It is a fact that autoflower can grow and flower without dependence on light. But an ideal autoflower light schedule for growers can optimize health and yield.
Autoflower seeds can grow with minimal maintenance as it grows fast. They don’t need a lot of space. But you shouldn’t just settle for the sake of growing them. You should know the proper light schedule for high yields. No one would gain from it but you, yourself. Though they’re usually in a short frame, it can keep up with the bigger ones’ harvest.
Types of Suitable Grow Lights for Autoflowers
There are two types of suitable grow lights for autoflowers, and they are LED and HID or high-intensity discharge lights. LEDs are just the recent fad for growing Cannabis indoors as they’re affordable even though they have the advanced capacity. HID is an old standard, but some growers still use them.
Here are some important details that you need to know about each type.
1. HID (MH, HPS)
This type of light is cheap yet powerful, so it can make Cannabis grow well. There are two kinds of HID bulbs. The first one is MH, which means metal halide and HPS, which stands for high-pressure sodium.
When it’s with photoperiod strains, MH is used for vegetation and HPS for flowering. A bluish light came out of the MH to optimize the plant’s developing stage. HPS releases a reddish or orange spectrum, and it supports bud growth, so it’s ideal for the flowering stage.
Using HIDs for autoflowers will be in the same way when you grow photoperiod varieties. You need to shift from MH to HPS to develop huge buds.
When you compare it to LEDs, it’s inexpensive, but it can grow quality buds. However, there are some advantages. It would require two bulbs, and a single piece of LED can get you through the entire life cycle of Cannabis.
The bulbs produce a lot of heat. You need to buy a reflector, and a special power supply called a ballast to complete the lighting system. Even the bulbs are not expensive, additional pieces of equipment will increase your operational cost.
There’s also another kind of HID called LEC. It’s energy-efficient, and it has a spectrum that is similar to the sun rays. Some cultivators think that it’s beneficial to the plants’ development.
When LED lights were just new in the market, Cannabis growers didn’t take them seriously. Then it came to a point when the effectiveness of these lights was discovered, and the issue with it was the price. They were expensive at first.
When the technology became standardized and evened out, the price was fixed for consumers to afford to buy these lights. It gives more light so it can achieve the same setting as HID.
LEDs are more expensive than HID; you will realize that using them lowers the operational cost compared when you settle for classic lights. They would only use less energy, so it won’t make your bill hike up.
There are ‘plug-in and grow’ LEDs, so you won’t need to buy reflectors for things to work out. They’re easy to use too.
Some disadvantages are being outright expensive, and some cheap kinds are all over the market. Then you may be lured to by them as you don’t have any idea.
But you can get the full-spectrum LEDs as you can use them throughout the growing phase. They remain useful from the moment you plant your seeds until the harvest time.
Some LEDs feature a switch so you can make changes on the spectrum, which can be from vegetation to flowering. You would need to do it even though you’re growing autoflowers.
The Setting of Autoflower Light Schedule – Outdoors and Indoors
1. The setting of Light for Outdoor Plantation
Autoflowers are not only suitable for indoor growth but as well as outdoor cultivation. You can even plant them any time outside as they don’t need natural daylight to flower. Set them in your outdoor plantation as long as there’s no presence of frost.
You can successfully grow autoflowers outdoors. They would flower after 3 to 4 weeks, and the harvesting can be done in a matter of 60 or 70 days. It can make you harvest multiple times in a year.
When you grow autoflowers outdoors, it gives you an advantage to stealth growing or guerrilla gardening because of its short frame. It would help you hide your garden from spectators, and it lessens the chance to be discovered as it can finish in a short period.
When there is efficient lighting indoors, sunlight can also let autoflowers develop well. It won’t only give you a high production but highly potent buds as well.
2. Autoflower Light Schedule in an Indoor Plantation
24-0 Light Schedule
Some Cannabis growers supply light to autoflowers round the clock. They prefer this one as it comes with ease, and it doesn’t need a timer. Most of all, it gives a much better yield.
But the disadvantage of this schedule is that it can consume a lot of energy. When the lights are on all the time uninterrupted, expect a high electric bill.
Somehow, science can back the belief of giving your autoflowers a continuous supply of light. It is the aspect of utilization and absorption of CO2. Some plants cling to the C4 carbon fixation process, which makes them gather CO2 on dark periods to photosynthesize in the light.
But Cannabis is a C3 plant that doesn’t mind about taking a break. It can proceed to photosynthesis even if the lights are on. So this explains why some growers opt for this light schedule.
18 – 6 Light Schedule
Some growers don’t believe in a constant autoflower light schedule. So there’s 18 – 6, which represents 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness.
The philosophy behind this perspective is that plants are exposed to light for a good yield while they take a rest in darkness to maintain healthy growth. Another advantage that won’t be taken by your plant but your pocket as you can save 25% of energy.
It will give the same yield as the 24-0, so why not give your autoflowers a break and save yourself from paying high bills. The only drawback of this schedule has a timer, which isn’t a big deal.
20 – 4 Light Schedule
It’s the middle ground of 24-0 and 18-6 light schedules. Some would add 2 hours of light to assure massive yield. Your electric bill will be a bit higher.
6 – 2 Light Schedule
It’s an uncommon light schedule, but its supporters believe that it can create a controlled environment and stable plants. The 6 – 2 means three sessions of light provision for 6 hours each while the break is done for 2 hours.
The principle of this light schedule is that Cannabis can only process a certain amount of light in a day. After the needed amount of light is fulfilled, the excess is only put to waste.
The two hours of break are done between every 6 hours so the plants can take a rest and be ready to receive light again. It is during the moments with light that the plants work on developing and enhancing the harvest.
Its proponents believe that a short period of light will not bring stress to the plants and the cooling system. The time for break allows the room to cool before turning back on the lights.
But it can stress heating and lights when short light and breaks are frequently applied. This method is under-practiced.
Words for Closing
You need to put more effort into the autoflower light schedule if you want to boost yield. You must not be content with its ability to survive if you want to get a bountiful harvest, just like photoperiod strains.
Picking the right types of light is a must. Different light schedules are suitable for autoflowers, and you can try each of them to see which one works best, although the common recommendation is 18 – 6.