
  • The autoflower is robust and forgiving: Autoflowers are strong and tough plants. If you forget to feed or water the plant once, there is usually not much to worry about.
How to grow an autoflower indoors?

Are you convinced of the advantages of indoor growing? Awesome! Let’s explain straight away how to get off to a flying start and do this job expertly.

Step 1: choose your spot and grow setup

First of all, you decide where to start your autoflower grow. Of course you can do this in a grow tent, grow box, a specially reserved room, but maybe you prefer to keep it simple and grow your autoflower in a sunny spot in front of the window. In any case, make sure there is enough light available.

Step 2: buy autoflowering seeds

Strong genetics form the basis for a healthy plant. Whether you buy your autoflower seeds at Weedseedsexpress or from another (online) seedbank, choose your seeds carefully. Check references and reviews from the seller. Read the specifications of the different varieties so you will grow an autoflower that meets all your wishes and requirements.

Check all our: autoflowering seeds

Step 3: choose your pots and growing medium for indoors

An autoflower grows fast. Often the plant starts flowering within 30 days so you don’t have much time to repot. We therefore advise you to place your germinated seed directly in the final pot or to repot within 1 week from the start to the final pot in which you grow your autoflower.
Use a lightly fertilized, well aerated growing medium. Think of soil mix or coconut. Air pots are very suitable but also dark pots of 15 – 30 litres with drainage.

Step 4: choose your (LED) lamp

When it comes to the lights there is plenty of choice. Basically it’s hard to make a wrong decision as each choice is a good one. LED, CFL, HPS or MH lamps, the choice is yours!
Growing with LED lighting is gaining popularity lately as LED lamps are more economical, emit less heat and can be placed closer to the plant which saves space.

Growing autoflower indoors without lights, is that possible too?

Yes, you can very well grow an autoflower indoors without lights. These plants love to stand on the windowsill in front of the window or in the conservatory. In any case, choose a sunny spot. A window sill or conservatory facing south is preferable. This way you ensure the plant of maximum sunlight.

Step 5: germinate and plant seeds

As soon as you have all the equipment you need, the real work can begin. That starts of course with germinating and planting the seed.

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Step 6: plant care, cultivation and harvesting

After you’ve planted the seed, the care begins. Make sure you have enough water at all times, but do not let your plant drown. If desired, add some nutrition at the start of flowering and cultivate your plant completely. After about 10 to 12 weeks your plant will be ready to be harvested.

Tips for growing an autoflower indoors

Finally, we have some useful tips for you to be sure that your indoor growing will be a great success!

  • Nutrition – The autoflower is a relatively small plant with a short vegetative phase (growth phase). In contrast to most photoperiod species, they therefore require considerably less nutrition. In fact, an autoflower grows fine without extra nutrients. However, do you decide to use nutrition? Then take it easy and avoid overfeeding.
  • Temperature and humidity – Autoflowers grow best at a temperature between 20-25 °C with a humidity of 50-70%. Therefore, do not grow your autoflower in winter, but rather in spring, summer or autumn.
  • Lighting – The light doesn’t have to be on all day. With 12 to 16 hours a day, you can already grow a beautiful autoflower. However, do you want to get the most out of your autoflower and do you have growing experience? Try 24 hours of light a day!

Note: autoflowers grow quickly and therefore have an increased risk of burning. Keep a close eye on your light and place it a bit higher rather than too low. LED lighting significantly reduces the risk of burning.

Related article: Growing weed with led

Growing autoflowers outdoors

Above you can read that indoor growing offers many advantages. But can you grow autoflowers outdoors as well? Sure you can! Let’s look at the advantages first.

Advantages of growing autoflowers outside

Every plant grows naturally outdoors. This also applies to the autoflower (also called cannabis Ruderalis). The autoflower strain originates from wet, cold regions. Logically, the plant thrives well in the Northern Hemisphere. However, this isn’t the only advantage. Wondering why you should grow your autoflower outdoors? Take a look at the advantages below.

  • Autoflowers are mould resistant: despite a humid climate, the autoflower can grow undisturbed and mould-free.
  • Little space required: the compact size makes the plant less conspicuous.
  • Better yields: because of the short cycle, you can sow and harvest 2 to 3 times per season. The final harvest of an autoflower is often better when grown outdoors.
  • Faster harvesting: CO2 ensures a fast metabolism which makes the strain grow faster. This means that in the end you can harvest faster.
  • A bigger plant: when you grow in the open ground, the plant becomes considerably larger compared to growing in a pot. This results in more weed.
How to grow an autoflower outdoors?

Convinced of the advantages? Let’s take a quick look at how you do this job expertly. Growing an autoflower outdoors requires a lot of preparation.

Step 1: choosing a spot

For successful breeding you first choose a suitable place. Preferably in your own garden or on the balcony. In any case, make sure you have a place with sufficient sunlight.

Step 2: choose your autoflowering seeds

Which autoflower seeds do I buy? An important question that is answered by determining what you think is important when it comes to the characteristics of the plant and the effect of the weed. For example, do you want to grow high CBD varieties or perhaps a high THC species? Do you want quick results or is the plant allowed to flower a bit longer? What tastes and smells do you like?

As soon as you have your wishes clear, the search can begin. Luckily, there are numerous suppliers of autoflower outdoor seeds nowadays. Do your research and choose a supplier you have heard good stories about. Also online you will often find many reviews.

Step 3: growing in a pot or in the open ground

Outdoors you can grow in pots or in the open ground. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages. Let us therefore first briefly explain them.

Growing in a pot

A pot is easy to move which is useful when there is a lot of wind outside or when it rains for days. But a pot also offers limitations. The edge of the pot will block the development of roots. An autoflower grown in a pot therefore becomes less tall compared to a grow in the open ground.

Growing in the open ground

Want to grow a big autoflower? In the open ground, roots have free rein. Logically, your autoflower can grow quite large, but when it is windy or raining your plant is less easy to protect.

Step 4: choose the autoflowering medium for outdoors

One of the most important factors for growing autoflowers outdoors is the soil. For firm buds you need a decent soil. Autoflowers like a light organic soil. Organic potting soil mixed with nutrients such as cow- and chicken manure, compost, bat guano, blood meal or permite form an ideal medium. Such a mixed soil is more than sufficient to provide the autoflower with nutrients during the whole process of growing and flowering. In case you spot a nutrient deficiency during cultivation it’s always possible to add extra nutrients.

Step 5: germinating and planting autoflower seeds

Even if you’re going to grow outdoors, germinate your seeds indoors. This also applies to planting your autoflower seed. Seedlings are fragile and can break through a gust of wind. Small plants are also eaten faster by animals.

Step 6: growing and harvesting

After about 2 to 3 weeks you move the plant outside. You can repot the plant to a larger pot or dig it into the ground. Make sure there is enough water and light at all times. You then grow your autoflower all the way to harvest.

Tips for growing autoflowers outdoors

When growing your autoflower outdoors you have to deal with influences over which you have little or no control. Yet you can take various precautions. We therefore advise you to follow the tips below.

  • Growing in a greenhouse – Outdoors your plant is subject to the weather. Would you like to grow your autoflower outdoors, but don’t want your plant to be subject to negative weather influences, reduce the chance of top rot and protect your plant against vermin? Then we advise you to grow in a greenhouse. Moreover, a greenhouse offers protection against pollination.
  • Mould, insects, animals – Take insects and animals into account. They pose a threat to your plant. We therefore advise you to take precautions. You do this by digging a hole in the spot where you are growing, placing gauze and sealing the hole with the soil. We also recommend placing a chicken wire fence around your plant. Fungi and insects are difficult to control. Fortunately, rain and wind often cause insects such as aphids and spider mites to start a colony on your plant.

Curious how to grow autoflowering seeds? Check this blog with great tips for your autoflower grow – indoors and outdoors.

Tips For Growing Autoflowering Cannabis Indoors

Autoflowers are a class of cannabis that has only thrived on the commercial market in the last few years. Today, they are taking the market by storm with their ease of growth and great results. With these tips for growing autoflowers indoors, you can make the most of your autoflowering grow-op!

  • 0. Benefits of growing autoflowers indoors
  • 1. Tip 1: choose the right strains
  • 2. Tip 2: don’t repot your autoflowers
  • 3. Tip 3: use a root stimulant
  • 4. Tip 4: grow in light and airy soil
  • 5. Tip 5: use the right type of light
  • 6. Tip 6: try the sea of green method
  • 7. Tip 7: watch your watering
  • 8. Tip 8: control the ph level of your water
  • 9. Tip 9: cut the nutrients
  • 10. Tip 10: don’t top your autoflowers
  • 11. Tip 11: ensure good airflow, humidity, and temperature
  • 12. Tip 12: flush
  • 13. Tip 13: harvest gradually
  • 14. Tip 14: harvest all year round
  • 15. Conclusion
  • 0. Benefits of growing autoflowers indoors
  • 1. Tip 1: choose the right strains
  • 2. Tip 2: don’t repot your autoflowers
  • 3. Tip 3: use a root stimulant
  • 4. Tip 4: grow in light and airy soil
  • 5. Tip 5: use the right type of light
  • 6. Tip 6: try the sea of green method
  • 7. Tip 7: watch your watering
  • 8. Tip 8: control the ph level of your water
  • 9. Tip 9: cut the nutrients
  • 10. Tip 10: don’t top your autoflowers
  • 11. Tip 11: ensure good airflow, humidity, and temperature
  • 12. Tip 12: flush
  • 13. Tip 13: harvest gradually
  • 14. Tip 14: harvest all year round
  • 15. Conclusion

BENEFITS OF GROWING AUTOFLOWERS INDOORS

Autoflowering cannabis strains are great. Unlike conventional (i.e. photoperiod) plants, it is age, not light cycle, that determines when autoflowers switch to flowering. This makes growing autoflowers straightforward, as growers can just leave their plants under a fixed light schedule (such as 18/6) from seed to harvest. Autoflowers also grow faster and don’t get as big as photoperiod strains. Your buds will be ready for you in a short

60–65 days from planting your seeds. Since many autoflowers won’t get taller than 50–70cm, they are ideal for growing indoors, where space is often limited.

With all the benefits of growing autoflowers indoors, it’s not surprising that they are immensely popular, and not just among those new to cannabis growing. Here are some vital tips on how to best grow autoflowers indoors, so you can look forward to great harvests!

TIP 1: CHOOSE THE RIGHT STRAINS

More than anything else, genetics will play the biggest role in determining the final outcome of your grow operation. But what makes the right strain? Well, let’s start with your personal preferences, for example, what type of effect you want from your cannabis. If you’re smoking to get blazed with the best and the latest, you can’t go wrong with THC monsters like the super dank and potent Royal Cookies Automatic or Royal Gorilla Automatic, our automatic variants of two popular strains!

Then again, if you happen to be a medicinal cannabis user, or for some other reason choose not to get high, a low-THC, high-CBD strain like the excellent Solomatic CBD can be a good choice.

The other thing you should consider when selecting a strain is its growing characteristics. Some strains may be easier than others to manage, or are known to grow and flower exceptionally fast. If you’re still new to growing, or simply want to grow great bud in a very short time, you may want to take a look at our Easy Bud or Quick One.

TIP 2: DON’T REPOT YOUR AUTOFLOWERS

As the lifespan of autoflowering cannabis is limited, it is less forgiving when it comes to major stressors and mistakes. When plants experience high amounts of stress, growth stalls; while this may be fine for conventional cannabis that can be kept in veg longer to recover, autoflowers don’t have that luxury—they will flower regardless. As such, it’s best to start autos in their final pot right from the get-go to avoid transplant shock.

That said, you shouldn’t need very large pots for your autos as they won’t usually get very tall.
You should nevertheless choose a pot large enough so the plant doesn’t get root-bound, but instead has plenty of space to grow.

For germinating your autoflowering cannabis seeds, we recommend using the Autoflowering Starter Kit for best results.

TIP 3: USE A ROOT STIMULANT

Autoflowers don’t have all the time in the world to grow. Right after sprouting, your plant will need to spend a good amount of time establishing a healthy root system. When you administer a root stimulant immediately after placing your seed in the pot, this will support your plant in this crucial process. But don’t go overboard as your seedling will be very sensitive to overfeeding. Use only the minimum recommended dose of root stimulant.

TIP 4: GROW IN LIGHT AND AIRY SOIL

Autoflowering cannabis prefers light and airy soil that contains lower levels of nutrients than soil for photoperiod strains. As most ready-made universal potting mixes may contain too much nitrogen or other nutrients, choose only a lightly fertilised potting mix for your autoflowers. Your autoflowers also want soil that is not too compact, as this may otherwise prevent the roots from accessing adequate amounts of air.

The best solution is to make your own soil mix at home.

Recipe for DIY light and airy soil for autoflowers:

  • 3 parts peat moss
  • 3 parts compost
  • 2 parts perlite, moistened
  • 1 part vermiculite, moistened

You can find out more about making an optimal potting mix for your autoflowers in our blog **The Best Soil For Growing Autoflowering Cannabis.

TIP 5: USE THE RIGHT TYPE OF LIGHT

With autoflowers, you don’t need to worry about light schedules like you would with photoperiod plants. When growing autoflowers, you can just leave your lights on a 18/6 schedule (18h on, 6h off) for the entire grow, and can even grow them under 24 hours of light. Which schedule is “better” is open to debate. Many growers use the 18/6 schedule, as this gives good results while using less energy than a constant 24h cycle.

As for the right type of light, LEDs are now replacing HPS lighting in grow rooms and tents everywhere. They may be more expensive outright, but they use a lot less energy than HPS, so you will save massively on energy costs over time. If you’re using an LED grow light, you may want to see whether it is also equipped with UV lights. Some growers say that UV light makes for better taste and potency.

When starting your seeds, and for young plants, you can also use standard fluorescent lamps such as T5 lights. These use very little energy and don’t get warm, so there is no risk of burning your sensitive seedlings.

TIP 6: TRY THE SEA OF GREEN METHOD

The sea of green (SOG) method is really just a fancy term for growing a lot of smaller plants in your grow room for bigger yields. Autoflowers are ideal for growing in a SOG as they are already smaller by nature.

To carry out a SOG with autoflowers, you’d simply plant your seeds directly into even smaller containers that allow you to fit as many plants as possible into every square metre of space. How many plants you want to use for your SOG, as well as their exact pot size, will depend on the space you have available. This may also vary from strain to strain. Feel free to experiment to find the ideal pot size and number of plants that produces the best yields in your indoor grow space.

Note: Depending on where you live, there may be legal limits on how many plants you can grow for personal use, so make sure you know how many plants you can have.

TIP 7: WATCH YOUR WATERING

As previously mentioned, autoflowers are less forgiving when it comes to major or sustained errors, which means you must water your autoflowering girls properly.

How do you water cannabis properly? For starters, don’t water your plants on a fixed schedule, but instead only when they need it. You should always allow the soil to dry out between waterings. A good way to check if your plants need water is to lift up the pots. You should have a pretty good idea of how light a dry pot is compared to one saturated with water. As such, only water when the pot is light and the soil has dried out. Overwatering can be deadly, so it’s better to err on the side of caution.

TIP 8: CONTROL THE PH LEVEL OF YOUR WATER

Cannabis can only uptake nutrients when the soil surrounding the root zone has the right pH value. The optimal pH range here is 6.0–7.0. For growing in other media, such as coco, the pH should be lower, ranging from 5.5–6.5. If the pH of your water is not optimal (which is likely the case if you use tap water) and plants can’t uptake nutrients, this leads to sick specimens. The right pH is particularly important when growing autoflowers as they don’t have time to recover. You want to ensure your plants get all the nutrients they need during their short period of growth.

How do you control your water and nutrient solution pH levels? A must-have for any grower are “pH Down” and “pH Up” products, as well as a pH meter. With these on hand, you can be in control of your soil’s pH.

TIP 9: CUT THE NUTRIENTS

Many cannabis growers overfeed their cannabis plants. This isn’t too surprising, seeing that makers of cannabis nutrients want us to believe our plants require constant supplementation to survive and thrive. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Autoflowering cannabis tends to be at its healthiest when given just the right amount of nutrients. In some cases, plants can go through the entire seedling and veg phases without any supplemental nutes, as most soil mixes already contain enough macronutrients and micronutrients to support these phases of growth.

After your cannabis plants have sprouted, don’t feed them for at least two weeks. Even then, you may only want to give nutrients if a plant shows signs of a deficit, like yellow leaves. Autoflowers grown in standard potting mixes should do well all the way to flowering with no additional nutrients. From here, you can start to administer bloom-specific solutions.

You can also grow your cannabis in organic soil. This will ensure your plants have everything they need for healthy growth all the way to harvest, and you won’t ever need to administer additional nutrients! Some growers make their own organic super soils, which are perfect for growing autoflowers. That being said, it’s important the soil is not too “hot” given the sensitivity of these cultivars.

TIP 10: DON’T TOP YOUR AUTOFLOWERS

Don’t top, prune, or pinch your autoflowers like you might do when growing conventional cannabis. With autoflowers, the only training method you should use is low-stress training (LST), where you carefully bend and tie down your plants so all bud sites are equally exposed to light. When performing LST on autoflowers, just stick with bending and skip the part where you’d top your plants. If you plan to do LST with your autoflowers as an alternative to a SOG, ensure that you start soon, but be gentle to avoid breaking your plants.

TIP 11: ENSURE GOOD AIRFLOW, HUMIDITY, AND TEMPERATURE

Make sure to provide your autoflowering ladies with good airflow. A gentle breeze of fresh air from a ventilator ensures humidity levels in your grow room stay low, which helps prevent the growth of mould. If your plants have dried leaves, which is not uncommon in the later stage of flowering, remove them for some better airflow around the buds.

You also need to watch the temperature in your grow room. Cannabis does best at a moderately warm room temperature of 20–25°C. Any excess heat, but also cold spells or chilly nights, can stress your plants, slow their growth, and result in poorer yields.

TIP 12: FLUSH

“Flushing” is when you stop feeding nutrients, and only administer pH-adjusted water in the last 1–2 weeks before harvest. This gets rid of the remaining mineral salts that have accumulated. Without any nutrients remaining in the soil, the plant will draw stored nutrients from its foliage; this is why cannabis in late flowering turns yellow. The goal of flushing is to make for purer and better-tasting buds, as you don’t want to smoke whatever chemicals you’ve fed your plants. So flush them out before you harvest.

TIP 13: HARVEST GRADUALLY

You don’t need to harvest your entire plant all at once! Chances are, the top buds may be done earlier than some of the lower buds further away from your lights. These buds may need a little more time to ripen. So instead of taking your clippers and collecting them all, take only the topmost buds and allow the others a few days more to finish.

TIP 14: HARVEST ALL YEAR ROUND

More often than not, weed cultivators don’t just want to harvest once or twice per year. Wouldn’t it be great if you always had some plants ready to harvest? With the perpetual harvest method, you can do exactly that!

Essentially, this entails having multiple plants in different stages of growth at any given time. In this way, you can time things just right so that there is always weed ready to bloom and harvest. This gives you the potential for a never-ending supply that doesn’t require excess effort from you!

With conventional cannabis, this would involve at least two separate growing areas. Luckily, with autoflowers, you can squeeze plants in different stages of growth all into the same room. As autoflowers take about 8–10 weeks from seed to harvest, all you need to do to enjoy a constant stash is offset planting by 2–4 weeks. This way, when you harvest one plant, the next is already starting to flower, waiting patiently in line.

CONCLUSION

Autoflowering strains have a lot going for them, and make a great addition to any grower’s repertoire. Although they don’t really allow for advanced techniques or gigantic yields, there is a lot you can do to get the most out of your autoflowers when growing indoors.

Check out these tips to help optimise your indoor autoflowering cannabis grow-op. Avoid major mistakes, and provide plants with ideal environmental conditions.