Autoflower marijuana plants naturally stretch in order to get more sunlight by letting the leaves get to a higher elevation to facilitate photosynthesis. Stretching is the vertical growth of plants.
Too much stretching could be too bad as the plant may become too stretched, thin, and weak that it will fall, bend or break under its own weight. Too much stretching will also put the top parts of your plants nearer to the lamp and is subjected to heat and light stress. Too much stretching could lead to less dense buds that may result in about 30 percent to 50 percent lesser yield.
A too little stretching is also bad because the plant will not grow tall enough to get more sunlight and have more space in between leaves and stem to allow ventilation. Too little stretching could also lead to a dwarf plant or a plant with one joint that has limited space to grow buds. This is a natural problem with auto-flowering plants which are already genetically small and stunted in their growth will worsen the small size of the plant in terms of yield and others.
The plant’s stretching is greatly affected by light exposure, ventilation, and even nutritional factors. We may solve these problems by the proper identification of reasons that your plants are not stretching.
REASONS FOR WHY YOUR PLANTS ARE NOT STRETCHING
LIGHTING: Lighting is a huge factor in the stunted growth of plants. Too little lighting is obviously one of the best reasons that plants are not developing very well in order to stretch. However, lighting that is situated too close to a plant is also a reason. When the light is too close to a plant, it is naturally responding to this stimulus by not growing vertically anymore as it is detecting that it is getting sufficient light to sustain itself. Lighting that is of the wrong spectrum is also going to affect your autoflower marijuana plants negatively.
If there is too little light in your growing area, the simple solution is to add more lights or maybe, to make little arrangements in your plants or your lighting setup to ensure that there is equal distribution of light in your plants. If you are growing outdoors, put your plants in a sunnier spot that receives longer hours of sunlight.
If your plant is too close, you may simply lift the lights higher to 24 inches or more. This will greatly reduce the light strain and will give the plant a stimulus to stretch to get more light. It is important to know your particular cannabis plant species to calculate the best lighting intensity and distance for optimum growth. If you are growing outdoors, you may diffuse the lights by putting nets above them or putting them in a place that shall have fewer hours of sunlight by being in the shadows earlier in the day.
Plants are affected by the spectrum of light that they receive especially in the different stages of their lives. For healthy plants in the vegetative state, a cooler light which is bluer is better. Lights that are warmer is better for plants in their flowering stage.
Your type of lighting should have a proper balance with how much fertilizer you put in your plants. Intense lighting will make the plants consume nutrients faster while fluorescent lights which are less intense will make them require less. This will ensure that you do not put too much or too less of what the plant requires.
SEED QUALITY: Seed quality affects the growth of your auto-flowering plants. Old seeds take longer to germinate and they turn into seedlings longer too and this delay will affect the growth of the plant as they age naturally. This is solved by making sure that you only get good quality seeds from reputable seed sellers.
WATERING: Overwatering is one of the most common mistakes that growers could make. Too much water will suffocate the roots especially if you plant on soil or pot that does not have good drainage. If you have soil and pot that has good drainage, overwatering is still harmful because it will drain nutrients from the soil faster. It is always better to study your plants, soil and pot combination or even your hydroponic system in order to identify optimum ways of watering them.
NUTRIENT DEFICIENCY: Some growers make the mistake of thinking that they only need to apply fertilizer only once in the plant’s lifetime. Aside from nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, calcium is also an important mineral for the plants. Most commercial potting mixes will only be potent for 4 weeks and you may need to reapply fertilizers according to specifications. Too much fertilizer will negatively affect your plants too.
PH LEVEL: pH level is the acidity or alkalinity of your water and soil. Marijuana plant roots could only absorb nutrients when the soil and water have the proper pH level. The plant cannot take in any nutrient even if they are present in acidic or alkaline soil. The ideal pH balance is between 6.0 to 6.3 and could easily be checked by using pH paper, pH stick or pH testing solutions which are important trade tools that you must own as a grower.
So, having the proper pH balance in your soil and water is actually more important than putting in more additive nutrients.
TEMPERATURE: Autoflower marijuana plants plants are more sensitive to temperature because they are naturally adapted to colder climates. But keeping a temperature between 25-30 degrees Celsius for optimum growth just like the other marijuana plants is good. Temperatures lower than this may slow down metabolism while high temperatures will cause stress and even halt the plant growth.
By proper knowledge about your plant’s biology, you become knowledgeable of its traits that they naturally possess with regards to size, growth speed, and others. This will make you know if your plant is indeed growing slower than normal.
Once you have identified that autoflower marijuana plants are indeed growing slower than normal, you may check the different variables mentioned above that affect your plants’ growth in order to make necessary changes to reverse or mitigate its effects.