Autoflowering pruning: is it safe to proceed with defoliation?

Is it safe to prune autoflowering plants?

Published on: 21/05/2021

Advantages and disadvantages of pruning autoflowering plants

After sprouting seedlings from autoflowering cannabis seeds, farmers find themselves faced with a big problem: is pruning auto flower seeds a recommended practice or not?

In general, novice farmers completely neglect these practices: it is better to avoid making mistakes by saving the seedlings rather than stressing the autoflowering plants too much (which would not recover)!

On the other hand, mid-experienced farmers try to adopt one or more practices guaranteeing the maximum yield in terms of size, density, and power of the flowers.

Today we want to talk to you about the pros and cons of pruning autoflowering plants, explaining first of all what it consists of. However, remember that it is not allowed to grow cannabis in the UK but only to buy marijuana seeds to collect them.

Unless you live in a state that allows you to grow for recreational and/or therapeutic purposes, we recommend that you treasure the following information without putting it into practice.

Read also: Defoliating autoflowering plants: when is it appropriate and why it is done?

How does auto-flowering plants’ pruning take place?

Pruning cannabis plants involves cutting off a certain number of leaves to allow light to reach every single part of the plant. If cutting the yellow leaves of autoflowering plants is recommended because they are diseased leaves, extreme care must be taken before pruning the healthy foliage.

The leaves of cannabis fine-tune chlorophyll photosynthesis, produce nutrients and are essential for the excellent growth of the plant. They are also the parts of the plant that absorb the most significant amount of light, so pruning is not always recommended.

Yet, pruning cannabis can bring some significant benefits to the grower.

Defoliated autoflowering cannabis plants

Why prune autoflowering cannabis? Here are the advantages.

The advantages of defoliation of autoflowering plants are different:

  • The plant gets stressed, and the buds start producing more resin to protect themselves. As you know, the resin is rich in cannabinoids such as THC and CBD.
  • The flowers can increase in size and number because, thanks to the pruning of the foliage, the light also reaches the parts that previously remained in the shade.
  • With leaf pruning, the shoots growing at the bottom of the plant can develop best as they receive more light. In this way, the yield is more homogeneous and satisfactory.
  • By pruning some leaves (especially those that are not healthy), the plant’s energies can focus on developing flowers and healthy parts. This fact contributes to the growth of the flowers in terms of size and number.

However, it is necessary to consider some particularities of plants born from autoflowering seeds and some tricks of defoliation which, if not adopted, make this technique counterproductive.

Read also: Skunk cannabis: origins, meaning and effects

Disadvantages of autoflowering plants’ defoliation

Defoliating autoflowering plants is a practice that, in some cases, can lead to the death of the plant or minimize its yield (or have the opposite effect compared to that desired).

Here’s why and what these cases are:

  • Autoflowering plants have high-speed growth and have little time to recover when traumatized (think that even transplanting them is not recommended!).
    Pruning is a real trauma that slows down the growth of the plant. It compromises the self-regulation of the temperature and prevents the plant from freeing itself from any toxic substances (for example, those present in the air and the soil). As a result, the fastest autoflowering species may not have time to recover from defoliation, leading to death or crop failure.
  • Whoever prunes too many leaves to autoflowering plants causes a real shock to the plant, which could develop characteristics of both sexes (thus becoming hermaphrodite, a typical reaction to situations of very high stress) or even lead to death.
  • Pruning plants grown outdoors can be useless and counterproductive. Plants that grow outdoors store large quantities of nutrients in the foliage so that they can survive in challenging environmental conditions (for example, strong wind, temperature changes, unsuitable humidity, etc.). Pruning the leaves, therefore, would reduce nutrient supplies. In addition, Outdoor plants get enough light from different angles, so they don’t need to be pruned for the light to reach certain parts better. Outdoor autoflowering plants do not need pruning.
  • Pruning the leaves of flowering autoflowering plants leads the plants to death or developing both male and female sexual characteristics, compromising the yield. In fact, during the flowering phase, all the energy of cannabis seeds is concentrated on the correct development of the flowers and does not have to undergo the stress of any kind.
Plants grown outdoors do not need pruning

Besides, the pruning of autoflowering or photoperiod plants (such as those born from feminized seeds) should take place during the vegetative phase, never later.


Now you know what it means to prune autoflowering plants and the pros and cons of defoliation.

Remember, however, that in the UK, it is not allowed to grow cannabis (the practice constitutes a criminal offence or an administrative offence depending on the case), so we advise you not to do so.

However, you can buy collectable seeds!

Buy the best BSF seeds, auto-flowering weed seeds now at our Sensoryseeds online shop. We are waiting for you!