In this article we will tell you how to grow cannabis with autoflowering seeds, the differences with feminized seeds and other secrets. Read the whole article to discover the tricks to best carry out this type of cultivation. Specifically we will talk to you about:
- Autoflowering cannabis
- What changes compared to feminized seeds?
- Growing autoflowers indoors
- Light cycle for indoor autoflowering
The needs of cannabis growers are many and thanks to scientific studies and technological progress, a number of useful tricks have emerged to circumvent the limits imposed by nature. The life cycle of cannabis can reach up to 10 months , while with autoflowering seeds flowering takes place in 2-4 weeks . You will understand why autoflowering strains are the most requested by amateur cannabis growers!
In order to flower, autoflowering cannabis plants must be exposed to light for 12 hours throughout their life cycle ; these are seeds that cannot flower outside , since the hours of natural light during the day are almost never that many. These cannabis varieties are Indica or Sativa plants hybridized with specimens of Ruderalis, a genetic that grows in areas where summer is short but there are many hours of light, even 22 a day. It is Ruderalis itself that determines the very short flowering phase, while hybridization with Indica and Sativa is necessary to increase the concentration of THC, of which Ruderalis is not rich.
What changes compared to feminized seeds?
Feminized seeds arrived in the early 2000s, when science discovered that Cannabis is subject to the possibility of sex change via chemical induction . Autoflowering cannabis varieties come from genetic hybridizations that lead them to flower in 2-4 weeks , regardless of the hours of light they are subjected to. Autoflowering seeds are perfect if you need to start several crops during the year, regardless of the season , or if you have a small cultivation space : plants born from autoflowering seeds are smaller than the same variety germinated in such a way. classic and consequently the harvests will also be more modest, but safe .
Feminized cannabis plants, on the other hand, need a longer vegetative period and when grown in optimal conditions can reach considerable sizes . Unlike plants derived from autoflowering seeds - which have a very short vegetative phase - feminized plants can be pruned . Another difference not to be overlooked is that plants derived from feminized seeds can also be cloned : that is, they can be duplicated through a cutting that can be replanted, maintaining the age and genetic composition of the mother plant.
The clone obtained from feminized seeds will still have enough time to grow during the vegetative phase, while in the case of autoflowering cannabis plants the clone would start to flower after being planted, giving a poor or even non-existent harvest.
Growing autoflowers indoors
Cannabis plants derived from autoflowering seeds can only be grown indoors, as they need at least 12 hours of light throughout the growth period. Being genetically modified, autoflowering plants do not respond to light like normal plants and their flowering is linked to the age of the plant, not to the lighting . They grow in about 8 weeks and do not exceed 50–70cm in height. Autoflowering plants, unlike other cannabis varieties, do not allow errors: their life cycle is too short and even the smallest stress can be fatal and make the difference between a successful harvest and a big failure.
The fundamental rule is not to transplant them; when they undergo high stress, autoflowering plants stop growing so it is best to plant them in the final pot from the beginning. Large pots are not needed, as these plants never reach excessive dimensions, but they must still be pots large enough to allow the growth of the roots.
Compared to photoperiod strains, autoflowering cannabis performs best in light, airy soil with low levels of nutrients . We advise you to create a home-made mixture , using slightly fertilized soil which must not be too compact, to allow the roots to easily access oxygen. Universal soil mixes, in fact, have excessive quantities of nitrogen or other substances that your seedlings will not like very much.
We recommend these proportions to make your home made soil mix:
- 3 parts peat;
- 3 parts compost;
- 2 parts wet perlite;
- 1 part moist vermiculite.
Once you have planted your autoflowering seeds, you will need to provide them with water and nutrients . Autoflowering cannabis plants must be watered as needed and not according to a predefined pattern: excessive watering could in fact prove fatal . Before watering your seedlings again, you will need to make sure the soil is dry. To do this easily we advise you to lift the pot and evaluate its weight: if it is light, it means that the soil is dry and it is time to give your plants more water; if the vase is heavy, you will have to wait a few more days. Water only when the pot is light, it means that the soil is completely dry.
As regards nutrients, however, you must keep in mind that the nutritional needs of autoflowering plants are different from those of regular plants. Generally when germinating regular photoperiod seeds, the newly born seedling will need a lot of nitrogen to grow tall, strong and robust. In the case of autoflowering seeds, however, after the germination phase, it will be necessary to administer products with minimum percentages of nitrogen and high percentages of potassium and phosphorus.
When growing indoors , fertilizers really acquire great importance: you need to choose specific products, also calibrated to the phase the plant is experiencing:
- in the germination phase it is advisable to use a root stimulator;
- in the flowering phase, bi-component fertilizers are needed, necessary for the growth of the seedling;
- in the last phase before harvest, flowering stimulators can be used.
Autoflowering cannabis plants need adequate air circulation. A fan will also be enough to keep humidity levels low and avoid the formation of mold . It is important to remove the dry leaves that often appear at the end of the flowering phase, to ensure good ventilation of the now mature inflorescences. The temperature is also very important and must be between 20 and 25°C . Excess heat, both positive and negative, can stress the plant and slow its growth.
Indoor flowering auto lighting cycle
As you will have understood, light is fundamental in the life cycle of autoflowering plants and the choice of the type of lamp is of vital importance: it will be necessary to guarantee a spectrum of light similar to that of the sun's rays, which in the flowering phase must tend towards red , to allow chlorophyll photosynthesis. With autoflowering plants it is not necessary to modify the lighting cycles, in fact it is better to set the cycle to a fixed scheme - for example 18 hours of light and 6 of dark - for the entire duration of the cycle. Plants can also be exposed to constant light 24 hours a day, but it is believed that this scheme does not bring such an improvement as to justify the enormous expenditure of energy.
Which lamp to choose? In recent times , LED lamps are replacing HPS sodium lights , widely used until today. They are less economical, but allow you to save energy, making cultivation less expensive and more ecological; if they are UV rays they can have a positive impact on the harvest.
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