Autoflower Marijuana Seeds

18 September 2020

When to Harvest an Autoflower Strain

When growing marijuana, knowing when to harvest an autoflower cannabis seed type can be a simple process, even for inexperienced cannabis growers.  As auto plants progress through their quick lifespan from seed to harvest, there are many signals and indications as to when your autoflowering cannabis plants are ready to harvest.

As your autoflowering seeds near the end of life, the plant’s natural indicators will guide you through the timeline, determining exactly when to harvest your autoflowering plants.

The secret to harvesting successful autoflowering cannabis strains is by listening to what your plant is telling you. Now, you don’t necessarily have to be a plant whisperer when growing autoflower strains. However, recognizing distinctive visual growth transformations will give you some important clues to help you identify the climactic moment to harvest your plant.

While growing autoflowering cannabis strains is considered to be easier than regular seeds or feminized seeds, it is important to fully understand why and when is the right time to harvest your auto-flowering marijuana seeds.

Cannabis Pistils

The transition from the vegetative stage into the flowering cycle for autoflowering cannabis seeds is quite rapid, usually only 3-4 weeks. The plant will then begin to show signs of pre-flowering followed by full-blown bloom within the next month. As the plant shifts from the vegetative phase into the pre-flower phase, you will start to notice substantial changes in your autoflowering cannabis plants.

An easily distinguishable visual sign of growth change occurs in the pistil on the flower. The pistil is the reproductive organ of female flowers. Attached to the pistil are small hair-like strands called stigmas that are necessary to collect pollen when plants breed.

As autoflowering marijuana strains develop, stigmas appear as thin, white hairs covering the pistil. In a naturally occurring or controlled environment, reproduction can occur at this time. However, if the plant does not become pollinated during this phase, the stigmas continue to adorn the flower and eventually turn colour.

The changing hues range from yellows and browns to deep reds, depending on the type of strain. As more stigmas turn colour, the time for harvest draws near. As such, your autoflower strain will tell you it is ready to harvest when most of the stigmas have changed colour.

Cannabis Leaves Turning Yellow

The rapid growth of the autoflower quickly shifts as flowers begin to develop in the next few weeks. Bud sites begin to fill branches as calyxes’ mature. During this transition, the plant will send energy up and out to create beautiful colas full of delicate cannabinoids and terpenes.

Depending on the type of marijuana strain, usually around week 7 – 8 for an indica autoflower and 9 – 10 weeks for sativa autoflowering from the beginning of growth, auto plants will start to exhibit other signs communicating a change in plant development. Yellowing fan leaves are a signal that the plant is almost reaching maturity.

Energy initially directed toward leaf production and growth is suddenly relayed into evolving the flowers. Large fan leaves begin to yellow throughout the plant as the energy moves into bud formation. When the yellow fan leaves start to turn brown at the tips and curl under, your autoflower strain is telling you the time to harvest is close.

When Should you Start Flushing Your Autoflower?

If your autoflower received synthetic nutrients during plant growth, it is a sign to start flushing with water when abundant fan leaves have turned yellow. Wash out residual compounds found in non-organic fertilizers by flushing with water approximately 7 – 10 days before harvest. This process ensures the total uptake of sugars and proteins in the final stage of plant development.

Trichomes on an autoflower cannabis strain will indicate when is the right time to harvest
Due to their short life cycle, the harvest window for an autoflower cannabis strain is also substantially reduced. Daily observation of trichome development is imperative during this period.

Trichomes the Key to Harvest Time

Colour changes in the stigma and the leaves are an important sign to begin looking at trichome development. Trichomes can be detected with the naked eye noticeably as sparkly crystals that cover the plant. However, a closer look through magnification reveals tiny mushroom-shaped protrusions. Inside the unique shaped trichomes lie the terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids that produce flavour, aroma, and potency.

Trichome growth begins as the marijuana plant starts to move into its flowering phase. The tiny, bulbous projections that encompass the plant have an intent agenda as they multiply prolifically. Not only do trichomes present the perfect defence mechanism to thwart off an invasive intrusion, but they also carry precious cannabinoids and terpenes.

Trichomes go through development stages as the plant cycle evolves. An early inspection of their manifestation reveals translucent, lucid mushroom-shaped projections. As the plant continues to grow, however, the colour of the trichomes begins to change. They first take on a cloudy white hue and eventually turn to light amber.

The colour changes that signify when to harvest your plant is dependent on the outcome you want to achieve. Cloudy trichomes, brimming with high THC content, offer a pleasing heady high from the flower. Harvesting your cannabis plants when there are abundant cloudy trichomes with some amber ones present helps to provide this effect.

As your cannabis plants reach maturation, you will observe more amber coloured trichomes. This indicates that the THC cannabinoids are degrading, converting to other cannabinoids at this stage. If you prefer a more couch-lock euphoria, harvest your plant when you have roughly 75% cloudy and 25% amber-coloured trichomes.

There is a point in an autoflowering varieties evolution when it has reached its peak and will tell you when it is ready to be harvested. Again, due to the short life cycle, the harvest window for an autoflower cannabis strain is also substantially reduced. Daily observation of trichome development is imperative during this period.

Where to buy Autoflowering Seeds?

Cannabis seeds producers typically offer a general overview of the marijuana plants characteristics while highlighting some expectations from the strain. However, every growing environment is different, and results may vary. Nevertheless, starting with proven genetics purchased from reputable seed banks like those on offer at Marijuana Grow Shop will positively enhance the quality of your crop when growing cannabis with an auto-flowering marijuana strain.

Learn more about growing autoflowering marijuana strains:

Are Autoflowering Strains Potent?

How to Increase Yield of an Autoflowering Cannabis Strain

What Are the Best Nutrients for Autoflowering Seeds?

Autoflower vs Photoperiod Strains – How Do They Differ?

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