When to Harvest Autoflower Cannabis Plants?

Table of Contents

The number of weeks it takes, for an autoflowering marijuana plant to grow ranges from three to six weeks, depending on its type, genetics, and growing patterns. If you’re a first-time autoflowering grower, you have a lot of questions in mind considering that this is still the stage of testing the waters. 

With all this curiosity, this article will walk you through gaining information on when to harvest autoflower cannabis plants. From the appearance, yield, and changes, we’ve got it all covered. Read on and know more about the signs that autoflowering plants show when they are ready for harvest. 

What Happens if You Harvest Your Plant Too Early? 

Early harvest for autoflowering cannabis plants is no good for consumption. Apart from the lost quality bud production, you’re also losing the chance of these plants to flourish more. It’s similar to harvesting fruits too early. They often taste bitter and come in dry textures too. 

Moreover, the early harvest will cause an infestation of molds, mildews, and pests around the plant. This will not just affect further growth but reduced soil quality as well. The easiest sign to tell if your autoflower cannabis plants are ready is the moment they produce beautiful flowers and trichomes. 

High in THC content is often caused by early harvest, which is useful if your goal is to get stone high. What we highly suggest is to test the autoflowering strain first and check the properties and characteristics they possess for basis during its growth. 

The ratio of high THC and low CBD content is often found in early harvested autoflower cannabis plants. The counterpart is the compromised trichome and pistils production that affects the effects and the growth of the plant. 

What Happens if You Harvest Your Plant Too Late? 

As compared to an early harvest, late-harvested autoflower plants are actually beneficial for its growth. When they are harvested a few days after they already show signs, you are allowing them to fully mature. This may seem a disadvantage for some, but growth-wise, it serves the autoflowering plant right. 

Experts in autoflower cannabis plant cultivation say that this practice is wrong. Their perception is that when these buds are left for a couple of days, they overripe, which cause the unpleasant taste. Most growers think otherwise. Even when the plants begin to dry, the smoke and the quality remains good. 

Products of late harvest result in buds inducing slight sedating effects that completely put your mind and body at a more relaxed and calmed state delivering indica properties. With sativa grew autoflower plants, they induce uplifting effects that will surely get you through the day. 

6 Signs that Your Auto-flowering Plants are Ready for Harvest 

This section will discuss the six signs that tell when to harvest autoflower cannabis plants. Be wary of the changes it undergoes from autoflower seeds to autoflower plant. The color, bud production, texture, and even water consumption are to be checked from time to time. 

More often than not, the signs are obvious in comparison to how photoperiod cannabis types show that they are ready for harvest. The only thing you have to do is to keep an open eye, considering that the signs are visual. 

The most crucial part of the process of every marijuana growing operation is the harvest time. This is the final step of harvesting all the fruits of hard work, time, and effort devoted to the tedious process. 

There are a lot of factors to be taken into account during the process of harvest. You have to know when and how to harvest and what to do right after harvest. This guide will help you identify if your plants are ready for harvest and consumption. 

Yellow Leaves Production

Autoflowering cannabis plants have green leaves when they are in the vegetative stage. Once these leaves turn from green to yellow, your plant is ready. Compared to photoperiod plants, autoflowering ones do not shift in color in fast pacing. 

As early as this stage, you can already start flushing the autoflowering plants. This is the process of chemical removal, especially if you’re using inorganic fertilizers. At this stage, the leaves will also start to fall out on their own. This is the sign that you have to cut the buds down already. 

Another factor that affects the change from green to yellow leaves is the use of fertilizers and nutrients. Overfeeding or underfeeding with Nitrogen, Phosphorus, or Potassium can slow it down, which leads to missing the peak of the harvest time. 

Blooming of Trichome Color 

Trichomes are the ones with the small mushroom-like appearance often found in crystal or white color. They can be fine, powdered, or chunky in texture depending on the genetics it upholds. The amount of trichome covering may vary too, which can be subtle or snow-covered. 

When a cannabis plant is already at peak, the transparent color of trichomes will eventually turn cloudy. Most growers are having a hard time observing the trichome color changes, but once you get used to it, it’s no rocket science to tell their differences. 

In observing the crystal trichomes of autoflowering cannabis plants, you either have a good vision, a magnifying glass, or a digital camera. This equipment will help you in viewing the trichomes from different perspectives and observe the changes they undergo. 

Trichomes are classified into three, which are clear, cloudy, and amber. Once the color of the trichomes ranges from cloudy to amber, this suggests that your plants are ready for harvest even though half of them are still clear. 

Autoflowers vary in characteristics, types, effects, and especially in growth patterns. Due to exposure, the top part of the buds ripens earlier than the lower ones. This is why it’s quite hard to say the certainty of the timeframe and base on approximation instead. 

Increase in Trichome Amount 

Another sign that will establish the readiness of autoflower cannabis plants for harvest is the number of trichomes produced. The trichomes increase as the harvest time gets nearer. The cannabis plant consumes the energy from the leaves and releases it during bud production. 

The more the number of trichomes is present, the more chances of producing more buds for harvest and consumption. You have to check the trichome production every now and then to ensure that you’re on the right path of growing autoflower cannabis plants. 

You will often find buds finely or snow-coated with crystal trichomes. This is one of the easiest signs to check if the plant is ready for harvest. The energy the plants will regenerate to empower its growth and reach the time for harvest. 

Pistils and Stigmas Turn Brown 

The second most common sign that tells the time for the harvest of autoflower cannabis plants is their pistils. One half of the number of pistils turn brown; this is the best time for harvest. You have to check the color changes every now and then because this tells the time of harvest. 

The pistils are the strands of hair growing on the surface of the buds. They often come in light green and brown colors and in half centimeter length. The responsibility of these hairs is to catch pollen. When they do not catch enough pollen, the pistils will turn from white to brown and will wilt eventually. 

Considering that autoflower cannabis plants lack in accuracy and certainty of harvest, it would be best to wait for a few days before harvest. This will prove its maturity and readiness to be pulled out of the soil. 

Apart from the crystal trichomes, you have to watch out for the plant’s pistils too. If you’re seeking for THC-enriched buds, it would be best to harvest when these turn dark in color and start to curl up. 

If you delay the harvest time and the pistils have curled well, expect the marijuana plant to be low in THC but rich in other cannabinoids, preferably for medical use. This will leave you with a completely high body that can lock you on your bed for hours. 

A tip for autoflower sativa growers, it would be best to harvest as early as 60% up to 70% progress of the plant. This will not only enrich it with recreational benefits but as well as the medical benefits these plants can cater to. 

Change in Water Usage 

When the autoflower cannabis plant approaches its harvest time, they start to consume less and less amount of water. Once the plant is ready, new growth and nutrient absorption no longer take place. It would be best to keep the amount of water and nutrients at a minimum. After two days since the day you watered the plant, check if the soil stays moist. This is a sign that the buds are ready for harvest and consumption. 

Curving and Drying Leaves 

Apart from the long leaves, you have to watch out for the changes in the smaller ones. Your autoflowering cannabis plant is ready for harvest once the smaller leaves start to dry out and curl. These leaves can be found surrounding the buds serving as protection against unwanted infestation. 

The curving and drying of the baby leaves happen in the same period when your plant already consumed less water. This is the best sign that your autoflower cannabis plant is already at its final stage of growth. It’s time to harvest the fruits of your labor. 


Knowing the certainty of a timeframe as to when autoflower cannabis plants are ready for harvest is quite difficult. Instead of counting days, you have to watch out for the signs of the readiness of these cannabis plants. 

Whether you’re a professional or inexperienced, understanding the properties of this cannabis type is made easier at your own benefit. These six signs will help you in knowing when to harvest autoflower cannabis plants. 

Share This Post:



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We will inform you when the product arrives in stock. Please leave your valid email address below.

What are you looking for in Sonoma?

Discover Sonoma's popular strains

Go high with Sonoma's top sellers seeds
× How can I help you?