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How to Maximize Autoflowering Cannabis Yields?

Added 7 June 2023

Whether you grow photoperiod or autoflowering plants, you always focus on the yields. Photoperiod plants grow as big as you want and can produce a rich yield even under regular conditions. Autoflowering plants, on the other hand, grow smaller and faster, so they do not produce as many buds as their photoperiod counterparts. 

Autoflowering plants offer way too many advantages, so many growers want to grow autos alone. So, how do you increase yields? You need to use various methods that make it worth your while. How do you do that? 

Learn all about autoflowering cannabis yields, methods to maximize the yield, and five top-yielding autoflowering cannabis strains in this article below. 

How Much Does Autoflowering Cannabis Yield?

How Much Does Autoflowering Cannabis Yield?

Yield refers to the number or quantity of buds a plant produces after you finish the harvesting process of the plant. But when it comes to cannabis, one thing is always clear — photoperiod plants will produce a bigger yield than autoflowering buds since the latter are genetically modified to grow quicker and start blooming regardless of the light cycle. 

Typically, autoflowering cannabis plants produce a yield of 1.8 to 8 ounces of buds per plant, depending on several factors such as the environmental conditions, location of the plant, nutrients, light, air, and much more. More on this later. 

Here, an indoor autoflowering plant will produce the best results thanks to the meticulously controlled environment within a grow room or a grow tent. So, even with little effort, you can expect a decent yield with indoor autoflowering cannabis. On the other hand, an outdoor cannabis plant produces up to 1.5 ounces of buds under ideal conditions, and if you are lucky, your plant can produce up to 20 ounces. 

But this is not always the case — autoflowering strains can produce massive yields if you know how to grow them. Many people think that autos produce less yield, but it all depends on your expertise. You’ll find several growers not going back to photoperiods because they are satisfied with autos. Simply put, they know how to get the most out of their plants. 

With the right techniques, you can always push your autoflowering cannabis plant to yield more during harvest. There are many ways to push your plant to produce a bigger yield, as you will learn later in the article. 

What Factors Affect the Yield of Autoflowering Cannabis?

What Factors Affect the Yield of Autoflowering Cannabis?

Before we get into the various techniques that improve autoflowering cannabis yield, let’s first understand how various factors affect the autoflowering cannabis yield. As mentioned earlier, the yield depends on various conditions, from the pot size to the type of nutrients you use. So, here are some of the primary factors that influence the yield of autoflowering cannabis. 

1. Genetics

Genetics plays the biggest role in how much yield your autoflowering cannabis produces. Inherently, autoflowering cannabis plants are genetically designed to grow faster, and since they grow faster, they don’t grow tall enough to produce enough bud sites. As a result, autoflowering cannabis plants tend to produce a lower yield compared to their photoperiod counterparts.

Additionally, the genetics of the strain you grow also matters. Some strains produce bigger yields than others, depending on their phenotype. We will get into the best autoflowering strains that produce bigger yields later in the article. 

2. Environmental Conditions 

Without making this too technical, the environment your plant grows in has the biggest impact on its yield. So, if you are growing your autoflowering cannabis outdoors, the yield depends on the weather, i.e., the lighting conditions, temperature, humidity, and air quality. In colder climates, the yield can be smaller, and in a sunny climate, the yield can be significant. 

This is one reason why indoor cannabis plants tend to produce a better yield. In an indoor environment, your plant enjoys a much more controlled environment, allowing it to grow bigger and healthier compared to the outdoor environment. 

3. Nutrients and Soil 

When growing cannabis, the soil and nutrients are closely related, so you can consider both as a single unit. This is because healthy soil contains the most nutrients required for the growth of your cannabis plant. However, if you don’t use soil at all and use some other growing medium, then you need to pay special attention to nutrients. 

Cannabis requires three nutrients in most quantities, known as macronutrients, including nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus — collectively, NPK. But your plant needs these macronutrients in varying ratios throughout its growth stage. During the veggie stage, your plant needs more nitrogen, and during the flowering stage, it needs more potassium and phosphorus. Along with the macronutrients, your plants also need various micronutrients that can affect the size and quality of your autoflowering cannabis yields. 

4. Pots

Another important factor that affects how much yield your autoflowering cannabis produces is the container it is growing in. For example, if the growing pot is small, the plant’s root ball may not grow as much, leading to slower growth and smaller yields. On the other hand, if you use a container that’s big enough (but not too big), the root ball can grow bigger, leading to better bud development. 

5. Training Techniques 

You can use training techniques on your autoflowering plants, as they can produce some terrific results. Like photoperiod cannabis plants, even autoflowering cannabis plants respond to training methods, so the right training method can significantly boost the plant’s yield.

However, some training methods can backfire. High-stress training methods that require longer recovery time are not recommended for autoflowering cannabis plants since they don’t have the luxury of time for a proper recovery. As a result, HST methods can slow down the plant’s growth and affect its yield. 

How to Maximize Autoflowering Cannabis Yields? 

How to Maximize Autoflowering Cannabis Yields? 

Now that you understand how autoflowering cannabis grows and what kind of yield to expect, considering all the factors mentioned above, the next thing to do is learn some tricks to maximize autoflowering cannabis yields. Don’t worry, these are not cheat codes that promise unrealistic results, these are real tips that can help boost your autoflowering cannabis yields. 

1. Choose High-Quality Genetics and Strains

The first tip, as always, is to choose high-quality genetics because if the plant is not genetically able to produce a decent yield, it will not grow enough buds no matter what you do. It is not in its nature to grow a bigger yield. So, you must pick a strain predisposed to grow a bigger yield. 

2. Grow Indoors

As mentioned earlier, indoor cultivation offers maximum control over your plant’s growth regarding climate control, water, nutrients, etc. At the same time, in an indoor grow room, your cannabis plants do not have to face the brunt of nature, whether in terms of bad weather or a pest infestation, so they can grow in a safe environment and reach their full potential. 

3. Germinate Your Plant in the Final Container 

Autoflowering cannabis plants grow quickly, and most autoflowering cannabis can grow from a seedling to a mature plant within 60 to 90 days. So, it is ideal for growing your cannabis plants in the final container since transplanting them to another container can be stressful. 

If you don’t want to germinate them in the final container, you can germinate the seeds using the paper towel method and then move the seedlings straight into the final container.  

Transplanting autoflowering plants can trigger stress and potentially impact their general development and growth. While autoflowers are ideal for their fast development, they still require careful handling during the transplantation process.

Of course, many growers transplant their autoflowers and still produce good yields. However, you shouldn’t try this if you’re a beginner. Here are a few reasons why transplanting autoflowers may not be a good idea for you:

  • Root disturbance

When transplanting, you’re uprooting the plant from its initial container or location and putting it right into a new one. This process interrupts the root system, which is crucial for the plant's nutrient uptake, as well as general stability. Also, even mild injuries to the roots can have a substantial effect on the plant's capacity to take in water and nutrients, leading to stunted development, yellowing leaves, or reduced yields.

Autoflowers have a limited vegetative phase, so any disturbance to their roots can hinder their recovery capacity. To prevent this, take care of the plant delicately, ensuring the roots aren’t disturbed too much. In addition, transplant autoflowers when they are early in the vegetative stage so they have enough recovery time.

  • Transplant shock

The sudden change in atmosphere and the shock of transplanting can stress autoflowers. They may experience stunted growth in the beginning as they get used to the new container or growing media. The plant needs time to recoup from the shock, redirect its power toward root growth, and then resume its growth.

  • Transplanting timing

Timing is critical when transplanting autoflowers. These plants have a short lifespan, normally 8 to 12 weeks, including the vegetative and flowering stages. If the transplanting is done far too late, it can seriously limit the time the plant has to recuperate before it enters the flowering stage. This can lead to decreased yields and smaller buds.

  • Nutrient imbalance

When you transplant autoflowers, they may experience a short-term disturbance in nutrient absorption. For example, when you transplant the plant into a different container with new growing media, the plant takes time to absorb nutrients. Needless to say, autoflowers can experience nutrient deficiencies, but they can be prevented if you make an effort to use the same growing media in the new container. In addition, water the plants well to help them adjust to their new home.

4. Use Bigger Containers 

Your plant’s growth also depends on the size of the root ball, and if the roots’ growth is restricted by the size of the container — the roots run out of space — the plant’s growth will also stunt. So, it is better to grow cannabis plants in the right-sized container. 

Generally, choose a 15 to 20-liter container for autoflowering cannabis plants, but always consider the type of strain you use. Some strains can grow bigger and may require a bigger pot. Also, don’t use a container that’s too big; if a container is too big, the roots will have enough room to grow, but a lot of the nutrients will be lost since they won’t reach the roots properly. 

5. Consider Pot Material

You should also consider the type of pot you use. Ideally, the best pots for growing cannabis are smart or fabric pots. These pots are made of fabric and offer tremendous benefits over other types of pots — they offer flexibility and terrific aeration of the medium, which improves root development. 

6. Prioritize Climate Control

You also need to pay special attention to climate control in your grow room because if it is not dialed in properly, your plant will not grow well. For example, a vegetative plant will need more humidity, while a flowering plant will require less to keep mold at bay. So, you can use various methods like an oscillating fan, air conditioner, dehumidifier, etc., to control the climate in your grow room. 

7. Stick to an 18/6 Light Cycle

Since autoflowering cannabis plants don’t need to rely on the light cycle, many growers simply let them be and grow at their own pace. However, they still need a lot of light to produce energy. So, you can leave them on an 18/6 light-to-dark light cycle throughout their life cycle to allow them to get maximum light without experiencing stress. 

Many growers also stick to a 24-hour light cycle, but it is generally not recommended by expert growers since your plant also needs to experience dark hours for various processes. Hence, it is best to stick to an 18/6 light cycle. 

8. Use an Airy Growing Medium 

Autoflowering plants grow fast, so their root ball must develop quickly and efficiently. This is why it is advisable to grow auto cannabis strains in an airy growing medium. Thanks to extra aeration, the medium will be a bit loose, making it easier for the roots to expand and breathe more air. 

Rich soil is good, but you can make it airier by adding a bit of perlite or coco coir since they have excellent aeration. However, while doing so, ensure you don’t compromise water retention; otherwise, the medium will lose water faster than the plant can use it.

9. Use Root Stimulants

You can also support root development by supplementing your plant with root stimulants. One of the best root stimulants is mycorrhizal fungi, which is a beneficial fungus that increases your plant’s nutrient and water uptake while protecting your plant from diseases. You can also use any other root stimulant but ensure they are designed for autoflowering cannabis plants for best results.

10. Add More CO2 in Your Grow Room

Cannabis plants, like any other plant, use carbon dioxide to fuel photosynthesis, so the more carbon dioxide it gets, the more energy it will produce. So, once you have dialed in everything in your grow room, you can consider adding more carbon dioxide to your cannabis plants. Doing will significantly increase the yield — we are talking about a noticeable difference. 

Now, adding carbon dioxide can either be a cheap or an expensive affair, depending on the method you use. Cheap methods include using compost that releases CO2 in the air or CO2 canisters connected to a controllable blow valve. On the other hand, you can use CO2 generators for precise supplementation, but it will be expensive — it’s only recommended for experienced commercial growers.

11. Train Your Plant 

Contrary to popular belief, you can train autoflowering cannabis; the only difference between training autoflowering and photoperiod cannabis is that you must be more careful with the former. 

Autoflowering cannabis plants grow fast and don’t have much time — they can’t waste time in recovery — so experiment with only use low-stress training methods that won’t require your plant to recover for more than a couple of days. You can still use high-stress methods, but you must be super careful and only do so when you know your plant can take it.

Some of the best training methods for autoflowering cannabis plants include the following:

  • Tie-down Method

The tie-down training method is the most basic type of LST you can use to train your autoflowering cannabis. Here, all you need to do is bend the main cola of your plant with the help of a cable tie or a wire. Doing so ensures all the colas of the plant are at the same height, receiving the same levels of light, which encourages all the colas to produce bigger buds. 

  • Screen of Green (ScrOG)

ScrOG is another popular training method that works well for autoflowering cannabis plants. Here, you need to suspend a screen just above the canopy and direct the branches of your plant through individual holes in the screen, forming an even canopy at the top. Doing so improves aeration and light exposure to each bud site, leading to a much bigger yield.

  • Topping

Cannabis plants have apical dominance, i.e., the main cola grows the biggest bud, and the rest grow smaller buds. You can break this apical dominance by topping the plant or cutting off the top of the main cola. The plant will then grow two main colas, resulting in a better yield. 

But when growing an autoflowering cannabis, it is crucial that you pick the right time to top your plant since this process is a bit stressful. So, you should only top your plant in the early stages of the vegetative stage. If they have started growing preflowers, skip this method. The best time to top is during the initial 20 days of the plant’s life. 

12. Practice Progressive Harvesting

Generally, growers harvest the buds simultaneously when the trichomes on most buds are “ready” for harvest. However, you can do this the smart way by using progressive harvesting. 

Here, you can harvest the buds at the top of the plant since they mature faster than the buds at the bottom. Doing so will give more time to lower buds to grow bigger and mature, so at the end of the harvest, you will have buds that are bigger than they would’ve been with a traditional harvest. 

13. Use the Sea of Green Method

Sometimes, no matter what you do, you may not be satisfied with your autoflowering plant’s yield. In that case, you can use a cultivation method to significantly boost your overall yield on a “per square meter” basis. We’re talking about the sea of green (SOG) method. 

In this method, instead of growing one big plant, you grow multiple smaller plants in the same general surface area. Even though the smaller plants may grow fewer buds than the larger plant since they are more in number, the overall yield turns out to be a lot more than a single plant. 

14. Pay Attention to the pH

pH is a critical factor that determines the yields of an autoflowering plant. Maintaining proper pH levels ensures optimum nutrient uptake, meaning the plant grows healthy and happy. Here's just how pH affects the yield of autoflowering cannabis:

Nutrient Absorption 

The pH range has a direct impact on how the plant absorbs essential nutrients. This is because every nutrient has an optimal pH range at which it is most readily absorbed by the plants. This means that if the pH is too alkaline or too acidic, the plant may not be able to absorb some nutrients at all, even if they are present in abundant quantities. For instance, if the pH is very acidic, the plants may be unable to absorb crucial macronutrients like phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen, resulting in stunted growth. Conversely, if the pH is very alkaline, the plants will struggle to absorb trace elements like iron, manganese, and zinc as they tend to get locked out. This can affect the plant's growth, flower development, and yields.


As the growing media encourages beneficial microbes that help the plants absorb nutrients, the pH of the growing medium is very important. When the pH exceeds normal ranges, it can disrupt the microbial population, preventing the plants from accessing enough nutrients. Preserving the right pH promotes a healthy ecosystem for your plants. 

To avoid pH problems, it’s best to pay attention to it frequently. Typically, cannabis plants growing in soil like a pH between 6.0 to 7.0, whereas hydroponic systems call for a slightly reduced pH ranging from 5.5 to 6.5. Always monitor the pH of the growing media and nutrient solution to determine any imbalances and adjust it until it's in the specified range.

Which Autoflowering Strains Produce the Best Yield?

Which Autoflowering Strains Produce the Best Yield?

Autoflowering strains may produce a lower yield than their photoperiod sibling, but they can still surprise you with their yield. Some autoflowering strains can even give photoperiod plants a run for their money, thanks to their yield. Here are some of the best-yielding autoflowering cannabis strains you can try growing.

1. Amnesia Haze Auto

Amnesia Haze is one of the most renowned cannabis strains, and you can grow its autoflowering variant if you want high yields. This strain is easy to grow even in harsh environments and can still provide you with a yield of up to 16 oz/m2, and it produces a rich citric aroma and flavors with a cerebral high. 

2. Big Devil Autoflower

Big Devil Autoflower is a popular medicinal and recreational strain since it has a unique aroma that blends a fruity flavor with woody undertones. It is known to produce an energetic high that aids focus and concentration. This autoflowering strain can grow up to five feet in height and yield up to 20 oz/m2 — that’s terrific. 

3. Mazar Autoflower

Mazar Autoflower has a rich history — it comes from a line of Afghan Skunk — which makes it an easy autoflower to grow. Generally, Mazar Autoflower grows within 7 weeks, topping out at 2.5 feet, and you can still expect a decent yield of up to 19 oz/m2.

4. Hyper Critical Autoflower

One of the newcomers on the block, Hyper Critical Autoflower, is quickly gaining much traction thanks to its uncompromising 20% THC levels. It offers you a complex flavor and aroma with hints of citrus and cheese, and it produces a relaxing high while being approachable for new cannabis users. You can expect a yield of around 16 oz/m2 with this plant. 

5. Lemon Autoflower

If you are a reflective person, you should try Lemon Autoflower — this strain is highly sedative and relaxes you, but will also keep your mind active enough to be creative and thoughtful. This strain can easily handle up to 20 hours of light and yield up to 15 oz/m2 under ideal conditions. 

Summary: How to Maximize Autoflowering Cannabis Yields?

When you prioritize a high yield while growing autoflowering cannabis, you need to keep a few things in mind, such as the following:

  • Choose the right strain and genetics 
  • Consider growing the plant indoors since it produces better results
  • Use fabric pots and a rich, airy growing medium 
  • Use the right supplements and nutrients along with an 18/6 light cycle, humidity, and temperatures
  • Pay attention to the pH
  • Avoid transplanting
  • Train your plant with low-stress training methods like tying down or the screen of green

Use these tips and other ones mentioned above and choose a high-yielding strain — your autoflowering cannabis plant will produce a terrific yield that not only you but also your friends can enjoy. 

Agreed, autoflowering cannabis plants may be limited by their size and life cycle, but that doesn’t mean they are limited by genetics. They can still grow the same-sized buds as photoperiod plants, you just need to push them to their absolute limits when growing them. 

But maximizing yield is only one part of the large puzzle that is growing cannabis. To become a better grower, you must have all the puzzle pieces in your mind. So, stay tuned for more guides on growing cannabis!



Great interview, thank you for sharing your insights to cannabis growing. I'll be stopping over to visit your dairies. Happy Growing! :facepunch:


Leaf tucking is very good for autoflowers. :the_horns::wink:


I maximize autoflowers by placing them in the refuse bin.