Cannabis-growing newcomers and even those with a little more experience may all be asking the same question — when is the best time to harvest weed? The brief window of time between budding flower and the yellowing old plant is the period in which cannabis buds produce the most potent THC and the best high. It must be harvested before the plant dies, but not too early that THC content is too low.
Think of it like growing any other house plant; it has a flowering period and a growth cycle, and the trick knows where in the cycle your plant lies. You must read this article on harvesting weed and learn all about the weeds.
How many weeks of flowering before harvest?
To kick off your marijuana harvesting guide, it’s essential to know the time frame you’re working within. To the untrained eye, these three-pronged fan leaves might look the same, but the truth is that different strains have slightly different flowering periods. Boiled down to the basics, indica should be harvested earlier than sativa. Generally, the average bud harvest time is as follows:
- Indica - 8 weeks after flowering
- Sativa - 10 weeks after flowering
- Autoflower - 10 weeks from seedling to bud
By paying attention to the weeks of flowering time, you’ll be able to determine your cannabis plant’s maturity. You can harvest marijuana indoors little by little as each bud is at its best stage. If you’re growing multiple plants or harvesting indica or sativa outside, you can harvest two times in one growing season.
How to tell your plant is ready to harvest?
If telling time isn’t really your thing, you don’t need a calendar to know when to harvest weed. Learn how to look for visual signs that your plant is ready to harvest. With fool proof tool and a knowledgeable eye, there’s no way you’ll mess up.
The most exact way to tell if your plant is ready to harvest is by looking at trichomes, which are tiny crystalline mushroom-shaped bumps that cover buds when the cannabis plant is ready to harvest. They range in color from clear to milky white to slightly yellow and contain all the THC that makes your plant so valuable. The trichomes grow and multiply over time. Here’s what the different trichome stages mean for your harvest:
Clear and translucent - Too early for harvesting, they do not contain much THC.
Half clear: Harvesting plants with trichomes at this stage produces an energetic but brief high.
Amber - The potency decreases during this period, and cannabis with orange trichomes produces a more narcotic effect.
What this means is that most people will want to harvest weed somewhere between the half clear and amber stage, depending on the kind of high you want. Collect buds closer to the half clear trichome stage for a more invigorating high, and closer to the amber stage for a sedative, chill high.
In feminized auto-flowering cannabis and other female or intersex weed plants, you can also take a look at the pistil color. Pistils are the tendril-like sprouts that grow randomly along with nodes, and they change from yellow-white to orange and amber. Like trichomes, pistils orange in color indicates that they’re mature.
Calyxes are the first part of the cannabis plant to grow, and they’re similar to the outer bud of a rose petal. They become more plump and swollen as they mature.