Part of the fun of the cannabis growing experience is seeing your plants develop from seed to plant. But let’s be real – most cannabis growers also want maximum yields from their autoflowers.
These tips and tricks can improve your chances of getting a great yield of huge nugs. Light, nutrients, pH, and pot size all make a difference.
How Much Do Autoflowering Plants Yield?
But first, it helps to know how much autos typically yield. Although autoflowers used to have a reputation for yielding less than photoperiod strains, this is no longer true, thanks to advances in autoflower genetics.
Under ideal conditions, certain autoflower strains can yield up to 10-12 ounces of bud per plant. Yield is sometimes stated in ounces per square foot to help you make the most of your growing space. High-yielding autoflowers can produce 1-2 ounces of flower per square foot.
How to Maximize Yields in Autoflowering Plants
How do you get the maximum yields described above? It starts with the seeds and container you choose, but many other factors also play a role.
Choose the right seeds:
Some autoflowers are known for producing incredibly high yields. Gorilla Glue and Tangie ‘Matic are two of our favorite high-yield strains. Gorilla Glue boasts yields of up to 3-12 ounces per plant with a potent 24% THC and hybrid head/body high. Tangie ‘Matic yields up to 2-9 ounces per plant with an irresistible tangerine flavor and a creative, stress-relieving high. U.S. growers can buy these seeds and many more from SeedsPlug.
Don’t experiment with repotting plants:
Since autos grow more quickly than photos, we don’t recommend repotting your plants. Repotting puts unnecessary stress on the plant, and it may not have time to recover before it reaches the flowering stage. Instead, start your seeds in 3- to 5-gallon pots.
Use a pot with good drainage:
Overwatering can stress your autoflowers and lead to poor yields. To avoid this, choose a pot that allows for good drainage. We recommend fabric pots rather than plastic ones since the fabric allows for root pruning. You can also avoid overwatering by letting the soil dry out between watering and using a grow medium that promotes drainage, such as coco coir or hydroton.
Use proper training techniques:
LST (low-stress techniques) are the best training method for autoflowers. LST helps you spread out the plant so the lower branches, stems, and bud sites receive more light. You can start LST early in the vegetative growth stage, when the plant is 4-6 inches tall. Methods include SCROG, which uses a net above the plants to hold branches down, and the tie-down method, which involves tying the lower stems to the side of the container.
Use less nutrients and fertilizer:
It might sound counterintuitive, but using too much nutrients can harm your autoflowers. Autos need less nutrients than photos – usually one-half or one-quarter of the recommended amount on the package. You can use the same nutrients for growing in soil or hydroponic setups, but make sure the nutrients are fully dissolved if you grow hydroponically.
The pH is an important factor:
If you don’t have the correct pH, your plants won’t be able to absorb nutrients and will suffer from low yields. The ideal pH depends on your grow medium. If you’re growing in soil, aim for a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. If you prefer to grow hydroponically, the pH should be slightly lower – between 5.5 and 6.5.
Adjust the light cycle:
Autoflowers are less picky about their light requirements than photos, but they need at least 18 hours of light per day to thrive. There’s still no consensus among cannabis growers regarding the best light cycle for autoflowers, so you can experiment with different light cycles (between 18 and 24 hours of light) to see what works best. Full-spectrum LEDs will also help your plants produce more flower.
As you gain more growing experience, you’ll learn how to adjust these factors to maximize your yields.
What Leads to Poor Autoflower Yields?
You’ve chosen good seeds, trained your plants with LST (low-stress techniques), given them enough light from full-spectrum LEDs, and checked the pH. What else can cause low yields?
Temperature and humidity are two factors that growers often overlook. Humidity and temperature are closely related, since warm air holds more moisture than cold air. Seedlings prefer high humidity (65-70%) and temperatures of 68-77 degrees Fahrenheit. In the vegetative growth stage, you can lower humidity slightly each week (to as low as 40%) while increasing the temperature a bit. In the flowering period, it’s crucial to lower humidity to 40-50% and lower temperatures slightly, too.
If you’re growing outdoors, your plants will benefit from the natural sunlight, but many factors outside your control can reduce your yields. These include temperature, rainfall, and pests. Although autoflowers can grow well in colder climates, your yields may be smaller if you’re growing in Vermont or Detroit rather than sunny locations like West Virginia or Atlanta. Many growers choose to grow indoors to avoid these issues.
These tips will help you get started growing autoflowers, but don’t be discouraged if it takes some trial and error to get maximum yields out of your plants. Autoflowers’ short growing cycle makes it easy to experiment.
To get started, check out SeedsPlug’s selection of high-yielding autoflower seeds. We offer reliable, discreet shipping all over the U.S., from Vermont to West Virginia and Atlanta to Detroit.