Autoflowering plants just like regular cannabis (Sativa and Indica) plants need water to grow and produce healthy leaves and buds. Water is the lifeblood of the plant and cannabis plants are about 80 % water and this liquid is used in almost all of the plants life processes starting from photosynthesis and transpiration to nutrient uptake and keeping the leafs stiff. So if water is so important what are the optimum amounts of water and when , how you need to water your plants?
First of all there are so many variables like temperature, humidity, growing medium, strain, climate conditions, pot size and so on that there is not a one method – fit all solution but there are general guidelines that can help you to water your plants properly.
But first before all the watering techniques and explanations you need to know what water to use. Basically any tap water will be fine but you should let it sit for at least 24 hours within an open top container as all the chlorine in the water will evaporate and the water will also heat up to the temperature of the growing room and you won’t damage your roots with cold water full of the toxic chlorine. Chlorine will evaporate in the form of bubbles on the container walls , so when those bubbles have gone away then you should also check the PH of that water and if everything is OK then you are good to go.
One growing myth is that reverse osmosis water will be better for your cannabis, but this is not the case as in the reverse osmosis process the water is stript from ALL of the nutrients so every micronutrient will need to be supplied artificially. Many grow nutrients will not have all of the micronutrients in adequate doses as they will expect some of them to be in the water , so be careful with that purified water!
Underwatering happens when the plants gets too little water and its leafs start wilting. This process is common in nature but not so common in indoor grow operations as growers usually do exactly the opposite from under watering. Marijuana plants need a little dry period for the potency and for the optimum growth but it should not get so extreme that the leafs start wilting. The wilting process happens because the water pressure inside the leafs is not high enough and the cells start shrinking so the overall structure of the leaf bends under its own weight. You can fix underwatering by simply introducing water to the growing medium and you will be able to see how the leafs start slowly strengthening and that means that they can start to fully photosynthesise again.
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Over Watering marijuana plants is one of the most common inexperienced growers mistakes as usually they want to supply plenty of water but they don’t realize that too much water slows down the growth and excessive amount of water can introduce some mold or fungus that can severely damaging the plant. First signs of overwatering are that the leafs start to curl and bend strangely and the leaf tips start to turn yellow. This process is often misdiagnosed for nutrient deficiency but can be easily spotted if you know what to look for. Overwatering can’t be cured immediately but letting the plant use up all the water in the growing medium will be a start and slowly your weed plants will recover and keep on growing.
If your automatic or regular plants get optimum water starting from the seedling all through the flowering phase then they will grow fast and will give you huge harvest. In different plants life cycles there are different techniques of watering and different amounts of water you need to supply.
In the seedling phase you need to supply your plants with plenty of water but not in share volume but in frequency. You need to keep your growing medium wet for the new seedling to grow and develop properly so you need to water your soil at least twice a day but with a minimum amount of water as too much water can kill the little sprout! My suggestion is to use a hand sprayer and spray the water around the newly developed plant but not directly on the stem as it is still fragile and can bend over. As for the amount I suggest to simply wet the surface as the rest of the pot will be wet from the pre soaking process before planting the seed in the ground. This moisture in the ground will be enough for the seedling to produce a good root ball so be careful with watering at this stage! Autoflowering seedlings are a little tougher than regular cannabis ones but there are no differences between autoflower and other cannabis plants in the watering process for this phase.
At the vegetative growth stage autoflowers will also need the same care as regular cannabis plants and that means that the watering process needs to be repeated every day if your pot is small or every other day if the pot is medium to large. Basically depending on the growing conditions every grower will need different time periods between waterings but a good rule is to check the first centimeters of the soil and if it is dry then it is time to water! There are also soil humidity meters but in general cannabis growers will water their plants depending on the surface moisture or holding the pot up / setting it on the site, to feel the weight of the soil, and with time every grower will be able to tell that the weight is too low so it is time to water your herb!
At the flowering phase you need to continue as in the vegetative growth phase because autoflwoers can grow under 24 hours of light and still flower! This skill gives them advantages but in the watering department it gives a bit more work as the flowers will chew up more water but the air temperature will also increase the water evaporation so you will need to water more frequently than you would regular weed plants. But again do the watering only when the soil is moist at the top or the pot is too light when picked up!
After knowing the right method for each phase you need to know exactly how to water your plants. In the seedling phase as I mentioned before you need to get a hand sprayer because large quantities of water can kill the little plant. But when the seedling phase is over you most definitely need large amounts of water to sustain optimum growth. This means that at each of the flowering and vegetative phases you need to pour as much water in the growing medium to get a 10% to 30% runoff water at the bottom as only then the growing medium will be completely wet and you won’t need to worry about dry soil pockets or dry spots full of nutrient that can give overdose to your marijuana plant.
If however the soil gets too dry between watering phases then you can get runoff exactly as you start watering because the soil can be pulled away from the pot sides and water will flow down by the sides directly through the pot. If this is the case then you have three options:
You can slowly wet the soil adding a little water in multiple watering cycles. You will need to do this process till the soil expands again. This process can be long as you will need multiple waterings in a short period of time so if you choose to do this be patient and don’t rush the process because you need the whole soil to get moist.
You can also crumple the top soil a bit in the gaps between the pot walls but be careful not to damage any roots. You can also add additional growing medium at those sides, but give exactly the same medium as the one you used for the initial potting.
The third and final chance is to mix a little bio-degradable soap inside the water as the soap will make the water “wetter” and it will more easily wet the growing medium and soak in the dried up parts so there won’t be as much runoff as without the soap. If you choose this method know that only bio-degradable sop will be OK as other soaps contain hazardous chemicals. if you add soap to your water be sure to measure the PH of the water as some soaps can increase the PH level!
So now you know almost all there is about the watering process on cannabis plants but if I missed something or you have some additional question come to my blog and look around or ask for answers on any topic related to autoflowering or regular marijuana plants!