Autoflower hemp seeds are queens of speed and champions of resilience. If you’ve heard some skepticism about autoflowering hemp, put it out of your mind. Today’s newest strains of autoflowering hemp seeds offer high yields and great terpene variety. If you’re looking to reap multiple hemp harvests in a single year, it’s time to learn about how to grow autoflowering seeds on your hemp farm.
We’re here for you. Welcome to our autoflower grow guide.
A Quick Introduction to Autoflower Hemp Seeds
Let’s start with the basics: What is autoflower hemp and how is it different from other types of hemp strains?
Most hemp strains are known as “photoperiod” plants, meaning they need a shift in the light cycle to trigger the flowering stage that produces the majority of the plant’s CBD and CBG oil. As its name implies, an autoflower plant flowers automatically. It doesn’t require a change in the light or the season. Autoflower hemp seeds are the descendants of cannabis plants grown in Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and Russia. In these cold countries, the cannabis plants had to learn to grow quickly to make the most of short growing seasons. They shed their reliance on the light cycle, allowing them to grow and flower in record time.
Today’s farmers can now use seeds with those adaptations to grow more hemp and harvest more resin.
Why Choose Autoflower Hemp Seeds?
Before we jump into our tips for growing autoflower plants, let’s look at why you might want to consider choosing autoflower seeds instead of photoperiod seeds.
Speedy Growing Cycle
Most hemp strains require over 100 days (sometimes up to 120 days) to complete a grow cycle. Autoflower strains, on the other hand, are speed demons when it comes to growing. Most strains reach maturation in 7 to 10 weeks, allowing farmers to grow multiple harvests per year in warmer climates. This fast growth rate also makes autoflower strains a great option for farmers who live in colder climates with short outdoor growing seasons.
The great ancestors of today’s autoflower hemp seeds had to survive in some of the world’s toughest climates, which makes autoflowers some of the most resilient hemp strains around.
Resistance to Pests
Pests and insect infestations are a threat to any crop, but autoflowers grow so quickly, insects often don’t have enough time to do the plants much harm. This makes autoflowers more pest-resistant than most other hemp strains.
Improved Yields and Better Terpene Profiles
In the past, autoflower plants have been criticized for producing lower-than-average amounts of resin and for their poor selection of terpene profiles. These days, however, hemp seed companies like High Grade Hemp Seed have been hard at work breeding autoflower strains that boost CBD yields and provide tantalizing terpene profiles your customers want.
How to Grow Autoflowering Seeds in Soil
Growing autoflower hemp seeds in soil isn’t so different from planting other strains of hemp seed except that you’ll have more options on when to plant your seeds.
Step 1: Prepare for Autoflowers
If you’ve grown other hemp strains in the past, you’ll need to revise your growing plan for autoflower hemp. Make sure you review your planting and harvesting schedules and that you are prepared with your next batch of seeds if you plan on cycling your autoflower harvests.
You’ll also need to ensure that your labor crew is ready for a speedy turnaround between planting and harvesting.
Step 2: Schedule Your Planting
The beauty of autoflower hemp seeds is that they can grow throughout most of the year as long as they don’t experience frost or too much rain. That gives you a lot more flexibility in when to plant. In some parts of the country, planting can start in early spring all the way through to late fall.
Figure out your planting goals: Do you want to focus only on autoflowers and cycle as many harvests as you can? Or do you want to get an autoflower harvest at the beginning and end of the year around your other, longer-growing hemp strains?
Step 3: Germinate Your Plants in a Greenhouse
At High Grade, we often recommend germinating your seeds in a greenhouse infrastructure to give your seeds the best chance for survival. Autoflower plants don’t have as much time to recover from a replanting in the field, so farmers may want to experiment with germinating their autoflowers in a greenhouse and seeding directly to see which produces the best yield. If you decide to germinate your seeds in a greenhouse, it’s a good idea to give your new seedlings a few weeks to grow in the greenhouse before planting.
Step 4: Prepare Your Soil
Your robust autoflower hemp seeds don’t need as much nutrition as other hemp strains, but they still appreciate a little nourishment. Test your soil before planting and double-check that your soil doesn’t contain high levels of sulfur, potassium sulfate, or rock phosphate.
Step 5: Keep Your Soil Well-Drained
Hemp plants, including autoflowers, grow best in loose, well-drained soil. Adjust watering to your particular climate. Autoflowers do well with surface drip irrigation, subsurface drip irrigation, pivot irrigation, and flood irrigation.
Step 6: Harvest Your Plants Sequentially
Your autoflower hemp plants will be ready for harvest between 7 to 10 weeks. Consider harvesting the colas on the tops of the plants first in order to give the lower buds a little more time to mature before harvesting them.
Step 7: Germinate Your Next Crop
To create the fastest cycle between harvests, begin germinating your next crop of non-autoflower hemp seeds in your greenhouse as you are harvesting your autoflower crop in the field. Once your harvest is complete, you should have a whole new batch of germinated hemp plants ready for another round of growing and harvesting.
How to Grow Autoflowering Seeds Indoors
Thinking of growing autoflower seeds indoors? You’ll need to set up a well-designed grow space. Make sure to set up proper lighting and irrigation and that you have the ability (and the right equipment) to maintain the right temperature and humidity levels.
Step 1: Plant Seeds in a Single Pot to Avoid Replanting
Autoflowers grow so quickly that they don’t have the time to recover from a big stressor like replanting from one pot to another. Instead, plant your seeds and grow them to maturation in a single pot. If you want to attempt to create a strong canopy in your grow space, plant the seeds in smaller pots so you can keep your plants together.
Step 2: Prepare Your Soil Properly
Autoflower hemp plants prefer light and airy soil. They don’t need the same amount of nutrients as other strains of hemp. Be careful about using pre-made soil mixes with too many nutrients. Plant your seeds in only lightly fertilized soil.
Step 3: Limit Watering
Be careful about overwatering your autoflower hemp plants. As we mentioned, autoflowers don’t recover well from major stresses like a deluge of water. Give the soil enough time to dry between waterings. A lighter watering schedule will also help you prevent mold.
Step 4: Determine Your Light Scheme
The beauty of autoflower hemp plants is that you don’t have to commit to a rigid light schedule like you would with photoperiod plants. However, you still need to give your autoflowers plenty of nurturing light to help them grow strong.
There is a lot of debate on how much light to give industrial hemp plants. Farmers who want the highest resin yields and have a little more money to invest upfront may want to use a 24-hour light cycle. Farmers who want to save on energy costs can still get good results using an 18/6 schedule, which refers to 18 hours of light and six hours of darkness.
Step 5: Control for Airflow and Humidity
Autoflower hemp plants do best in moderately warm temperatures, so try to keep your grow space at a cozy 68 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Good airflow is also an important component of keeping your plants happy and healthy, so use a ventilator to keep humidity low.
Step 6: Harvest Sequentially
When your indoor autoflower hemp plants are ready for harvest, take the colas and the buds from the top first in order to give the lower buds a little more time to mature. This will help you get even more resin from your harvest.
Step 7: Rinse and Repeat
You know the drill by now. If you have space in your grow room, consider germinating your next crop of seeds while harvesting your current crop. Take advantage of the fast-growing speeds of your autoflowers to achieve multiple harvests in a year.
Where to Find the Best Autoflower Hemp Seeds
To give your autoflower hemp crop the best chance for success, look for the seeds with proven genetics. At High Grade Hemp Seed, we are proud to offer our feminized Autoflower seeds, which are known for uniform growth and a tantalizing terpene profile that’s both sweet and spicy.
We’re passionate about the genetics of our seeds, including our autoflower strain. This guide on how to grow autoflower hemp seeds only scratches the surface of this complex topic. If you want more personalized growing recommendations for your farm, contact us today.