Autoflowering cannabis plants, commonly referred to as “autoflowers,” are a type of cannabis that is genetically distinct from the more widely known photoperiod strains. Autoflowering strains have the unique characteristic of transitioning from the vegetative growth stage to the flowering stage not based on the light cycle they are exposed to, but rather based on age. This trait is inherited from Cannabis ruderalis, a species of cannabis that evolved in regions with long days during summer, such as in the northern areas of Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia. Unlike Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica, which require changes in the light cycle to initiate flowering, ruderalis plants begin to flower automatically after a few weeks of growth, regardless of the light cycle. This genetic characteristic has been harnessed through selective breeding to create autoflowering hybrids that are fast-growing, can be harvested several times per season in some climates, and are often smaller and more compact than their photoperiod counterparts, making them suitable for discreet cultivation or growing in limited spaces. Additionally, autoflowering plants are often hardier and more resilient to environmental stressors, which makes them a popular choice for novice growers and those looking for a more straightforward cultivation process.

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