How to purposefully grow smaller autos?

I know this will be an odd question to some, but I genuinely would like to grow smaller autos going forward in my current setup. I grow in organic soil in a 2x4’ and would like to run 4 plants at a time but I am continuing to run out of space even with pruning, and I also fight airflow issues and humidity due to environment, every time now. I am down to 3 plants in my current grow and I would much rather have 4 small plants with lots of airflow:

I grow in a recreational state with a medical recommendation, and I really just want to grow multiple plants for strain variety; otherwise, I would just grow 1 or 2 plants and let them fill the tent.

The best I can come up with is purposely transplanting at 2-3 weeks, and hope that stunts them a little. I currently tend to pop seeds in a shot-glass or using the paper-towel method, and plant seeds in their final pots (usually 3.5g<5g).

Thoughts on whether transplanting after a few weeks would consistently help keep them small…or any other recommendations?


Not sure on your usage amounts, but could you just grow 2 at a time, and rotate the crop with the other 2?

Might take a few rotations to get a supply, but could you get a stock of all 4 that way?


What is the objective for running e plants? Yield? You are likely to get better yeild froim 2 plants properly mnaged in a 2x4. Four plants is just too many and yield will suffer


I was just reading about Marijuana Bonsai. It appears they use a small pot, and trim and train them to keep them small.


No concerns with yield, an ounce or two a plant should be fine…the last two plants I harvested were over 4 ounces each, and I don’t need half a pound a cycle. I would rather have 4 different plants each time and have up to 8 strains or more to choose from each day.


I know smaller pots would definitely help; but I don’t feed at all (only tap water) so they need a decent amount of good soil to finish, and I think I’ve finally gotten effective watering down to a small amount of time with some new things this grow.


Well, break out the scissors I guess. No reason you couldn’t chop a bunch of those branches out of those plants in the pic. You have 8 square feet. Fill it how you deem fit, and chop out all the rest.


I don’t mind low yields, I just don’t want to cause hermies from stress by butchering them, or any other serious repercussion of cutting off too much; but that is ironic…I did a significant pruning today to try to keep airflow good with my humidity issues:


Grow in a 3 gallon pot only 2/3 full of miracle grow. Don’t do any training. No nutes. Tend to it only on weekends, sometimes not seeing the plant for 3 weeks. You’ll get a nice short 11” plant. :grin:


Do 12/12 lighting and smaller pots.


I think you would have better luck with photos and flipping the light early rather than autos then there’s no guarantees with that either. Check out @MattyBear grow journal he grows on a 12/12 light cycle from seed and achieves what your looking to do. Happy Growing


Ya i started out 2x4x72 then had so many plants had to get a 39x39x72tent with another light and then a 32x32x71 and another light…it gets out of control quick.


I normally get 3/4 to 1 1/4 of dried and trimmed flower: 1 or 2 gal pot, good soil, only one feeding during veg (usually just worm castings amended), short veg time, and top after the 4th or 5th node. I am usually a one and done smoker, so my stuff lasts a long time. Good luck and enjoy.

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Sorry, you are growing autos, duh. Try short pots and maybe just 15 hours of light, instead of 18.

Agree with above recommendations. I have been doing a serial grow for strain testing for the last year. I have kept most of the plants in one quart pots, they stay small. Heck, I’ve done full grows on multiple occassions and the plant never leaves the solo cup I start it in. Another good strain for small plants is Lowryder, never had one get bigger than 19" tall but makes some fire bud.
You can also do the same LST/HST on autos, but there are better experts than I out there for putting the autos through this process.
Good luck!


Hey Girl been doing your molasses thing…



Switch from autos to photos and you can control it all…


Smaller pots and alot more defoliation.
For example, the 3 plants you have in the tent now.
If you gave them a really good defoliation, you would be surprised at how much more room they have then it appears at the moment as well as greatly increase air flow :+1:


I have yet to grow a plant taller than 24 inches - mostly autos. It hasn’t been intentional but my common themes have been - early LST, I have done it with very young plants. Tie down the branches that develop after that. Topping helps too.

My yields have ranged from 2 - 8 oz on those shorties. I raised 4 in a 3x3 two grows ago so it’s doable. I stagger planted a bit since I had a few seeds not pop.

It was a bit of a challenge but I got a pound od bud out of it.


I really appreciate everyone’s input and feedback, thank you…to clarify a couple things for suggestions that keep coming up:

  • Smaller pots - The two main reasons against this are that I grow in soil and don’t feed, so amount of soil becomes important to quality at some point; and related but almost more important is that I am using GroBuckets now and it simplifies things and saves me several hours a week watering compared to prior grows.
  • 12/12 vs my current 18/6 - My understanding is that if I provide the proper PPFD/DLI in each scenario, the growth would be the same either way.
  • Photos instead - Legitimate option, but I had a tent with multiple strains produce lots of feminized autoflower seeds, so it would seem wasteful to not try and use them for a while if possible.

Here’s a picture of the tent when there were still 4 in it about 3 weeks ago; so given my situation, what would you have done at the time to keep everyone small in my environment?

Based on what I’ve gotten out of searching old threads, I’m thinking maybe topping and removing the first two nodes might have been helpful, but I’m open to any more input or different ideas folks might have: