How To Tell If My Autoflower Is Ready for Harvest

How to look for the signs that your autoflower is getting ready to be chopped and what they mean.
06 May 2020
4 min read
How To Tell If My Autoflower Is Ready for Harvest

  • 1. Breeder’s schedule
  • 2. By looking at the stigmas (pistils)
  • 3. Different states of the trichomes
  • 4. Decreased water usage
  • 5. Yellowing and dying fan leaves
  • 6. In conclusion

One of the most asked questions is when to harvest? There’s no exact time to harvest, you need a slight knowledge of cannabis anatomy to look out for the signs your plant gives. We recommend harvesting when your autoflower has the highest amount of THC and is at its peak potency.

You should take into consideration all signs to know when it’s ready. Here we’ll explain how to look out for these signs and what they mean.

1. Breeder’s Schedule

You should never go by the time written on the packaging, that schedule is an approximate number of weeks and completely depends on growing conditions. Your autoflower can take more or less time to fully mature, but you can use it as a general guideline for when to start looking for the signs.

2. By Looking at the Stigmas (Pistils)

Pistils are those white hairs you see when your plant starts to flower, they are made to catch pollen if they don’t get that, they start to turn brown and wilt. That’s usually a sign of maturity.


How To Tell If My Autoflower Is Ready for Harvest: Stigmas (Pistils) of Cannabis Plants

Purple Lemonade on its week 10 ready to be harvested, from our grower BigDaddyK from GrowDiaries.

With autoflowers this method is not that accurate, even with more than half of the pistils brown your plant can still need a couple of days or weeks to be fully mature.

3. Different States of The Trichomes

Trichomes are the most important anatomical part of the plant, they are small mushroom-shaped glands that produce cannabinoids and terpenes. To be able to see them, you will need a magnifying glass, microscope or a really good camera. They have different states of degradation that can be identified by their color (clear, cloudy, and amber).

Trichome color is considered the standard measurement when finding the right time to harvest, depending on the color the final product will have a different effect. Clear trichomes give a head high sometimes associated with the effect of Sativa strains like Pineapple Express Auto which will be ready to be harvested in just 10 weeks.

Pineapple Express Auto
Pineapple Express Auto
Sativa 40%/Indica 60%
Pineapple Express Auto
10 weeks
400 – 550 gr/m2
60 – 110 cm
Up to 20%
< 1%
Buy seeds from 11,00 €
1 fem
11,00 €
2 fem
20,00 €
3 fem
30,00 €
5 fem
45,00 €
10 fem
80,00 €
25 fem
175,00 €
50 fem
300,00 €
100 fem
490,00 €
500 fem
1 650,00 €
1000 fem
2 800,00 €
3 fem
Add to Cart
30,00 €

Amber trichomes will give more of a sedative high, sometimes associated with the effect of Indica strains such as Gelato Auto and cloudy trichomes will have a mix of both types of high.

Note that you can harvest a Sativa strain with amber trichomes and an Indica with clear trichomes, it all depends on your preference. Because autoflowers have different growing patterns it can be hard to tell when exactly is the right time just by looking at the trichomes.


How To Tell If My Autoflower Is Ready for Harvest: States of Trichomes on cannabis

Harvesting when most of the trichomes are clear means it will have more of a Sativa high, as where harvesting when trichomes are mostly amber means more of an Indica high.

Tip: We recommend harvesting when trichomes are cloudy, which will ensure you’re harvesting at its peak and will provide a full spectrum of cannabinoids.

4. Decreased Water Usage

When your autoflower starts to take less water its a sign that there’s no new growth and is ready to be chopped. It’s not exact, but if the medium stays wet for a day or two after watering it probably means it’s ready to be chopped.

5. Yellowing and Dying Fan Leaves

At the end of an autoflowers life cycle, the fan leaves will start to turn yellow and die. This means all the resources are being directed to the buds. It takes up to 3 weeks from the start of yellowing until they die.


How To Tell If My Autoflower Is Ready for Harvest: Cannabis Yellow Leaves

Zkittlez Auto on the day 79 from our grower PrairieFrostGrow from GrowDiaries.

In these 3 weeks the buds are in the final stage of ripening and you should flush the medium to eliminate any residual fertilizers. This is the easiest way to identify plant maturity, it works 100% with autoflowers, and combined with all the other signs, you should be able to harvest at the exact correct time.

Tip: Yellowing of leaves is a sign of maturity in the flowering stage, if you see yellowing in the vegetative stage it’s a sign that something’s wrong.

6. In Conclusion

Now that you know when to harvest cannabis, you know that there is not one exact measurement to know if your autoflower is ready for harvesting, we recommend using all these signs together to have an idea, remember different growers like different highs and you should experiment and test to see what works for you.

06 May 2020