Autoflower yield tips

Autoflowering cannabis is just great. Without the complications of maintaining a light cycle it can be a whole lot easier than growing standard cannabis, and with seed to harvest rates from as low as 9 weeks (sorry I don’t rate anything with less than this time period) they’re fast too. But getting a successful autoflowering harvest can be tricky.

autoflower tips


 Want your autos to bud up like the one above? Follow our advice below and avoid results like that below :)

guide to autoflowers

The key to getting a successful harvest from autoflowers is SIZE

A true autoflowering strain has a pre programmed lifespan: from the moment the seed cracks to the day she dies the age is indeed pre-destined  … therefore more than any other type of cannabis the vegative growth is critical to the end yield. If you are growing autoflowers indoors we suggest you raise the light during late seedling/early veg growth to encourage the plants to stretch out tall. Don’t worry too much about your node space, autoflowers are vigorous and they can cope with this.

Read more about the veg stage in autoflowers



So here are our 10 top tips for successfully growing autoflowers

  1. Size of Pot

Even for dwarf autos you need to be using a 3 gallon pot to give the plant enough space to develop a good rootball.

2. A good light mix

A nice light mix such as 50:50 coco:perlite is best as it makes sure you get a good wet-dry cycle.


4. Give NO NUTRIENTS AT ALL until the autoflowering cannabis plant has developed 4 nodes. The dose should only be introduced gradually and in increments.

5. Continue vegetative feed until ALL upward growth stops. The auto will have started flowering before this happens (in a 9-10 week auto, you would expect to continue using veg nutes until week 6)

6. Ensure the genetic material (that’s technical talk for Cannabis Seeds guys!) that you start off with is of good, well bred and viable stock. Check what other growers are / have been growing and how well the strain did.

7. For maximum grams (oz) / foot, make sure you have 16 dwarf/short autos in a 4 ft x 4 ft (1.2m x 1.2m) area

8. Go easy on the nutes. Generally less is better in most cases.

9. Don’t give them too much light to start with. Go for a low watt fixture for seedling growth, increasing the amount of light as the plant develops.


and that brings us to top tip no 10 in our how top grow autoflowering cannabis guide 

10. Autos don’t appreciate being transplanted:

  • They just don’t have time to recover from transplant shock in their mad dash from seed to harvest. So don’t do it! Either sow the auto seed direct into their 3 gallon pot or better still, follow the direction below:


    1.  Cut the bottom off a “party cup” or 7-10cm pot. 
    2. Place 2″ of damp coco:perlite in the bottom of a 3 gallon pot
    3. Fill the larger, 3 gallon pot with coco-perlite (dry)
    4. Bury the “party cup” or 7-10cm pot half way down in the 3 gallon pot. Fill this with coco-perlite too.
    5. Now plant your germinated seedling into the party cup and water in as usual.
    6. When you water your autoflowering seedling (and remember no.3 above!!) make sure you water ONLY in the small pot for the first 10-14 days. This will ensure that the seedling gets the water it requires (and depending on its age, the nutes too).
    7. In the meantime the auto’s tap root will hunt downwards with accelerated growth hunting out the damp layer of coco-perlite it just knows exists at the bottom of the 3 gallon pot. The tap root sends out a vast network of smaller fine root hairs also looking for this source of water.
     autoflower growing tips

    This method of growing autos pushes your autoflowering plant to develop a highly developed root system that will accelerate root growth (and thereby maintain larger plant growth) during the first few weeks of its life.

    It also avoids transplant shock which, given an auto’s automatic race towards harvest, it cannot recover from naturally.

Next read about the best nutes for autoflowering cannabis  


So there we have it, the Growers Guide’s top tips to maximising your yield from autoflowers. Avoid the lollipop effect of tiny autos that produce one joint per plant and really discover the simplicity of autoflowering growing!

65 thoughts on “10 Top Tips for Autoflowering Plants & A Higher Yield

  1. PorkChopExpress says:

    Excellent resource for auto flower information. Thanks!

    One question, What do you mean by a “good light mix” coco:perlite… Is that coconut shells? Do you not recommend nutrient rich soils for autos, such as Ocean Forest or similar? I’m a huge noob, so any info is much appreciated.

  2. weed widow says:

    Hi there PorkChop.

    First of all coco is made from coconut shells – but when you buy coco in bags, it looks very like a slightly lighter brown fine compost. Why we like growing with it is because its neutral and airy: it doesnt have any feed included which means we are in control of how much nutrients we give. It also drains well, and you are less likely to suffer from overwatering problems in coco than in compost. You can read more here in our guide to using coco

    But it is a matter of personal preference and many growers prefer using nutrient rich soils like Ocean Forest / Fox Farm etc

    • PorkChopExpress says:

      Thanks for the reply.. I should have looked around the site more before I commented, all my questions were answered! All of your advice seems to make total sense. I must say thanks again for taking the time to create and maintain such a thorough and well organized resource on this subject. Invaluable for noobs like me.

  3. Thrifteenth says:

    Hello! I’m about to start my first attempt and I was wondering about the “50:50 coco:perlite”. Should I be mixing them together or should it be perlite on the bottom and coco on the top? Also, how easy should I be going on the nutes? I planned on adding nutrients with every other watering.

    I’d appreciate any advice. This site has been great!

    • weed widow says:

      Glad you like the site –
      mix the coco and perlite together thoroughly – now if you do a flood to waste system – where you pour in so much water it drains out the bottom – then add nutes every water

      watch your plants and see how they get on – remember its always easier to add more than take away

    • weed widow says:

      Hmmm – most autos would be showing signs of flowering by 10 weeks, there’s only a very few super autos that I know of that take this long:

      Can you give us a bit more info? Like strain? Light cycle? (not that that should be important, I’ve run autos on 12/12 18/6 and 24/7 with no issues). One idea might be to bump start them by putting on 12/12 for a week and see if that gets anything going .. but I’d still like to know what strain these are ..

      Good luck!

      • Adamski says:

        Hi there ive had 2 ‘Barnes farm’ PE feminised autos for 65 days now under 125W CFL both are about 1.4 meters tall with no signs of flowering started on a 24/7 cycle then moved to 18/6 now at 12/12 still nothing but lots of leaf.

        • Will says:

          There is no reason at all to change the light cycle with autos. They don’t rely on light to flower so taking light away from the plant will only lower your final yield

  4. matt says:

    Hi i currently have a auto shark from pyramid seeds and would like to no how to get more seeds from it and also if possible not loose much bud and also any tips are Thoughts on using halogen spot lights and UV any advice would be great

    • weed widow says:

      To get seeds you’re going to have to cross her with a male plant. If you want to do this and not lose too much bud, collect the pollen from a male and fertilise only one branch.

  5. matt says:

    And also 10 weeks yeah very long for no signs does it have any pistols yet? if not then its probly not a auto although i have just been reeding something about male autos may be what you have. interesting mine is 31 days old with clear signs over 50 pistols 37cm and a nice aroma just poking through air pots 100% soil 18/6 standard plant feed

    • weed widow says:

      if you’re using coco-perlite then keep the ph between 5.8-6 (see our guide to growing with coco-perlite for more info)
      as for halogens, i’ve not used them myself although i do know of some fairly successful grows with them. The cons are 1) emit light at wrong wavelengths for a really great grow 2) heat (lots of it) and 3) expensive to run. If its what you’ve got and you really cant buy anything else, then fine, but I would seriously try and get a different light setup in the future.
      My reading of UV is that it increases resin production almost through toxicity to the plant and I’d only ever consider using it in the last few weeks of flower

  6. ganjafeen says:

    Cool mega helpful try that with the auto bubble gum a just got any advice on good auto strains that help with anxiety and stress and easy for beginners to grow cos a thought a new what a was doing growing a plant think a again when you want quality medical grade lol :-)

    • weed widow says:

      metal halide is great for vegging and you normally switch to a halogen bulb for flower. to be honest i’d probably look at a dual purpose bulb for autos

  7. Flynndogg93 says:

    Hi guys any good tips on growing autos outdoors in the uk , first time grow just thought id try a cuple out see what happens ?? :)

    • weed widow says:

      Hi there – well the top 10 tips cover basic guidance – but what I’d also recommend is picking your strain carefully. I know any auto will go start to finish within an english summertime but I bet you get more success out of a blue strain than you would one more suited to hot weather. Take a look at Dutch Passion’s Auto Blueberry, or for a sativa hit Super Cali Haze.

      We always start our autos off indoors for the first 10 days – that way you get to control the environment whilst they are so vulnerable.

  8. troy says:

    hi using heavy weight fast and vast auto ,wats the ideal light time to give plants using 1000watts in a 3mx2m tent x 20 plants and is this strain a high yield any tips be great thanks

  9. swarnest888 says:

    Easy there ive got ten fast and vast from heavy weight seeds there in 60/40 coco and clay pebbles never used autos really just a low ryder that was free…back to that they have all come through but the root riot plugs are question if anyone can help is whats the best way to go about them with nutes cos ive learnt they can be very moody with all noots and in coco cheers.

  10. stanley says:

    i am thinking to get bubblelicious and im growing straight outside as i dont have an inside set up do i still use the method above or should i use foxfarm and happy frog mix

    • weed widow says:

      This works well for outside grows too – but to be honest mate if you are happier growing in a straight compost mix like the foxfarm then go for it!

  11. Hxcgrower says:

    ‘Place 2″ of damp coco:perlite in the bottom of a 3 gallon pot.’
    I have a question on this, wouldn’t the damp coco:perlite dry out after a couple of days outdoors? If so how will the seed still go on a search for it when it’s already dried out? Should u damp the 3gal pot in a bucket of water for the bottom part to get wet again? Or am i misunderstanding this? Thanks in advance

    • weed widow says:

      in my experience the soil will retain very light moisture at the bottom of a pot for a few weeks – if you’ve got hot outdoor conditions doing as you suggest is a good idea. Another tip is to put your pots on upside down plastic crates: these usually have holes in and thus allow cooler air to vent around the root area.

  12. Hxc says:

    I asked a question a few days ago about part 2 of the Top 10 Tips, it still hasn’t shown up on the comments question. Why so?

  13. weed widow says:

    Hi THC – as number 3 says: avoid overwatering at all costs! But with this comes the proviso that its better to water well than a little. How come? Cannabis likes a wet/dry cycle, so once plants are established, rather than aim to water everyday it is better to give them a reasonable amount of water then wait (2,4,6 days, it all depends on the plant and the environmentals) until pot is dry before watering again. TiP for newbies: weigh the pot when dry, then agaio after you have watered. This will give you an idea of at what weight you water again

  14. Burak says:

    Hello i want to know if it works when i try pushing an autoflower female plant to produce polens by spraying with colodial silver and then i polinate another auto female plant of the same strain with those polens..
    so i get the same genetics of feminized auto seeds without a problem?
    Anyone experienced this?

    • weed widow says:

      Yes Sex reversal using colodial silver can “turn” a female plant into a male ready for cross-pollination with a female plant. Any seeds you get as a result of this will be feminised (ie all female). But its a tricky process getting the mix of chems perfect for success. We’ve done it but it really deserves a post in itself to explain it all.

  15. nezz468 says:

    Hi guys, has anybody tried to do autos 12/12 all the way through from seed with red spectrum 250 cfl? Would this work if I tried or do I need to do blue spectrum

    • weed widow says:

      If you do 12/12 all the way through they wont be getting enough daylight hours for the amount of rapid growth and bud development they really need. Stick with 18/6 if you can. You can get a dual spectrum cfl or if you have a red already just put out the cash for a blue one to start with if you want to maximise your results. Basically 12/12 with red cfl all the way through and you’re looking at smaller plant & less yield

  16. nezz468 says:

    Cheers widow for responding greatly appreciated. Basically I have some girls already in flower (which arent autos) and these were an after thought so I was hoping to stick in with them as they would be ready about the same time but I have made a make shift veg space under a blue and will put in with the others under a red after a couple of weeks and see what happens.

    • Flynndoggydogg says:

      Anyone tried dinafem a auto bubbah kush ? I’ve got one in half a sack of lightmix which is on 36 days old n it huge lol but worried about when it comes to flushing any tips ?

    • weed widow says:

      Hmmm – she obviously hasn’t auto’d. Doesn’t happen very often these days (assuming you’ve bought decent genetics), but used to be fairly common. Assuming you’re growing her indoors, put her on 12/12 light cycle for 10 days and this should be enough to put her into flower.

    • weed widow says:

      You can re use coco-perlite again and again – I generally do, up to around 5 times usually. But rather than microwave, I soak in a H202 solution (as this evapoartes after 24 hours leaving no residue) and pick out any roots etc left in the mix

      • Auto says:

        auto white widow from pyramid seeds
        Shown first pistil at day 28 and growing healthy and big but no real bloom or flowering almost day 70 reaching but looks like day 70 healthy plant many branches and one thick stalk plz help

  17. Auto says:

    Thank you weed widow for you reply
    She is auto white widow from pyramid seeds
    Shown first pistil at day 28 and growing healthy and big but no real bloom or flowering almost day 70 reaching but looks like day 70 healthy plant many branches and one thick stalk

  18. auto says:

    auto white widow from pyramid seeds
    Shown first pistil at day 28 and growing healthy and big but no real bloom or flowering almost day 70 reaching but looks like day 70 healthy plant many branches and one thick stalk

    • weed widow says:

      Hi Auto – I thought I’d replied to this, but it doesnt seem to be showing. If she started flowering at week 4 all acccording to schedule, plant healthy but buds not developing at all (ie she’s started to re-veg) or just not bud up and fatten up? If the former, then you need to put her into flower again by pushing light cycle to 12/12, if the latter, then its questions like amount of light, what nutes etc …

  19. Dom says:

    This helps so much! For a noob like me what kind of nutrients should I feed my plants (what do you. Perfer) and what stage should I add nutients also .. Where can I buy the coco and the perlite?

  20. weed widow says:

    Hey Dom – we like Gen Hydro Flora series cos it does the job fantastically but has low dilution rates which means it lasts well – and you mix the 3 parts differently depending on whether plants are growing or flowering. We also really rate Canna – they’re just the best!! But there’s also a product by Maria Green here in Spain which we recommend to new growers – “Autoflowers” – just the one bottle which makes it nice and simple

  21. bud buddy says:

    Hey weed widow I’m growing auto northern lights from seed in a space bucket I made out of a water butt in 3 gallon pot using coco coir on its own it’s been 5 days of constent blue light n about 2 inches tall with its second set of true leafs is there any advice u can give any advice excepted greatly excepted thanx weed widow

  22. mc thc says:

    Am starting to do auto I’ve had 4 cheese and critical from dinafem. They have stretched rite to light. Didn’t have light low high up all times. 1st time this have done this to me.would the light to high been the problem?help

    • weed widow says:

      it may not be a problem per se – as long as you can now raise your lamp higher. Autos can grow superfast and a bigger plant will mean a bigger end yield. Interestingly what light are you using? I always used to encourage my autos to stretch up by raising a LED light real high to achieve this effect. But of course if your plants actually look stretched out with big internode space then your main colas are going to have more difficulty joining up to one long bud. Tell me more ..

  23. inoutgarrilaorg says:

    i need help i put my auto purple on 12/12 35 days in on a sog set up organic perlite coco and compost mix fed only nettle juice can i put it back on 24hr cycle without doing any damage thanks in advance for the lovers

  24. weed widow says:

    yes you can! Autoflowers are bothere by light changes and won’t get stressed by them. In fact you really should be growing an autoflower on 18/6 or 24/0 anyway. But please note, changing her from 12/12 to 24/0 is NOT going to stop her flowering!

  25. Rob L says:

    So i live in a area where we have weed hemp growing naturally outside. I don’t know the exact numbers but if someone was to start autoflower inside so that it could be placed outside so was finished before the local weed pollinated would this work. What makes the male pollinate? Length of light also? How would one determine when males pollinate in nebraska or neighbouring states?

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