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.
Why? Because cannabis plants require a good blend containing all micro and macronutrients in exact concentrations to thrive. It’s not as simple as diluting a random fertilizer and feeding the plants. You not only risk burning the plants, but the yields will suffer drastically since the plants have no time to recover.
7. Over and under-watering
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.
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.
Autos Should Get 18-24 Hours of Light a Day for the Best Yields
There are also some plant training methods that are effective for giving you more control over the final size and shape of your auto-flowering plants.
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).
If growing in soil avoid choosing a “hot” (lots of nutrients) soil mix. BioBizz Lightmix soil or Fox Farms Happy Frog are good choices that don’t have too many nutrients to start. With any soil mix, it’s recommended to add about 30% extra perlite for increased drainage.
Photoperiod plants are able to recover from major growing problems in the vegetative stage when grown indoors because the grower can give the plants as much time as needed to recover before switching plants over to the flowering stage.
In some ways, auto-flowering strains are more simple to grow than photoperiod strains, but there are some additional considerations. For example autos do poorly if the grower runs into major problems during the beginning of the grow because an auto jumps straight into the flowering stage even it’s not doing so hot.
As a general rule of thumb, auto plants tend to double or triple in size from when they first start showing signs of flowering/budding (usually when plants are about 3 weeks old from seed).