If you asked the cannabis community even five or six years ago if autoflowering strains were potent, a resounding response would have been no. But thanks to advancements in modern breeding trials, autoflowering cannabis strains now rival their sister photoperiod cultivars with impressive cannabinoid levels of both THC and CBD.
Breeders have been dabbling with auto-flowers for decades, crossing the tough Cannabis ruderalis plants with legendary photoperiod strains. Initial breeding attempts, however, produced less than desirable results due to ruderalis’ low THC profile. Recent developments in cannabis breeding programs, especially in the last few years, are changing the cannabis community’s opinion on the potency of autoflowering strains.
What are Autoflowering Strains and How Do They Differ from Photoperiod Strains?
Cannabis ruderalis are hardy, resilient plants that grow naturally, most often in extreme, aharsh environments. Native to Russia, central Europe, and Asia, ruderalis adapted to cold temperatures and short days to survive. The tough, stout plants developed resistances to disease, mould, and pests to endure their surroundings.
The life cycle of autoflowering cannabis strains is short, usually less than 100 days from planting seeds to harvest. Compared to photoperiod strains that can take several months to fully mature, autoflower cultivation is a quick process. This characteristic is appealing to cannabis growers who want perpetual harvests in a short amount of time or for the beginner desiring to learn how to grow cannabis.
Notably, the principal difference between autoflowering and photoperiod strains is light. Autos do not rely on changes in hours of light to progress from vegetative growth to the flowering stage. Their growth cycles are defined simply by time. Autoflowering strains have a short vegetative stage, usually two to four weeks, and then readily transform to the flowering stage.