The next life stage of the autoflower plant is the seedling part. Once the seeds are transferred or buried safely in the soil, nature will do wonders and let the seed grow into a seedling or a small plant with more or less two leaves. There is no need to rush the seedling growth of the plant. Just let it sprout in its own time and effort. Messing with the plant’s natural growth may lead to damages that could lead to any irregularities for the next stages. Make sure the soil’s pH balance is adjusted to the preferred or needed range. There are different organic nutrients available in the market, but since this is just the seedling part, avoid overdoing the process.
Just like traditional strains, autoflower plants also follow the specific growth stages but only for a shorter time. Instead of waiting for almost a year before the harvest, in a span of two to three months, the autoflower marijuana plants are healthy and ready. That is why many growers are encouraged to grow autoflowers even when they cost higher than the traditional ones. Growing autoflower strains is not different from growing all other strains available. It still needs the same care, attention, and nutrients. It is in the knowledge of the time frame of the growth stage that will make all the difference. Thus, the first step on how to tell when autoflower is flowering is when a grower knows the autoflower growing process.
How to tell when autoflower is flowering – Pre-flowering and Flowering Stage
One easy way is to directly plant the seeds into the nutrient-filled soil and let them grow there. This is the most convenient thing to do that works all the time. However, some growers also choose to soak the seeds first in water for almost twenty-four hours. After soaking, the seeds are moved on a wet paper towel and are stocked in a locked plastic bag for one to two days until the roots start to grow and plants are ready for planting.
The first week of the plant’s growth may be slow. A couple of leaves will sprout, and the additional leaves will soon appear as days pass by. For the first week, it is not necessary to give organic nutrients, especially when growing using soil. Mistakes such as overwatering might happen. There is no need to fill the pot to the brim with water. Give enough that would make the soil damp and not dripping. Overwatering can drown and kill a little seedling.
Pre-flowers of a female plant look like a small bud with white hairs. The white hair is a pistil, and this will get in contact with the pollen from a male plant in order to germinate seeds. The pre-flowering stage is easy to identify. In this stage, a lot of leaves are already growing. The plant is in full force in growing fast, so the nutrients must be enough. The pre-flowering part is usually called the vegetative stage, where the growth of the marijuana plant is very crucial. The vegetative stage will decide the quality of yield the growers will get.
However, their yields aren’t as spectacular as those obtained from photoperiod giants, but, the trade-off for brevity makes the decision worthwhile for most growers.
LIGHT SCHEDULE FOR AUTOFLOWERING STRAINS
Many growers elect to cultivate autoflowers because of their speedy growing rate. Their hardy genetics and forgiving nature also make them easier to grow and therefore more beginner-friendly.
As the name suggests, autoflowering strains don’t require a change in the light cycle to enter the flowering stage. Many growers choose to keep their autoflowers on a light schedule of 18 hours on and 6 hours off during the entire growing cycle. Other cultivators choose to keep their lights on around the clock in hopes of maximising photosynthesis and growth rate, however, this can get quite expensive.
8 weeks, with subsequent weekly harvests when growing fast strains.
After your plant has already started showing signs of flowers, you’re officially in the flowering stage, even though your plant won’t grow more leaves or branches, she will still grow quite a bit through a process called “flowering stretch” and you will see the flowers getting denser as time goes by.
Trichomes form the resin you can clearly see on the buds and surrounding plant material, the trichome glands produce and store flavonoids, terpenes, and cannabinoids which are the compounds responsible for the effect, aroma, and flavor you’ll get when smoking your cannabis buds.
3. The flowering stage
No matter what time of the year outside you decide to grow your autos, after the fourth week of growth the plants will begin to transition into the pre-flowering stage. This means they will shift in auxin production and focus on flowering causing a hormonal change and a preference for certain nutrients. When your plants start flowering you have to make sure that you’re providing higher doses of phosphorus and potassium, these are the main minerals your cannabis plants need to produce buds.
In the image below you can clearly see a bit of resin starting to form although it is not as abundant as when the buds are ready for harvest, this is a sign that your plant has just transitioned from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage and will gradually start to fatten up the buds and producing a lot of resin.
The calyxes are the first part that is formed when a cannabis plant enters the flowering stage, this structure is designed for protecting the plant’s reproductive organs and is where the stigmas come out.