how to grow autoflowering marijuana indoors

As we’ve mentioned, cannabis is a dioecious plant, meaning male and female reproductive organs appear on different plants.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the chemical components—known collectively as cannabinoids—found in the cannabis plant. Over the years, humans have selected plants for high-THC content, making cannabis with high levels of CBD rare. The genetic pathways through which THC is synthesized by the plant are different than those for CBD production.

As mentioned above, you can skip the processing of sexing weed plants by growing with feminized seeds or clones.

A seed has germinated once the seed splits and a single sprout appears. The sprout is the taproot, which will become the main stem of the plant, and seeing it is a sign of successful germination.

Also, autoflower plants are small—perfect for closet grows or any small grow, or growing outdoors where you don’t want your neighbors to see what you’re up to.

Step 4.

Even if your seed sprouts fast and grows vigorously, it still has roughly a 50/50 chance of being female and producing buds, instead of turning out to be a male.

Marijuana seeds can be acquired from an array of sources and can vary in quality. For more info on how to buy marijuana seeds, check out our Guide to buying cannabis seeds.

However, potency in autoflowering varieties has increased significantly since their initial introduction, with some breeders crossbreeding the low-THC ruderalis with other more potent varieties.

After completing these steps, it’s time to wait. Check the paper towels once a day to make sure they’re still saturated, and if they are losing moisture, apply more water to keep the seeds happy.

Females will have a round structure with long hairs—these hairs will develop into pistils, which will catch pollen in the air.

Make sure the area the seeds are in is warm, somewhere between 70-85°F.

Within a week or so you should see a seedling begin to grow from the soil.

So don’t discount bud because it has a seed or two in it. While not ideal, it could be the origins of the next great weed strain.

You might also find a mature seed that has been physically damaged through poor handling, like rough trimming. In those cases, it probably isn’t worth the effort to try and germinate the seed.

Seeds for these varieties are now widely available online and through dispensaries. It should be noted, however, that any plant grown from these seeds is not guaranteed to produce high levels of CBD, as it takes many years to create a seed line that produces consistent results. A grower looking to produce cannabis with a certain THC to CBD ratio will need to grow from a tested and proven clone or seed.

Training plants.

Keep a close eye on the temperature and moisture level of the soil to keep the seed happy. It’s very delicate at this stage. Use a spray bottle to water it—over-watering can suffocate and kill the delicate sprout.

Cannabis used for hemp production has been selected for other traits, including a low THC content, so as to comply with the 2018 Farm Bill. Consequently, many varieties of hemp produce significant quantities of CBD.

It’s important to keep the delicate seed sterile, so don’t touch the seed or taproot as it begins to split.

Seeds can also form in plants with genetic disorders or instability, like hermaphrodites—plants that develop both male and female reproductive parts. Generally, stress and genetic disorders are viewed as bad, so temper expectations with any plant you start from a bagseed.

Another drawback to clones is they can take on negative traits from the mother plant as well. If the mother has a disease, attracts pests, or grows weak branches, its clones will probably have the same issues.

A lot of classic weed strains that have been around for a while come in feminized form. Some popular fem seeds are:

Growing marijuana takes a certain level of commitment: time, energy, and financial resources, so be sure you can commit to the whole process.

How to sex a pot plant.

Cannabis can be either male or female—also called “dioecious”—but only females produce the buds we all know and love. For reproduction, males have pollen sacs and pollinate females, causing female flowers to produce seeds.

Cannabis is grown from one of two sources: a seed or a clone. Seeds carry genetic information from two parent plants and can express many different combinations of traits: some from the mother, some from the father, and some traits from both.

As interest in CBD as a medicine has grown, many breeders have crossed high-CBD hemp with cannabis. These strains have little or no THC, 1:1 ratios of THC and CBD, or some have a high-THC content along with significant amounts of CBD (3% or more).

If growing outside, some growers prefer to germinate seeds inside because they are delicate in the beginning stages of growth. Indoors, you can give weed seedlings supplemental light to help them along, and then transplant them outside when big enough.

Finding a cannabis seed in your stash is not ideal, but we’ve all been there before. Although much less common than it once was, it still happens. Sometimes you’ll notice one when grinding down some flower, or you’ll see one pop, spark, and crackle from the heat of a lit bowl.

Most seeds that you will buy are regular seeds as described above, but here are a couple more types.

Aside from producing cannabis through seeds, or sexual reproduction, you can also reproduce the plant through cloning, or asexual reproduction. A clone is a cutting that is genetically identical to the plant it was taken from—that plant is known as the “mother.”

For a seed to be viable, it must be mature enough to have a completely formed genetic blueprint, and it must be strong enough to germinate and pop through its hard casing and sprout its crucial taproot.

When considering yields, it’s important to remember that one of the advantages of growing auto-flowering cannabis strains is most growers can produce several harvests a year (since the lifespan of each auto plant is very short).

Photoperiod Strains.

Auto-flowering strains respond well to very light low stress training (LST) such as bending the plants to “open up” lower branches to light.

Can I clone auto-flowering plants?

Many growers do not recommend exposing autos to plant training methods that involve cutting the plant (topping, FIMing, main-lining, etc.) as the autoflowering vegetative stage is short and plants often don’t have enough time to recover before they begin flowering.

The best modern auto-flowering strains have been bred to produce bigger and denser buds than the original Ruderalis plants. Buds have also been bred to be as potent as photoperiod strains.

Bend too-tall branches down and away from the center of your plant.

Most indoor growers report getting great growth rates when keeping light schedules on an 18/6 light schedule (18 hour of light and 6 hours of dark each days). 20/4 is another popular light schedule for indoor auto plants. Some growers will give 24 hours of light to auto plants, but others believe that auto plants develop better when given at least a few hours of darkness each day.

Why are light schedules important anyway?

These two auto-flowering plants are also the same age and and grown in the same environment! The small plant is Auto Chemdawg & the huge plant is Super Lemon Haze Auto.

Autos generally yield up to about 4 ounces of bud per plant when taken care of throughout their life, but the amount of bud produced has a lot to do with the grow setup.

When I grew auto-flowering strains, the buds felt more medicinal (as opposed to recreational) than the majority of strains I’ve grown. Even in higher doses, the effects weren’t as “racing” as some of the really high-THC, low CBD strains. The buds all made me feel very pleasant and helped melt away stress, without being overwhelming. I think some people might actually prefer the effects of auto-flowering buds, even if they’re not patients, and I believe autos may be a great choice for some medical marijuana patients.

How long until harvest?

Auto-Flowering Strains.

If photoperiod plants receive too much light each day, or are exposed to light during their dark period, they will either produce hermies (bad) or revert back to the vegetative stage (stop making buds). If you will be unable to provide complete darkness to your plants during their night period, it’s recommended that you choose to get an auto-flowering strain, which isn’t affected by light at night.

Auto-flowering cannabis strains are the descendants of a wild strain of hemp first identified as “Ruderalis” in Russia during the early 1940s.

Things have come a long way since the original low-potency “Lowryder” auto plants!

Total dry weight for the 4 plants was 145g plus about 25g popcorn so around 6 oz in total .

Nutrients play a big role in growing autoflowering cannabis strains. Autoflowers are compact, so they don’t need loads of nutes in order to survive. In fact, autoflowers grow best when light fertilizers are used. It’s also important to feed the right nutrients at the right time.

It’s important to start autoflowers in their final containers rather than planting them in smaller ones and transplanting them later. Sure, growing cannabis is like growing tomatoes, but autoflowers have a limited time period and can’t afford to lose days while the plant settles and searches for roots.

Growing plants in hydroponic setups seem very cool, but soil is your best bet if you have no experience. Avoid using clay soils that clump up because autoflowers thrive in well-aerated soil. A soilless medium of equal parts of peat moss or coco peat, perlite, some airy soil, and sand is the best potting mix for autoflowers.

6. Do not transplant.

If you don’t want to bother about fertilizing at all, you can even try growing autoflowers organically. There are various ways to make your own organic soil, but you can buy some in your local store to start with. Organic soil is premised with nutrients, so it’s ideal for someone that doesn’t have a lot of time. For growers that don’t mind putting in the efforts, composting and building super soil is the best soil mix for autoflowers.

If you wait too much, the buds tend to produce a couch-lock effect leaning more towards the Indica side while buds harvested too early generate unpleasant psychoactive effects. Also, the main colas ripen faster than the lower portions of the plant.

Frost must be avoided at all costs. Typically, most growers begin planting when spring is just around the corner. Depending on where you live, you can plant the seeds as soon as the frost clears. If you reside in a location that doesn’t receive any snow, go ahead and plant when the temperatures range between 22°C to 28°C (71°F to 77°F).

Talking about nutrients, some growers try to make their own nutes. While it’s completely okay to do so, you should avoid doing it if you’ve never done that before. Nutrients are expensive and it’s tempting to make your own, but try to attempt that after you’ve gained some experience.

Sometimes, it just so happens that the plant refuses to respond even if you’ve done everything. In such cases, flush the plants with lots of water (at least double or triple the size of the container) to reduce any nutrient or salt buildup so that the plants can breathe again. Flushing is typically done at the end, but it doesn’t hurt the plant even if you do it in between because it reduces buildups to a good extent.

Depending on your experience, you can also germinate your seeds directly in the medium , just make sure you’re not overwatering it because you can end up drowning your seeds. As you can see in the video, germinating in the soil is easy and doesn’t require anything extra, just be careful and you’ll see a seedling coming out of the ground in a couple of days.

If the pH drops below 6, the roots will not be able to intake vital nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, and phosphorous. Similarly, if the pH is too alkaline and goes above 7.5 , the roots cannot take up micronutrients like copper, manganese, boron, etc. It’s very important to regulate the pH at all times to prevent nutrient deficiencies.

4. Choose the right medium.

If you’re new to autoflower growing and are looking for an autoflower grow guide or want to know how to grow autoflowering strains, here are a couple of tips to have you growing in no time.

You’ve come all this way, and the end is almost near, so don’t screw this up now! Now you’re probably asking “ how to tell if my autoflower is ready for harvest? ” Well, after you’ve put in all the hard work, wait for the right time. Growers use microscopes to check the trichomes that usually indicate the right time, but you can harvest when at least 50 to 70 percent of the pistils are amber in color.

Don’t make the rookie mistake of using Miracle Grow or any other fertilizer meant to grow vegetables. Autoflowers will grow well even if you do that, but since they have special needs, you might as well stick to nutrients that supply everything. From humic to fulvic acid to enzymes, you can do a lot to make the plants perform to the best of their potential.

Here’s a quick table to help you understand pH better:

Timing is everything if you’re planning to grow autoflowers outdoors. Since autoflowers don’t depend on light to flower, you don’t need to worry too much. But, planting too early will generate smaller yields and planting too late affects yields too.

3. Germination.

A way to check if the soil is dry is to use your index finger and stick it in the soil, if it comes out moist then the soil is still humid, although by doing this you won’t be able to know if the bottom is still wet so in order to get the timing right, lift the pots and check the weight.

Some growers use small plastic cups to plant seeds. While this method may work with photoperiod plants, it’s not recommended for autoflowers. If you’re already committed the mistake of planting them in small containers, try to transplant the plant only when the soil is moist. If the soil is too wet, the roots tend to break, and if it’s too dry, transplanting becomes a pain. Of course, experienced growers do transplant autoflowers but it’s not really necessary.

Now that you know the basics and what to avoid, you’re all set up to start your first autoflower indoor grow.

Can you grow autoflowering cannabis in a greenhouse?

Some growers also flush during the pre-flowering stage, when the plants are transitioning from the vegetative into the flowering stage so they can start feeding from zero, as said above, this won’t hurt your plants but should be done properly.

When is the best time to plant autoflowers outdoors?