In its natural habitat, feeding autoflowering cannabis plants thrive when ideal conditions are met for it to grow. Indoors, we need some help from modern technology for it to thrive the way it does naturally outdoors. Artificial lighting, ventilation, and most importantly, fertilizers, help the marijuana grower achieve his goals.
Although marijuana plants may look physically the same in having leaves, stems, and flowers, different types of marijuana plants have different nutritional needs. We shall be speaking specifically today about auto-flowering marijuana plants for you to make the most out of these varieties of marijuana plants.
What are Autoflowering Cannabis Plants?
Just like other growing plants, Marijuana goes through stages of development in their lifetime: seed germination stage, seedling stage, vegetative stage, and flowering stage.
Seed germination stage: This is the stage when the plant has just grown from seed.
Seedling stage: This is when the plant becomes a literal small plant.
Vegetative stage: This is when the plant achieves some form of maturity. When the plant is in its vegetative state, it needs to be transferred to a bigger pot as its roots and even its leaves are rapidly growing in this stage. A mature cannabis plant will usually have 5-7 blades on each leaf. This stage lasts for about 3-16 weeks and requires a light cycle of 18 hours on a 24-hour day.
The plant enters the flowering stage when it develops sex organs for male and female plants in the form of flowers. Male plants produce pollen from pollen sacs that get scattered by air or insects and are received by the female flower to produce a bud that turns into a seed later on.
Auto-flowering marijuana plants are varieties that automatically go to flowering state naturally from the vegetative state through the mere passage of time. On the other hand, regular strains come to the flowering state from the vegetative state due to changing light cycles, when light is being reduced.
The flowering stage: This is the final stage of the growth of cannabis plants. For a regular strain, this stage occurs naturally when the light cycle is shortened to about 12 hours of light. But for auto-flowering plants, this is no longer required. This stage lasts about 8-11 weeks. This is the stage when the resinous buds develop. It is the buds that are harvested for its THC or CBD content. In this stage, the plant will also show whether they are male or female.
This is observable in outdoor-grown marijuana crops which are mostly harvested in later months of the year towards winter when the daylight is shorter especially in the northern regions. Indoor plants are made to enter the flowering stage from the vegetative stage by adjusting the light cycle from 18 hours to 12 hours per 24 hours.
Feeding your Autoflowering
Due to this unique nature of feeding autoflowering cannabis plants, they have special nutritional requirements. But before we talk about nutrition, let us talk about the medium through which your auto-flowering plant will absorb nutrients – the soil.
Due to their natural adaptation to northern climates, auto-flowering plants prefer soil that is not compact and not rich in nutrients. Sandy soil or some light soil mixes is mostly preferred. Sandy soil has some visible grains of sand within it that you could feel. This type of soil has good ventilation but does not hold water very much and will drain easily. The water and nutrient holding ability of sandy soil could be improved by adding plenty of organic matter such as compost to bind the loose sand.
It is important to note now that even if auto-flowering plants are adapted to sandy soil, it does not mean that they are adapted to low nutrients. In nature, sandy soil could be fertilized by different things such as natural decaying plant matter on top of it such as leaves and branches that become natural comport. Due to this fact, auto-flowering plants require a little bit more nutrients indoors more than they do in the wild.
The best soil mix there is for auto-flowering cannabis plants is 3 parts moss, 3 parts compost, 2 parts perlite, and 1 part vermiculite. This soil mix stores enough nutrients for your auto-flowering plants from being germinating seeds until they become seedlings.
When your plants become seedlings, you may now add the fertilizer of your own choice but it should be used more sparingly than with other non-auto-flowering varieties as they naturally require less. You may need to observe your plants’ overall health as different strains of auto-flowering plants may have different nutritional requirements based on their size and other factors.
It is important to remember that feeding autoflowering cannabis plants require other things to be healthy such as lighting, ventilation and air conditioning that will mimic the environmental conditions that they naturally thrive in.