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.
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.