How To Grow Sticky Beast Automatic Weed
4 min

How To Grow Sticky Beast Automatic Weed

4 min

When it comes to growing primo cannabis, there are more ways than one to end up with loads of supreme weed. Check out Top Shelf Grower's experience growing this strain, and learn from one of the best.


I used the “paper towel” germination method, and as usual, I had 4 beans crack within 48 hours. As soon as taproots emerged, I sowed them directly into 6l black square pots filled with a light soil mix—gently burying the seeds a few centimetres beneath the moist topsoil, pre-soaked in still mineral water.

Then, I switched my dimmable digital ballast to the lowest setting 250W output, screwed in my HPS bulb to the compact aluminium hood, and programmed my timer for a 20-4 light schedule. After another two days, all 4 Sticky Beast Automatic sprouts had poked through the soil and were standing tall.


With next-gen autos, it’s virtually impossible to delineate between the seedling stage and vegetative growth proper. My 4 Sticky Beast Automatics got off to an explosive start. Well, two did. By day 17, I had two very vigorous plants that were already 25cm tall, towering above two runts—one with more than a few gnarly leaf mutations. I couldn’t really afford to take casualties so early on in the grow. But I had two real monsters in the making on my hands, and they were going to need all available grow space.

I probably should mention that I converted my wardrobe into a grow-op for this crop and probably will, nope, definitely will give another super-auto strain a run in it. Don’t get me wrong, I usually grow my dope like a normal person in a grow tent, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Speaking of measurements, the dimensions of my wardrobe weed grow-op are about 50cm deep, 1.5m in height, and about the same width as it’s long and narrow. Just a typical wardrobe.

The bedroom window, which I open regularly while I smoke joints, is the only ventilation. A small desktop fan creates some breeze, and so long as I dial the ballast down to 250W, temperatures stay within 22–26°C and RH between 40–60%. Essentially, the only modification I made was to hang a reflector from the rail and put cannabis plants inside instead of clothes. But months later at time of writing, I still travel light. I own three pairs of everything, live close to the launderette, and believe it or not, I feel freer than ever.

Anyway, I wanted to prove a point to myself, and all of you good people. For my own selfish reasons, I needed to prove that I could grow great dope no matter what. At the same time, I wanted to show micro-growers and those still sitting on the fence wondering if it is a worthwhile commitment of the enormous potential of a low-cost, high-performance home-grow.

Getting back to the action. I culled the two sub-par sprouts and set to work pruning and training my two star performers. As I had two different phenotypes, I had an opportunity to implement quite a few techniques with awesome effect, if I do say so myself. Seriously, I was so stunned by how well both plants responded to LST that I grew bolder with my bending by the day. I even topped the bushier of the two to see how many more shoots I could encourage.

Using a combination of 30cm-long thin wooden sticks and soft plant ties, I flattened out the canopy time and time again. Daily repositioning of the reflector was required to maintain the optimal 30cm distance between plant tops and the grow lamp. “Acupuncture LST” continued non-stop for 8 days until two 40cm-tall bushes had developed. The biological clock of every autoflower is counting down to flowering, and on day 25, pistils were protruding from multiple sites on both plants.


Sticky Beast Automatic shifted into top gear at the onset of the bloom phase. It was weird to see flowers rapidly forming without the typical transition to a 12-12 light schedule. But that’s the beauty of autoflowering hybrids. This was definitely a hands-on grow, with my daily shoot-bending regime accelerating for the first 15 days of the flowering period. By day 40, both plants had doubled in size in every sense of the word. Not only were they twice as tall, nearing a metre in height, they were also twice as bushy, with an abundance of secondary shoots. To be more specific, I was bending more shoots than Yuri Gellar bent spoons back in the day.

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One phenotype was a little stretchy for my liking, with far wider internodal spacing and less branching, but still more comparable to a heavy indica than a ruderalis dwarf. The bushier phenotype resembled a super-charged Skunk bush, packing on the bud weight nicely. Everything was going so well, until it wasn’t. A calcium and magnesium deficiency struck around day 50 and blighted both plants until day 60. Swift diagnosis and a rapid response got the grow back on track, but for more than a week I was sure I had shot myself in the foot and poisoned both plants.

I kept my cool, flushed with pure water and adjusted my feeding schedule. Feed-water-feed-water proved to be most effective, and I should never have strayed from it. Also, I found 25% strength doses of Advanced Nutrients three-part base nutrients to be perfect for the veg stage, and incrementally worked up to 50% for the bloom phase. Tapering off the nitrogen didn’t work out, so I resumed doses of equal parts Grow, Micro, and Bloom to kick-start a second burst of budding.

By Day 68, a pair of resilient reefer road warriors stood a metre tall and the whole wardrobe was filled up with sticky buds. Although they were not the longest running of colas, a sea of small-to-medium-sized tight and frosty nugs had filled out the canopy. My desk fan, now propped up on a box resting on a chair, was keeping air flowing through the gooey green canopy. Sure, there were still quite a few yellow leaves from the cal/mag deficiency, but the bud was looking good. Besides, I was defoliating anyway. It was time to flush, again.

A week later on day 75, after a careful eyeball inspection of the flower tops, I knew it was time to harvest. The majority of the pistils had changed from white to orange/red. Sticky, neon-green nugs with a blanket of milky white trichomes were getting caught in my trimming scissors for the remainder of the evening. A musky “Roadkill” aroma would stink out my apartment for the next 10 days until I weighed up 147g of dry Sticky Beast Automatic buds and lit a spliff to celebrate and give the place its current righteous reek of reefer.

Luke Sumpter
Luke Sumpter
With a BSc (Hons) degree in Clinical Health Sciences and a passion for growing plants, Luke Sumpter has worked as a professional journalist and writer at the intersection of cannabis and science for the past 7 years.
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