- Growing autoflowering strains of marijuana on a balcony is something that anybody can do.
- You don’t need to be an expert grower to get good results and it is a good start if you want to take your first steps into the world of growing your own cannabis.
Maybe you're thinking about growing autoflowering cannabis plants on a balcony because it is a very easy and safe way of having greater control over any potentially toxic products in the marijuana you consume. Remember that cannabis which comes from illegal suppliers is not subject to control. This means that there's no way of knowing how it has been grown or what chemicals it contains. In many cases, we can't even be sure what strain it is. By growing cannabis outdoors, you'll also be saving yourself the trouble of setting up the technical equipment that is required indoors (lamps, etc.). Here are the key points for getting a good harvest from automatic strains grown on your balcony at home:
Your marijuana plant should ideally be in a sunny place because it needs a minimum number of hours of sunlight in order to produce flowers with a certain level of quality. If your automatic varieties are exposed to sunlight for fewer than four hours, it will be very hard to get good results. The plant will grow but its productivity level will be minimal, which translates into small buds that are not very compact.
Autoflowering marijuana plants can complete their cycle any time of the year, as they don't depend on a photoperiod – it doesn't matter whether it is long or short, or increasing or decreasing, because the plants will behave in the same way. They will grow for the first 25 days (approximately) and then the first flowers will start to emerge. At around day 70, they will be ready for harvest. However, if you live in an area where the temperature plummets in winter, or it is very cold, or you have cloudy or rainy days, you'll be left with very small plants and very poor results.
In order to maximise results, the best thing to do would be to focus on growing autoflowering plants during months where the days are longer and there are more sunlight hours. Sunlight is most intense during the months of May, June and July and this will lead to buds that are larger and denser. These are the perfect months for starting to grow autoflowering plants on your balcony at home but, thanks to the speed of this type of plant and its short life cycle, you can have several crops between April and August. In some parts of southern Europe the autumn months are very warm and you can harvest until October.
You should preferably use commercially compressed peat such as those made by Jiffy. The ideal depth for sowing a marijuana seed is double the diameter of the seed itself (i.e. a few millimetres) and the perfect temperature for germination is around 20 ºC. Put the seeds in the Jiffy pellets and place them somewhere light so that the seedlings will receive their first rays of sunlight as soon as they appear.
When you are growing marijuana outside, it's important to protect your seeds before and after they germinate because there are a lot of enemies prowling around who are waiting to eat them. You can therefore use greenhouses for seedlings or create your own homemade protection. The most important thing is that your marijuana plants are safe from any potential predators during the first stage of their lives.
Once the marijuana seed has germinated and we have our seedling, we have to transplant it into the final plant pot as quickly as possible. We don't recommend transplanting automatic strains several times because this can stress out the plant and cause it to become locked. Due to the plant's short life cycle, this mistake can have very serious consequences when it comes to productivity. During the first ten days, it is best to protect the plant until it reaches a considerable size. You can use an empty five-litre water bottle to do this by cutting off the bottom, removing the cap so the plant can breathe and placing it on top so that it covers the plant. This way, your marijuana plant will be protected in its own greenhouse.
Plant pot size
The bigger the plant pot, the bigger your plant will grow. This means you will have to decide how discreet you want your marijuana crop to be. We recommend using plant pots with a capacity of between 5 and 20 litres. It is not wise to use a black plant pot because it attracts sunlight and this can cause the soil to overheat. It is better to grow your plants in a white or earth-coloured pot instead.
The vegetative stage will last around 25 days. At that point, the plant will start to flower but this won't prevent it from growing. It will normally keep increasing in size until approximately day 45, which marks the start of the phase where the buds will grow in size and density.
The first dose of fertiliser can be applied on day 20 of the plant's life cycle by using a nutrient growth formula. From day 30 onwards, you can start using flowering fertiliser for 20 days until day 50 in the life cycle. At that point on, you should water the plant copiously just to drag up any remaining nutrients which may remain in the soil. This is known as "washing the roots". The amount of water recommended for this procedure is double the capacity of the plant pot. In other words, if your plant is in a ten-litre plant pot, you should use 20 litres to water it.
Plants on balconies are very vulnerable to pests. As they are not part of an ecosystem, they lack a natural balance where there are predators for most pests which could attack your cannabis plant. The result is that pests can arrive, establish themselves and reproduce much more easily. It's a good idea to prepare some products beforehand so that you can prevent these attacks (biological insecticides and miticides, Neem oil). These can be sprayed on the plant on a regular basis (weekly) by way of prevention. It's vital that you take these measures seriously if you don't want your marijuana plants to suffer from these common pests:
Preventive treatments can only be applied during the vegetative stage. Once the flowering stage has begun, the resources for combatting pests are much more limited because you can't spray any products on the buds.
Now that you have the foundations for growing your own autoflowering marijuana plants on the balcony of your house, you can make a start on your new adventure. If you want to know more about how to harvest your cannabis plants, click here. Have a good harvest!