How to grow autoflowers and increase yields

You are currently viewing How to grow autoflowers and increase yields

Yield is a significant factor for cannabis growers, especially commercial ones. By following our tips you can learn to grow like a professional and produce some of the highest yielding autoflower strains. While autos produce smaller yields when compared with photoperiod strains, they make up for it by growing fast enough to provide multiple harvests within a year which makes them ideal for growing with the Sea of Green or SOG method, especially if you are limited on space.

An equally vital factor is quality. So how does a cultivator ensure that their autoflower harvest is massive without compromising overall quality (potency, terpenes, and visual appeal)? The answer could fill a book; however, this piece comprehensively sums everything via the ten tips on how to grow highest yielding autoflowers;

Before we start, have you purchased your high yield autoflowering seeds? Genetics are vital in ensuring a bountiful harvest. Specific high yielding autoflowers like Big Bud Autoflower and Tangerine Dream Autoflower are genetically engineered to meet the needs of cultivators looking for above-average results. Let’s begin 

Tip 1: Be prepared before starting the germination process

Autos grow within a record time of 8-12 weeks. Within 3-4 weeks after germination, they automatically transition into the flowering stage. There will be no time to start preparing for anything once you initiate the cultivation journey. The key to a successful process is preparing beforehand because, trust this, the plants won’t give you time to do so. 

Ensure you have set up the grow space, selected the grow medium, have the necessary nutrients, bought appropriate grow lights, and worked on the ventilation. If any of these is not set up, then you are not ready. Always remember that once the seeds sprout, you are in for a ride. 

You must also not overlook the strain choice, to grow big yields you need to be using the best autoflower seeds available. Autoflowers are much smaller yielding than their photoperiod counterparts, however if you choose a big yielding strain such as Big Bud Auto or Critical Auto you will give yourself the best possible start.

seedling growing in soil
Cannabis seedlings growing in soil

Tip 2: Everything you need to know about utilizing growing mediums and pots for positive outcomes

First, it is essential to know that autoflower cannabis plants don’t react positively to repotting/transplants. Their ability to grow fast prevents them from recovering and adapting to a new growing medium. A grower needs to find a container/pot that they can use throughout the auto’s growth. A stable environment fosters excellent root development. 

You could be growing the best autoflower seeds in the world, but if the pot is too small, the plant wont grow big. Small pots will stunt the growth of the plant, additionally, an oversized container leads to a waste of substrates and nutrients. For autoflowers the ideal pot size should be containers with a capacity between 10 to 15 litres this should comfortably be enough for 1 large high yield autoflowering plant. 

Autoflowers thrive in a well-aerated grow medium. You can achieve this by avoiding compact substrates or by blending a growing medium like soil with coco coir or perlite. Also, having drainage-friendly pots goes a long way towards promoting root and overall plant health. Have a read of our guide on how to make the perfect soil blend for growing autoflowers.

To avoid over or underwatering the ideal pot should also have good drainage. Many plant pots made for house plants do not have holes in the bottom of them, so if this is the case you need to drill some holes in the pot. Ideally you should use something such as a smart pot otherwise known as a grow bag, these are made of porous materials that allow excess water to drain out. These pots are great for first time growers as they prevent under and over watering. When you water your plants you simply keep pouring until it begins to drain from the bottom.

soil in pots ready for cannabis plants

Tip 3: Focus on root development

Healthy roots equal healthy plants. Mycorrhizal fungi are beneficial fungi that help promote better and faster absorption of water and nutrients in the roots. A balanced diet of nutrients for the plants leads to optimal growth, resilience, and improved resistance to common issues like diseases that affect cannabis plants. 

As mentioned above another vital aspect to having healthy roots is choosing a pot size that has sufficient drainage and is big enough to allow for the roots to expand. Pots without sufficient drainage can develop pooling of nutrients and a build up of bacteria which in the long term can seriously damage your plants.

root development for high yield autoflowering strains

Tip 4: Pick an ideal autoflower light schedule

Autoflowers yield increases exponentially when the plants are exposed to sufficient light. To really get the most from your high yield autoflower seeds you need to provide a controlled environment, an 18/6 or 20/4 light cycle is recommended. This gives the plant enough time to make enough food for its optimum growth and get a well-deserved rest of 6 hours. There are other light schedules like 20/4, 24/0, and 12/12, but the 18/6 is considered the best. 

In an open environment, the summer weather leads to impressive harvests. Light from the sun is more powerful than any artificial light on the market. Even though the plants get about 12 hours of sunlight, the growth and yield remain uncompromised. 

autoflower light cycle for high yields

Tip 5: Mind the nutrients

Due to their small size, autoflowers require less ‘food’ aka nutrients, than photoperiod plants. Always use half or a quarter of the recommended macro or micronutrient dose and then observe the plant’s reaction. You can increase the amount of nutrients gradually until the ideal outcome is achieved. A dose that exceeds the plant’s need leads to nutrient burn, which negatively affects the overall yield. 

Do not The three main nutrients that any cannabis grower needs to be aware of are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium or NPK. Typically you would start with an NPK ratio of 3:1:1 during the growth stage with the nitrogen levels decreasing and Phosphorus and potassium increasing to 1:3:2 once the plant begins to flower and finally 0:3:3 for the final stages of flowering.

With all autoflowering strains to achieve the best results and avoid sending your plants to an early grave do not use any nutrients for the first 2-3 weeks. To give you an idea this is what a typical 10 week autoflowering nutrient cycle could look like.

Autoflower Feeding Schedule

Weeks 0 – Germination stagePlain water only
Week 1 – Seedling stagePlain water only
Week 2 – Early vegetative stage1/8 Veg nutrients
Week 3 – Vegetative stage1/4 Veg nutrients
Week 4 – Vegetative stage1/3 Veg nutrients
Week 5 – Pre flowering stage1/4 Veg + 1/8 Flowering nutrients
Week 6 – Flowering stage1/8 Veg + 1/4 Flowering nutrients
Week 7 – Flowering stage1/4 Flowering nutrients
Week 8 Flowering stage1/2 Flowering nutrients
Week 9 Late flowering stage1/8 Flowering nutrients
Week 10 Flushing stagePlain water only
Week by week autoflower nutrient feeding chart
NPK nutrients for high yield autos

Tip 6: Don’t forget about the PH

pH is incredibly important, even more so with autos because there is less time to correct mistakes. A low PH prevents the roots of the autos from absorbing vital nutrients like magnesium and calcium despite them being available. A higher-than-average PH leads to iron deficiency since it hinders the absorption of the element. Autoflower plant thrives in an environment where the PH of the growing medium ranges between 5.5 to 6.5 so keep monitoring your pH levels if you want to grow high yield autoflowers.

measuring pH in with autoflower grow

Tip 7: Are your plants subjected to an ideal climate and sufficient CO2?

Autoflowers are naturally resilient thanks to the Ruderalis genetics. However, subjecting these plants to optimal conditions improves their health, development, and ultimately, yield. Seedlings and young auto plants (up to 4 weeks) require high but reasonable humidity (60% to 70%). To produce some really high yield autoflowers, you must get the climate right. When the plant enters the vegetative phase, you should lower humidity to 40% to 50%. The drop in humidity levels keeps the auto plants safe from bud rot and mold. 

When plants receive sufficient light, they can utilize the available CO2 to make the food they require to grow through photosynthesis. When the plant’s health dwindles, it may be due to a myriad of reasons. If it happens that the plant is receiving insufficient CO2, then the next course of action is investing in a CO2 system (this scenario is highly unlikely). 

Using thermometer to measure grow room temperature

Tip 8: Cannabis plant training techniques

As mentioned several times, auto plants do not have time to fully recover from any hitches that occur throughout their growth journey. If you are interested in implementing some training techniques as a grower, avoid HST as it is very invasive and destructive to the plant and best reserved for photoperiods. Try LST since it is non-damaging to the plant and a proven method of fostering good harvests. LST facilitates the equal distribution of light by triggering lateral growth. 

By using LST to grow the highest yielding autoflowers, you will encourage the plant to grow with a wider canopy which increases the number of bud sites whilst also allowing the plant to absorb more light, hence increasing photosynthesis.

Using LST to grow autoflowers

Tip 9: Incorporate SOG method

The Sea OF Green is a perfect training method for growing high yield autoflowers, the technique involves placing multiple plants per square foot, tightly packing them together and reducing growing time by having a shorter than normal vegetative phase.

Although individually each plant wont be huge, using the SOG method for autoflowers means that every inch of your grow room will be utilized as best as it can for growing cannabis. Autos are an excellent choice for this technique due to their fast-growing attribute and compact size. 

growing autoflowers using SOG method

Tip 10: Keep a record of everything you do and any techniques you try

This final tip is how master cultivators are born. As growers gain experience growing autos and cannabis in general, they quickly determine what works and what doesn’t. By implementing what works and discarding what doesn’t in the next batch of autos, the novice grower quickly becomes a pro in cultivating high yield autoflowers.

Take away

Having top-notch high yield autoflower seeds is the first step towards having that bountiful harvest you have been yearning for. The second step is incorporating the tips given above, and the last one is learning and re-learning what works and what doesn’t. Soon, growing the highest yielding autoflowers will be your area of specialization. 

What are the highest yielding autoflowers?

At Marijuana Seed City we only sell the best autoflower seeds, all produced by our growers in the Netherlands. Our team of expert cultivators use only the best parent plants to breed with to ensure that you have the most stable genetics to grow with. If you want to read more about our brand and why we think we are the best seed bank to buy from why not read a review about us written by the team over at


What is the highest yielding autoflower?

Big Bud Auto so far is still the highest yielding autoflower that we have ever grow. Impressive yields of over 500g/m2 make it a tough prospect to beat.

What is the most potent & highest yielding autoflower?

Gorilla Glue Autoflower is by far the best autoflower strain when you combine big yields with potency. GG Auto can produce upwards of 400g/m2 whilst producing bud that is up to 25% THC.

How much does an autoflower yield?

Autoflowers can yield anywhere from 25 – 250 grams per plant. The reason for such a wide variation is that it is dependant on lots of different variables, the main factors are; strain type, pot size, grow space, the climate and environment, growing medium, nutrient intake, grow technique and quality of light source. If you were growing in a 10 litre pot a good averaged sized autoflower yield is around 50 – 150g per plant.

Joe Musgrave

Joe Musgrave is a keen 420 blogger who writes about all things cannabis. After harnessing his green thumbed skills through years of working on cannabis farms, Joe now shares his knowledge with the rest of the online 420 community.

Leave a Reply