Topping Problem

Hey! I have a really important question.

So, my girl was topped about a week ago. When I went to cut, I bumped into the side nodes that would eventually form my 2 new tops. This caused the SECOND set of fan leaves on one side to come out missing a fan leaf and a node.

Since I figured that part was going to cause so many issues, I went ahead and topped my 2 new tops(which are about 3 inches tall) right above their first node. I know that’s very wrong but I figured it was going to be much worse to have a plant that grew huge on one side and small on the others. I just need to know if I’m alright!

Thank you much!


Hi Zach,

Great question.

I honestly think you are good with the topping you have done with your plant so far. Granted, you don’t want to cut a node in half because it can cause an air embolism in the plant stem and cause the stem to die back to the main stock.

But if the section of stem that the node was cut has not died back then you are good to go. You can keep on topping and shaping your plant for flowering. It happens to the best of us.

I would love to hear how the plant grows.  Cheers,

Dr. Grow

I’m Losing Seeds

I’ve purchased The Growing Autoflowers book I’m confused about the fertilizer dosages of 20-20-20. In all of my other readings the dosages are sooooo much lower such as 3-0-0 of liquid nutrients. As well as stating to reduce even that amount by 3/4. I’m afraid to use that high dosage do to the fact I’m losing so many seeds. Anything that you can tell me will be greatly appreciated.

— Susan

Hi Susan,

Thank you for your question.

We aren’t hard and fast on the fertilizer ratios, as a lot depends on your soil and other growing conditions.  AutoFlowers don’t need a lot of fertilizer, but they do need some.  That’s why we recommend only using a quarter of what your fertilizer bottle says to use.

If using good soil and good (not hard) water, we have seen good success with 20-20-20, but we recommend only using a quarter of the recommended amount on the bottle.  We have also seen good results with 18-10-10 (again, using a quarter of the recommended dosage on the bottle.)

Since you have been losing seeds, it could be due to your water and/or soil.  If the pH is off, or if the water is hard, it could cause your seeds not to grow.  It also could be the seeds themselves.

We have a few questions to see if we can help you:

1.  What type of soil are you using?  Does it already have nutrients added?  Is it organic?

2.  If starting with rock wool, have you been correcting the pH first?

3.  Do you have hard water?

4.  Have you checked the pH of your soil and water?

5.  If using tap water, do you allow your water to sit out for 24 hours to release the chlorine before watering you plants with it?

6.  Are you leaving excess water in the drainage trays after watering or are you pouring that excess water off?

7.  Are you allowing the soil to dry a little between waterings or are you keeping it saturated?

8.  Are your seeds from a good reliable source, or from a friend?

9.  Have you been able to successfully grow any of your seeds yet?

If you can answer these questions, maybe we can help you figure out why you are losing seeds.  No guarantee, but we’ll be glad to give more information that might help you.


Dr. Grow

Lighting Question

I am growing AutoFlowers using your book.

The seeds soaked 17 hrs then put straight to soil have sprouted in 3 days time.

What lighting is required? I currently have 13watt/60 equiv, 40 watt/150 equiv, and a T5 fixture amounting to 110 florescent watts. Right now I have a 13 watter a couple of inches above each seedling.

I think this is your suggestion? If this is fine what would be the next graduated lighting step?

— Maximum Bob

Hey Maximum Bob,

Glad to know your seeds sprouted well.

How much light you need depends on the size of your grow area. The size of your grow area also dictates how many plants you can grow in one space. Since I don’t know the size of your grow area (square feet and space dimensions), how much reflectivity is in the space, or how many plants you have, it’s hard to be very specific, but I can give some general guidelines.

The 26 watt (100 watt equivalent) CFLs put out the most lumens per watt in the CFL family. The T5s have a VERY good lumens per watt ratio, also. Since you said yours is 110 watts equivalent, I am assuming it has two tube lights in it. Is that correct?

Right now, with the light very close to the seedlings, you can probably get away with your 13w equivalent CFL for another week, as long as you leave it on 24 hours per day.

As the plants get bigger and start to take up more room in the area, you will want more light.

If you are limited to the bulbs you described, I would suggest using BOTH the 40 watt equivalent CFL AND the T5 to light your plants as they get bigger. If you keep them 6 – 12 inches above the plants. You may have to adjust their height daily, depending on how close you keep the lights to the plants.

If you have the money to buy more lighting, we would suggest getting any of the following:

1. Multiple 26w CFLs to hang above your plants.

2. A T5 fixture that holds 6 of the 4 foot 54w bulbs to hang above your plants.

3. A couple of 65w (300-350 equivalent) or 85w (400 equivalent) CFLs to hang above your plants.

It’s good to have lots of reflectivity in your grow area. Fairly close walls that are painted a bright white helps, as does a reflective hood.

Hope this helps.


Dr. Grow