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Understanding the Life Cycle of Autoflowering Cannabis

Autoflower Life Cycle | How To Grow Autoflower Seeds | The Seed Fair

Growing cannabis with autoflower strains requires good knowledge of its lifecycle. This is the bedrock to harvesting good, healthy autoflower marijuana. Understanding the Autoflower Life Cycle will make the growing process delightful and fascinating. New to weed planting and need some guidance? This article provides the basic components involved in the autoflower life cycle.

What are the benefits of autoflower strains?

Using an autoflower strain to grow weed sure has a lot of benefits. One is that it cultivates faster than other strains. A good weed harvest will be ready in about two to three months, this makes it most suitable for busy individuals or first-time weed planters.

One factor that induces the quick growth of autoflower strains is that their development is not being influenced by light, in fact, autoflower strains do not require extensive lighting to change from their vegetative state to the flowering phase.

With this quicker growth cycle, you can harvest your cannabis faster and planting season wouldn’t matter much since it is not so light friendly. Growing with auto flower strains is a top choice for most weed-growers, as it gives good tons of harvest yearly.

Asides from having a fast-growing advantage, autoflowers strains are strong enough to stand pest attacks or unfavorable weather conditions. It metamorphoses into a small-sized weed plant, it is beneficial and can be easily managed by small home weed growers.

Overall autoflowers seeds are best for individuals new to growing cannabis. This is because the autoflower life cycle is quick to learn and best for weed growers who want a large harvest in a short period.


Life cycle of autoflower seeds

The autoflower life cycle has 12 weeks, with each coming to a visible development in the weed plant. Here are the steps to planting weed following the autoflower life cycle.


First week – Germinating Stage

This involves germinating the autoflower seed. Depending on the layout, it can grow in one to three days. In this stage, the seed develops its roots and will soon rise above the soil’s surface. New weed growers are always intrigued by this stage, it satisfies their curiosity and confirms that the plant’s journey has begun.

Germination can be done directly in the soil to be used for planting, however, most weed growers choose to use different methods. One of which is a wet paper towel method. Put the seed on a wet paper towel and place it in a plastic can, ensure it is in a dry area and warm.

To maintain warmth, sprinkle water a little above room temperature during hours of the day. Once the roots grow, plant them in the soil.

This is the best time to nourish the seed with good lighting and healthy soil, temperature is best at 20 – 25 degrees. The root is developing and requires mycorrhiza and organic soil with adequate nutrients to aid its absorption.


Second week – Seedling stage

This stage comes with leaves development to begin photosynthesis. The leaves will stretch out to get more light for growth. At this stage, it is necessary to stimulate the growth with fertilizer, organic soil boost, and enhancers to lead it into the vegetation stage. In doing this, however, know that unlike other strains autoflower does not require so many nutrients.

This stage also requires you to integrate good light regiments if you are planting indoors. LED lighting always serves best in this regard, it is affordable and reserves energy. Set the blue light on at all times in the vegetation stage with reduced humidity.

Though autoflower strains do not depend on light to grow flowers, it is appropriate to keep the light on for at least sixteen hours and off for eight hours a day. Some growers have however contested this, some on the lights non-stop daily during the vegetation phase.

This is quite stressful to maintain and you might lose consistency so choose the 16 hours on 8 hours off as it is easier to continue.


Third week – Vegetation stage

In the third week, the flower should be 15cm tall and have fully begun vegetation. Some plants might be different, they may be taller or even shorter. If this happens do not fret, remember the seeds vary and would bring different results.

Vegetation causes the leaves to grow twice as much, the plants shoot off and begin active growth. No need to change the lighting system, leave it as it is but be consistent so it helps promote plant growth.

At this stage the plant has developed its roots properly so you need to reduce the humidity to a relative level, 50 percent is a good range. The temperature is best at 20 degrees.

The buds and stems need lights to grow, it is a good time to employ any low-stress training method of your choice. Water plants regularly but not in high quantities, use just half a liter of water every day to avoid high humidity.


Fourth week –  Vegetation stage

The leaves are broader now with a deep green color to affirm good growth. The low-stress training should be fully implemented so the plants would not be stressed out when starting the flowering stage; the nodes of the weed plant may start showing pre-flowering signs.

That shows good growth, nevertheless, make use of fertilizer to keep it going. This is a better option than flowering treatments. The water levels should be the same as in the previous vegetation stage, the same with the lighting and humidity.

Be consistent with it until your plant grows taller, then you can modify the lighting system, however, the light should stay 70cm from the canopy.


Fifth week – Pre–flowering stage

At this stage, you must have seen the pre-flowering signs on the plant’s nodes. Male marijuana plants develop pollen sacs while the females develop pistils in the middle of the branches and stems.

Cut out the male marijuana plants the moment the sac starts growing if you do not want your plant to grow seeds, this will also prevent pollination of the plant by the male plant.

Continue with the same lighting method and the watering routine should not be changed. Autoflower strains flower differently, some earlier than others, take more of this because the next phase will affect them differently.


Sixth Week –  Flowering stage

The pre-flowering signs are glaring now and it’s about time. Adjust the lighting levels and feeding. The lighting should be switched from blue to red to facilitate bud growth.

Start using flowering marijuana fertilizers and stop all others.  Changing the fertilizer to a flowering fertilizer provides the plant larger magnesium, calcium, and potassium nutrients. These bigger quality nutrients stimulate the healthy development of the plant.

The watering level should be increased to a liter per day. This is because autoflower strains need more water to grow properly when flowering. The temperature should be kept at 23 degrees while the pH level should be 6-6.5, ensuring it stays this way throughout the flowering stage.


Seventh Week – Flowering stage

The flowers should have been fully grown and forming the buds by the 6th week, it should have beautiful colors and look attractive. You can feel the potency of the weed as it develops a striking smell.

The watering should be increased to one and a half liters per day and reduce the humid level to 40 percent. At this stage the cannabis should be about 30cm tall, this means you should place the lighting between 40 to 45cm from your canopy. You will need to increase the level of feeding, but do so following the instructions of the fertilizer.

This stage calls for frequent plant inspection, this is necessary to check if there are odd effects like abscesses or even protrusion in the flower buds. Also, look carefully to find if hermaphrodite plants are pollinating and remove them immediately.


Eight Week – Flowering stage

At this stage fast-growing autoflowers round up their flowering process, others persist till they are fully flowered. Always note their progress and be patient. The longer you wait the more potent your bud will be, so patience is important.

Continue feeding and watering at the same pace, one and a half-liter of water daily, the temperature at 24 degrees, and the humid level at 40 percent.

Regularly inspect the leaves to make sure they are not dull or have a dry brown color. If they do then they may be lacking nutrients or water. Increase the potassium nutrient and make sure your pH level is balanced.

For better inspection use equipment that magnifies the plant to check for any changes. You can use digital magnifying glasses or a jewelers loupe.


Ninth week –  Late flowering stage

This week is all about consistency. You have to be consistent with the feeding and lighting pattern, humidity and nutrients should remain the same as well.  You can skip this stage and move to pre-harvest, but that would depend on the strain used. Check frequently to make sure the plant is free from pests.

Also, check for any leaf that differs from the general color. If it is darker and looks dry it is a sign that a nutrient is lacking. During the late flowering stage, many issues might come up, however, a balanced level can help prevent them.

Air temperature should be as it were in the previous stage, same as humidity and water, changing any of these can affect the plants so don’t.


Tenth week- Late flowering stage

This is the last phase of plant flowering. The pistils are now in different colors and the buds are hard, tight, and denser with more weight. The pistils are also colored yellow at this stage.

The next step in this stage is soil flushing. You have to flush the nutrients of the soil for enhanced taste, this is what is best for the plant.

Consistency is very essential at this stage, one wrong change can affect the entire process so keep watering your plant as usual and don’t change the lighting levels.  Some buds might still be developing, that is not a problem, it is still growing and will soon mature.

Auto flower strains like Haze and Amnesia mature in complete twelve weeks with flowering, however, others mature in lesser time.


Eleventh week – Flushing and defoliating stage

Take note of the buds carefully, if they develop more resins and look thicker, then they are almost ready for harvest.

Harvest can start when the pistils become dark and curly. Ensure you see the curls, allow it a few days if it hasn’t so it is good for harvest, the trichome should be milky white in color to confirm harvest time.  This inspection must be carried out with a magnifying instrument.

Soil flushing should be done before harvest begins. To do this, quit feeding the plant with normal nutrients and pour a large quantity of water over the soil to flush it, this should be done every day of the week to remove all soil nutrients.

Such soil gives the weed a subtle neutral aroma and flavor. The result of this process will be evident after a few days as the leaves will dry up and fall over.

While flushing the soil you also have to cut out dense canopies and slighter leaves, this process is known as defoliating.  While this creates open space for light to reach plants below, it also can lead to mold so watch carefully.

Maintain the watering routines and keep humidity levels always, lighting and temperature should remain the same.


Twelfth week – Harvest

Autoflower strain plants are harvest-ready after 2-3 months, though some are slower and others faster, each following the lifecycle of its genes. When the trichomes are milky white and very dense and the pistils become brownish the weed is ready for harvest.

All buds might not mature at once, give it a little time to unify before harvest. However, if the upper buds mature due to their exposure to light, you can take them off so the buds below can get more light. When all the buds are ripe, begin harvest.

Finally, it is time to take the yield of your hard work and patience. Sterilize your scissors and carefully cut off the buds, then dry and prepare to cure.

The curing process produces the finished product and the best way to cure it is to put dry weed in an enclosed container. This gives them a pleasant aroma and flavor. This process reduces the chlorophyll content. Skipping it will make the weed have a violent smoke which is very unpleasant.


Start growing your autoflower

Now that you know how the Autoflower life cycle works, you can grow one yourself.  There are different autoflower strains to start with. New classic and Staple strains are very good for first-time growers. They are easily grown and you will harvest quickly. Start now and anticipate a good harvest.

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