How Much Weed Can You Really Produce Per Plant?
Wondering how much weed you can produce per cannabis plant? Here’s everything you need to know about the variables affecting your yield.
Cannabis growers love to boast about huge harvests, but just how much weed can inexperienced growers expect to harvest from a single plant? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at cannabis yield and what influences it, and much more.
- 1. Light and nutrients
- 2. Genetics
- 3. Medium
- 4. Indoor VS outdoor
- 5. Skill
- 6. How to estimate yield
- 7. How to improve your cannabis yield: quick tips
- 1. Light and nutrients
- 2. Genetics
- 3. Medium
- 4. Indoor VS outdoor
- 5. Skill
- 6. How to estimate yield
- 7. How to improve your cannabis yield: quick tips
YIELDS VARY… A LOT
If there’s one thing that’s certain about growing cannabis, it’s this: results vary. A lot. There are many different variables that affect your plants, their health, growth, and the amount of flower they produce. And frankly, trying to guess the size of your yield before harvest is really difficult.
Most rookie growers estimate their yield based on the height of their plants. And that makes sense—at least in theory. Unfortunately, plant size isn’t a very accurate indicator of final yield. In fact, it’s really hard to estimate the size of your yield just by looking at a single aspect of your plant (like height, for example).
Cannabis buds develop on what growers refer to as “bud sites”. These are the spots on branches where pre-flower structures form roughly 4–6 weeks into a plant’s life cycle. Once a plant enters its flowering phase, it stops dedicating its energy to developing foliage, instead focusing on producing healthy buds on these sites. How big and dense these buds become depends on a lot of different variables, including light, nutrients, genetics, substrate, and more. The size of a plant, on the other hand, says little about how many bud sites it will develop, or how big/dense its buds will be come harvest.
LIGHT AND NUTRIENTS
Light is arguably one of the most important factors affecting your yield. To maximise output, you should maximise light exposure to your plant early on by using training techniques to manipulate growth. One popular training technique is low stress training (LST), which involves bending and tying down branches to optimise light exposure and encourage a more horizontal structure. The screen of green (ScrOG) method takes this further, situating a mesh screen over plants, upon which new growth is woven in an effort to boost final yield. There are many more techniques where these came from, including high-stress tek like topping (in which the main growing tip is cut off) and defoliation, to name just a couple.
Nutrients are also really important, and you’ll want to make sure your plants always have access to the macronutrients and micronutrients they need at each stage of growth. When it comes to nutes, your plants require different ratios depending on their phase. During veg, plants require higher levels of nitrogen, whereas flowering plants require more potassium, phosphorus, and micronutrients like calcium and magnesium. In addition to the nutrients themselves, plants need to be able to uptake these nutrients to develop huge hauls of big buds. In order to do so, the pH level has to be dialled in for the type of grow you’re conducting.
Arguably the most crucial factor that determines final yield are genetics. And just like there are some strains that taste better than others, there are also those that produce better harvests than others.
Remember that cannabis strains have been bred to meet the demands of growers and consumers. And with yield being so important, there are countless strains out there that have been purposefully bred to produce numerous bud sites and develop bigger, heavier flowers. Make sure to check out some of our XL strains if you’re looking to really rake in the buds.
There are many different grow media out there, and they all have different effects on the overall yield of your plants.
While soil is easily the most common medium used to grow cannabis, hydroponic media like perlite or coco coir give growers a lot more control over the nutrient intake of their plants. And while that kind of control may be overwhelming for rookie growers, experienced growers can use it to really push their plants to the next level and produce massive yields.
INDOOR VS OUTDOOR
Whether you grow indoors or outdoors will have a big impact on your plants.
Indoor growers generally have less space to work with, which means they’ll usually grow fewer, smaller plants than someone growing outdoors. However, indoor growers also have much more control over their plants’ environment. Hence, they can play around with things like lighting, temperature, and humidity to fine-tune their growing conditions and optimise yield.
Outdoor growers, on the other hand, usually have much more space to work with than indoor growers, meaning they’ll be able to grow more plants in a single season than indoor growers. Plus, outdoor growers also have the benefit of growing under the best possible light source in the world—the sun. However, outdoor growers don’t have the same level of control over their environment, meaning their yield is subject to the season, which, depending on where you live, may be unpredictable.
This is another important factor that affects your overall yield. The more fine-tuned your skills, the more control you have over your plants. And the more control you have over your plants, the better your yield.
HOW TO ESTIMATE YIELD
While yields vary a lot, there are some ways you can get at least a rough estimate of how much weed you’ll produce.
ESTIMATING YIELD BASED ON POT SIZE
Remember that cannabis plants will only grow as large as their pots allow them to. And while size is, as we saw earlier, far from the perfect indicator of how much you’ll harvest, it can help you get a ballpark estimate of what your harvests will look like.
Ideally, you’ll want to grow in at least 18-litre pots. With this amount of soil, some decent nutrients, and some light pruning/training, you should be able to grow large, healthy plants that reach at least 90cm in height. Given they get a full 4–5 weeks of vegetative growth and solid lighting that penetrates right through to the lowest bud sites, plants of this size should be able to produce at least 100g of dry bud per plant.
ESTIMATING YIELD BASED ON LIGHTING
Some growers choose to estimate their yield based on the strength of their lamps. And while this is far from an exact science, it can be a bit more accurate than calculating your yield per plant, especially if you choose to grow multiple smaller plants, rather than just a few larger ones.
If you’re growing indoors and have at least a few harvests under your belt, you can expect to harvest roughly one gram for every watt of light. If you’re a newbie grower with little-to-no experience, expect yields of around 0.5g per watt.
GO HYDRO FOR BIGGER YIELDS
Growing hydroponically gives you a lot more control over how your plants feed. With the right equipment and experience, this can greatly improve the size and quality of your yield. Experienced hydro growers, for example, can encourage yields of up to 1.2g per watt of lighting. By this logic—and using a 600W lamp—a good hydro grower can harvest over 700 grams of bud (genetics depending)!
A NOTE ON DRY VS WET YIELD
Remember, the weight of your buds will drop dramatically after drying and curing. So don’t get too excited when you weigh your buds right after trimming. Instead, multiply your wet yield by 0.25 to get a rough estimate of how much dry bud you’ll end up with.
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR CANNABIS YIELD: QUICK TIPS FOR GROWERS
Growing cannabis can be challenging, but there are plenty of things you can do to improve your yield as a novice grower. These include:
• Start with the right genetics. Professionally bred strains will always produce better yields than bagseed.
• Read up on training techniques. Training your plants to grow a certain way maximises their exposure to light, which will ultimately improve your yield.
• Know your nutrients. Use the info on our blog to learn more about how to use nutrients to really maximise your plants’ potential.
• Experiment. Don’t be scared to try new grow techniques and push yourself as a grower.
• Go hydro! Once you’ve got a few harvests under your belt, consider immersing yourself in the world of hydroponics, where you’ll have even more control over your plants and their growth.
• Keep growing! The more experience you have, the better you’ll get. Hence, make sure you grow consistently to hone your skills and become evermore in tune with cannabis.
Cannabis yields vary. A lot. Click here to learn more about the factors affecting your yield, and some simple tips for heavier harvests.
How Much Do Autoflowering Cannabis Plants Yield?
There are several reasons a person may wish to grow autoflowering Cannabis at home, whether it be for taste, effect, medicinal value, or yield. The amount an autoflower can produce will be the difference between how full your curing jars get, and how successful you are as a grower.
Autoflowers can yield from 50-250g, but that can be affected by genetics, conditions, and nutrients, our top tips will help you get the most out of your autos!
1. What Does “Yield” Mean?
Yield refers to the estimated amount of buds produced and can be measured as dry or wet weight but after you’ve harvested, trimmed, and dry your cannabis plants, that is the final amount of dried buds and the official yield.
You will notice that seed banks will often display the yield in a square meter scenario, as opposed to the dried weight per plant. Not only can a figure such as “450-550gr/m2” be misleading, but there are also many variables that will play a factor in the outcome of this value.
If you’re wondering how to maximize autoflower yields, read along and improve your yields with our tips!
2. Factors To Consider
When growing autoflowering cultivars outdoors, the climate plays a massive role in the outcome of your yield.
Outdoor growers depend on the seasons to be able to get good yields from autoflowers, this happens because cannabis plants depend on the right temperature, humidity, and sunlight to thrive, and this will reflect on the quality and quantity of the buds you’ll harvest.
People who live in hot sunny climates will be able to grow autos all year long, with excellent results but those who experience shorter summers with a cold Winter may not harvest as much as someone in a tropical climate, however, they can expect to grow multiple times per year with superb results.
Now, when growing indoors you don’t have to worry that much about the conditions because you are responsible for controlling every single aspect of the growing conditions, this can be a good thing for more experienced growers but if you’re new to growing indoors, it can be quite tricky if you don’t have access or can’t afford the right equipment.
First half of vegetative
Second half of vegetative
First-half of flowering
Second half of flowering
As you may know, cannabis plants need certain conditions in each stage of growth, but as a general guideline, you should keep the temperature between 18-24°C and the humidity should be kept around 70% in the vegetative stage, gradually lowering it until you reach 60% near the pre-flowering stage.
Then, when your plants are starting to form the buds, the humidity should be around 50%, reaching 40-45% at the end of the flowering stage.
Not everyone has the luxury of growing in a meter square grow space, and some must resort to a small, discreet plant count that can be kept on a balcony, terrace, or back garden.
Depending on where you’re growing your cannabis plants, you will have to choose either a bigger or a smaller pot and this will end up affecting how big your plants grow, and consequently, the yields.
For example, if you are growing large-sized plants in 10-12 liter-sized pots, you will be able to harvest 50-150g per plant as long as the conditions are optimum, so if you prefer smaller plants and use smaller pots, the yields will be decreased.
- There is no need to grow autos in pots bigger than 12 liters.
- Sea of Green requires a smaller pot size of 5-7.5 liters.
- Planting directly into the ground is also a good option.
Supplementing your autoflowering plants with a rich source of N-P-K (macronutrients) and trace elements (micronutrients) is certainly one way to enhance production. Investing in organic nutrients or a complete living soil will be advantageous, as long as you maintain the ideal watering ratio.
This is because organic nutrients work different from synthetic nutrients.
Organic feeding consists of maintaining a good soil with beneficial microorganisms that form a symbiotic relationship with your cannabis plant, this way the fungi feed on the sugars produced by plants while they break down nutrients and retain water in the rhizosphere which makes it easier for your plant to absorb nutrients and hydrate.
On the other side, synthetic nutrients consist of feeding the roots directly, this means that you don’t have to maintain a healthy soil because synthetic nutrients can actually kill the microorganisms present, so despite being easier to feed synthetic, it’s easier to overfeed and end up burning your plants.
If feeding with synthetic nutrients, then follow the recommended guidelines when making your nutrient solution.
- You will want to feed your autos only plain water for the final 2 weeks, to allow the plants to flush.
- Some cultivars will be able to uptake higher amounts of a nutrient solution than others.
Another thing that will affect your yield is the number of plants you have in your grow space, you have the option to grow a few large-sized plants, or many smaller ones packed together in a Sea of green, each have their own advantages and disadvantages.
For example, if you’re growing in a 1m2 grow space you will have to choose between making the most of just one or two big plants or grow up to 6 smaller plants, this is up to you, obviously.
It is always a good idea to know in advance if you can grow a Sea of Green, SCRoG, or prefer to let your plants grow naturally.
Sea of Green
If you are choosing to grow many small plants packed closely together, then make sure the cultivar is well suited for that setup. You want to go for shorter plants that grow relatively homogeneous, this way you can fit in between 6-10 plants in a meter square, planting in 5-7.5 liter pots.
When growing in a SCRoG setup, you can go for whatever you want, obviously, you won’t be able to for 20 plants in 1m2 but because this technique consists of shaping your plants into a dense canopy, you can get away with growing from 2-5 plants in 7-10 liter pots. As long as you’re filling your SCRoG net properly, you’ll get a nice dense canopy and great results.
For some, it can be more practical to grow 1-3 bigger-sized plants, and for this, we recommend using a pot size between 10-15 liters to allow your plants to grow to their maximum, reaching up to 150cm in some cases.
When it comes to autoflowering cultivars, it is best to apply certain training techniques to different cultivars. This will encourage a much bigger and more productive harvest, exposing the plants to more direct light and increasing yields further.
We only recommend plant training if you can benefit from that or if you’ve had experience before because you can end up stressing your plants and that will have the opposite results, less plant growth, and lower yields.
There are two types of plant training, LST and HST, both of them serve growers to help modify and shape the structure of a plant to either make the most out of the light fixture or control the size of the plants if you have a limited grow space.
Low-stress training (LST) basically consists of bending or tying down the branches without mutilating the plants, as the name says, it’s less likely to stress your plants when compared to HST and it’s what its usually recommended for autoflowers but you can get away with HST if you know what you’re doing, have in mind that LST requires patience and more work when compared to HST because you are shaping your plants gently day by day.
High-stress training (HST) consists of mutilating your cannabis plants, either by topping, defoliating, or fimming, you will have the same results as when performing LST but you will have less work because once you’ve cut a part of your plant, the work is done.
- Low-stress training means to tie the highest parts of the plant down, to create an even-growing canopy of large-sized buds.
- It is best to avoid any type of plant training after your plants have started flowering.
- Using a SCROG setup can increase yield and allow for a much more efficient growing space.
If you’re a home grower and want to make the most out of each seed or if you’re a commercial grower and you prefer production before anything else, then finding the best genetics to aid in this job will give you the upper hand, obviously, growing the highest yielding autoflower is the way to go but there are basic things you should know.
There is a wide range of Indica and Sativa characteristics in hybrid autoflowering strains, with some being more rewarding than others when it comes to yield.
Now, don’t think that Sativa-dominant hybrids always yield more than Indica-dominant, even though Sativas grow more and consequently yield more, Indicas produce denser buds that, even though it might seem they produce less, they can end up weighing more.
So have in mind that although you should choose your genetics based on how much they yield (if you’re looking for high yields) you should choose a strain that better suits your growing style and your growing conditions.
Always keep in mind:
- Some cultivars may take longer to flower and yield more than others.
- Certain strains are better suited for cold and others for hot climates.
3. Our highest yielding autoflowers
Gorilla Cookies Auto
Gorilla Cookies is not only a high-yielder but also a truly powerful strain, resulting from the cross between two resistant strains, you’ll be amazed by the quantity and quality of this great genetics which grows around 100cm and can produce up to 600gr/m2.
This plant grows quite compact and bushy, similar to Indicas but it actually is a fine-balanced hybrid that offers the best of both worlds, you can expect really dense buds with a beautiful color mix and a thick layer of resin that makes the buds shine from afar.
How to best the best yields and tips and tricks to improve your yields with autoflowers!