Yo, what’s good? It’s your boy Dan, and today we’re gonna talk about how to get the most out of your autoflower cannabis by using the perfect light schedules. We all know that lighting is crucial for our buds, so let’s dive into it.
Autoflowering strains flower based on their age, rather than changes in their light cycle. But don’t get it twisted, proper lighting is still key for a successful harvest. Keep reading to learn all about lighting for autoflower cannabis strains.
18/6 LIGHT CYCLE
Autos can absorb CO₂ for photosynthesis even during light hours because they’re C3 plants. Since autoflowering plants have short vegetative phases and often grow shorter than photoperiod strains, you’ll typically want to give your autos at least 18 hours of light. This allows for robust growth without overspending on energy. Your autos love light just as much as traditional photoperiod strains; they just don’t rely on it to begin blooming.
24HR LIGHT CYCLE
Some growers will even give their autos a full 24 hours of light, arguing that this helps maximize vegetative growth. Growers who stick to 18-hour light cycles argue that this gives their plants a short “recovery” period that is essential for healthy growth. There’s no real consensus on whether autos grow better under 18 or 24 hours of light. We recommend playing around with both methods and sticking to what works best for you.
WHAT ABOUT A 12/12 LIGHT CYCLE?
Some growers still decide to keep their autos under a 12/12 light cycle during flowering. And that’s fine, as autos grown in these conditions can still produce a fair harvest. Just remember that the buds you harvest under a 12hr light cycle will be noticeably smaller than what you’d get under an 18–24-hour cycle.
Heat concerns, growing autos alongside photoperiod strains, and saving money are some reasons you might consider keeping your autos under 12/12. For instance, if you live in a very hot climate, you might want to turn your grow lights off during the day to avoid overheating your grow room. In that case, growing your autos under a 12/12 light cycle—with lights on during the night—might be your best bet to avoid causing your plants heat stress.
PERFORMING SOG WITH AUTOFLOWERS
SOG is a cannabis training technique that involves growing several smaller plants in close proximity to form a uniform canopy that maximizes light exposure and space. SOG is an excellent technique to try with autos because it takes advantage of the naturally smaller stature of these varieties.
Depending on the size of the particular strain you’re growing, we recommend using 7–10l pots and growing between 4–6 plants per m². This should make the most of your space and lighting while still providing your plants with enough airflow to avoid any mold issues.
A NOTE ON LIGHT SPECTRUM
Using the right light spectrum is super important when growing any type of cannabis plant, including autos. Because autoflower plants have such short life cycles, you really want to maximize the quality of light, nutrients, and soil you give them.
Plants respond differently to different color spectrums when you shine a light through a prism. As with photoperiod cannabis strains, we recommend sticking to the following light spectrums:
6500K blue light during veg: Blue light spectrums encourage vegetative growth in cannabis plants.
2700K red light during flowering: Red light spectrums are ideal for bloom because they encourage budding and a little bit of stretch in your plants.
EXTRA TIPS FOR GROWING GREAT AUTOS
If you’re new to the world of autoflowers, follow these simple tips for a better harvest:
Pick a high-yielding auto: Not all autoflowers are made equal, so be sure to pick a high-yielding strain if harvest size is important to you.
Plant in your final container: Stressing out your cannabis plants by up-potting them is never good. Since autoflowers can go from seed to harvest in as little as 8 weeks, it’s best to avoid this kind of stress and always plant your seeds straight into their final pots.
Use an airy growing medium: This helps stimulate root and foliage growth.
Use LST: If you want to train your autoflowering cannabis plants, only use low-stress techniques like LST. High-stress techniques like fimming, topping, and supercropping will end up doing more harm than good.
And there you have it! Now go grow some fire!