Autoflowers are unique in more ways than just their automatic nature. Their ruderalis genetics make growing autoflowers in cold climates, completely feasible. Certain autoflowering strains are well-suited for colder conditions. Making the dream of growing outdoors a possibility for a wide range of regions. Knowing cannabis, you may already be asking yourself – can autoflowers withstand winter temps, too? Keep reading to find out, with our guide to everything you need to know about growing marijuana in cold weather.
What is Cannabis Ruderalis?
By now, almost everyone knows the indica and sativa cannabis species – but what about ruderalis? Cannabis ruderalis is the third, more elusive plant species that once grew wild. Even in regions that have naturally colder climates, and without specific amounts of light. In fact, the word ‘ruderalis’ comes from the word ‘ruderal’. Which classifies a species that can grow upon ‘disturbed lands’, or in unfavourable conditions.
The ruderalis species comes to us from the central and eastern regions of Europe. Including areas of Russia where ruderalis plants thrive in colder temperatures. Even where other greenery can’t survive. Some say, the way cannabis ruderalis plants spread across uninhabited and inhabited land is like ‘weeds’. Making some speculate that’s how the plant got one of its nicknames.
Again – unlike photoperiod plants, ruderalis varieties do not rely on periods of light and darkness to flower. They do so automatically. Since autoflowering strains have ruderalis lineage, it makes them ideal for growing in seasons with less daylight, and cooler temps.
Can you grow Autoflowers in winter?
When you think of growing weed, or any plant, it’s likely you think of a warm, moderate climate. You’d be correct since most marijuana plants grow ideally in climates of 20 – 28℃ (68 – 82℉). While this is how most growers can afford to grow indoors, or outdoors, some aren’t so lucky with naturally warm temperatures. Or, an appropriate space to grow inside. In that case, there are still ways you can grow marijuana in cold weather.
Of course, we’re not talking about freezing types of temperatures. Like most plants, that would be impossible for them to thrive. Autoflowering varieties are the best weed to grow in cold climates, for the fact that they’re more hardy in nature than other species. But, even varieties with ruderalis genetics will need fairly mild winter temperatures. As a guideline, you can grow autoflowers successfully at temps as low as 16℃ (60℉) although 18℃(64℉)+ is more ideal for optimal health.
Factors To Consider For Growing In Colder Climates
Growing autoflowers in cold climates isn’t as easy as throwing just any old plant outside. The task will take a bit more thought pre-growth. Plus, a few more precautions along the way for protection. So before you get going, here’s the top factors to consider when setting out to grow marijuana in cold weather –
- Genetics – Choosing strains that are more resilient to cooler outdoor temperatures, is key. This means the genetice have proven lineage, that’s adaptable to lower temps.
- Start plants indoors – If possible, starting plants indoors will also help outdoor growth in cold climates. This allows the seedling to develop as normal, for a healthier base to grow better in less than ideal temperatures.
- Pick the right location – Choosing a spot outdoors with as much light as possible, will help your plant thrive in cooler temperatures.
- Monitor temperatures regularly – Don’t neglect to monitor temperatures in your area regularly. Even though autoflowering strains are extra hardy, at certain temperatures they can halt growth altogether. If the temp plans to dip lower than 16℃ (60℉), make a backup plan for how to move your plants temporarily indoors.
- Avoid wet weather – Areas with heavy rainfall in the winter can also cause an issue for cooler outdoor growth. If there’s too much precipitation, your plants can become overwatered and suffer in health.
- Provide plant protection – A greenhouse or clear tarp can provide further plant protection from cold outdoor elements. These types of coverings can also help retain heat in the space you’re growing.
Best Autoflower Strains To Grow In Winter
Like any specific trait, there are some autoflower strains that grow better in the winter than others. Here’s the top 4 autoflowering seeds to turn to, when growing in cold weather.
A beast for regular varieties, it’s no surprise Gorilla Glue Auto is considered some of the best weed to grow in cold climates. The indica dominant hybrid is well-known for producing yields up to 600g/m2. The strain also has a short flowering time of just 70-75 days, to grow quickly before temperatures drop further.
Juicy Lucy has legendary lineage that adds to its stability overall, especially in cooler regions. The strain is indica dominant, and generally thrives in outdoor environments. Juicy Lucy reaches full maturity in under 80 days, and is capable of producing yields of 500g-600g/m2.
If the name didn’t give it away, Trans Siberian is a hardy autoflower strain for cool climate growth. In under 70 days, the indica dominant hybrid gets crystal coated in trichomes – similar to snow. Expect to harvest anywhere from 400 to 500 g/m2 with the vigorous growth of Trans Siberian.
Tips For Growing With Cold Temperatures
Now that you know what factors to consider, and what strains to grow – what are some tips for growing in cold temperatures? Learn from those who have tackled cooler temps before with the following tricks.
- Use indica dominant strains – Why? Ruderalis genetics are always crossed with sativa and indica species. While sativa plants come from warmer climates, indicas come from cooler climates. Making any indica strain, more ideal for producing a good crop in cold temperatures.
- Plant your seeds early (or late) – Avoid growing autoflowers in cold climates, in the thick or middle of winter. The earlier, or later, in the season you begin to grow, the better chance you’ll have to miss harsh conditions.
- Grow in pots – To maintain an ideal medium or soil temperature, use small pots that are dark in color to retain light and heat.
Also, be sure to keep realistic expectations in mind. Because your conditions aren’t ideal – neither will the growth of your plant. While you will be able to nurture the plant to full maturity and harvest yields, they won’t be as high in quality or quantity as those grown in optimal conditions.
Let It Grow, Let It Grow, Let It Grow
Like the winter song, ‘let it snow’, autoflowers follow the motto of ‘let it grow’ even in cooler climates. Provided conditions aren’t too extreme, growing autoflowers in cold climates is possible just without the usual growth size or yield. By purchasing certain seeds and implementing these tips, you can choose the best weed to grow in cold climates, for ultimate success.