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what to expect from one autoflower marijuana seed

Autoflower Yield

Yield, the amount of bud we get from our plants, is the most valuable measurement of how well and how efficient we run our grow operation.

The harvested and dried weight of our cannabis flowers is the main reason we are growing this plant so no wonder that people are searching for ways to increase yield and what are the best yielding plants. But to be frank, there is no one answer that fits all these questions and every grow operation is different so every plant will yield different amounts.

Of course, there are general guidelines like that regular autoflowers like Fast BUD #2 will typically yield far less than SUPER autoflowers like BIG BANG. But that also is not written in stone because you can grow a small yielding plant in nearly perfect conditions or get a bigger yield than from a SUPER autoflower strain in poor conditions.

So basically every growth is different and even growing in ideal conditions plants can have different yields because the genetics have a slight variation or just some random event slowed one plant down a bit at the seedling phase and it did not catch up with its siblings.

How is yield measured?

First of all, I think all of us know that cannabis yield is measured in the dried grams of buds a particular plant produces.

But these measurements can vary because there are two standards how seed companies rate plants. They are:

By the grams a single plant produces.

By the grams a plant produces in a square meter.

Because there are two measurements this can get a bit confusing. As most us know that how much a single plant produces is easily measured. But how to know how much grams plants can produce in a square meter?

Usually, seed companies grow 9 to 12 plants in a square meter area and then get their results. But they should be taken with a grain of salt because that yield will be only achievable under ideal condition and with many small plants. So think of these yield measurements only as a guideline to compare strains who are big yielders and who are not.

What affect autoflower yield

So what exactly can affect an autoflowers yield?

This is a difficult question with many answers and even the slightest variation can decrease or increase the total bud weight a plant creates.

But I will try to count as many things I can that can influence the yield :

Genetics: Every plant is a little different and you can’t get 100 % equal plants if you plant them from seed and because many of the strains available in the seed markets today are not 100 % stable you can get some plants that just don’t grow as huge as others from the same seed batch. This is because the crosses are not perfectly stable and it is best to go with an older more stable variation of autoflowers if you want uniform plants that all produce similar yields.

Light intensity & spread: Light is the plant’s energy source and how intense the light is and how well it is spread all over your autoflower matters a great deal. This is why you don’t get huge yields from CFL bulbs but can harvest more than 100 grams from a single autoflower below a LED light or T5 grow light fixture. The spread is also important because you can get more light from a T5 fixture to your light than from a single HPS or MH light source and more light means more yield!

Light position: Where you position your light is also important because a light positioned at a distance won’t transfer as many photons to your plant’s leaves as a light that is few inches away. Every light has its own sweet spot and you should always grow plants in that region where the heat is not too big but the light intensity is at it’s maximum.

Light spectrum (color): Not all light waves are equal and some light spectrums (colors) like the red and blue are more useful to plants than others. The right light spectrum will give you much greater growth and overall efficiency. There is also green light that cannabis plants do not use at all so any light source that produces less green light will be more efficient and will give you better overall plant weight. One more thing to mention in the spectrum section is that autoflowers require a slightly different light in their flowering phase than in the vegetative or seedling phases. And this can also increase the total bud mass because if you supply only the daylight Blue spectrum light plants can start stretching but if more Red light is provided you can get smaller plants.

Ventilation: Ventilation is crucial. You need to change the air inside your grow room because your cannabis plants will use up all the CO2 from the surrounding area around the leaves. And if this happens their energy uptake can slow down. Here comes in the ventilation system that circulated air inside the grow room and lets fresh air in from outside of the grow room and usually this air is full of CO2.

Temperature: Temperature is also a main factor that can affect your total yield as too low or too high temperature also decreases the CO2 intake or slows down respiration and that in fact again slows down growth and lowers total plant mass.

Nutrients: Nutrients are the plants food and they are responsible for every part of your weed plant development. Nutrient deficiency or overdose can have huge impact on plant growth and can even kill them completely if not treated properly.

Soil: The composition of the growing material is also a factor to think about when considering the end result. Soil that is too airy or light won’t hold roots completely and will damage them. Yet soil that is too hard won’t allow roots to penetrate it easily and your plant will need extra energy to grow those roots that could have been used for bud development.

Insects: Insects, mold, and other parasites can damage and ruin a plant while it is growing and you can get no yield at all. So be very careful when attending your plants and always wash your hands and tools so nothing can penetrate and infect your garden.

Grow room design: The design and shape of the grow room affect different areas from this list that include light height, ventilation, light efficiency, and temperature. So you need to carefully plan how you build your growing environment. Also think about how your plant will fit in that room and how many pots, fans and lamps you need. This also implies that you always need to monitor your humidity and temperature.

Training: Training your little green buddies can also increase their total yield because it allows them to get more light and you to maximize your growing space and increase the yield you can get from that particular space.

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PH in the growing medium and water: PH is a vital measurement you need to take when you water your garden because low or high PH value locks out vital nutrient uptake and in the process again slows down growth.

Light cycle: Your growing light cycle can also increase and decrease yield because autoflowers don’t require the 12/12 light cycle to start flowering and it will only decrease the yield so a true autoflowering cannabis variety will do its best growth under continuous light and the 18/6 and 20/4 cycles will do considerably better than the typical 12/12 that is used for photosensitive marijuana plants.

Watering: Too much water or too little water can play a major role in the end yield. Both of these extremes stress your plant and it won’t grow as fast as it could have.

Pot size: Growing container size also determines what the end yield will be from your autoflower girls. Small pots are very inefficient and plants get root bound so they stop growing and you will get small yields. You need at least 2 to 3 gallons (7.5 to 11.3 liter) pots for autoflowers and more than 3 gallons (1.3 liters) for super autoflowers.

How genetics affect yield?

Genetics or plant origins can affect yield in many different ways as some strains are more resilient to harsh conditions and some are better at leaf growth. The possibilities are endless and each strain is unique but breeders tend to give growers only the best and most stable strains so you should at least get a somewhat even plant growth from the same batch of seeds. Yet if you would grow out 100 plants from a bulk seed package you will probably see some differences in them.

Genetics also influence yield because of the parents the particular hybrid was made with. All autoflowers are hybrids of some sort because the real and wild autoflowering cannabis variety has almost no THC so all the strains had to be bred to get that THC in them.

If the parents have had More sativa genetics in them then your plant will be more fluffy and will not have dense and heavy buds but if the indica genes are more than any other then you can get dense and huge colas that will definitely give you larger harvests.

Inside vs outside yield

The inside VS outside debate is always interesting and growers that do one or the other usually swear by their method and say that it is the best. But here is my take.

Both indoors and outdoors can be equally good for autoflower growing. However, you need perfect condition inside and outside to get maximum yield so stress in any of those environments will diminish yield and harm your plant.

As I mentioned earlier autoflowers are really fragile when they get stressed. Outdoors strong rains or cloudy days will stress the plants and therefore they will produce less yield. The same goes for inside as you can make some of your grow room conditions wrong and your plants won’t produce as much!

Small autoflower yield

Regular autoflowering plants are usually small and will yield somewhere from 10 to 50 grams per plant. But there are some exceptions that can yield up to 100 grams a plant but that goes into the SUPER autoflower territory.

Basically, if a strain flowers really fast and stays short you can’t expect more than 20 or 30 grams from it. But if it grows a bit longer or taller a 40 to 50-gram plant is achievable.

SUPER autoflower yield

Super autoflowers are a different breed and they can produce 200 grams a plant and more in perfect conditions.

These yields are amazing but that means these plants are also much larger and busier and you will have trouble growing them in small spaces so consider what yield you want and how much growing space you have.

How can you increase yield?

Increasing your autoflower yield is again a very broad thing to consider and all the things that affect your plant can be improved. So in theory, you can almost endlessly improve your plant production by tweaking your growing conditions.

However, usually, we want to put in the least amount of work to get the best plants so we tend to change only the biggest things like lights and nutrients. These two subjects are the main factors you can also look at when thinking about increasing your next harvest.

What can decrease yield?

The weight of your harvest can be decreased again by almost any of the previously mentioned things. But usually yield is decreased when some kind of stress has been endorsed on your plant. So try to keep everything stable and don’t change growing conditions too drastically so that your plants can adapt and grow to their full potential.

As you can see the cannabis yield subject is really broad and increasing yield is in every grower’s interest.

But before thinking of any growing conditions you need to get the best seeds and only then start tweaking and changing your grow room design and interior technologies to get that desired maximum yield.

How Long Does It Take To Grow an Autoflower Cannabis Seed?

G rowing cannabis can have a significant learning curve, especially for novice green thumbs. However, growing your own has many benefits, including being more affordable in the long run, is more convenient, provides a steady supply (especially important for medical cannabis patients), and allows you to do your own quality control to ensure sound growing practices and purity.

Nonetheless, not every grower has the time or interest in learning how to create an optimal set-up for cannabis grows, or the appetite to enact the appropriate stresses at the appropriate times. A typical cannabis grow can take anywhere from 4-5 months plus harvesting and curing, leaving many consumers to throw up their hands and just go to the dispensary.

But there is a solution to those problems, and that is autoflowering cannabis seeds that flower on their own after 2-4 weeks of growth. This is much less time than your standard cannabis plant and allows you to grow robust plants without having to babysit them.

Timeline for Growing From Autoflower Seeds

Growing autoflowers can be a great option for anyone who wishes to grow at home. They are compact — think a microgrow or a couple of plants on the patio — and grow well both indoors and outdoors. Medical cannabis patients who need a steady supply of cannabis and may not be well enough to travel regularly to a dispensary may find that growing autoflowering plants allows them better access to their medicine, though recreational consumers would benefit as well.

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Say you’ve decided to plant some autoflower seeds. What should you expect? Because autoflowers follow fixed timing, you can expect a fairly predictable schedule.

  • Weeks 1-3: the plants will begin their growing process. Expect to see some vigorous growth in week three.
  • Week 4: healthy plant growth will really start to take off
  • Week 5: some plants may start showing pistils
  • Week 6: plants enter flowering phase
  • Week 7: buds will start to develop
  • Week 8: bud growth will continue to develop, growing fatter and denser
  • Week 9: buds will start to show a mix of amber and white pistils
  • Week 10: pistils continue to change from amber to red
  • Week 11: autoflowers should be ready to harvest

Some growers may choose to wait until weeks 12 or 13 to harvest, but that is a matter of preference.

Autoflower Cannabis Seeds Explained

Sounds simple, right? But what exactly are these seeds? And how do they work? You’ve heard of sativa and indica, but have you heard of cannabis ruderalis? While it was once thought that ruderalis was a direct ancestor of sativa and indica, it is now thought to be its own, separate species.

Ruderalis is a rugged variety of the plant local to Central Asia, Russia, and Central and Eastern Europe. It is much smaller than sativa and indica, typically growing to about one and a half to two feet in height. It produces a smaller yield and lacks the needed cannabinoids to get you high. However, ruderalis does not require specific changes in light to grow and fares well regardless of region.

Breeders wishing to incorporate some of ruderalis’ characteristics have been using it for crossbreeding, especially for autoflowering. This includes ruderalis’ natural resistance to stress and disease, however, its most coveted trait is ruderalis’ lack of requiring light cycles for development. In other words, crossbreeding ruderalis with sativa or indica creates a stronger plant that flowers by age, not by changes in light.

Autoflowers have come a long way since their introduction in the early 2000’s when they lacked flavor and potency. Today, they frequently rival or surpass the yield, aroma, and potency of feminized photoperiod strains. Even the most finicky consumer is likely to find autoflower seeds that have a range of potency, THC to CBD ratios, and terpene profiles.

Conclusion

As you can see, growing autoflowering cannabis is a great way to minimize some of the stress of growing, as well as cutting down the length of time it takes from seed to consumption. Though earlier iterations of autoflower seeds may have been lacking in quality when compared to their seasonal counterparts, progress in breeding has enabled autoflowers to produce some respectable buds.

Have you had success with autoflower seeds? Share your experiences in the comments!

Author

Erin Hiatt is a New York City-based writer who has been covering the cannabis industry for more than six years. Her work – which has appeared in Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, PotGuide, Civilized, Vice, Freedom Leaf, MERRY JANE, Alternet, and CannaInvestor – covers a broad range of topics, including cannabis policy and law, CBD, hemp law and applications, science and technology, beauty, and psychedelics.

How to Maximize Your Autoflowering Cannabis Yield Outdoors

There are various advantages to growing autoflowering seeds outdoors. Because autoflowering plants aren’t reliant upon daylight cycles like their photoperiod counterparts, they can be planted at any time of year, and growers can reap several harvests per season from these rapidly maturing, low-maintenance plants. Because of their short, stocky stature, autoflowering plants – unlike photoperiod plants, which are typically larger – require less space to grow outdoors, and can be grown discreetly in spaces as small as the average terrace or balcony. Moreover, autoflowers thrive in natural sunlight, and under natural lighting conditions, autoflowering cannabis plants offer larger yields and buds than those grown indoors.

With that said, growers can add to these advantages by using certain techniques to maximize their yields when growing autoflowering cannabis outdoors. In this article, we discuss some of these methods and important factors to consider for those who are looking to make the most of their autoflowers when growing outdoors.

Choosing Strains with Maximum Outdoor Yields

Different strains are known to produce different sized yields outdoors, and as such, anyone looking to maximize their yield when growing autoflowering cannabis should research not only the quality of the seeds they are buying, but also the tendencies of the strain that they intend to grow. Many autoflower strains, including consumer favorites such as Stardawg and Gorilla Glue , are known for their sizeable outdoor yields.

Best Containers and Soil for Growing Autoflowering Cannabis Outdoors

Autoflowering cannabis thrives in settings with efficient drainage. If you choose to use a container for outdoor growing, seek pots made from breathable materials (i.e., fabric) to ensure optimal draining conditions to keep your plants healthy. Drainage is also an important factor to take into consideration when choosing your soil, and we recommend researching mediums ahead of time to ensure that you establish these conditions. When choosing your soil, aim for aerated, breathable soil that is shown to drain efficiently. This will allow you to establish optimal growing conditions in order for your plants to thrive to their fullest.

Monitoring pH Levels for Autoflowering Cannabis

Monitoring pH levels is one of the most important things you can do to ensure the health of your plants – and, consequently, the abundance of the yield that they will produce. pH levels impact yields because they determine whether your plants will be able to absorb nutrients necessary for healthy maturation. Improper pH levels will prevent your plants from absorbing the nutrients necessary for them to flourish, making this an essential factor to ensuring plant health in the long run.

For this reason, it is imperative that you monitor pH levels as consistently as possible throughout every stage of the growing cycle. For autoflowering cannabis grown in soil, we recommend a pH level between 6 and 7.

Common Mistakes to Avoid: Transplanting and Transplant Shock

Many growers make the common mistake of transplanting autoflowering plants as they would with photoperiod cannabis. Though this technique may work for traditional cannabis plants, it can seriously harm your autoflowers. Since autoflowers grow much more rapidly than their photoperiod counterparts, transplanting carries far more risks for these plants than it does for their photoperiod counterparts. Transplanting places a significant amount of stress on growing plants. Because they grow over longer periods of time, photoperiod plants have more time to recover from the stress associated with this technique. Autoflowering plants, on the other hand, are unlikely to recover – and very unlikely to benefit – from this high-stress technique. This is where methods for maximizing autoflowering yields differ greatly between photoperiod and autoflowering cannabis plants, and this is perhaps the most important factor to take into consideration when caring for autoflowering cannabis.

When transplanted, autoflowering plants experience a great amount of stress at crucial phases in their maturation. This is referred to as “transplant shock,” and carries the risk of stunting plant growth during the vegetative period of the growing cycle, which can have a negative impact on your yield.

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In short, we recommend that you avoid transplanting altogether. Instead, you should begin your autoflowering plants in the same containers that you intend to use through the end of the growing cycle.

Best Containers for Autoflowering Plants

Autoflowering plants thrive in containers that drain well, and are proportional to plant size. This is where it becomes crucial to do your research as to the size of the seeds and strains that you intend to grow. In terms of containers, autoflowering plants do best in breathable, aerated soil that drains efficiently. For this reason, we recommend using fabric pots and other breathable containers to facilitate drainage throughout the growing process.

Proper Nutrient Strength for Autoflowers

Using too many nutrients is a common mistake that can stunt plant growth and limit the size of your yield. This is where another major difference between growing autoflowering cannabis and photoperiod plants comes into play. Whereas photoperiod plants are larger and can handle more nutrients during the growing cycle, the same nutrient levels can overpower autoflowering plants due to their small stature. As a result, you will need to carefully measure and monitor nutrient levels when growing autoflowering cannabis outdoors.

In order to ensure proper nutrient levels, begin with a smaller amount of nutrients than you would normally use. By starting your plants with less nutrients than you intend to use in the long run, you can gauge from your plant’s response whether the recommended nutrient level is too high. If your plants respond well, you can increase nutrient levels once you’ve confirmed that your plant can handle it. This reduces the risk of overfeeding your plants in the long run.

You can further ensure proper nutrient levels by researching the feeding habits of the strains you intend to grow. The amount of nutrients required for healthy plants can vary from one strain to another: some strains feed more than others and require higher nutrient levels, whereas the same amount of nutrients might be too much for a different cannabis variety.

pH Levels for Autoflowering Cannabis

It is crucial to monitor pH levels while growing your autoflowering plants. When growing your autoflowering plants in soil, try to monitor your pH and keep it at a level between 6 and 7 pH levels determine whether your plants can absorb crucial nutrients necessary for them to thrive and, consequently, produce optimal yields. Otherwise, you risk depriving your plant of crucial nutrients that, even when fed, will not be absorbed properly if pH levels are too high or too low. Therefore, in order to optimize plant growth and maximize your yield, you should constantly monitor pH levels during all phases of the growing process.

Low Stress Training Techniques for Autoflowering Cannabis: Autoflower Training Methods to Maximize Your Yield

Training is one of the most effective ways to maximize your autoflowering yields, though it is essential that you choose the correct training techniques due to the stress sensitivity of autoflowering plants. When applied correctly, these training methods will increase and flush out your canopy to promote new growth over a larger area of the plant.

Autoflowering cannabis should only be trained using low stress training techniques. When implemented properly, low stress training techniques for autoflowering plants can carry major advantages in the long run: below, we discuss some of these techniques to optimize your yield.

It is imperative that you use proper training methods to optimize your autoflowering yield when growing outdoors. Because autoflowering plants grow so rapidly, certain training techniques and frequencies that may work for photoperiod plants can be harmful for their autoflowering counterparts.

You should only use these training methods on healthy plants; if you plan to use low-stress training techniques, monitor your plant to ensure that it has been consistently healthy throughout the cycle thus far. Timing is also essential: autoflowering cannabis should only be trained during the vegetative phase, whereas training during the flowering phase will harm your plants and stunt their growth.

Best Low-Stress Training Methods for Autoflowering Cannabis Plants

Low-stress training techniques are a steadfast and effective way to maximize your yields when growing autoflowering cannabis outdoors. When applied outdoors, low stress training techniques work by maximizing the amount of light that your plant will receive, and ensuring that each part of the plant receives equal levels of sunlight to promote healthy growth throughout. Without training, autoflowering plants often produce one main cola, whereas low stress training techniques will balance and amplify your canopy, creating additional colas and increasing the size of your buds.

If your plants are healthy, you should plan to begin low stress training once they reach the vegetative stage, which, due to their rapid growth, can occur as soon as two weeks after you begin.

Once your plants are ready for training, begin by pulling the stems of the plant downward at a slight angle; this increases and promotes new upward growth, while ensuring that the bottom portions of the plant receive as much light as the rest of the plant. This training technique is highly effective for increasing your canopy, as the bottom portions of the plant otherwise receive limited sunlight, which limits your cola to the top of the plant while preventing growth elsewhere. But by training your plants in this way, you will promote the growth not only of your major cola, but also of additional, smaller colas elsewhere on the plant.

These simple methods work in different ways to maximize your outdoor harvests. Some involve avoiding common mistakes that are often responsible for unsatisfactory yields, such as improper pH or nutrient levels – if you aren’t satisfied with your yields so far, these are essential factors to consider in achieving better results moving forward. Meanwhile, choosing a container and soil with optimal drainage is a method of optimizing growing conditions by providing your autoflowering cannabis plants with the environment in which they are known to thrive. Low stress training techniques require a bit of practice and knowledge, but of all of these steps, this method of expanding light coverage for a full-bodied canopy is the most effective in increasing your yield outdoors.

By following these steps, any grower can maximize their outdoor autoflower yield.