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How to Feed Your Autoflowering Cannabis For Heavy, Potent, Flavorful Buds

If you’ve been thinking about growing autoflowering cannabis, you’re making a good choice.

This unique variety of cannabis plant doesn’t rely on photoperiod changes — changes in the amount of light hours versus dark hours — to trigger the bloom phase. That means quicker, continuous harvests with plants that tend to complete their life cycle in 7-10 weeks and less work optimizing lighting conditions.

However, to make sure you’re getting the most out of your autoflowering plants, you want to keep a few nutritional tips in your back pocket.

Watch the following video to discover autoflowering cannabis insights from our Global Director of Cultivator, Rory Jonathan.

And keep reading to understand the unique needs and characteristics of your new autoflowering plants.

Understanding the Genetics of Autoflowering Strains

With traditional varieties, you’ll see the start of flowering once the hours of darkness increase.

When growing outdoors, this occurs after the summer solstice as the days begin to get shorter.

If you’re growing indoors, it occurs after switching your grow to a 12-12 lighting cycle.

So why do autoflowering strains trigger flowering without any change to lighting?

We can thank their genetic origins in the cannabis ruderalis plant for this unique trait. Unlike photoperiod plants, cannabis ruderalis flowers based on age instead of photoperiod.

That means as a grower, you can harvest multiple crops per outdoor grow season, without the need for light deprivation technology or augmented lighting.

For this reason, commercial cultivators in regions with abundant available land and favorable environmental conditions are utilizing autoflower plants more frequently. No longer are they just a convenient novelty for hobbyist growers, they are now a fully fledged viable commercial cultivar.

Outdoor cannabis cultivation

In these modern large-scale autoflower operations, the seeds are often bred with feminization techniques to ensure nearly all of the plants are female.

What’s more, because the ruderalis plant is native to the hot summers and cold winters of central Asia, autoflowering cannabis strains tend to be more resilient and adaptive than many photoperiod alternatives.

And the advances in genetics have made it more feasible than ever for cultivators to achieve high quality cannabis from autoflowers.

By cross-breeding cannabis ruderalis genetics with traditional cannabis varieties, growers achieve impressive yields and cannabinoid production while benefiting from a seamless transition to bloom and quicker harvests associated with autoflower strain.

Cannabis Autoflowers advice

The Best Nutrients for Autoflowering Cannabis

For an optimal feeding program, it’s crucial to observe your autoflowering plants and determine which nutrients need to be fed — and when.

In the beginning of its life cycle, treat your crop like a vegetative plant and start off with a Grow base. As soon as you observe internodal spacing and calyxes and pistils beginning to form, it’s time to switch to a bloom schedule.

Some popular bases we recommend include…

pH Perfect® Sensi Grow + Bloom: A two-part liquid base nutrient that automatically balances your pH levels for you, pH Perfect® Sensi Grow + Bloom is behind more cup wins than any other nutrient on the planet.

The Cultivator Series: Formulated with 8th generation engineering and chelation technology, this new three-part water-soluble powder offers unbeatable cost-effectiveness and phase-specific nutrient ratios for optimal plant development. Plus, salt accumulation is minimal, leading to cleaner irrigation systems and a more efficient operation.

Jungle Juice® Grow, Micro, Bloom: The perfect blend of tradition and innovation, this three-part liquid fertilizer affords growers total control of their feeding program while bolstering efficiency through a wide range of chelates and non-ionic surfactant.

To get even more from your crop, use a root expander like Advanced Nutrients 3-in-1 microbial tablet Voodoo Juice® Plus, boost your bud weight with the world’s No. 1 bud bulker Big Bud®, and enhance potency with Bud Factor X®.

Keep in mind, along with your own observations, your seed breeder should give you an approximate estimate of what your particular cultivars require.

A Common Misconception About Autoflowering Cannabis…

Do a quick search online and you’ll see tons of articles saying autoflowers require weaker nutrient solutions than traditional varieties to prevent nutrient burn slowing down plants as they age.

But while this may have been the case with earlier generations of cultivars, the modern autoflowers can typically handle full-strength solutions.

Simply put, you no longer need to worry about tweaking your recipe too much just because you’re choosing to grow autoflowering cannabis.

However, if you’re looking to optimize your current recipe visit our nutrient calculator or choose from these Advanced Nutrients feed charts designed by our cultivation specialists.

For more tips and tricks on growing world-class cannabis from our cultivation specialists, subscribe to our newsletter.


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About the Author

The Advanced Nutrients Team

Since 1999, Advanced Nutrients has been committed to educating the community and bringing the most up-to-date knowledge to the forefront of grows across the globe. Every article you read here has been curated by Advanced Nutrients’ industry experts, so you can continue raising your bud weight… and your reputation.

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Over time, components within the nutrients settle on the bottom of the bottle. When you pour a bottle without shaking it, you can potentially be pouring out an unbalanced solution. Shaking up the nutrient bottle ensures you are pouring the right blend into your reservoir, giving your crops the nutrition they need.

Usually, it’s not a problem. But some products are incompatible with each other and can damage your plants when they’re used together. For example, bloom boosters with high PK numbers or low-grade silica products can destabilize your nutrient mix and cause nutrient lockout.

Nutrient manufacturers design their products to be used with each other. In doing so, they include specific portions of each nutrient in each product, so crops receive the right nutrition through each stage of the grow cycle. When you stick with one manufacturer, you don’t have to worry about inadvertently destabilizing your nutrient mixture. One example of why you need to stick with only one manufacturer’s products is Advanced Nutrients’ pH Perfect line. These products are designed to keep your crops’ root zone within a specific pH range. When you use them alongside products from another manufacturer, we can’t guarantee your root zone will maintain its optimal pH level.

Yes! If you’re growing with Advanced Nutrients products, you can use our easy nutrient calculator to generate the correct nutrient chart for your crops in seconds. Check out Advanced Nutrients’ nutrient calculator here. Another great resource is our library of free custom-growing recipes. Try our expert grower-tested nutrient schedules here.

You can also download our official BudLabs app to generate nutrient schedules and receive real-time notifications for specific tasks, including feeding your crops. Upgrade to BudLabs Pro to maintain profiles on an unlimited number of crops.

If you are a grower, visit this link to find the closest Advanced Nutrients Authorized Retailer. If you are a retailer, visit this link to identify our official distributors.

Our greatest passion is growing great cannabis—and helping other growers do the same. That’s why we offer complimentary cultivation support 24/7 from Monday to Friday and from 9 AM until 7 PM PST on Saturday… With the same level of advice licensed producers would pay consultants tens of thousands of dollars to unlock.
Just call 1-800-640-9605 or email support@advancednutrients.com. For Spanish-speaking growers, email spanishsupport@advancednutrients.com.

Yes! If for any reason you are not absolutely thrilled with the results you achieve when you use our products, just bring the unused portion, along with your original sales receipt, back to the place of purchase within six months, and ask for your money back. Find out more about our Grower Guarantee here.

Advanced Nutrients has spent many thousands of man-hours developing a technology that automatically balances your pH for you — putting it in the “sweet spot” and holding it there for one week.

And the technology is so “smart” that it can account for many of the aforementioned variables in your grow room. Our proprietary pH buffering agents and stabilizing mechanisms became the foundation of a new system aptly called pH Perfect® Technology. Learn all about it here.

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