What’s the highest-yielding autoflowering strain?
Auto-flowering strains are kind of like the “houseplant” version of weed. I’m a big fan of autoflowering cannabis strains for first-time growers, but also for anyone who wants to achieve a lot of potent buds in a short amount of time with a lot of flexibility. Auto-flowering strain options today are enormous, and there is an autoflowering strain that will satisfy almost any grower’s needs.
Autoflowering plants produce great yields when you choose the right strains
Note: Other strains of cannabis are “photoperiod” strains. Photoperiod strains require special light periods to make buds (“photo” refers to light; photoperiod stands for “light period”). Photoperiod cannabis strains only make buds if they get 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness every day. Buds can dry up and die if you unintentionally expose photoperiod plants to light during their dark period. No grower wants that!
An autoflowering plant can feel more simple to grow than a traditional/photoperiod strain of cannabis because they automatically start making buds (hence the name) after about 3 weeks. They don’t need special light schedules or any input from you whatsoever. With autoflowering plants, you basically just plant a seed and wait. Keep your plant alive and healthy with plenty of light and you’ll harvest buds in 2-3 months.
Grow an autoflowering strain to harvesting buds in 2-3 months!
Autoflowering cannabis strains come with a lot of benefits for home growers:
- Quicker Harvest – 2-3 months from seed to harvest compared to 3-5 months on average for photoperiod strains. Autoflowering strains give you buds sooner with less of a time commitment.
- Check on Plants Whenever – Flowering photoperiod strains need a daily 12-hour dark period and even a small light leak can cause buds to dry up and die. That means no checking on your photoperiod plants during their “night”. Having plants off-limits for 12 hours a day can be surprisingly annoying if you have a busy or erratic schedule. Autoflowering plants don’t care about light periods so you can check on them at any time. Much more convenient.
- Plants Stay Small – It’s easy to accidentally produce enormous photoperiod plants (I had to bend over one of my first plants because it hit the top of my closet), while most autoflowering strains stay relatively small due to the short growing period. That makes auto-flowering strains a great choice for growers who prefer a small or easy-to-hide garden.
- Flexibility – Photoperiod plants must be grown in “batches” to ensure all plants make buds at the same time. That’s about 3 harvests a year if you never take time off between grows. You could run out for many months at a time if you have to close down the garden due to moving, going on a long trip, taking a break between grows, etc. Many home growers prefer a steady supply of buds as opposed to getting just a few big harvests a year. You can plant an autoflowering seed whenever you want and always be just 2 months from harvest. Plant an autoflowering seed every week and you’ll soon be harvesting a plant every week. You don’t need to worry about timing your grow so every plant makes buds at the same time. Even if you do grow autoflowering plants in batches, you’ll still be harvesting about every other month instead of just a few times a year.
- Excellent Yields – Despite the short time to harvest, quality autoflowering strains get comparable yields to photoperiod plants of the same size. That’s because they receive up to twice as many hours of light a day while buds are forming. Get big yields, only faster.
But what’s the best autoflowering strain? Which yields the most bud for the least amount of time or effort? And yields are important, but what about potency and bud quality?
Autoflowering Strains with Above Average Yields
- Alaskan Purple Auto by Seedsman – Buds don’t always turn purple (cold nights can help bring out the color) but no matter the color of the buds, the potency and yields are great.
- Amnesia Auto by MSNL – I’ve harvested several of these plants and was pleased with the results every time. Plants can get big but respond well to training. Buds produce strong cerebral effects, and yields were good-to-great.
- Black Jack Auto by Sweet Seeds – These plants responded well to plant training and produced nice yields. I really enjoyed the strong yet unique bud effects of this strain. It reminded me of a sativa/haze with more of a body stone.
- Bloody Skunk Auto by Sweet Seeds – Impressive purple bud color on most plants, great yields, lovely effects, and an overall easy strain to grow.
- Blue Critical Auto by Dinafem – This plant naturally grew wide and bushy with excellent yields and bud quality.
- Cinderella Jack Auto by Dutch Passion – Good yields with dense buds that look nice, but this strain was especially a winner in the potency department. The buds ended up being a fan-favorite due to the strong mental and physical effects.
- Pineapple Express Auto by G13 Labs – An extremely popular autoflowering strain. Plants stay short, are quick-to-harvest even for an auto, and the sparkle-encrusted buds smell like heaven.
- Pink Kush CBD 30:1 by Seedsman – Medicinal strain with under 0.5% THC, beautiful purple buds, quick-to-harvest, tends to stay short.
- THC Bomb Auto by Bomb Seeds – I’ve grown 5 different plants of this strain over multiple grows in different setups, and every one came out marvellous. Easy to grow, great yields, beautiful sparkly buds, and potent effects. Highly recommended!
- Ultimate Auto by Dutch Passion – Average potency buds, but the best yields of any auto-flowering plant I’ve ever grown. Always yields twice as much as the next plant in the tent. However, plants can get big so watch the height! A great choice for someone who wants classic bud effects that aren’t too overwhelming.
- White Widow Max Auto by MSNL – The plants grew big but with a good bushy structure (not too stretchy), responded well to training, and produced enormous yields of high-quality bud.
- Zkittlez Auto by Seedsman – This strain grew fast and healthy with fat buds that smell sweet and look gorgeous.
Recommended Autoflowering Breeders
Many other breeders also produce great auto-flowering strains (Dutch Passion, FastBuds, Barney’s Farm, etc.), but the following breeders stand out for consistency.
- Bomb Seeds
- G13 Labs
- Mephisto – unfortunately, they can’t seem to scale up their operations and strains sell out constantly (keep checking back)
- Sweet Seeds
Get good genetics for a bountiful harvest!
Where Did Autoflowering Strains Come From?
Although I recommend auto-flowering strains now, I’m normally a photoperiod grower and I avoided autoflowering strains for years. Autoflowers used to produce poor bud quality and yields.
Why did auto-flowering strains start off so bad? Autoflowering plants descend from a strain of wild hemp from around Siberia known as Cannabis ruderalis. Although these tiny Ruderalis hemp plants produced minuscule buds with almost no THC, they had a unique “auto-flowering” characteristic.
C. ruderalis – This tiny wild hemp plant is the ancestor of all auto-flowering strains
A forward-thinking breeder thought to cross Ruderalis hemp plants with popular marijuana strains to capture the auto-flowering trait on plants with photoperiod-level buds and yields. The first commercial autoflowering strain “Lowryder” was introduced in the early 2000s, and although buds were subpar, more and more breeders were developing autoflowering strains aimed at home growers.
The original “Lowryder” plants produced small yields and low-potency buds
When I tried growing my first auto-flowering plants in 2015, the buds were still not quite photoperiod quality, but much better than the old Lowryders. By the time I tried autoflowers again in 2018, I finally got the bud quality I was looking for.
My first autoflowering plants in 2015 grew well but the bud potency wasn’t quite there
When I tried autoflowers again in 2018, the results were far better
Several of the strains produced excellent bud quality and potency
As I started figuring out which breeders made the best autoflowering stains, my auto-flowering results kept getting better
I experimented with growing autoflowers in small spaces (the mini tent on the left is only 3 feet tall)
First under fluorescent lights, which got pretty good results
Then under LED grow lights, which worked even better. Autoflowers can produce a lot of bud in a tiny space!
There are now hundreds of auto-flowering strains available that produce buds with a variety of effects and smells. Here are examples of auto-flowering buds I’ve grown.
Ultimate Auto by Dutch Passion (ultimate yields!)
Creme de la Chem Auto by Mephisto Genetics (smooth, tasty, and beautiful)
Cinderalla Jack Auto by Dutch Passion (talk about high potency!)
Amnesia Auto by MSNL (gorgeous buds with captivating effects)
Black Jack Auto by Sweet Seeds (unique soaring bud effects that reminded me of an outdoor Sativa or Haze strain)
I’ve now grown almost 50 different autoflowering strains from several different breeders. Yes, some autoflowering strains are underwhelming, but some strains consistently produce great yields with photoperiod-level bud quality and potency. Auto-flowering breeders finally accomplished what seemed almost impossible. You can get the convenience of auto-flowering plants with the yields and magical quality of photoperiod buds.
Now that you (hopefully) know a little more about the best autoflowering strain for you, I hope grow your own awesome auto-flowering cannabis plants at home!
What’s the highest-yielding autoflowering strain? Auto-flowering strains are kind of like the “houseplant” version of weed. I’m a big fan of autoflowering cannabis strains for first-time growers,
7 Tips and Tricks to Maximize Yields in Autoflowers
Fast Buds Team
Feb 4, 2019 · 7 min read
Cannabis growers are always on the hunt to understand the tips and tricks to maximize yields in autoflowers. Most growers have the talent, but they lack information. And that’s a serious handicap when growing autoflowers. Autoflowers grow fast and produce yields in a short span of time, but that comes only with experience. You could grow them just like photoperiod plants, but there are several stark differences.
Autoflowers are actually easy to g row and are considered the latest craze in the world of cannabis. With rapid flowering periods and great yields, there’s no reason to not grow them. They can be a tad intimidating because they are less forgiving than traditional cannabis plants. However, there’s no gain without pain, and you might as well buckle up for the ride.
Most people assume that autoflowers produce small yields, but they can’t be further from the truth. Get this straight — autoflowers can not only produce humongous yields, but the fact that they do so within 2 months isn’t a small feat! But, you gotta follow a small rulebook, so here are 7 tips and tricks to maximize yields in autoflowers if you’re struggling to get the best out of them.
How to maximize yields in autoflowering plants?
Autoflowers don’t give you a lot of time, so it’s critical to plan beforehand. What medium are you going to use? Soilless, soil or hydroponics? What nutrients have you chosen? Have you grown autos before? Have you bought the lights? What about ventilation? Have you set up your grow room?
If you’re unsure of any of these questions, you’re not yet ready to sow autoflowering seeds. Other types of plants allow you to plan things after sowing seeds, but for the love of God, don’t try that with autoflowers. The minute you soak seeds in the water, the clock starts ticking, so think through everything including the medium, container, ventilation, lighting, grow room and space before planting anything.
It’s also important to do some research to purchase autoflowering seeds of the highest quality. You can do everything right but it may all be for naught if the strains aren’t meant to produce high yields. For example, Fastbuds catalog shows you seeds ranging from XXL to L yield category, and you can choose anything depending on the space available.
2) Don’t take the risk of transplanting
It’s recommended that you start autoflowers in their final containers because they don’t have a lot of spare time to recover when they are transplanted. Transplant shock can seriously stunt the plant and the loss of even a day or two in the vegetative period can affect yields greatly.
Sure, some growers grow autos just like photoperiod plants by transplanting them not once by twice! However, they are experienced growers that have attained success after several failures.
If you’re adamant on transplanting, though, make sure that the medium is exactly the same. For instance, if your seedling is growing in a potting mix of coco coir and compost, it should be transplanted to another container containing the exact same mix. Water the seedling container a few hours before transplanting to ensure that the soil is moist. There’s a high risk of hurting the roots when the soil is too dry or wet.
It’s also critical to transplant only after the roots have filled out in the container since the soil will drop off in clumps with the roots stuck to them. In other words, wait until the plant is a little root bound. Since there are so many conditions, it’s best to start directly in the final containers. With no disturbance, you’re all set to get great yields.
3) Choose containers that drain well
Containers must be proportional to the size of the plant. For example, medium-sized plants require at least 5–7 gallon containers whereas big plants need pots that are more than 11 gallons. Remember, the type of container you choose plays a major role as well. Autoflowers love aerated soil that drains very well, so use breathable containers like fabric pots that allow maximum drainage.
4) Reduce nutrient strength
It’s common for beginners to load their plants with too many nutrients and burn them. We get that you love your plants, but you’re only harming your autoflowers by feeding extra nutes. Photoperiod plants have bigger roots, but autoflowers are comparatively smaller and the nutrients have to be adjusted accordingly.
For instance, if your nutrient chart recommends 5ml/liter, start with 2.5ml or 1.25 ml (1/2 or 1/4 strength) and watch how the plant responds. Some autoflowers, like the Tangie ‘Matic or Gorilla Glue, for example, are voracious feeders and require a stronger dose, but make sure you start with big doses only after experimenting with half-strength nutes at first.
It goes without saying that seedlings don’t require nutrients. If you’re going soilless, a mild nutrient solution is fine, but don’t go above 150–200 ppm to avoid burning them.
5) Keep an eye on the pH
The pH is an important factor in determining the yields of autoflowering cannabis strains. Whether you grow hydroponically or use soil as a medium, pH is critical. Although many growers assume that the plant is suffering from nutrient deficiencies, most issues crop up only due to pH imbalance.
For autoflowers growing in soil, pH levels ranging from 6.0 to 7.0 is adequate while hydroponic systems do well from 5.5 to 6.5. It’s not necessary to get an exact number, so an average of levels starting from 5.5 to 6.5 is good for autoflowers.
How does the pH dictate the yields, you ask? Well, when the pH falls below 5.5, plants cannot absorb certain nutrients like Calcium and Magnesium even if they are present at the roots. The same logic applies when the pH rises above 7. Suffice it to say that all the nutrients in the world cannot help the plant recover if the pH is not right. With an imbalance in the pH, the nutrients cannot be absorbed and the plants produce very little yields. Therefore, check the pH constantly to ensure that the plants are healthy.
Autoflowers grow even when they get only 12 hours of light from seed to harvest. They are tough and adapt in any situation; however, they thrive when they receive 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness. Some growers provide 24 hours of light from the beginning until harvest, but it’s not recommended because plants need some rest and time to recover like the rest of us.
Growers produce good yields with 24 hours, but the quality isn’t as good as plants grown in an 18/6 cycle. The light setup also plays an important role here. Although autos grow well under different types of lighting, they prefer HPS or LEDs over CFL and fluorescent lights.
In particular, full-spectrum LEDs work the best for any type of autoflower. The higher the lumens, the better the yields, but if you cannot afford expensive lighting equipment, CFLs will work well during the vegetative phase.
Autoflowers growing outdoors usually receive only 12 hours of proper sunlight, and you’re probably wondering if that’s enough. However sunlight is the most powerful light compared to artificial systems set up by humans, so autos take advantage of the situation and produce maximum yields outdoors.
7) Use proper training techniques
Due to a shortage of time, not every training technique working for other cannabis plants suit autoflowers. For instance, HST or High-Stress-Techniques work very well on photoperiod plants, but autoflowers prefer Low-Stress-Techniques or LST.
LST is a method that requires bending the stems of the plant so that the light penetrates to the lower parts of the plant. Generally, autoflowers tend to grow one main massive cola while the rest of the plant produces small budlets known as popcorn buds.
As a grower, your job is to ensure that all the buds receive equal light, and that’s where LST helps a great deal. Most growers begin LST after the plants are “Topped”. Topping is another technique that involves cutting off the tip of the main stem, forcing the plant to grow more colas rather than one. Beginners can even “FIM” their plants, which is another method where you cut off only a part of the tip instead of cutting it entirely.
Whether you Top, FIM, or LST the plants, autoflowers will perform well. However, training techniques must be employed only on healthy plants so the plant has time to recover from the initial stress. Unhealthy plants cannot be trained since there’s no time when it comes to autos.
You must also remember to train cannabis plants only during the vegetative stage. Doing so in the flowering phase will stunt the plant drastically. Many growers simply stay away from training autoflowers because they produce good yields even when they aren’t trained; however, a combination of any of the techniques mentioned above will deliver stunning results, which makes training plants a matter of personal choice.
Most autoflowers start flowering in the third or fourth week, so start training only if the plants grow fast and remain healthy enough to be trained. If you’re unsure, it’s okay to not train the plants at all.
Truth be told, autoflowers adapt so well that they produce massive yields even if you leave them alone to do their thing. However, it’s best if you use these tips and tricks to maximize yields in autoflowers.
Cannabis growers are always on the hunt to understand the tips and tricks to maximize yields in autoflowers. Most growers have the talent, but they lack information. And that’s a serious handicap…