Cannabis Ruderalis

The Ultimate cultivation guide for the home
recreational and medical cananabis growers.

What is cannabis ruderalis?

Cannabis ruderalis may have been regarded as the forgotten and less-useful member of the cannabis family. But, with great surprise to some, the ruderalis genetics have given rise to modern autoflowering cannabis seeds. And the results of these have surprised even the most optimistic home growers. Autoflower seeds are generally regarded as the fastest, simplest and most convenient way to grow cannabis. Today, modern autoflower seeds sell in similar quantities to traditional photoperiod feminised cannabis seeds. They are an accepted part of modern cannabis cultivation and used by home growers as well as licensed cannabis producers around the world.

Ruderalis origins

Cannabis ruderalis was first described by Russian botanist D. E. Janischewsky in 1924. Cannabis ruderalis is a sub-species of cannabis. It is native to areas of Central and Eastern Europe as well as Russia and is low-THC in its natural state. Cannabis ruderalis tends to be a short/squat plant with a familiar cannabis leaf appearance and a fast life cycle which is well adapted to the very short growing seasons in these cool climates.

Ruderalis effects

Even before cannabis ruderalis was hybridised with present-day high THC genetics to create modern autoflowers, ruderalis had attracted medical attention. Ruderalis was often used by Russian and Mongolian herbalists for treating depression. Ruderalis is easy to grow and is often found growing wild in fields, roadside ditches and meadows. Because it is naturally low in THC, ruderalis has never found popular recreational uses.

Use in autoflowers

Cannabis ruderalis has evolved to grow in areas that simply lack the climate for a full 4-5 month bloom. For that reason, ruderalis plants tend to start bloom ‘automatically’ around a month or two after the seeds germinated. This characteristic has been of great interest to modern cannabis breeders who have used the fast ruderalis growth cycle in conjunction with high-THC genetics to create autoflowering cannabis seeds.

Ruderalis cultivation

Cannabis ruderalis has a fast life cycle yet is low in THC. Present-day cannabis breeders and geneticists have been hybridising ruderalis genetics with high-THC modern genetics. The goal was to retain the automatic flowering but with high THC results. After several years of hard work, modern autoflowering cannabis genetics from premium breeders are now routinely hitting 25-30% THC levels and growing from seed to harvest within 10-11 weeks.

Autoflowers, the modern ruderalis seeds

The arrival of high-THC autoflowering cannabis seeds has been one of the biggest game changers for growers in the history of cannabis cultivation. The value of autoflower seeds simply cannot be understated. They allow professional growers and home growers to harvest cannabis crops is as little as 8-9 weeks after seed germination for the fastest auto strains, though 10-11 weeks is more common. Autoflower seeds have never been more sophisticated. Today, recreational and medical cannabis growers can choose high THC autos, low-THC/high-CBD autos or even auto strains rich in novel cannabinoids such as CBG, THCV or CBDV.

Modern ruderalis sativa seeds

Modern sativa dominant autoflowering seeds have been created from the original cannabis ruderalis strains. This takes patient breeding over many generations, selectively taking the sativa-leaning genetics and further refining them. You can expect slightly taller/stretchier autoflower strains with powerfully energetic sativa highs, great for creativity and artistic pursuits. If you love the sativa effects from photoperiod feminised cannabis seeds, you will be equally satisfied with the effects from a high quality, finely bred sativa autoflowers.

Auto Daiquiri Lime®

Auto Lemon Kix®

Auto Skywalker Haze®

Auto Desfrán®

Auto Orange Bud®

Auto Think Big®

Auto Euforia®

Auto Power Plant®

Auto Think Different

Modern ruderalis indica seeds

There are also plenty of high quality indica and indica dominant autoflower strains. Some of these, such as Auto Blueberry and Auto Blackberry Kush are also particularly fast to grow. With some phenotypes you can harvest the plants in as little as 8-9 weeks after autoflower seed germination. The exquisitely pleasurable effects often provide strong physical influences, very popular with medical growers. Indica autoflowers typically produce short, squat plants with heavy yields of firm potent buds.

Auto Banana Blaze®

Auto Colorado Cookies®

Auto White Widow®

Auto Blackberry Kush®

Auto Mazar®

Blue Auto Mazar®

Auto Blueberry®

Auto Night Queen®

Modern ruderalis hybrid seeds

Hybrid indica/sativa autoflower strains often have the greatest number of fans. With a balanced indica/sativa effect the impact is blissfully enjoyable. Hybrid autoflower seeds often grow into medium sized plants, with a heavy main bloom and numerous good yielding side-blooms. With hybrid indica/sativa autoflower seeds, THC levels can easily be in the 25-30% THC range under optimised conditions.

Auto Brooklyn Sunrise®

Auto Duck®

Auto Mokum’s Tulip®

Auto Cinderella Jack®

Auto Glueberry O.G.®

Auto StarRyder®

Auto Critical Orange Punch®

Auto Kerosene Krash®

Auto Ultimate®

Modern ruderalis CBD seeds

Ruderalis cannabis genetics have lent themselves very well to high-THC autoflower strains. But they have also helped create some of the best modern CBD-rich autoflower seeds. CBD-rich autoflower seeds grow and look like other autos, but the buds contain elevated levels of CBD (cannabidiol). THC levels can vary, some medical growers enjoy 1:1 THC:CBD auto strains. Others prefer THC levels to be below 1%, as with CBD Auto Charlotte’s Angel (with CBD levels up to 15%). With THC levels below 1% you can’t get high from such low-THC, high-CBD strains.

Auto CBD-Victory®

CBD Auto Charlotte’s Angel®

Auto CBG-Force®

CBD Auto Compassion Lime®

CBD Auto Blackberry Kush®

CBD Auto White Widow®

Ruderalis vs autoflower cannabis strains

Many of today’s growers don’t always realise that today’s autoflower seeds have their genetics roots in cannabis ruderalis. A high quality, THC loaded modern auto bears little resemblance to their ruderalis ancestors. But it can be useful to compare and contrast the properties of each.

Cannabis ruderalis still grows in the wild in parts of Eastern/Central Europe and Russia. The short 2-3 month life cycle arose through necessity. Only those cannabis ruderalis plants with the fastest life cycle can survive the tough climate and short summers.

Cannabis ruderalis plants have a leaf that resembles cannabis though it may only have 3 serrated fingers. Today’s high THC autos often have many more leaf fingers as a result of their hybridisation with modern genetics and tend to look much more like a typical cannabis plant with fat blooms and a heavy THC frosting.

Cannabis ruderalis tends to be of little interest other than to cannabis geneticists and researchers such as Dutch Passion who have assessed and catalogued them for use in autoflower breeding. However, autoflower seeds are now every bit as popular as traditional photoperiod feminised seeds. They are popular with home growers as well as legal, licensed professional growers.

Many home growers find they get exceptional results with autoflower seeds, with potency levels on a par with their favourite feminised strains. Grow a modern autoflower in a good-sized aerated grow container (e.g. airpot or grow sack) with LED grow lights and you have a remarkably easy and straightforward route to a heavy, potent harvest. Autoflower seeds have grown in popularity and performance since their introduction. Nowadays, the best auto strains bear no comparison to their first-generation cannabis ruderalis ancestors.

RuderalisAutoflowers
Plant structureShort and stalkyMedium/large sized
Leaf appearanceLight green, often with few (e.g. 3) fingers on the leavesSimilar to typical photoperiod feminised strains
Flowers structureSmall, airy and lightHeavy, dense and resinous
Flowering time21-30 daysAround 6 weeks for a typical autoflower (10-11 weeks from seed to harvest)
Average height30-80 cm50-100cm
Average lifecycle70-90 daysaround 75 days for most
Average yieldA few grams of fluffy ‘buds’Several hundred grams per plant potential in hydroponics e.g. DWC
THC levelsTypically below 1%, not psychoactive25-30% THC levels from the best autoflower seeds
EffectsCalming for some but not euphoricTypical high THC effects

Yields are remarkably heavy under the preferred grow cycle which uses 20 hours of daily indoor light. THC levels are, in some cases, even higher than those from their photoperiod sibling strains.

But it’s the ease of growth that has made autoflower seeds such a hit with home growers. You don’t even need to change the light cycle to flip the plants from veg to bloom, it happens ‘automatically’ often around 4-6 weeks after seed germination.

No wonder autoflower seeds are found in the collections of so many growers. There is no other way to get a harvest quite as quickly!

The Dutch Passion X Joint Doctor Ruderalis experiment

The Joint Doctor is a Canadian cannabis specialist who is largely credited with the early autoflower breeding work. This allowed him to grow small, fast cannabis plants which he enjoyed growing through his college years. These plants were all based on some unusual, fast-growing cannabis genetics called Mexican Rudy.

It is thought that this name may have been short for Mexican Ruderalis. Although cannabis ruderalis isn’t thought to be native to Mexico, the genetics came from a dreadlocked Mexican friend (‘Antonio’) and may have originated in Europe or Russia. However no-one can be sure of the Mexican Rudy genetics, until perhaps some genetic fingerprinting can be conducted. Even then, it’s unlikely that any viable, original Mexican Rudy seeds still exist. It’s possible that the Mexican Rudy was a cross of Russian Ruderalis, and Mexican Cannabis made sometime in the 1970s.

If so, the Joint Doctor thinks this work may have come from the University of Mississippi or possibly the University of Ottawa. In any event, Mexican Rudy was kept and grown/bred in Canada for many years. It was indeed a short, and quick-flowering strain. But it provided the Joint Doctor and his friends with some well-needed stash in mid-summer, before normal plants had even thought about budding. One concern was the Mexican Rudy potency. It could only be described as medium potency at best. But further work from the Joint Doctor would change that, as would the significant partnership between Dutch Passion and the Joint Doctor in the early 2000’s which allowed autoflowers to make huge strides.

Using some of Dutch Passion’s genetic expertise and archive of high THC strains, some successful breeding was able to gradually push potencies up from medium levels to truly exceptional levels. Until this point, autoflowering cannabis seeds were regarded with a certain degree of scepticism in some less-enlightened areas of the cannabis community.

Early autoflower seeds were useful for medium potency crops but perhaps little more. However, the arrival of 25%+ THC levels signalled that autoflower seeds really had arrived and the home grown community has never looked back since! Today home growers as well as professional routinely grow autoflower seeds with great levels of consistency and remarkable ease.

Mexican Rudy strain

Mexican Rudy was a fast growing, but small, early autoflower. She would be ready to harvest just 3 months or so after cannabis seed germination. Mexican Rudy and the various crosses were short, fast cannabis plants which kept the Joint Doctor supplied with cannabis during his college years. However, Mexican Rudy was not particularly genetically close to today’s modern autoflower strains. The early genetics lacked the modern autoflower vigour. There were limited bloom points and the blooms that were produced tended to stay fluffier and smaller than preferred. Most notably yields and potency/THC levels were limited. Circumstantial and verbal reports suggest that THC levels were perhaps around the 5-10% level. Enough for light/medium potency, but not enough to qualify as a great smoke for a serious toker. Today, Mexican Rudy genetics are lost in history but the legacy from the world’s first autoflower strain lives on in ways that few would have imagined.

Auto Mazar strain

Auto Ultimate is perhaps Dutch Passion’s heaviest yielding autoflower strain of all time. She can take a little longer than your average auto strain, 12-15 weeks from autoflower seed to harvest. But the XXL results really do reward the patient grower with exceptionally heavy harvests in optimised conditions. The hybrid indica/sativa genetics grow with great vigour and speed. She particularly suits large grow containers and grow rooms with powerful lights. Experienced growers can aim to beat their personal best yield records with these auto seeds. Rookie growers will be shocked at the size of the blooms! In many ways Auto Ultimate highlights the extremes to which the finest autoflowering genetics have progressed from their humble cannabis ruderalis origins. Blooms as thick as your forearm are no exception and the stress-busting Auto Ultimate high is a superb antidote to the difficulties and worries of modern life. Like all the best modern autoflowers you can expect a rich, thick and tasty terpene palette too!

Auto Ultimate strain

Auto Ultimate is perhaps Dutch Passion’s heaviest yielding autoflower strain of all time. She can take a little longer than your average auto strain, 12-15 weeks from autoflower seed to harvest. But the XXL results really do reward the patient grower with exceptionally heavy harvests in optimised conditions. The hybrid indica/sativa genetics grow with great vigour and speed. She particularly suits large grow containers and grow rooms with powerful lights. Experienced growers can aim to beat their personal best yield records with these auto seeds. Rookie growers will be shocked at the size of the blooms! In many ways Auto Ultimate highlights the extremes to which the finest autoflowering genetics have progressed from their humble cannabis ruderalis origins. Blooms as thick as your forearm are no exception and the stress-busting Auto Ultimate high is a superb antidote to the difficulties and worries of modern life. Like all the best modern autoflowers you can expect a rich, thick and tasty terpene palette too!

How to grow autoflower cannabis ruderalis seeds

The discerning autoflower grower has a range of options to choose from. They can opt for indica-leaning, hybrid or sativa autoflower seeds. They can also choose to grow autoflower strains rich in THC, CBD or other unusual cannabinoids. Autoflower growers can also select strains which can be ready in under 10 weeks or those that may take nearer 12+ weeks with heavier yields. From humble cannabis ruderalis beginnings, autoflower seeds now cover the full spectrum of needs.

Seed germination

One top tip for outdoor autoflower growers is to germinate and pre-grow auto seeds indoors for a few weeks before planting them outside. This protects the seedlings during their vulnerable first few weeks. Always try to plant your autoflowers in the warmest and sunniest 3-month window if you can. If you live in a tropical/mild climate you may be able to get 2-3 successive crops from your autoflowering plants each year.

Plant Container

Many successful auto growers plant their autoflower seed directly into their final container, this avoids the stress/hassle of subsequent re-potting. Highly aerated grow containers such as air pots, root pouches etc give great results. Large containers, of about 30 litres in combination with slow-release organic nutrients, e.g. BioTabs, allow the root ball to reach a large mass, this in turn supports heavy growth and yields.

Light Cycle

You can grow autoflower seeds on their preferred 20/4 grow cycle or (if it’s more convenient) you can bloom them under 12/12 conditions with your photoperiod strains. Or you can grow autoflowers outdoor, where they will often take a few extra weeks on top of their usual 75-day life cycle. The extra time is required outdoors since outdoor conditions are often not as optimised as good indoor conditions.

Environment

Some people that struggle with low temperatures doing the winter months find that growing autoflowers allows better harvests. With grow lights on for 20 or 24 hours per day, grow room temperatures remain at higher levels for longer. Keep in mind a lot of the final THC content and bud mass are produced in the last few weeks. Waiting an extra week or so to harvest may result in heavier, more potent crop.

Where to buy modern cannabis ruderalis seeds

You can buy autoflower cannabis seeds online or from seed resellers and distributors. Although there can be a baffling array of potential autoflower seed suppliers it pays to do your research carefully and source your seeds from a proven supplier, perhaps with a cannabis cup or two behind them. That’s always a sign that your seed supplier takes their profession seriously!

Although the top seed suppliers take a great deal of care and attention to their processes, breeding and seed quality, the rest are happy to buy and sell anything. The quality of the best autoflower seeds is higher than ever, with Dutch Passion regularly reporting 25%+ independently verified THC levels

Unfortunately, the quality gap between the best and worst autoflower seeds has never been as high. Plenty of auto strains are available for sale without any meaningful stabilisation of the genetics. Plenty more are made with average, rather than elite, genetics. Lesser seed companies that lack their own expertise simply buy and sell such seeds on the wholesale market with little idea of the quality or results possible.

Save yourself the disappointment of spending 3 months growing/curing substandard genetics and buy the best autoflower seeds you can source from a proven supplier you can trust. Some growers prefer to buy autoflower strains that have already been out for a year or two, this allows them to review online grow diaries and check out the results.

Other growers tend to stick to their preferred seed bank, especially if they have enjoyed good results (or seen others produce good results) from them in the past. The best autoflower seed suppliers enjoy full control over all aspects of autoflower seed production and performance. Those top-tier seed suppliers will also have found their own tips and tricks for optimising the cannabis genetics, allowing you to get the best quality levels and highest yields.

Dutch Passion helped to pioneer modern autoflower seeds with the Joint Doctor. This, in combination with the archived Dutch Passion genetics and the highly experienced breeding expertise has allowed the creation of an unsurpassed range of high performance autoflower seeds. Many of these strains will comfortably meet and exceed 20% THC levels and do so with genuine XL yields.

If you need extra help deciding which of these strains is perfect for you then perhaps the Dutch Passion Seed finder can help. This asks a few simple questions about your preferences (THC strength, indica/sativa options etc) and some questions about your grow style (indoor, outdoor etc) before recommending the most suitable Dutch Passion autoflower strains.

Many of the Dutch Passion autoflower strains are cannabis cup winners. They really are every bit as good as your favourite photoperiod feminised strains and many growers wouldn’t grow anything else!