Nico’s Nuggets: Ruderalis the Menace

Two letters, one good answer…

1) I have some plants that have not flowered for 30 days since I went to a 12/12 light cycle from a 24-hour veg cycle. This is a soil-based garden and average temp is about 85 degrees. They are getting watered and fed regularly. Any thoughts? Thanks, Bill.

2) I am a novice grower and have recently sprouted a seed that has begun to flower almost immediately. But it is only about six inches tall! I am curious as to what I have here and is there anything that I need to do because it doesn’t seem to want to grow taller. I appreciate your feedback. Thank you. –Al.

Greetings everyone, and thanks to Bill and Al for supplying this week’s questions!

I decided to answer two questions this week, but not for generosity’s sake but rather because both questions likely have the same answer! I mentioned some of this two weeks ago in my post, so I suspect that some readers already know where this one is headed… One word: Ruderalis.

Cannabis is plant genus. Within this genus of Cannabis there are three species. We all know two of them: Indica and Sativa. Beautiful names! Ruderalis is an ugly name – and there is a reason for it. Ruderalis is a hardy, hemp-like variety of cannabis that is usually grown for it’s fibrous qualities, much like hemp. It contains very little cannabinoids like THC, and even less terpenoids – meaning it doesn’t taste or smell great.

Recently, however, a new phenomenon has caught on, particularly with lazy growers or hobbyists (mostly in Europe) and that is “auto-flowering” strains. These strains are derived from ruderalis, which is an auto-flowering species of cannabis, meaning flowering is not induced by the traditional method of altering the plants photoperiod. Why this is appealing or attractive to some people I still have not figured out, but needless to say these plants are not for serious growers.

True, the new auto-flowering varieties have now been crossbred with regular indica and sativa varieties, thereby increasing their potency and flavors. And they are also fairly mol- and pest-resistant which makes them attractive for cross-breeding purposes and some ruderalis strains possess high levels of CBD, but again those characteristics have already been bred into many mainstream lines, but still… I don’t get it. I suppose it’s a novelty, a gift you can give someone who does not want to be bothered and they can sit it on the window sill and then one day, Surprise!, you got a bud. But I digress…

To answer plainly, it is likely that both Bill and Al have auto-flowering plants mired with ruderalis genetics. I am curious as to where these seeds or plants came from, but if you purchased seeds from Europe there may be the answer. Unfortunately for both cases, there is not much that can be done as these issues are genetic. In the case of the no-show flowers, you could try to reduce the temperature of the root zone (medium) to force flowering or, conversely, transplant into a larger container as expanding roots sometimes trigger flowering as well. There is no rhyme or reason. Still, in both cases, I am sorry to say I recommend hitting the rest button and going with some new genetics.

Thanks for reading everyone and remember: Grow… And help the world grow, too!

Got questions? Email ‘em over to Nico at NicosNuggets@hightimes.com and be sure to put “Nico’s Nuggets” in the subject line!

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  1. I’ve been breeding a ruderalis cross for more than 15 years. The cross is ruderalis first crossed with an afghan, then after that was stable, crossed with G13. They grow between 55 and 75 cm, and tested at 16% plus.
    I usually get from 20 to 25 grams trimmed, thick bud from each plant, not including “popcorn”, sugar leaves, or other almost-waste… when I use three levels of growing with LEDs, that square meter of floor gives me a steady output of more than 200g per week, using less than 700 watts.
    Fully loaded, a square meter with three levels yields better than 2 kilos, but that’s serious work.

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