Hint: The origins of autoflowering cannabis are unknown. The original large scale marketed autoflower strain was Lowryder by breeder The Joint Doctor. Lowryder contains genetics from a Mexican strain known as Mexican Rudy, which is thought to be the result of a cross between a Mexican sativa and a Russian Cannabis ruderalis.
Autoflowering cannabis or day-neutral cannabis varieties switch from vegetative growth to flowering based on age, as opposed to photoperiod dependent/short-day strains, which require a ratio of light to dark hours. Many autoflowering varieties mature in less than ten weeks from seed. Dwarf varieties can be short in stature while still producing a good yield. In contrast, "super autos" can mature in over 100 days and grow to be over 6 feet tall. THC concentrations in Cannabis ruderalis are naturally low. Autoflowering plants can have THC levels similar to the strain with which they were bred thanks to hybrid breeding.
The THC content in some newer varieties has been reported to be around 25% by breeders, with
many varieties also having high CBD content. Some of the benefits of autoflowering plants are as follows:
- Harvesting time is usually less than 13 weeks from seed to harvest (some as short as seven weeks)
- It is possible to keep it short in stature for "stealth" growing.
- Flowering occurs 2–3 weeks after germination due to the Cannabis ruderalis ancestry.
- There is no need for a separate vegetative and flowering environment (as is the case with photoperiod dependent/short-day strains).
- Because of their short life span, they can be grown in cold climates where the summers are short and cold.
- Outdoors, it is possible to harvest multiple crops in a single season.
- Can be grown in high light pollution areas without inhibiting flowering or causing hermaphroditism.
In general, autoflowering strains mature from seed to harvest in eight to ten weeks. However, in some varieties, this can be extended to 12 weeks in order for them to fully mature. More leaf sets are said to emerge in the third week. Even though Autos are generally feminised cannabis seeds, one can look for male and female plants at this stage.
Note: Most people can easily produce true autoflowering seed from two high-quality, true-breeding autoflowering parent plants. When attempting to create a hybrid with a non-autoflowering strain, breeding new autoflowering strains becomes more difficult. Some photoperiod/short-day cannabis strains are heterogeneous, with recessive day-neutral or autoflowering genetics coexisting with dominant short-day genetics. However, because a comprehensive list of such strains is currently unavailable, most breeders treat all short-day plants as homozygous dominant.