History of autoflowering varieties
Autoflowering cannabis refers to varieties that automatically enter the flowering phase 3-4 weeks after vetting begins. In comparison, photoperiods do not start blooming until after the daylight hours have decreased. Autoflowers allow for a faster harvest, which is why they are in wide demand among growers. You might be surprised, but 30 years ago such strains did not exist. Here's a quick dig into history to understand how autoflowering marijuana came to be.
Ruderalis - the first autoflowering strain
Modern autoflowers owe their emergence to a wild strain, Ruderalis. In its natural environment, it grows in cold climates with short summers. Originally, it was a photoperiodic crop, i.e., it began to bloom in the fall when the daylight hours became shorter. But in some regions of Eastern Europe, such plants would not be able to leave behind offspring. Since flowering lasts about 2 months, the crop simply would not have had time to pollinate because of the October cold.
As the ruderalis has evolved, it has learned to cope with this problem. The vegetative period was shortened to 1 month after sprouting, followed by the flowering phase. This allowed the plant to save 1.5-2 months to leave offspring. Yes, because of the short vegetative phase, the crop turns out low, but it matures twice as fast.
The emergence of artificial autoflowering
The first autoflowering variety bred artificially was Lowryder. Joint Doctor's breeders saw promise in the fast-growing Mexican Rudy strain, which is a hybrid of Russian ruderalis and Mexican sativa. The shortcomings of the variety were low productivity and poor cannabis impact. Breeders improved the strain by crossing it with Northern Lights #2 and the Mexican's descendants with William's Wonder. That's how everyone's favorite Lowryder was born - the first full-fledged autoflowering strain. The new strain was given a medium level of psychoactivity. Many other autoflowering varieties that came later have Lowryder genetics.
Is autoflowering good or bad?
When choosing a variety, you need to consider growing conditions and personal preference. Autoflowers are attractive for their quick maturity, low bush and unpretentious care. If you have the time and desire for a richer harvest, choose photoperiodic strains. Although today, breeding is at such a level that many autoflowers are as good as photoperiods in yield. These include: Auto Jamaica, and Auto Gorilla #5.