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What is Autoflowering Cannabis According to Science

Autoflowering cannabis is so popular nowadays compared to the non-autoflowering varieties. But what really makes these kinds of marijuana plants stand out from the rest? Let us look deeper into it. What is autoflowering cannabis according to science? Let’s do this by going through different scientific terminologies.


Autoflowering marijuana varieties automatically switch from vegetative growth to the flowering stage with age, as opposed to the ratio of light to dark hours required with photoperiod dependent/short-day strains.


The seed is that which comes out of a pollinated female flower and contains the genes of the male and female parents which contributed to the production of that seed. Autoflowering seeds contain the genes of the ruderalis variety of marijuana which is among the three most common types which include Sativa and indica.

WHAT IS ruderalis?

Ruderalis or cannabis ruderalis is a species of cannabis that is native to Eastern Europe and Russia. Most of the traits of autoflowering plants are due to the ruderalis genes they contain. Their traits of being short and bushy, quick harvest times and others are due to the ruderalis genes.

The successful growing of autoflowering plants depends upon how successful you could mimic the natural habitat of ruderalis plants.

Autoflowers thrives in a cool environment with plenty of light. They require soil that is light and airy and they do not require much water or minerals.


Pollination is the process of transferring pollen from male plants that get into contact with the female stigma which receives the pollen. There are plants that self-pollinate or those that can fertilize themselves by having both male and female parts. Marijuana is cross-pollinating, which means that there are male plants that pollinate other female plants.


Autoflowering marijuana seed is a seed that will grow up to a plant that shall surely become an autoflowering plant.


Photoperiod is the change in the exposure to light such as what happens with photoperiod or regular strains that need to have a change of lighting from an 18-hour life cycle to 12 hour light cycle in their vegetative state in order to mature into the flowering state. A light cycle is the total number of hours a plant is exposed to light in every 24 hours.

Photoperiodism is the physiological reaction of organisms to the length of day or night or the length of exposure to light with regards to plants that are grown indoors such as marijuana. Photoperiodism is the developmental responses of plants to the relative lengths of light and dark periods. They are classified under three groups according to the photoperiods: short-day plants, long-day plants, and day-neutral plants.

Cannabis is short-day plants. Short-day plants flower when the night lengths exceed their critical photoperiod. Because of this, regular cannabis varieties enter the flowering stage when they experience more darkness than light. This is artificially reproduced in an indoor garden by artificial lighting that is open for 18 hours a day for the early stages of the plants’ life until they reach the vegetative or mature state. Lengthening the darkness and shortening the photoperiod triggers the maturity of regular cannabis plants from vegetative state to the flowering stage. All this does not happen to an autoflower plant as they proceed to the flowering stage automatically simply with age.


Plants, including marijuana, go through four different stages in their life cycles: seed, seedling, vegetative, and flowering.

Seed stage is when the seeds are planted and grows a basic system such as roots to collect nutrients from the soil and other parts in order to push itself above the soil that will develop into stems, leaves, and flowers later on.

The seedling stage is when the germinated seed produces stems and leaves that grow upward while its roots continue to mature. The seedling stage is when the plant becomes a literal small plant.

The vegetative stage is when the plant achieves some form of maturity. When the plant is in its vegetative state, it needs to be transferred to a bigger pot as its roots and even its leaves are rapidly growing in this stage.  A mature cannabis plant will usually have 5-7 blades on each leaf. This stage lasts for about 3-16 weeks and requires a light cycle of 18 hours on a 24-hour day.

The plant enters the flowering stage when it develops sex organs for male and female plants in the form of flowers. Male plants produce pollen from pollen sacs that get scattered by air or insects and are received by the female flower in order to produce a bud that turns into a seed later on.


Autoflowering marijuana has short lifespans with some plants only have seven weeks to live from seed to harvest in under 13 weeks while some are as short as seven weeks. This short lifespan is good for the grower as it means quicker harvest.

Due to their ruderalis genes, autoflowering plants are short and bushy and can be kept short in stature for “stealth” growing. Stealth growing is the act of secretly growing one or more marijuana plants in your own house where cultivation is not necessarily legal or maybe completely illegal.

The Cannabis ruderalis genes cause the plant to enter the flowering stage after 2–3 weeks from germination

The autoflowering plant will automatically enter the flowering stage by age only even without changing the light cycle in your indoor growing area. 

Because they are small, with some of them growing only about a foot in height, autoflowering plants are easier to maintain and cultivate compare to bigger plants. 

Growing autoflower plants outdoors is feasible due to their short lifespans or only about two months. This meant that you could have your plants harvested even before the season changes. You may even have more than one harvest in one season.

Autoflower growers also report that they could be grown outside even in city environments where there is artificial lighting in light posts and others. This kind of lighting and the growing environment will stress out other plants.

By understanding some basic science about autoflowering cannabis, you are now equipped with the knowledge on how to properly cultivate your autoflower crop and get your dream harvest in as short as two months. By having all this information, you yourself may be able to answer the question as to what autoflowering cannabis is.


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