Automaria - Autoflowering cannabis plants at their very best
Almost every seed bank nowadays carries one or more autoflowering strains in its range of strains. Autoflowering plants are a big hype at the moment, due to the fact they require little care, automatically flowering after a few weeks in the vegetative stage, regardless of the light period, while cannabis indica and cannabis sativa are dependent on changes in the day/night light cycle to start flowering. Especially feminised autoflowering strains have become very popular, as they combine two very useful specific properties in one plant, autoflowering and preset femaleness, making cultivation most easy and careless for growers.
Cannabis ruderalis was discovered and botanically classified by Russian botanist Janischewsky in the year of 1924. Jorge Cervantes reports about its arrival in Europe: “It was first brought to Amsterdam in the early 80s by Nevil Schoenmakers from The Seedbank, to enhance their breeding program. One of the first Seed Bank catalogues, from 1987, showed a Cannabis ruderalis plant alongside a highway in Hungary. Many breeders mistakenly hailed this plant as the “Holy Grail” of cannabis.” Well, Cannabis ruderalis of course isn’t the “Holy Grail” of cannabis, but genetically highly useful thanks to its autoflowering effect, compact growth and very low height. However, it was not before the new millennium that ruderalis genetics became worldwide popular amongst growers, with the appearance of the autoflowering strain Lowrhyder, bred by the Joint Doctor.
Automaria is the first autoflowering variety in Paradise Seeds’ range of strains, and it’s available in its feminised form only. It was bred from Cannabis ruderalis and the famous Santa Maria strain. Paradise Seeds reports: “It's a fast flowering stoney plant of ruderalis and indica origin with easy growing characteristics and excellent yields. Possessing the main indica features, ruderalis genes of this cannabis allow to grow Automaria virtually anywhere. Balconies, patios, window boxes, indoors or outdoors, this connoisseur grade feminized seed is now attainable for every marijuana grower. She grows vegetative for approximately 14 days and then enters into a rapid, almost violent flowering period. For the next 56-60 days she branches out vigorously, throwing out thousands pistils, her calyxes swell and a coating of resin glands make a mature plant of Automaria glisten as if dusted with fine diamonds. With such a short period from seed to harvest, it is not only possible to get an early harvest of high quality marijuana but multiple harvests per season.”
Automaria seeds can be grown both indoors or outdoors. Paradise seeds promises “a guaranteed result of average 350 grams”. The final Automaria product is expected to contain 10-12% of THC, having a pleasant floral aroma/taste and a stony and relaxing effect. I got the chance to witness both indoor and outdoor Automaria cultivation cycles this year. For a small indoor test grow, Mr. Green sowed three Automaria seeds into single jiffy pots and put these into a mini greenhouse with heating function. Mr. Green decided to give Automaria 20 hours of daily light throughout the entire cultivation cycle. Such a light regimen is only possible of course with autoflowering strains, and also 24 hours of light would have been applicable. All the three seeds germinated quickly and were transplanted into 7.5 litre pots filled with Plagron potting soil, then cultivated very close to some fluorescent lights in the first week after germination to encourage compact growth. Then they were put under a 400 Watts high pressure sodium lamp, together with several plants of other autoflowering strains. The young Automaria plants developed very well, exhibiting lush growth with dark green leaves. After two and a half weeks, they produced the first female preflowers at the main stem, and the flowering impulse quickly took over. Side branching heavily increased in the first weeks of flowering, with the three plants also significantly stretching in height at the same time, two of them to a higher degree than the third plant. Resin production started after two weeks of flowering and was about to become really heavy. Also Automaria’s flower aroma became noticeable after a few weeks, the plants began to spread a sweet and spicy herbal scent. The tops were developing very well, too, exhibiting typical indica properties – a dense flower structure, with a higher calyx-to-leaf ratio though than classic leafy indica strains. In the end, after 60-63 days of flowering, the buds had become rock-hard and were richly frosted with resin. Not a single male flower was found on the plants by Mr. Green. Plants were 80-100 cm tall, somewhat taller than expected, but this may have been caused by the light distance, the three Automaria plants were standing at the edge of the 400 W garden. After the buds had been dried, Mr. Green put them on the scales and ended up with a total harvest amount of 102 grams – the best yield he had received from an autoflowering strain indoors so far. The Automaria smoking test revealed that the buds were pretty potent, more potent than expected with regard to those 10-12% THC stated by Paradise Seeds, Mr. Green rather felt like smoking weed with about 15% THC, being provided with a strong indica head and body stone that lasted for quite a while. The smoke was wonderfully mild, fairly sweet and with a subtle spicy ruderalis undertone. So Mr. Green had his thumbs up for Automaria, she fully convinced him indoors at first go.
It was famous Mr. Power Planter who tried Automaria outdoors this year. He also chose to germinate three seeds, for planting the seedlings into the open ground later on. At the beginning of May, the seeds were sown into 1 litre pots filled with seedling soil and covered with plastic wrap into which Mr. Power Planter had stitched a few holes for slight aeration. All the three seeds sprouted within three days and were grown under a CFL lamp during the first ten days of growth. Then Mr. Power Planter started to harden them off, by placing them outside for a few hours during day and night. In the middle of May, he planted them into a garden plot with healthy soil abounding in nutrients, Mr. Power Planter had improved the garden soil three weeks before with Plagron Standard Mix soil and mixed manure. Although the weather wasn’t very good in the beginning, the plants grew well and had a very compact growth structure. Soon the first female flowers appeared and the plants entered into the flowering stage. They kept their stout growth model also during flowering, producing big tight buds from bottom to the top with a very high calyx-to-leaf ratio and lots of resin. At harvest time in the fourth week of July, after 62-66 days of flowering, they measured 60-75 cm in height and after the buds had been cut - which was quick work for Mr. Power Planter due to their low leaf share - and dried, the excellent outcome was a yield of 30-40 grams of high-grade buds per plant. Their aroma once again was intense, sweet and spicy, very similar to their indoor equivalents.
There weren’t any insect or mould problems at all, and until they very end of flowering, there wasn’t a single male flower in sight. The Automaria outdoor buds turned out to be a little less potent than Mr. Green’s indoor buds, but did provide an excellent indica stone to Mr. Power Planter, a kind of high that is potentially suitable for smoking during day time also, good for a relaxing break, as it doesn’t last for hours and totally smash the user. Mr. Power Planter felt his Automaria outdoor buds had a THC content of about 10-12%, indeed. Their sweet ‘n spicy taste was similar to the indoor buds, but with a little more acerb outdoor note to it. Mr. Power Planter was overall very happy with the results of Automaria grown outdoors and found it to be a great strain that requires little care and can be finished within a short time, allowing for several cultivation cycles during one outdoor season due to the fact it isn’t dependent on changes in the light period for flowering and ripening. Also, he found that Automaria was the by far best autoflowering strain he had tested so far. So Automaria could fully convince the growers both indoors and outdoors, this Paradise Seeds strain delivers autoflowering cannabis plants at their very best.
First published in Weed World Magazine edition 90.
Words and pictures by Green Born Identity