Autoflowering cannabis plants offer a unique and efficient approach to cannabis cultivation, with a shorter growth cycle and resilience. Fertilising autoflowering cannabis plants plays a pivotal role in achieving optimal growth and yield. This article provides an in-depth discussion on fertilising autoflowering cannabis plants, thereby enabling cultivators to maximise their harvest.
Understanding Autoflowering Cannabis Plants
Autoflowering cannabis plants are a crossbreed of Cannabis ruderalis with other cannabis types like Sativa or Indica. They stand out due to their automatic switch from vegetative growth to the flowering stage based on age, as opposed to photoperiod strains that rely on light cycle changes.
The Importance of Fertilisers in Cannabis Cultivation
Providing the right type and amount of nutrients is essential for the healthy growth and yield of cannabis plants. Fertilisers supply the much-needed nutrients when the soil nutrients are not sufficient. The primary nutrients that cannabis plants require are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K), also known as the N-P-K ratio. Since autoflowering cannabis have a limited growing time this is more important then growing photoperiod cannabis crops.
Choosing the Right Fertiliser for Autoflowering Cannabis Plants
Organic fertilisers are derived from living organisms or their by-products. They improve soil structure, promote beneficial microbial growth, and release nutrients slowly, making them less likely to cause nutrient burn.
Synthetic fertilizers are chemically produced and provide nutrients instantly. They are easier to control but may lead to nutrient burn if not carefully used. These fertilizers are suited for experienced growers who can manage the nutrient levels more effectively.
Do you fertilize Autoflower cannabis?
Yes, autoflowering cannabis plants indeed require fertilization to achieve their full growth potential and to produce the best quality buds. Fertilization provides essential nutrients that the plant needs throughout its life cycle, from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage.
In the vegetative stage, autoflowering cannabis plants require a higher amount of Nitrogen (N) to support leaf and stem growth. A fertiliser with a high Nitrogen, low Phosphorus (P), and moderate Potassium (K) content, like a 3-1-2 NPK ratio, is generally recommended.
As the plant transitions to the flowering stage, the nutritional needs change. During this stage, the plant requires more Phosphorus and Potassium to support bud growth and maturation. Thus, a low Nitrogen, high Phosphorus, and high Potassium fertiliser, like a 1-3-2 NPK ratio, is advised.
However, caution must be taken to avoid over-fertilization, which can lead to nutrient burn. It is also important to regularly monitor the plant’s health and adjust fertilization accordingly, based on the signs the plant shows.
Remember that both organic and synthetic fertilizers can be used for autoflowering cannabis plants, each having their own advantages and drawbacks. Organic fertilizers are slow-releasing and improve soil structure, while synthetic fertilisers provide nutrients instantly but may risk nutrient burn if not used carefully. The choice depends on the grower’s experience and the specific needs of their cannabis plants.
To summarise, fertilizing autoflowering cannabis plants is an essential part of their successful cannabis cultivation. By providing the right nutrients at the right stages, you can significantly enhance the yield and quality of your autoflowering cannabis plants.
What is the best fertilizer for Autoflower cannabis plants?
Choosing the best fertilizer for autoflowering cannabis plants depends on various factors, including the plant’s growth stage, the grower’s experience, and the specific growing conditions. Both organic and synthetic fertilizers have their advantages and can be used effectively.
Here are some of the best fertilizers for autoflowering cannabis plants:
Fox Farm Trio Formula
This trio of fertilizers by Fox Farm is a favourite among many cannabis growers. It includes Grow Big, Tiger Bloom, and Big Bloom, each intended for a different stage of plant growth. The nutrient ratios are tailored for cannabis plants, making it an excellent choice for beginners and experienced growers alike.
Advanced Nutrients Bloom, Micro & Grow
Advanced Nutrients offers a 3-part pH Perfect series designed to help simplify the fertilization process while providing plants with optimal nutrition. Its pH Perfect technology automatically adjusts the pH to the ideal range, enhancing nutrient uptake and reducing the need for pH monitoring.
General Hydroponics Flora Series
The Flora series by General Hydroponics is a versatile, 3-part fertilizer system which can be customised to the needs of your autoflowering cannabis plants at different stages of growth. It’s widely respected in the hydroponics community, but it also works well in soil grows.
Organic Option: Dr. Earth Organic 5 Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer
For those who prefer organic fertilizers, Dr. Earth Organic 5 is a well-balanced choice. It’s rich in fish bone meal, feather meal, kelp meal, and alfalfa meal, which provide a diverse range of nutrients for robust plant growth.
The Ideal Nutrient Ratio for Autoflowering Cannabis Plants
During Vegetative Stage
Autoflowering cannabis plants need more Nitrogen during the vegetative stage for leaf and stem growth. A high-Nitrogen, low-Phosphorus, moderate-Potassium fertiliser (like a 3-1-2 NPK ratio) works well.
During Flowering Stage
As the plant enters the flowering stage, Phosphorus and Potassium become more important. They aid in bud growth and plant maturation. A low-Nitrogen, high-Phosphorus, high-Potassium fertiliser (like a 1-3-2 NPK ratio) is ideal.
When should I start fertilizing my Autoflower?
When it comes to autoflowering cannabis plants, fertilization should begin once the seedling stage is complete and the plant has entered the vegetative stage. This is typically about two weeks after germination when the plant has developed a few sets of true leaves and is robust enough to handle additional nutrients. However, it’s essential to start with a light nutrient solution to prevent nutrient burn.
Here is a general timeline:
Fertilizing Autoflowering Cannabis Plants: Seedling Stage
During the seedling stage, which lasts for about two weeks after germination, cannabis plants typically get all the nutrients they need from the seed itself and the growing medium. You should refrain from adding any extra fertilizers during this stage, as it could lead to nutrient burn.
Fertilizing Autoflowering Cannabis Plants: Vegetative Stage
Once the cannabis plant enters the vegetative stage, it starts needing additional nutrients for healthy growth. A high Nitrogen (N), low Phosphorus (P), and moderate Potassium (K) fertilizer is ideal at this stage. For example, a fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 3-1-2 would work well.
Fertilizing Autoflowering Cannabis Plants: Flowering Stage
As the plant transitions into the flowering stage, its nutrient needs change. Now, it requires more Phosphorus and Potassium to support bud growth and maturation, and less Nitrogen. Therefore, you should switch to a low Nitrogen, high Phosphorus, and high Potassium fertilizer, such as a 1-3-2 N-P-K ratio.
Remember that the specific timing and nutrient needs may vary depending on the particular strain of autoflowering cannabis you are growing, the growing conditions, and the particular growing medium. Always monitor your plants’ health and adjust your fertilization strategy as needed.
Monitoring and Adjusting Fertilization Autoflowering Cannabis Plants
Periodic monitoring of plant health is necessary to determine if the fertilization strategy is working. Yellowing or curling leaves could indicate nutrient deficiency or toxicity. In such cases, adjusting the nutrient dosage or changing the fertilizer might be required.
Do you feed Autoflowers Cannabis Plants every watering?
Feeding autoflowering cannabis plants every watering is not generally recommended. The frequency of feeding depends on various factors, including the growth stage of the plant, the type of growing medium, the nutrient strength, and the plant’s overall health. Overfeeding can lead to nutrient burn, while underfeeding can result in nutrient deficiencies.
For plants grown in soil, a common feeding schedule is to alternate between water and nutrient feed. This means you would give your plants a nutrient-rich solution every other watering. This schedule helps prevent nutrient build-up in the soil, which can lead to nutrient burn.
In a hydroponic system or other soil-less mediums, nutrients are typically given with every watering because the growing medium doesn’t contain any inherent nutrients. However, the concentration of the nutrient solution should be carefully monitored to prevent overfeeding.
During the vegetative stage, autoflowering cannabis plants need a higher amount of nutrients compared to the early seedling stage. When they enter the flowering stage, their nutrient needs change, and you may need to adjust your feeding schedule accordingly.
Regardless of the feeding schedule you follow, it’s crucial to monitor your plants closely for signs of nutrient deficiencies or excesses. Yellowing, browning, or curling leaves could indicate a nutrient imbalance, which may require adjusting your feeding regimen. Always remember that less is more when it comes to feeding cannabis plants, and it’s easier to fix a nutrient deficiency than a nutrient toxicity.
Final Thoughts on Fertilising Autoflowering Cannabis Plants
Fertilising autoflowering cannabis plants properly can significantly increase yield and quality. An optimal fertilization strategy includes choosing the right fertilizer, maintaining an ideal nutrient ratio, and timely adjustments based on plant health. This comprehensive approach ensures a thriving autoflowering cannabis plant, bringing cultivation success one step closer.