Autoflowering strains are becoming extremely popular. Below are the top tips for growing autos outdoors.
1. Location, Location, Location!
Location is the most important factor when determining where to plant. The landscape, trees, and buildings will affect how much direct sunlight is available, and will change with the seasons and the angle of the sun. Carefully observe the daily sun-pattern and choose the sunniest spot!
Our top tip here is to locate south using a compass, and plant here. South facing plots will allow the most sunlight. If you are lucky enough where you can plant facing South, and receive full sun from the morning until the evening then you will produce excellent results all year.
2. The Size of Pot
The theory that the bigger the pot then the bigger the plants, certainly holds true when it comes to autoflowering genetics. You must also consider that for the first 3 weeks, the root system is being developed and in return, the vegetative growth forms. Our top tip here is to work with a pot size that is around 5 gallons. This is the ideal size for autos to produce a well-established, prolific root zone without having wasted space, and growing medium.
Generally autoflowering Cannabis that has been grown in a large container will usually finish around 50 inches tall, however genetics can often play a key role in the final plant height.
3. Polytunnels and greenhouses
Sometimes dealing with the elements can be challenging, especially when it comes to growing cannabis outdoors. Heavy rain, strong winds and cold temperatures can really pull the handbrake on a flowering plant. Our top tip here is to build a polytunnel or greenhouse, that will become the new home for your autoflowering plants. There are many benefits to building your own outdoor tunnel for the plants, ranging from privacy, protection from the rain and wind to a low cost set up that can stand the course of time if built properly.
4. Choose strains based on your environment
Pick the best autoflowering strains that suit your environment. For example, if you live in a dry, arid place, choose a strain adapted for that climate. Likewise, if you live in a humid, wet climate chose a strain which is mold and mildew resistant. When choosing strains, you might also consider low profile varieties, that are kept out of sight from nosy neighbors, and are easy to camouflage using other plants.
5. Plant the entire year
One of the very best things about growing autoflowering cannabis outdoors, is how versatile and responsive they are to all the seasons. Of course the best time of the year to squeeze out multiple harvests would be from March until September. Our top tip here is to push your annual harvest to 5 per year by growing from January until December. Those blessed with hot weather such as South Europe or South America, can produce incredible results with the right strain.
6. What about nutrients?
Our top tip here is to not overfeed your plants, as this will be reflected in the way the flower burns, taste and the color and consistency of the ash. It is better to grow with an N-P-K ratio that is 3-4-4 and allow the beneficial bacteria and fungi to do the rest for the plants.
7. Stealth and Camouflage
For those who can grow autoflowering strains outdoors from their apartment’s balcony, rooftop or garden, keeping everything quiet and as discreet as possible is essential. To avoid repercussions from neighbors, or passing helicopters, it is a good idea to stealth your outdoor grow site. Our tip here is to use companion plants to grow alongside your autos, and to help them blend in with the other colors of the plants.
If you don’t want to use real plants in fear of insects, then you can buy plastic flowers and insert them around your pots. These can be purchased cheaply, are water proof and will last a long time before needing to replace.
8. Train your plants
Get hands on with your plants and shape their growth structure. Training the branches enhance the amount of light the plants receive and increase the overall yields. Our top tip here is to open your plants up when between the first 4 weeks, to promote a wide and bushy top canopy.
Once your autoflowering cannabis plants are firmly flowering, you will notice the difference in the number of flowering sites exposed to the sun, as well as the overall size and quality of the finished flower.
9. Nature’s little helpers
Microscopic microorganisms can be found in soil cultures that have coexisted with the earth for thousands of years. Like anything in life, there are good and bad versions, however the ones who work side by side with cannabis plants are called aerobic bacteria. Our top tip here is to introduce beneficial bacteria to your growing medium, allowing them to form a symbiotic relationship with the roots. In return, the microbes will feed the plants allowing them to gain weight and incredible flavors as they flower. As long as there is food for the microbes, there will always be food for the plants.
As always, don’t be afraid to experiment and find growing styles and techniques which suits you! Please leave your growing tips in the comments below.
~ Team HSO