How To Get The Biggest Yields With Autoflowering Cannabis
- 9. Use reverse osmosis water
- 10. Dial in nutrients and pH
- 11. Prioritise climate control
- 12. Use CO₂
- 13. Train your plants
- 14. Use sea of green (SOG)
- 15. Use progressive harvesting
- 16. Document, refine, and repeat
- 17. The top 5 highest yielding RQS autoflowering strains of 2020
Autoflowers have finally earned the respect they deserve. More importantly, they have earned a place in your grow room. With our guide to achieving maximum yields, you will crop the biggest harvest possible from your autoflowers!
TAKING AUTOFLOWERING CANNABIS YIELDS TO THE LIMIT
Autoflowers grow blazingly fast and don’t rely on light hours to enter bloom. As they make growing weed a lot more convenient, autoflowering strains have become very popular as more high-quality strains appear on the market.
There are several things growers can do to encourage bigger yields from their autoflowers.
1. START AUTOFLOWERS IN THEIR FINAL CONTAINERS
Autoflowering cannabis will race from seedling to stash in a quick 60–90 days. When autos are stressed too much or their growth is otherwise slowed, they will still bloom at the same time, and your yields will suffer.
To max out yield, you should sow seeds directly into their final containers. Alternatively, you can germinate them using the paper towel method (or whatever your preferred germination method may be) and then put them straight into large pots. A healthy root zone must be fostered early.
2. USE BIGGER POTS
The bigger the pot, the more the roots will develop and the bigger your plant will be. If you constrain it in a pot that’s too small, your plant’s development and production will be reduced. It is recommended that you use 15–20-litre pots to maximise results without overwhelming your plants. A pot that is too big will be a waste of substrate and fertiliser.
3. CONSIDER POT MATERIAL
A healthy and strong root system means healthy plants with great yields. Consider “smart pots”, like the RQS fabric pot, to give you an advantage in this domain. With their ability to prevent plants from becoming root bound, fabric pots are better for overall development.
In addition, fabric pots make it nearly impossible to overwater your cannabis as they facilitate excellent drainage.
4. USE AN AIRY GROWING MEDIUM
Autoflowers grow fast and vigorously, and have only a limited time to do so. Because of that, you want to support their growth in every way possible. A loose and airy growing medium makes it easier for your autoflowers to develop a strong root system.
If the substrate is too compact, you can make it suitable for autoflowers by adding some perlite and coco coir. See our article here for more tips on the best soil for your autoflowers.
5. ADD A ROOT STIMULANT
Another way to support root development is by adding a root stimulant. One good way to do this is by introducing beneficial fungi into your growing medium. Mycorrhizal fungi increase nutrient and water uptake, protect plants from disease, and generally encourage an optimal growing environment.
Easy Roots – Mycorrhiza Mix
6. START SEEDLINGS INDOORS
Whether you are planning an indoor or an outdoor grow, make sure to start your seedlings indoors.
As you and your plants are on the clock from day one, you want to ensure your seedlings root well. A cool white CFL, appropriate LED, or even a sunny windowsill are adequate. Just make sure vegetative growth goes smoothly; ready or not, your autoflowers will bloom on schedule.
7. SUPPORT PLANT STRUCTURE
Staking or plant support of some kind may be needed to keep your plants upright and their buds healthy.
There are several ways you can go about this. Bamboo stakes and strings, trellis netting, or tomato plant cages can all be used to help a plant carry its heavy load. If you want more tips, see this article on five ways to support heavy buds.
8. OPT FOR 18 HOURS OF LIGHT
Opinions differ on whether keeping plants under a constant 24-hour light cycle is beneficial. 18/6 is still the most common, and will save you money on energy.
Indeed, you could potentially grow them with less light, but we are aiming for a huge harvest, so you’ll want to provide them with as many lumens as possible. More light, more buds. Easy.
When grown outdoors, your autoflowers will thrive in the fine summer weather. Sunlight for 18 hours is not essential because Mother Nature’s grow lamp is infinitely more powerful than any artificial bulb.
9. USE REVERSE OSMOSIS WATER
Your water may be fluoridated or chlorinated, or may contain other impurities that hinder healthy microbial growth in the soil. In short, if your domestic water is unsuitable for drinking, it won’t do good for your cannabis plants either. You can solve this by using reverse osmosis water.
Simply spoken, reverse osmosis is a filtration process that results in pure, ultra-filtered water. With this, you are in total control of the mineral profile of your water. This can benefit the growth of your plants and your yield.
10. DIAL IN NUTRIENTS AND PH
Autoflowers are usually smaller, so they drink and eat less compared to large photoperiod plants. If you’re using ordinary cannabis nutrients, a good idea is to start out with 50% or even 25% of the recommended dose.
Soil growers are advised to use lightly fertilised soil for autoflowering cannabis. Heavily fertilised soils will burn these babies. Aside from supplements like enzymes, vitamin B, and beneficial fungi, autoflowers don’t really require large doses of base nutrients during their short vegetative stage. Heck, with good-quality soil, your plants may do just fine without additional nutes all the way to harvest.
If you must add nutrients to the soil early on, do so sparingly. Generally, bloom nutrients and boosters are all that’s needed during their life cycle. Even in flowering, low to medium doses of nutrients will suffice. Over-fertilising plants is a common yield-thwarting mistake autoflower growers often make.
Easy Combo Booster Pack
If the pH is off, your plants can’t uptake nutrients even if they are present. The correct pH for your water when growing in soil is 6.0–7.0. With a few drops of pH up or down products, you can adjust your water to the correct pH window.
11. PRIORITISE CLIMATE CONTROL
Seedlings and young plants prefer a more humid environment, while flowering plants require significantly less humidity to avoid mould and rot.
At times, just a simple standing fan or leaving a window open is all that’s needed to create an optimal growing environment. If that doesn’t cut it, look into solutions such as a heater or air conditioner for your grow room.
12. USE CO₂
It is scientifically proven that plants use CO₂ as fuel for photosynthesis, and with more CO₂ in your grow space, there should be a noticeable difference in growth rate and size.
The thing is, it only makes sense to provide your plants with CO₂ if all the other conditions in your grow room are already optimal. If there are issues with temperature, humidity, water, or nutrients, address these first before looking into a more elaborate (and expensive) CO₂ system.
13. TRAIN YOUR PLANTS
Low-stress training (LST) is a non-destructive training technique that even beginners can use. As the name implies, it is a minimally invasive technique that doesn’t involve any major damage to plants.
All you do is carefully bend and tie down the stem and branches to encourage lateral growth. This way, more bud sites are exposed to your grow light, resulting in fatter nugs and bigger harvests.
If you’re an expert grower and not afraid to put a knife to your plants, you can see whether topping will work for you. Just ensure that everything else is under control before looking into these more-involved plant training techniques.
14. USE SEA OF GREEN (SOG)
The sea of green, or SOG, method involves growing many small plants in close proximity to max out space and yields. This is especially effective in otherwise small grow-ops, and there is no better candidate than autoflowering strains. Their fast growth and short stature essentially do everything for you. Plus, no pruning or excessive handling is needed.
15. USE PROGRESSIVE HARVESTING
It normally happens that the flowers at the top of the canopy mature faster than those at the bottom. Simply clip off the individual buds that are ready, and wait for the rest to ripen. Wait 1–2 weeks between each harvest and watch for signs that they’re ready to pick. Most autoflowering plants only require two cycles of progressive harvesting, but larger plants may need more.
16. DOCUMENT, REFINE, AND REPEAT
Nobody is born a master cannabis grower. To become an expert, you want to pay attention and carefully record each process used in your grow. Only this way will you notice which techniques render the best yields.
Something can always go wrong when growing cannabis. The key to high yields is swiftly and smartly identifying problems as they occur. As you refine your processes, the health and yields of your plants will improve over time.
17. THE TOP 5 HIGHEST YIELDING RQS AUTOFLOWERING STRAINS 2020
Perhaps more important than any other factor listed above, genetics have a huge influence on a given strain’s production potential. So, before we conclude our guide on achieving maximum yields with autoflowers, here is a list of the highest-yielding autoflowers from Royal Queen Seeds.
1. NORTHERN LIGHT AUTOMATIC
Northern Light is a legendary cannabis strain that derives from Afghan indica genetics. First bred in the 1970s US, and coming to Europe in the 80s, this indica is still a favourite among many cannabis lovers. The autoflowering variant Northern Light Automatic shines with all the goodies of the “big one”, without compromising on flavour and effect. Moreover, she is one of the highest-yielding autoflowers out there with a whopping 550g/m² indoors. She pleases with a sweet, earthy pine flavour and a cerebral effect that is happy and uplifting.
Autoflowering cannabis has come of age now both potent and productive. With our simple 10 step guide, your next autoflowering marijuana harvest will be huge.
What is Pruning and Why Prune Your Cannabis Plants
There are a number of theories why fan leaves should or should not be removed. Some growers advise otherwise, there are different techniques to allow your plant to develop better and pruning is one of them.
1. What Is Pruning And What Are Fan Leaves?
Pruning consists of removing any number of fan leaves to improve our plant’s development. Even though usually we remove the bigger ones you can pluck off leaves of any size you want and anywhere you think your plant can benefit from it. A lways having in mind that pruning may shock your plant just like HST techniques.
Before talking about why and how to prune, we need to know a bit more about the fan leaves.
Fan leaves are the classic fingered leaves cannabis produces, they are used to produce sugars and other necessary substances for plant growth through the process of photosynthesis, also account for the greatest area of light absorption, this means they have an extremely necessary function in the growth and development of your plant.
When pruning, you need to remember that some plants can stand shock better than others, depending on the strain. Removing fan leaves may not only slow growth but will also make it difficult for the plant to get rid of toxic gases and regulate her temperature.
Removing too many leaves may ultimately result in the sex reversal or even death of your plant as you’re removing what the plant uses to produce food.
2. Why Prune Your Plants?
Just like HST, we are directly harming our plant by plucking its leaves off. The goal is to increase yields by allowing light to reach deeper and removing buds in shade to allow the main buds to develop even more.
This technique can be used with both autoflowers and photoperiodic cannabis as long as it’s used with caution.
If used correctly, it can have the following benefits:
Increased Lower Bud Development
Some strains can have really big fan leaves (can have up to 12 “fingers”), sometimes these big fan leaves can cover buds in the lower branches, not allowing them to develop to their full potential. In cases like this we trim them off, by removing the bigger fan leaves we allow light to reach these smaller buds thus increasing our overall yield and quality of the smaller buds. Be sure to not prune aggressively, removing a couple of leaves every couple of days shouldn’t have a negative effect on your plant but removing too much at a time can shock your plant.
More Energy for Upper Bud Development
When the plant is too bushy there can be a lot of bud sites that won’t develop nicely. Removing lower leaves and branches can make the plant focus its energy on the top part, where the bigger buds are being produced. By carefully trimming unnecessary branches and/or leaves we avoid wasting our plant’s energy, this energy can then be redirected to the development of the main buds, resulting in bigger and denser flowers.
Note: Remember pruning or trimming any part of your plant can have seriously bad effects on it. This is something that takes a bit of experience and we recommend naturally evolving from LST to HST and then start pruning or trimming as you think it’s necessary. There’s no logic to it, to be able to perform it correctly you need to learn to read the signs your plant gives.
3. How And When To Prune?
If you’re still new to pruning and trimming you can start removing leaves and branches with a scissor similar to the one used to trim buds. Always cleaning the scissors with alcohol before using them.
More experienced growers pluck leaves off with their fingers, using their fingernails to perform a clean cut.
It really doesn’t matter how you remove the plant material as long as you do it carefully and slowly to avoid shock.
Like other training techniques, you should start pruning by removing a couple of leaves a day or for better results every 2 to 3 days, starting when your plant is 3 weeks old up until the pre-flowering stage.
4. In Conclusion
Either pruning autoflowers or photoperiodic cannabis, you should start slowly, being really, careful and not to overdo it. Just like HST you can benefit when done correctly. But remember it can seriously shock your plants when done aggressively.
When in doubt go for low stress training techniques until you’re confident enough, even if it takes more time and work to reach the same result.
There are a number of theories why fan leaves should or should not be removed. Some growers advise otherwise, there are different techniques to allow your plant