Autoflowering cannabis plants have a very short life cycle and they use all their power to develop buds and grow them as fast as possible. Some of these small marijuana plants can be ready to harvest in just 60 days so there is no room for any stress that would stunt them. Basically autoflower plants are best to start in their final pots and not to stress them and slow down their development in any way.
Transplanting autoflowering plants can stress them and stunt their growth by 1 to 7 days and if the plant only lives for 60 days then that means you can cut almost 10 % of its life time by just transplanting it.
Some autoflower growers transplant their plants and still get decent yields but if you would plant two exact seeds side by side and start one of these plants in a 2 gallon (7.4 liter) pot. But the other plant in a solo party cup and then transplant it later to the real pot then you could see that the transplanted plant would be smaller and would yield less.
If you have started your plant in a small container there is always a possibility of it getting root bound and that can also stress that plant so in this situation that you have started your grow at a small container and then are thinking about transplanting it don’t hesitate and transplant it to it’s final pot as soon as possible and hope it will recover quickly from that movement. But before planting any seeds in the soil you should always research autoflower pot sizes and what would be the best soils for autoflowers.
In general transplanting is bad but if you are growing day neutral cannabis in a micro-grow environment or have started them in smaller pots for sexing then you most defiantly can transplant them, but you have to be careful!
If you must transplant your autoflower plant then do it before the dark period (if you have one) and let the plant rest, gather strength and recover. Transplant your cannabis plant when the soil is dry and you can easily get it out of the pot. Dig a hole in the larger pot and put the plant gently in that hole and cover it up with soil. It is best not to dig it deeper than it was because it can develop some steam rot if the steam that was above the ground level is now in the moist soil.
You also need to use the same exact soil/soilless growing medium and pre-soak it before transplanting. If you do these steps right then the stress can be minimal and the plant can recover fast and continue growing at its full potential.
So this is how you need to transplant them:
- Wait for the soil to dry out a bit so it will be easier to remove the plant from its current container,
- If you have a dark period in your light cycle then transplant it just before it,
- Take the new pot and fill it half way with the same growing medium what you used in the first pot,
- If your autoflower plant grows in plastic container press the sides of the pot so that the soil detaches from the inner pot walls,
- Turn the pot upside down holding the soil with your palm, then juggling the pot slowly slide it off the growing medium,
- Then gently put the root mass inside the new pot and be careful not to touch the roots because it can harm your autoflower plant,
- Then fill rest of the container with your growing medium and do it by gently pressing the old root mass so all the root are in contact with the new growing medium,
- After the transplanting heavily water the new pot so every inch of your new growing medium is moist and roots can easily penetrate it,
- After the water has drained put the plant back in its growing environment and let it rest in the dark period if you have one, and if you don’t just let it grow!