The titan of auto-flowerers, Cream Mandarine XL Auto®

12-10-2015 - Seed bank

I grasp this opportunity to talk about the growing test I made with one of the latest strains launched on the market from the Sweet Seeds bank.

On the date of its 10th Anniversary, Sweet Seeds renewed its catalogue with new products and promotions and, for its most steadfast fans, they now present a new version of our beloved, large-sized and high-yielding Cream Mandarine® (strain SWS29) with great properties that made it popular among expert growers. I am talking about the new Cream Mandarine XL Auto® (strain SWS55).

It is a large, top-yielding, 4th generation auto-flowering strain produced by crossing selected individuals of Cream Mandarine Auto® and an elite clone of Súper Tai ’98 giving it interesting Sativa properties; size is bigger and smell is smooth and spicy with dried fruit aromas. Cream Mandarine Auto® brings a more Indica-like look and feel. Yield is high with flowers and resin having a sweet and fresh smell of citrus fruit with a prevailing tangerine hint.

Indoors, the plant yields 450-650 g/m2 9 weeks after germination and, in the final stage of its growth, reaches up to above 100 cm in height, a very promising prospective champion in many gardens.

Plant growing; a dedicated job.

Talking about plant growing I try to keep it as simple and clear as possible. The philosophy for my own crops, as a rule of the thumb, is “less means more” and this ideally applies to Cannabis growing. In the test I made, plants were grown indoors, in a growing tent with 2 fans, one of which acting as air inlet, plus a service stove to control temperature as the indoor temperature was very low.

The following parameters were used during the full growth cycle:


Light cycle: 20hs. ON- 4hs. OFF, for the full plant growth.
Light output: 1ª week/Growth: 200W CFL – flowering starting on day 10: 600W HPS.
Fan operation: 24hs. ON.
Temperature: 18º/26º (stove-controlled).
Number of plants: 9 plants in 1 m2 (3 plants in a pot of 20 litres, 6 plants in a pot of 10 litres).
Total growth time: 63 days.
Fertilisation: BioCanna + Magical.
Substrate: professional Canna earth.
Total weight for 9 plants: 620 g.
Maximum weight per plant: 128 g.

Water, a good substrate and an ideal climate, a recipe for success.

Germination is the most important part of the full growth cycle. Seeds need to be properly moisturised in advance. To do so, I place them in a pot with water at a constant temperature of 22ºC and a few drops of oxygenated water to keep the water medium in good condition and free of fungi. After 28 hours, all seeds become hydrated and swell; more than 50% have root tips visible when shell is removed. I wait 36 hours for all seeds to germinate, after which I plant them directly into their final pots.

With an auto-flowering strain, I recommend using the final pot since the beginning, because these fast-growing plants can fill the substrate with their roots in record time during the first few weeks. If you limit root growth at this stage, yield will also be depleted. It is better to use a medium-to-large sized pot, which will make your life easier and, more importantly, avoid unnecessary or untimely transplanting.

I place germinated seeds into 6 pots of 10 litres and 3 pots of 20 litres with 200W CFL up to the growth of the first proper leaves. With good initial watering by water that has been let sit with half a dose of root bio-stimulant, I saturate part of the substrate with a sufficient quantity for the first 10 days of the lifecycle.

Week 1: Plants are moved to the flowering room with sodium light and start to develop side branches with very short internodal distance. The combined effect of light output and the lush growth of Cream Mandarine XL Auto® is such that watering sessions will have to be every 4 days in the following 2 weeks. I do not fertilise water, except for half a dose of root bio-stimulant.

Week 4: Plants reach a height of 75cm and the beginning of flowering is already visible. Structure is highly branched, with strong shoots and thick foliage. I water every 3 days and then I add 1 full dose of flower bio-stimulant and keep the root bio-stimulant at 1/2 dose.

Week 6: Plants cease to grow and cover the full space. Flowers are highly developed, all with white pistils. In a few plants it was necessary to add a little bit of Cal/Mag given their high consumption. Earth kept the plant perfectly stout and fertilised, but from this time onwards it was appropriate to add flowering fertiliser to meet the demand of these nutrients. The diet I keep is based on 1/2 dose of organic flowering fertiliser and root bio-stimulants, and 1 dose of flower bio-stimulant. Using catalytic enzymes on a weekly basis is also of great help to keep the substrate healthy.

Week 9: Ripe, highly resinous buds are visible and pervade the room with a strong fruity smell. This is the right time to harvest plants, only after washing roots copiously.

Why should you do that? Because it improves taste a lot, alleviating the essential characteristics of each strain with subtler tones and more intense smells and tastes and, more importantly, because it is much healthier, as fertilisers tend to cause the accumulation of mineral salts in the earth after continuous watering cycles that are quite harmful for plant health. In addition the final effect is much neat and more optimistic and ‘medicinal’. There are products making washing more effective. Do not use these supplements sparingly as they are crucial for your health and for the final use of your sweet harvested plants.

A last tip. Tasting.

When a plant is properly grown and its earth has been timely washed, the final stage of its lifecycle will be marked by a very distinct leaf colour which also characterises its full lifecycle. Leaves take on a bright green, orangey or purple colour and, more importantly, lose their shininess.

If your plant is dark green and shiny, and is already ripe, next time you will have to use a less concentrated fertiliser in reduced dose, or you should start to wash the substrate before. This Cream Mandarine XL Auto® has already consumed its nutrients and is ready to be harvested.

I will give you a last tip on tasting: at first sight, buds are hard and highly resinous, and spread a particularly sweet, overwhelming citrus fruit smell with exotic hints calling to mind tangerine. Very soft and tasty to the mouth, it becomes more perceptible when you blow smoke out of your nose. This effect is even higher if you use a vaporiser. Mental high is strong without being excessive, ideal for creative tasks or social relationships. One of the greatest plants I have ever had in my garden. Thanks for reading and enjoy your smoking!

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