From the wild to our gardens
Autoflowering cannabis, also referred to as Ruderalis, is the smallest of the three cannabis species. Next to the well-known Indica and Sativa plants, Ruderalis is thought to have originated from wild Indica strains as well as from “escapees” from early cannabis plantations. The Ruderalis seed is mostly found in eastern and central Europe and central Asia where the environmental conditions are typically short and cool summers with long hours of daylight. Especially in the northern parts of Europe day light can last up to 24 hours and thus required a biological adaption from all plants in order to be able to spread their seeds successfully before winter. Within 8-10 weeks the naturally occurring Ruderalis was able to reach full maturity, even in the harshest climates.
The difference of the Ruderalis cannabis plant lies not only in its growing time, but also in its looks. A Ruderalis plant will only grow between 50 to 100cm of height and is less bushy than the rest of the cannabis species. Due to this, the yield of the Ruderalis was comparatively low and of little flavour. This description might shock the experienced Indica and Sativa grower for the first time, yet is to be expected. After all “Ruderalis” translated literally means “roadside” and characterises the plant for its looks like ditch weed.
However, the wild Ruderalis cannabis plant contains, unlike its famous cousins, little to no THC and was thus not of great interest to the cannabis scene. When you fast forward to today, plenty of autoflowering strains with THC up to 20 or 30% are easily available for every grower. So how did the wild Ruderalis from the side of the road make it to our gardens?
Since the 70s many attempts to crossbreed the Ruderalis strains with some of the best commercial strains in order to produce an autoflowering strain with greater THC content and higher yields have been made by the best breeders world-wide. After a slow start and a high failure rate the first successful crossbreeding of “Lowryder” was introduced to the market. Ever since then, different crossbreedings have taken advantage of the advantages derived from combining autoflowering properties with great genetics.
Why chose autoflowering cannabis?
When considering autoflowering cannabis strains, the most outstanding advantage is their ease of growing. Within 60 days a harvest-ready plant has developed from the seed. Furthermore, autoflowering strains do not require the typical 12/12 light set-up that other cannabis strains need in order to flower. Breeders with little room or no resources for two light setups can easily put all strains in the same room under the same light. Even plants in different growth stages, if they are autoflowering strains, can be put together as there is no difference in their set-up needed. Not only does this immensely reduce the time and effort that has to be put into the plants, but also simplifies the two room problem. As Ruderalis plants grow only up to 1m in height, the cannabis strains offer great potential for smaller spaces and stealth growing. Regardless of whether you are planning to grow the plants indoor or outdoor, autoflowering strains are easily placed and hidden.
Sadly, much as in life, there are also downsides to the autoflowering strain. As previously mentioned, the yield of an autoflowering cannabis strain is, compared to pure Sativa and Indica plants, much smaller. This means, that in order to achieve the same quantity, much more plants are required. This comes with the second downside to the autoflowering plant – although it can be cloned, the clone will be in the same growth stage as the mother plant and thus not have time to recover and effectively remove the option to continue a single strain on its own. One seed – one plant. That can be an important factor to consider when deciding whether to invest into autoflowering seeds or not, because the economical downside is that new seeds have to be purchased constantly in order to keep up the growth.
There are two possibilities to produce your own autoflowering cannabis seeds from your own plants, in order to keep the costs of reproduction low. In this way, breeder can produce their own seeds and continue to grow autoflowering plants. However, for the yield to be comparable to pure Indica or Sativa plants, more autoflowering strains have to be planted.
Happy Seeds offer a great variety of autoflowering plants! Some of our favorite plants are the Delicious Candy Auto, Happy Skunk Auto, Autopilot XXL, Critical Neville Haze Auto, Critical Jack Herer Auto