1st Autoflower I have ever grown. This thing is amazing. Back in the day when I would do a small grow autos were not very impressive. So I never gave them a chance. I stopped growing because I started traveling with my job. I have stopped traveling after 18 years and needed another hobby and education (lol) so I decided to start with an autoflower. Damn they have changed. I did not get the time to spend studying and seeing fast results with the photoperiods because of having a job and the 12 and 12 light cycle. With Autos you have a longer window to observe. I thought that the plant would have grown faster in the beginning because I had no Idea about the growth once she started flowering. Freaking steroids . When she preflowers she took longer to start actually flowering than I thought as well. lol When she started to actually flower once again here came the steroids. I laughed at my self for thinking about how big the buds would turn out to be midway through flowering. Damn another I was wrong. uggghhhh. The buds are currently still swelling but slowly now. Watching this thing was totally worth while. Never a dull moment. I learned more here than I did at high school biology class. (probably because I was stoned and only worried about anatomy . lol)
For me they are better suited for outside because I have a short season, the down side is if someone sees a pot plant in late flower in July they will know your an auto grower. Its like riding a Honda, feels ok until someone see's you riding it.
Hmmm,not one of my auto's ever had buds at there base near the media. When I prune my plants it's is leaves and small immature branches. I think the only time I have had that happen was when I would reveg a photo I really liked to take a clone or just to let her go again. I gotta tell you that I was a sceptic also because I am a lifetime smoker and do have a high tolerance. So far all that have finished have been great smoke. Don't get me wrong, not all were perfect. The Zkittles I'm growing now from Fastbuds is the fist of three beans that's done anything. The first was a mutant that never got over 12 inches tall. The second try was a dud and now this last girl is huge and hopefully is as good as she looks. Also a White Widow from Dutch Passion was a lanky huge bitch that never did finish. I chopped her at 117 day and she was nothing but pistols everywhere. Other than that so far so good.
Just my experience.
Good luck with your first auto brother, there speed of growth is amazing some times. Remember they are growing fast and it's easy to get nutrient deficiencies.