Growing autoflowering marijuana seeds are the easiest types of seeds you can grow. This is why they are often recommended for beginner growers.
Table of contents:
Germinating Marijuana Seeds
Growing any type of marijuana begins with germinating marijuana seeds. This is the process of getting the seeds to sprout. There are many ways to do it.
Starter cubes are one of the best ways to sprout marijuana seeds. These already have the perfect conditions for germination. The seeds must be placed into a hole that’s provided and the hole is pinched closed. A little bit of water is added and the seeds will sprout within.
Jiffy pellets can also be used to germinate seeds. These are like starter cubes; the difference is that they need to be soaked in water. They also have a much better success rate than starter cubes. After the pellets are soaked in water, they will expand. Squeeze the moisture out of them and then place the seed inside. Jiffy pellets cannot be used in hydroponic setups.
To avoid stressing the plant or marijuana seedling, germination can also happen right in the container that will grow the plant. This mimics the natural method of germinating outdoors.
Lastly, the plate method is one used by many growers to germinate seeds. It works like this:
- Soak four sheets of paper towels and soak them with distilled water.
- Wring the sheets out so they are still very wet, but not dripping.
- Place two of the paper towels on a plate.
- Place the seeds on the plate at least an inch apart from each other.
- Cover the seeds with the remaining two sheets of paper towel.
- Flip another plate upside down and place it on top of the first plate. This will provide a dark space for the seeds.
- Keep the plate in a warm area between 70 and 90 degrees until the seeds sprout.
Growing Marijuana Seedlings
The seedling stage is when the marijuana plant is the most vulnerable. This stage occurs when the seed has germinated and been successfully planted. The seed will split in two as the sprout emerges from the husk. The tail will begin to grow down into the grow medium. Once it has enough leverage, it will sprout above the grow medium as well.
Marijuana seedlings need to be protected from insects and pests that will want to eat and destroy them. Plastic domes can be very useful for this. Holes need to be cut out of the dome for proper ventilation. The seedling’s soil should always be kept moist. They also need lots of sunlight, so using a light at this stage can also be helpful. The container used for seedlings should not be too large. This can easily lead to overwatering and locking out oxygen that the plant needs. If the seedling is already in a large container, simply water around the base of the stem. Only water again when the top inch of soil is dry.
Seedlings at this stage do not need many additional nutrients. Simply placing them in a high-quality potting soil should be enough. If seedlings are given too many nutrients, they will likely suffer from toxicity burn. It is also important to ensure the growing medium has a proper PH level. This will prevent the medium from locking out the needed nutrients. Seedlings will grow best in a temperature around 73 degrees Fahrenheit.
Marijuana Vegetative Stage
Once germination has taken place and seedlings have sprouted, plants will move into the vegetative stage of growth. This stage is quite easy in terms of caring for your plants. However, there are some basics that can help ensure success. The temperature in the grow space should always remain between 72- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit. Typically, 78 degrees is ideal. The humidity should sit around 45 to 65 percent. Having proper air circulation with vents or fans can help maintain proper heat and humidity.
Lights should be kept on the plants for 24 hours a day as autoflowers do not need light cycles to flower. Although some growers do use a 20/4 cycle. In rare cases if your autoflowering plant does not show signs of flowering you can force it to with a 12/12 light cycle. This only really happens when an autoflower isn’t completely stable, or the autoflowering genetics have overly strong photoperiod traits.
The plants should only be watered when they are fully dry. The soil should feel crusty on top. Overwatering is the number one cause of nutrient deficiencies in cannabis plants.
Plants can also be lifted slightly to determine how dry they are. Lift a stem up. If it feels especially light, the plant may be dry.
Nutrients in the vegetative stage
One of the most important things about the vegetative stage is the nutrients the plant receives. There are three main nutrients plants need. These are nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. During the vegetative stage, plants will need a lot of nitrogen. This can sometimes be found in nutrient-enriched potting soil. Supplements may still have to be given to ensure the plant is getting what it needs.
Marijuana Flowering Stage
Sexing the marijuana plant can be done as the marijuana plants enter their flowering stage. Start looking for pollen sacs that identify male plants. Females will have a calyx and a pistil.
Assuming that there are female plants are growing, the flowering stage is when the marijuana plant will start developing buds. They still need special care, though. Part of that care is providing the plants with proper nutrients.
Nutrients in the flowering stage
During the flowering stage, plants will need less nitrogen than in the vegetative stage. They will need a medium to high amount of phosphorous and a high amount of potassium instead. A bloom fertilizer can be particularly beneficial at this stage.
Knowing when to harvest your marijuana
There is a window for harvesting marijuana. This window indicates the plant is ripe. Indoors, most indicas will take about eight weeks to reach full ripeness, or maturity. Outdoors, this is typically sometime in October. Sativas have a much longer window for harvest. Outdoors, if conditions are right, harvests may go into November or December.
Determining if a plant is ready for harvest can be done by looking at the trichomes. These are small stalks with a head at the tip. These start out clear, then turn cloudy, then amber. Clear trichomes will provide very little high. Instead, growers should wait until they turn amber. This will make the entire bud more potent. You should typically start to harvest your marijuana when you have 15-20% amber trichomes and the rest mostly milky.
Flushing your marijuana plant
Plants often need to be flushed before they are harvested. This will allow them to use the remaining nutrients in the soil. Failing to flush can affect and alter the smoke, taste, and aroma.
Flushing a marijuana plant is very easy. Nutrients are simply no longer given. Instead, water that is ph-balanced is all that’s given to the plants. If the plants are grown in soil, they should start being flushed two weeks prior to harvest. Rockwool and coco will only need about one week of flushing. Hydroponic setups can be flushed one week before harvest, or sooner.
Plants grown in amended organic soil should not be flushed. The soil holds all the nutrients the plant needs to survive. Flushing could destroy the ecosystem built up within that soil.
Trimming marijuana buds
Trimming marijuana buds gives them that picture-perfect appearance that is tight, frosty and dense. Also, large leaves left on buds tend to provide for a harsh smoke. Trimming should begin several days before harvest. This is when the large fan leaves will be taken off.
Once the plant has been harvested, the rest of trimming can begin. Wet trimming can occur at this stage, right after harvest. At this point, the plant is still alive on its stem. The sugar leaves will extend outward and be easier to manoeuvre since they’re still wet. Wet trimming can also speed along the drying process.
Dry trimming, as the name suggests, allows the plants to dry out a bit before trimming begins. While the buds may not be as movable, dry trimming has its benefits. As the buds will be drier, they will not be as sticky. That typically means trimming is less messy and doesn’t ruin a perfectly good pair of scissors. The preference on trimming wet or dry is all down to the grower.
Drying and curing marijuana buds
Before buds can be cured to perfection, they must first be dried. This process can be relatively simple. Drying racks are available that allow growers to lay out their trimmed buds. Over some time, the buds will dry.
Curing the buds is very beneficial for bringing out the best taste of the buds. It will also provide a smoother smoke and cause less damage to the lungs. Curing allows moisture to get redistributed throughout the bud. This ensures it does not become overly dry.
To cure marijuana buds, simply place them in an airtight container. Glass jars with rubber seals are best, but a plastic bag will also work. Buds should be placed into the container when the buds feel firm and crisp. The container should be sealed and placed in a cool, dark place. Within 24 hours, the buds should no longer be crunchy as moisture builds up. If this does not happen, the buds may be over-dried.
The containers should be opened several times a day for a few minutes. This allows for more oxygen to get into the container and allows some of the moisture to escape. If the buds smell like ammonia, they are not dry enough to be cured. Rehang them and allow to dry to prevent mold from forming.
After the first week the containers will only need to be opened once every two or three days. Curing can take as little as two weeks but can be done up to eight weeks. The longer buds get cured, the higher quality they will be.
Growing Autoflowers Indoors
Autoflowering marijuana seeds are becoming more and more popular today. The autoflower grow guide is like any other type of marijuana. It will need proper nutrients and careful watering. But autoflowering strains don’t rely on light cycles to grow. They also come with several benefits that add to the ease both outdoor and indoor autoflowering grows.
- Autoflowering marijuana seeds don’t grow into very tall plants. They can even be grown in small cabinets.
- Their light cycle does not need to change.
- They can be grown alongside other photo-sensitive plants in the grow space.
- Can be grown year-round with a harvest every two months from seed.
Tips for growing autoflowers indoors:
- Placed autoflowering marijuana seeds in their permanent container. If they are transplanted it can place them under undue stress that they won’t have time to recover from.
- Germinate them as you would other marijuana seeds.
Growing Autoflowers Outdoors
Growing autoflowers outdoors also has many benefits.
- While harvesting all-year round may not be possible, a seasonal grow will still reap many harvests in one season.
- Autoflowers outdoors are extremely resistant to pests and mold.
- Due to their small size, they are discreet.
- Can grow in temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tips for growing autoflowers outdoors:
- Dig into the soil a few feet deep. Turn the soil over, and then continue digging. This will aerate the soil.
- If placing plants in containers outside, turn the soil over in the above manner several times before placing into the container.
Growing Autoflowers in Soil
Of all growing mediums, soil still remains the most popular. Autoflowering marijuana seeds do very well in soil. Providing optimum conditions will help the plants grow strong and healthy.
- Pre-mixed soil will already contain the necessary nutrients for the plant. It will also contain ingredients to make the soil light and airy. These are considered the best soil for auto flowers.
Tips for growing autoflowers in soil:
- Plants should be grown in the same container throughout their entire life. They will need 25 liters or more.
- Veg nutrients can help the plant throughout the first six weeks of their life.
- Grow germinated seeds in their permanent container to avoid transplanting.
- Spread grass clippings, leaves, and other compost materials around the soil. This organic matter will provide nutrients to the soil and provide a network of good bacteria, insects, and microbes.
- Wood chips are very useful as mulch.
- Soil is often free. You just have to keep your eye out.
Growing Autoflowers in Hydroponics
Hydroponic marijuana of any kind requires a skilled and experienced grower. These systems are much more complicated, but can yield many benefits.
- Most rapid rates of growth.
- Can yield several hundred grams.
Growing autoflowers with hydroponics can be done in any hydroponic setup an can be grown with photo-sensitive plants.
Tips for growing autoflowers in hydroponics:
- Choose the right medium and grow space. Plants will still need to be rooted in something such as sand and gravel. Pop rocks are useful, but difficult to find.
- If using lava rocks, they must be soaked first for at least five days.
- Rocks must be cleaned between grows.
- Make sure the setup is sterilized.
- The right reservoir has a lid and is close to a water source.
- It is sometimes helpful to have an extra standby reservoir nearby. This can make it easier to pre-filter water and neutralize the ph of the setup.
- Reservoirs also need to be well-insulated so you can control the temperature.
- Elevating the reservoir with a few bricks can allow air flow around it.
Growing Autoflowers in Coco Coir
A coco cocir grow uses a growing medium that is made up of fibrous coconut husks. This can provide many benefits for autoflowering marijuana seeds.
- Promotes healthy roots.
- Promotes a sustainable environment.
- Resistant to pests.
- Provides the same benefits as hydry.
A coco coir mixture can be used on its own, or it can be blended with soil, or something fairly airy.
Tips for growing autoflowers in coco coir:
- Compressed coir bricks must be soaked in a large container before use. They will expand to five to seven times their size.
- Bricks must be soaked for at least an hour, but up to overnight.
- After soaking, the coir can be ripped and pulled apart.
- Any coir not used can be stored in a dry place and retain its properties for many years.
- Coir can be salty. Growers should try to find coir labelled ‘low salt.’
- Nitrogen may need to be decreased and potassium increased when fertilizing.
There is a lot to know about growing marijuana. Autoflowering marijuana seeds take some elements out of the equation. Because they do not rely on light cycles, they are perfect for beginners but experienced growers will also reap many benefits. The small size of plants coming from autoflowering marijuana seeds makes them perfect for any type of grow, and they are suitable for any grow medium.