How Autoflowers Were Created

Cannabis ruderalis, a little-known subgroup of the cannabis plant, has played a significant role in developing autoflowering cannabis strains. Autoflowers haven’t always been the most desirable plants to grow in the cannabis community, but they’ve been bred over generations to be able to compete with photoperiod plants. The history of autoflowering seeds and their ruderalis roots is a fascinating tale of botany, hybridization, and the ingenuity of cultivators who sought to create a more covert, efficient, and versatile cannabis plant. This article will explore this fascinating history.

What is cannabis ruderalis?

Cannabis ruderalis is a type of cannabis plant that differs slightly from the more well-known sativa and indica. It’s native to regions with short summers and harsh climates, like Siberia and Eastern Europe. Ruderalis is unique because it doesn’t rely on changes in light to start flowering like other cannabis plants. Instead, it automatically starts to flower with age, usually 2-4 weeks after germination.

Ruderalis plants tend to be smaller and less potent than sativa and indica plants, but they’re hardy and can handle harsh conditions. The lineage of autoflowers stretches back to their first moment in science when Russian botanist Dmitrij Janischewski discovered and documented Cannabis Ruderalis while studying the cannabis plant in Southern Siberia. Unlike its more famous counterparts, Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica, ruderalis genetics typically have a high CBD to THC ratio and have unique characteristics that allow it to flower automatically without increased hours of darkness. This trait has been selectively bred into modern classic autoflower strains, resulting in faster-growing, more resilient plants that are ideal for growers with quick timelines.

If you want to dive deeper into the specifics of this subspecies, also read What is Cannabis Ruderalis?

different marijuana leaf structure - sativa, indica, ruderalis, and hybrid
Leaf differences between the cannabis subspecies

History of autoflowers

Coming from humble beginnings, the history of autoflowering seeds and their progeny is a tale of novel thinking and exploration into creating a new sub-type of cannabis. Innovations in autoflower growing, like feminization and breeding ruderalis from an interesting plant into a viable prospect for growing, have kept autoflowers a popular choice among home growers and hobbyists.

How today’s autoflower cannabis came to be

The true pioneer of the autoflower revolution is an early cannabis geneticist known as Sasha “The Joint Doctor” Przytyk. As a passionate cannabis hobbyist, he recognized the untapped potential of ruderalis plants and set out on a mission to develop them into commercially viable and stable autoflower strains. The process involved a series of daring experiments, including cross-breeding ruderalis with other cultivars and stabilizing the hybrids through selective breeding.

Nowadays most popular cultivars have been crossbred into an autoflowering version—all thanks to The Joint Doctor. Check out our collection of popular autoflower seeds below!

bergman holding autoflower plant

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The “Mexican rudy’ experiment 

During his early days of experimentation, The Joint Doctor began to trade seeds with his friend Antonio. This expatriate lived in Mexico and grew and experimented with exciting breeding projects. One of the seeds he had given to The Joint Doctor was called Mexican Rudy, which he found grew shorter and flowered earlier than any of his other cultivars. He knew of Ruderalis’ origins in the East but never made the connection since the genetics came from Mexico. 

The Joint Doctor found that these seeds produced short, bushy plants that flowered quickly. Naturally, he became interested in their odd traits. When he first crossed Mexican Rudy with Northern Lights, it produced photoperiod plants that were short and stocky. He didn’t know what direction to go but knew he had controversial cannabis breeding challenges ahead. Most growers breed for traits that make plants produce more, but The Joint Doctor bred his plants looking for unique characteristics. The shining feature he found in this plant was non-photoperiod dependency. 

Lowryder: The first autoflower strain

Lowryder is the love child of a male Rudy plant crossed with a female Northern Lights #2, which was then crossed to a William’s Wonder clone. This crossing produced a male that flowered automatically and did so while it was small and receiving 24 hours of light per day. The Joint Doctor used this male to pass on the autoflower trait and refine the genetics to produce the Lowryder strain—the world’s first autoflower.

The growing community initially ridiculed autoflowers since they had low yields and lower potency than available photoperiods. Yet, through The Joint Doctor’s fearless experimentation, Lowryder quickly became a hit with growers for its ease of cultivation, bushy structure, and short flowering time. From there, he continued to hone and perfect his autoflower strains, introducing new varieties with unique flavors, aromas, and effects from his other plants. 

So, are autoflowers genetically modified? No, autoflowers aren’t genetically manipulated in common sense. The only way autoflowers are modified is through selective breeding methods to bring about certain traits in the plant.

We also offer Lowryder seeds in our store. Be sure to check out this awesome foundation for all autoflowers to come!

lowryder autoflowering plant

Buy Lowryder Autoflower Seeds

  • The first-ever autoflower
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When did the autoflower become popular? 

In the late 2000s, breeders began releasing more autoflowering cultivars after Lowryder emerged. Mitch from Mephisto Genetics traveled from Canada to Spain, where they met other growers working with these genetics, and the spread of heavy-yielding modern autoflowers ignited. Autoflowers gained even more popularity when The Joint Doctor joined forces to produce many genetic variants that made growers take autoflowers as a serious option.

The modern-day high-yielding autoflower is a robust plant that produces many buds with a shorter life cycle than its photoperiod sisters. While autoflowers have come leagues above where they once were, they still fail to meet the strength and size of a photoperiod plant. The future of autoflowers is very bright, and one day they will have parity with the photoperiods and won’t be considered second-class.

autoflowering cannabis flowers
Today, autoflowers are just as potent as photoperiods

Autoflower today

Today, thanks to The Joint Doctor’s groundbreaking work with Cannabis Ruderalis, the autoflower cannabis industry is thriving, with numerous companies and breeders developing their exciting cultivars with both size and potency. These autoflowers offer an unparalleled range of flavors and experiences, and their ease of cultivation and speedy maturity has made them a firm favorite of cannabis enthusiasts worldwide. The Joint Doctor’s groundbreaking work in the world of autoflower strains has genuinely changed the game. His legacy will continue to inspire innovation in the cannabis industry for years to come.

Modern breeding techniques have brought autoflowers to the point of being competitive with photoperiods for potency, which was doubted during the early days. Autoflowers are no longer less potent than their photoperiod cousins.

The popularity of autoflowers has exploded. Autoflowers became popular due to their short growth cycles and ease of growing. But this popularity has grown since the development of modern high-potency, high-yielding autoflowers. Nowadays some outdoor growers will even utilize autoflowers commercially to make the most of the outdoor season, but typically autoflowers are grown by home growers and patients.

If this inspires you to grow some of your own, it’s not hard at all! Download Robert’s Grow Bible for free and you’ll be planting your first autoflower in no time!

Learn more about autoflowers

Dive into our list of autoflower related topics and learn everything there is to know about growing autoflowers.

Growing autoflowers next?

If you’re out to look at what to grow next, dive into these sources and learn more about cannabis seeds, cannabis plant subspecies and which strain is best for you.

Happy growing!

Avatar for Nigel Deez

Mr Nigel Deez

Cannabis Cultivation Expert

Working in America's legal cannabis industry for the past 6 years, Nigel Deez bring various experiences to the table. Startin ... See profile

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