Growing cannabis can be an arduous process. Beyond the space, materials, and nutrients needed, time and light are the most essential ingredients in the cannabis cultivation equation. But what if you’re impatient or short on time? Is there a way to speed up the growing process?
Historically, black market growers would seek out or hybridize strains to harness attributes that catered to their surreptitious needs. These plants would usually be short and stalky with larger-than-average yields, and in some instances they would be autoflowering (such as a ruderalis hybrid). They were designed to be fast-flowering for both a quick turnover and so they could be easily relocated from time to time.
The fast-flowering cannabis strains listed below are now emerging for professional and hobby growers to utilize. They’re perfect for novice growers as well as set-it-and-forget-it growers who want to squeeze out a harvest with little time to spare. The list includes a mixture of both photoperiod and autoflowering varieties so you can find the perfect plants for your setup.
Wondering if you can legally grow in your state? Check our state-by-state guide to home cultivation laws to find out.
Photoperiod Strains That Grow Quickly (7-9 Weeks)
Lowryder is a hybrid strain that was inbred for nine generations by Joint Doctor Seeds to give it a dwarfed size. Growing no more than 16 inches tall, it’s the cannabis equivalent of a bonsai for the discrete grower’s windowsill or balcony. Lowryder’s small size comes from a species of cannabis ruderalis crossed with Northern Lights #2 and then William’s Wonder. Consumers, be patient with this strain: its medicinal and cerebrally stimulating effects have a slow but powerful onset. A mild earthy aroma radiates from the small, conic buds which autoflower in a short 40 to 45 days. Lowryder is a stalwart plant that can survive in harsh, colder climates, making it a popular strain in northern regions like Finland and Canada.
Critical Kush from Barney’s Farm is a mostly indica strain that blends together two famed cannabis staples, Critical Mass and OG Kush. Aromatic notes of earthiness and spice usher in a calming sensation that relaxes the mind and body. Critical Kush pairs a staggeringly high THC content with a moderate dose of CBD, making this strain a perfect nighttime medication for pain, stress, insomnia, and muscle spasms. Growers cultivating this strain indoors will wait 50 to 60 days for Critical Kush to complete its flowering cycle.
Early Girl is the wallflower of cannabis strains since its introduction in the 1980s. Lovingly preserved by the breeders at Sensi Seeds, this strain is lazy and relaxed, nothing over the top. A 75/25 indica-dominant hybrid, Early Girl is a good one for those new to cannabis who would like relief from stress. Also a great strain for novice growers, it’s compact, resilient, and has a particularly short flowering time of 7 to 8 weeks. Early Girl grows especially well outdoors, but won’t put up a fuss if she’s stuck inside.
OG Kush makes up the genetic backbone of West Coast cannabis varieties, but in spite of its ubiquity, its genetic origins remain a mystery. Popular myth maintains that Chemdawg and Hindu Kush parented OG Kush, passing on the distinct “kush” bud structure we see in many strains today. However, we can’t be sure because OG Kush first came from bag seed in the early 90s. The earliest propagators (now known as Imperial Genetics) are said to have brought the seeds out of Florida to Colorado and southern California, where it now flourishes. There are many different phenotypes of OG Kush, some of which include Tahoe OG, SFV OG, and Alpha OG.
OG Kush is cherished for its ability to crush stress under the weight of its heavy euphoria. It carries an earthy pine and sour lemon scent with woody undertones, an aroma that has become the signature of OG Kush varieties and descendants. With OG Kush, patients most commonly cite improvements in migraines, ADD/ADHD, and stress disorders.
Superglue is a hybrid strain bred by Seedism Seeds. A cross between Afghani and Northern Lights, Superglue inherits indica growth patterns along with a sweet caramel and pine aroma. Superglue brings calming relaxation to the mind and body, but leaves you functional and energetic enough for social activities or a productive afternoon.
Autoflowering Strains That Grow Quickly (7-12 Weeks)
Red Dwarf is a rarer strain of cannabis that is an autoflowering plant. This trait comes from its cannabis ruderalis genetics, which is a third variety of the plant that’s usually not bred due to its lower THC content. The wonders of selective breeding from Buddha Seeds have resulted in seeds that grow to adulthood in an incredibly short six weeks. This strain’s squat, small plants are easy to grow in smaller spaces, making it a popular choice for growers who want something simple and fast. Indica-dominant, Red Dwarf will eventually make you sleepy, but not without some relaxed euphoria first.
Hobbit by Kannabia Seeds is a resilient autoflowering variety with sweetness and strong elemental resistance. This strain has a sweet aroma that has been described as “strawberry candy” and an equally sweet smoke with latent earthy notes. Hobbit deftly combines stimulating Haze elements with a pervasive body buzz that is lightly weighted while remaining pleasant and functional. Many growers covet this autoflowering wonder for its quick 65-day flowering time and above-average yield.
White Ryder is Riot Seeds’ attempt to create a ruderalis version of White Widow by crossing Buddha Seeds’ White Dwarf against Lowryder. By blending two stout, autoflowering plants, Riot Seeds created a potent indica-dominant hybrid that finishes in under 80 days and can easily be hidden from view. Enjoy this flower for anti-anxiety and sleep-inducing effects.
Purple Cheese is an indica-dominant autoflowering hybrid that combines Purple #1, Blue Cheese, and Lowryder. Bred by Auto Seeds, Purple Cheese was designed to have a sweeter, less cheesy flavor than its Blue Cheese parent. It does, however, inherit a tight bud structure and a high CBD profile. With a palatable fruit aroma, Purple Cheese delivers powerful full-body effects best suited for night owls or patients treating pain. Colder climates will bring out this hybrid’s purple hues, and for best results, growers should keep this autoflowering variety between 50-80 cm in height.
Royal Haze (or Royale Haze) by Dinafem Seeds is a mostly sativa strain bred from Skunk, Haze, and Northern Lights genetics. Taking after her Haze parent, this sativa inherits a spicy citrus flavor and buzzing, energetic effects that keep you alert and productive throughout the day. Outdoor growers will appreciate her flexibility and resilience even when the temperature drops, although her 10-11 week flowering cycle demands a bit of patience.
An autoflowering rendition of Royal Haze was bred by Royal Queen Seeds, who mixed Amnesia Haze, Skunk, and a ruderalis strain. Its effects are similarly energizing and cerebral.