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How to Tell if My Autoflower is Ready for Harvest

Autoflowering cannabis plants are known for their fast growth and short life cycle. While this makes them a popular choice for many growers, it can also make it tricky to determine when the plant is ready for harvest. One of the most reliable ways to gauge the readiness of your autoflower is by examining the trichomes on the buds. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at trichomes and their stages of development.

What are Trichomes?

Trichomes are tiny, hair-like structures that cover the buds and leaves of the cannabis plant. These structures play an important role in the plant’s defense mechanisms, protecting it from pests and predators. Trichomes also contain the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes, which are responsible for the plant’s psychoactive and aromatic properties.

Trichomes come in three main types:

Type of TrichomesSizeLocation
Bulbous TrichomesSmallSurface of leaves and stems
Capitate Sessile TrichomesSlightly larger than bulbousSurface of leaves and buds
Capitate-Stalked TrichomesLargest and most abundantBuds and sugar leaves

Trichomes and Harvesting

When it comes to harvesting autoflowers, the most important factor is the maturity of the trichomes. As the plant approaches maturity, the trichomes will change color and shape. There are three main stages of trichome development:

  1. Clear: In the early stages of growth, the trichomes will be clear and translucent.
  2. Milky: As the plant matures, the trichomes will become cloudy or milky in appearance. This is the optimal time for harvesting if you want a more energetic high.
  3. Amber: As the plant continues to mature, the trichomes will turn amber or brown. This indicates that the plant is at its peak potency and is ideal for a more sedative high.
The red arrow is an Amber trichome, Green Arrows are Clear trichomes and the Yellow Arrow is a Cloudy Trichome

How to Tell if Your Autoflower is Ready for Harvest


To determine if your autoflower is ready for harvest, you’ll need to examine the trichomes using a magnifying glass or jeweler’s loupe. Look for the heads of the trichomes and observe their color and shape. You want to aim for the milky stage of trichome development if you prefer a more energetic high, or the amber stage if you prefer a more sedative high.

Harvesting your autoflower at the right time can make a big difference in the quality and potency of your cannabis. By understanding trichome development and observing the changes in your plants, you can ensure a successful and enjoyable harvest.

Care tips in the last weeks of flowering:

In the final weeks of flowering, it’s important to take extra care of your autoflowering cannabis plants to ensure a healthy and high-quality harvest. Here are some care tips to keep in mind:

  1. Flush Your Plants: Flushing involves giving your plants only water for the last week or two before harvest. This helps to remove any excess nutrients or minerals from the plant, which can affect the taste and quality of your final product.
  2. Monitor Humidity and Temperature: High humidity and temperatures can promote the growth of mold and mildew, which can ruin your entire crop. Make sure to keep humidity levels below 50% and temperatures between 68-75°F (20-24°C).
  3. Reduce Watering: As your plants near the end of their life cycle, they will require less water. Over-watering can cause root rot and other issues, so make sure to only water when the soil feels dry.
  4. Check for Pests: Pests like spider mites and whiteflies can quickly damage your plants in the final weeks of flowering. Regularly inspect your plants for any signs of infestation and treat them immediately if necessary.
  5. Harvest at the Right Time: Make sure to harvest your autoflowering cannabis plants at the optimal time, which is when the trichomes are at the desired stage of development. Harvesting too early or too late can affect the potency and flavor of your final product.