Auto-flowering marijuana plants evolved in order to thrive in areas where there is less sunlight. They are able to naturally survive in Central Europe and Eastern Europe and Russia which are known for frigid climates almost the whole year.
Breeders have found this desirable trait as advantageous but Cannabis Ruderalis is low on THC and so they bred the Cannabis Ruderalis species with the Sativa and Indica varieties to create strains with higher THC. Cannabis Ruderalis is known to have more CBD content overall.
Cannabis ruderalis was first studied and described by Russian botanist D. E. Janischewsky in 1924 in Southern Siberia. The term ruderalis is derived from a Latin word meaning rubble, lump, or rough piece of bronze. Cannabis Ruderalis is traditionally used in Russian and Mongolian folk medicine, especially for uses in treating depression. In addition to this, due to the typically higher concentration of cannabidiol or CBD, ruderalis plants are valuable for patients looking to treat anxiety, epilepsy, sclerosis, loss of appetite and as cancer treatment.
Auto-flowering marijuana strains got popular among growers due to its fast harvest time or about 7 weeks more or less. It also grows smaller than most plant that will prove useful for small growers. However, despite these desirable traits, auto-flowering marijuana plants have some problems that you need to understand before choosing to cultivate this in your garden or indoor growing area.
SMALLER PLANTS: Auto-flowering plants which are genetically related to Ruderalis family are smaller than the other Sativa or Indica dominant varieties. These plants have thin, slightly fibrous stems with little branching. They rarely grow more than two feet.
This could be seen as an advantage for the auto-flowering plants since smaller plants mean that you could have more plant in your limited indoor growing space. Being short also makes stealth growing possible where a grower may try and grow a single plant out of sight of the law where marijuana is illegal.
But the smaller size of auto-flowering marijuana plants could be a problem too. Smaller auto-flowering plants yield fewer buds because there is only enough space on each plant for buds to grow. Being small would mean a lot less yield per square meter of crop.
LONGER LIGHT CYCLES: Regular marijuana plants’ maturing from the vegetative state to the flowering state is triggered by lowering the light cycle from 18 hours to 12 hours. But auto-flowering plants need the same 18-hour light cycles in their flowering stage. This means that lights should run longer on indoor spaces even during the flowering stage, thus pushing the electricity consumption in this stage up to 50 percent more.
Running electricity for longer hours would also mean that indoor temperatures are also raised. This is to be countered with more ventilation or watering perhaps which will cost you more on your electricity bill. This problem could be magnified if you are in cultivating in a hot climate. Needing to run lights for longer periods of time will also expose you to the risk of having power failures just when you needed lights the most.
LOWER POTENCY: Regular marijuana strains have different THC and CBD potencies and it is known that some contain as much as 21 percent of either ingredient. But since the auto-flowering marijuana plants are derived from the Ruderalis family of plants, they naturally contain lesser THC than the Sativa or Indica varieties even after breeding that made hybrids between the Ruderalis and other marijuana plants possible.
This will pose a challenge as many marijuana users use marijuana for recreational purposes to achieve the signature ‘high’ that could only be the result of marijuana.
USE OF PLANT GROWTH REGULATORS: Auto-flowering marijuana plants are known to require some plant growth regulators or PRGs in order to regulate its development. PRGs come as naturally-derived or chemically-derived. Chemically-derived PRGs are known to be carcinogenic but the naturally-derived ones are neutral and harmless according to the US-EPA.
ONE POT RULE: Cannabis Ruderalis are reported to be more fragile than most marijuana plants. Therefore, it is discouraged that seedlings are transferred to a larger pot in order to grow into vegetative stage.
Transferring plants to bigger pots often subject the plant to what is called as root trauma or root damage. The roots of seedlings are very thin and fragile that the tiniest pressure will pull them off. This process sometimes exposes the plants to diseases and bugs. These will affect the auto-flowering plants more than any other plant.
Due to this, you will need to have your seed grow in a big pot from the beginning in order to accommodate future growth. This will be a problem in space management as seedlings often require very small pots and occupy very small spaces but having to plant a seed in a big pot from the beginning would truly be challenging especially for indoor growers.
Each cannabis strain naturally possesses desirable and undesirable traits and your choice of which variety to cultivate depend upon your preferences and other factors in your garden or indoor growing area. These disadvantages or common problems associated with auto-flowering marijuana plants do not make this strain useless. In fact, many of its traits could be the exact traits that you are looking for such faster harvest times which mean more harvests in a year, smaller size which means you could have more plants in your limited indoor growing area and others.