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The first autoflowering cannabis varieties were only recently introduced to the cannabis growing scene, but have rapidly become immensely popular. And not without reason.
The success of current autoflowering (AF) strains can, for the most part, be attributed to the Cannabis Ruderalis, a strain previously quite unpopular with growers and breeders alike. Cannabis Ruderalis is a subspecies of Cannabis Sativa. What sets it aside from other cannabis types is the lack of dependency of daylight in order to switch to flowering mode. Generally, there is a critical period of darkness required to begin flowering. In comparison, many of today's Ruderalis hybrids flower automatically when they reach a given maturity, regardless of photoperiod. Even under lights on 18 hours a day, they completely mature from seed to bud in less than 90 days.
The introduction of Lowryder, the first available commercial and fully automatic variety, can be considered revolutionary. Not only did this dwarf plant open doors for starting cultivators, it was also soon embraced by micro growers who did no longer have to worry about plants outgrowing their cabinet and were now able to grow their crop in a Sea of Green (SOG). The creator of the original Lowryder claims that his creation originates from a batch of Mexican Ruderalis seeds that were given to him by a late friend. Obscure references in the scientific literature indicate that this specific Ruderalis strain was possibly created at the University of Mississippi in the 70s. The Joint Doctor started crossing it with a Northern Light #2 female and soon made a selection of plants that all started flowering under 24 hours of light. After which he also used William’s Wonder cut and made a few more selections. Satisfied with the outcome, The Joint Doctor decided to release the seeds and call his creation Lowryder. Lowryder turned out an instant hit, and it quickly became a much sought after strain by many growers. Besides the aforementioned micro growers, AF varieties are also favoured by guerilla growers. The small size of the plants makes them very stealthy thus reducing the chance of being found. The short flowering period allows the grower to harvest several times per season.
The first generation autoflowers – Lowryder 1 and related crosses – remain small and short; often not reaching a height taller than 15-30 cm. Yields are not spectacular, and average 3 to 7 gram per plant when grown outdoors. Indoors, growers have reported yields up to 60 grams in hydroponic systems. On soil, however, the yield of a single Lowryder plant generally does not average more than 10 to 20 gram per plant.
Mid 2007 saw the introduction of Lowryder’s successor; Lowryder #2. Biggest improvement points are taste and potential. According to many, these were so-so with the original Lowryder. Additionally, this second version grows a bit taller, allowing for slightly improved yields. Responsible for these differences is the infusion of Santa Maria genes, a variety known for its powerful, dreamy high and excellent resin production.
It did not take long before the autoflowering dwarf plant caught the attention of several other breeders. By now there are countless autoflowering strains available. Along with an increase of available AF strains, the quality has also notably gone up. Diesel Ryder (an AF NYCD) and Auto AK 47 have proven to be extremely potent and with possible yields doubling those of the original Lowryder. As new and improved automatic strains are constantly being released, the future for autoflowers is looking bright.
Autoflowering cannabis seeds
Azarius offers a wide variety of autoflowering cannabis seeds. Check out the assortment here.