Transplant stress, the silent crippler of autoflowers

The magic of autoflowers is, they bloom, whether you’re ready or not.

That can make even mild transplant stress trigger stress reactions that are virtually impossible to undo, because autoflowers, like time and tide, wait for no root.

Exhibits one, two, and three. Autoflowers, blueberry flavor, sisters out of the same order.
All three germinated after soaking, sprouted without incident, looked great. Transplanted at sixteen days, and UH OH!, the soil was too dry, crumbly, and there was some mild root damage to two of the three.
Number one came through perfectly. Number two and three had mild damage, and lower leaves yellowed off soon afterward. Three was the worst, losing a couple lower leaves outright.

At 37 days above ground, nineteen days since transplant, number three is ahead of the others, showing white hairs and the beginnings of a stretch. Number one, the happy, healthy transplant, is a squat little bush that still seems the picture of health, and is at least a week behind the rough and tumble number three. Number two is in between, both in the stress effects immediately, and any residual effects now.
If my last grow is guide, the rough starting seedling stretched like crazy, but the squat bush brought the weight to the scale.

I should note, all three have only had some mild LST to stimulate secondaries, released at first signs of flower. That’s got all of them hobbled.