Transitory starch, a major photosynthetic product in the leaves of land plants, accumulates in chloroplasts during the day and is hydrolyzed to maltose and Glc at night to support respiration and metabolism. Previous studies in Arabidopsis thaliana indicated that the degradation of transitory starch only occurs in the chloroplasts. Here, we report that autophagy, a nonplastidial process, participates in leaf starch degradation. Excessive starch accumulation was observed in Nicotiana benthamiana seedlings treated with an autophagy inhibitor and in autophagy-related (ATG) gene-silenced N. benthamiana and in Arabidopsis atg mutants. Autophagic activity in the leaves responded to the dynamic starch contents during the night. Microscopy showed that a type of small starch granule-like structure (SSGL) was localized outside the chloroplast and was sequestered by autophagic bodies. Moreover, an increased number of SSGLs was observed during starch depletion, and disruption of autophagy reduced the number of vacuole-localized SSGLs. These data suggest that autophagy contributes to transitory starch degradation by sequestering SSGLs to the vacuole for their subsequent breakdown.