Most people are familiar with Indica and Sativa cannabis strains and the different characteristics in the way that they grow and the kind of effect they have medicinally. Sativas grow tall and thin for longer periods of time (11-20+ weeks) and are usually characterized as having a more cerebral high, whilst Indicas have quite the opposite structure, being more squat or bushy and delivering more of a ‘body high’ when consumed. They only take about 8 weeks to flower and thus have been very useful for using in breeding projects to shorten the flowering times of usually longer finishing strains.
Ruderalis is a third, lesser known strain, which grows in areas that receive prolonged light periods and even sometimes even no darkness, such as high in the northern hemisphere. This just shows you how adept cannabis has been at surviving so many different climates and conditions on earth.
Ruderalis, which traditionally has had less of a medicinal or ‘drug’ value to it has since been hybridized with higher resin producing strains to produce a plant that flowers after its own set period of time, this is where the term “auto-flowering” has come from. Combining a shorter flowering time with high producing resin and shorter maturing flowering period’s suits a category of grower that doesn’t have to worry about timing, spacing or changing light cycles.
Thanks to the combining of auto genes with feminization, there are many people that have much more accessible and easy way to grow a single plant, with a much better chance of producing something usable.
Since the release of the first automatic seed, Lowryder by The Joint Doctor, many breeders have had their own attempts at creating auto strains based off his original creation. Previously they have had a reputation to be quite irregular and inconsistent from seed to seed, but a decade later and they are now proving to be a very viable option for even the more experienced grower.
From a small cupboard with an LED or T5 light, to a large tent SCROG (or even to put some outside to see if they really do finish between 60 and 100 days from seed to smoke) they are worth considering. Even if they aren’t great for you, they may be perfect for someone you know that is thinking about growing their own… finally!
Here are five of our recommended auto-flowering strains for 2014:
After a few years working on a collaboration, the man who brought the world the original LowRyder and the much loved Dutch Passion have produced this stunning addition to their catalogue. The cross has been achieved by using Dutch Passions mother Isis clone which they call a “premium sativa with a first class high” and crossing it with one of the best Indicas the Joint Doctor had to offer. Just as the StarRyder name indicates this one is a star to add to the collection. It has a great yield potential with the possibility to achieve up to 200 grams by the more experienced grower.
Using their own genetics, 00 Seeds have produced an auto strain that has some great Indica properties and a great, sweet, strawberry tainted aroma. Grows well indoors and in greenhouses and gives an effective yield in a sea of green only reaching medium heights. The more room the roots have, the bigger the plant will finish, taking around 60 days to ripen up. Suggested yield from this is 300-350 grams per square meter which is around 40grams per plant with 9 plants in a 1m space.
Critical Mass has been a popular strain for growers across Europe, and Dinafem’s own Critical +2.0 is proving to be so too. A sturdy growing plant with nicely formed flowers, great structure and more than acceptable resin production, it hardly disappoints in any given area and excels when kept in optimum conditions. It has denser and bigger buds than the previous version, and a yield that makes you want to keep it in your collection. The yield of the Critical +2.0 depends on the space it has to grow, starting off in the pot it will finish in is usually a good idea as these autos like to get their roots down fast and this will affect the overall quantity of the crop. Expect 100 grams in 100 days and up to 250 grams in hydro if you are used to the systems.
Caramel Cream as you can imagine has a mouthwatering taste, this strain leaves you far from having cotton mouth. Sweet and hashy tones with a dairy lick to it, the Caramel Cream certainly adds some variety to your garden and stash. This strain was created by crossing the Sweet Seeds feminised mother with the LowRyder genetics to achieve a really popular strain. Yields are average for an autoflowering strain but the quality of what is produced is as you would expect from any high grade cannabis seeds.
Released in 2013 the Joint Doctor has added what is being called “one of the fastest high yielding cannabis strains”. These are regular seeds but with the rewards of some very well-tailored genetic work, if you do have the space to sex they are worth it. They grow around a meter tall and once they have reached natural maturity they will start to flower, increasing in size about 5 times. Ogre comes from crossing Secret Citrus and Durban Skunk.