All About Autoflowers - Growth Factors

Autoflowering strains can produce seriously impressive yields, with optimal conditions
Author Ryan
17 June 2022
3 min read
All About Autoflowers - Growth Factors

Contents:
  • 1. Lighting requirements
  • 2. Plant training techniques

1. Lighting Requirements

As we explained in Part One: Evolving and Growing, all autoflowering marijuana benefits from Ruderalis genes -- enabling faster, more resilient grows with no requirement to alter light schedules to trigger flowering. The evolution of autoflowering strains means that you can achieve seriously impressive yields, if you apply optimal conditions and the appropriate techniques. These growth factors are simple to understand, and we hope they convert many growers to the autoflower cause.

Once a seed has germinated and been planted, it should be kept in the same environment until harvest day. Autoflowers do not react well to ‘transplanting’. The #1 rule is that more hours of light is better. This is the main reason why indoor grows tend to produce more, even if LED lights will never match the almighty power of sunlight. You can give an autoflower 24 hours of light indoors, but only around half that outdoors.

 

All About Autoflowers - Growth Factors: Indoors vs Outdoors

Autoflowers:Indoor vs outdoor differences.
 

While this is a heavily contested topic among autoflower cultivators, the general consensus these days is that a light regime of 18/6 (that’s 18 hours of light to 6 hours of darkness) or 20/4 is what allows for the best results come harvest. Although autos will complete their full lifecycle under any lighting conditions, most growers agree that 24/0 can have some negative effects in terms of yield size and the potency of the buds. Just like us, weed plants need at least some time to rest.

Just give the plant all the light you can (no more than 20 hours per day though if growing indoors) and the correct amount of water and nutrients at the correct pH range, and being an autoflower, it will automatically flower in a matter of weeks. However, to maximize the growth potential, there are a few tricks you can try.

2. Plant training Techniques

“Low Stress Training” or LST is basically the method of gently bending down (and holding in place with soft string or furry wire ties) the branches so that they form a wider canopy -- which means each branch receives more light. Unlike HST techniques such as topping, fimming, super cropping, etc. this form of training is not meant to hurt the plant in any way. This is important for autoflowering cannabis strains as they do not have the vegging growth time to recover from such invasive forms of training.

LST is best applied progressively, every few days, while branches are still flexible enough to bend easily. Bending towards the ends of branches is easiest. You will gradually achieve the optimal plant shape as each bent branch naturally arches upwards towards the light.

First-time autoflower growers are advised against “topping” the plant before LST (this means entirely cutting off the tallest branch to promote a flatter, more substantial overall growth). Autoflowers have shorter growth spans and less time to recover from shocks. However, with more experience and a healthy, fast-growing plant with at least 4 nodes (pairs of main leaves), it can be fine to just snip the tip (a collection of tiny leaves).

 

All About Autoflowers - Growth Factors: Low Stress Training

What is low stress training?
 

“FIMing” is a less extreme version of topping. Instead of slicing off the top stem, you merely shave the very top of the tip and cause the plant less stress. The downside is that, unlike topping, FIMing is unlikely to result in a split main stem (i.e. two main colas). “No technique” training is LST at its most basic -- bending the main stem very early on, so that the whole plant grows along a horizontal axis and no further LST is required.

Strategic defoliation of indoor plants (not usually necessary when growing under the sun, which moves across the sky) is essentially the snipping of leaves during the critical early flowering stage of your buds’ growth, to give the greatest number of the extra light and air. As mentioned above, you are more than welcome to experiment with whatever training technique you please, but any form of HST may lead to detrimental effects with autos. Fast Buds offers three “XXL yield” strains: the Six Shooter and Tangie'matic -- and now the newly unleashed Blue Dream'matic!

Author Ryan
17 June 2022