If this is your first time going through the growing process or you don’t have much experience growing, you might wonder about when is the best time to harvest cannabis. Of course, this is the last critical step in your grow—it is the culmination of all your effort.
You’ve chosen the best grow lights, planned how many potted plants you should have in your grow tent, and how to increase the yield per plant, and now all the sweat will be put to the test in this moment. Harvest too early and you’ll lose yield and potency, too late and you’ll get sleepy plants. Rather than act prematurely, we often feel like “it’s not time yet” and miss the best moment to harvest cannabis.
So let’s figure out the best moment to harvest with three simple methods.
Timing -The Best Time to Harvest Cannabis
Outdoor growing is generally harvested once per year—if you are in a warmer climate, you may be able to harvest twice a year. When you live in the northern hemisphere, you will probably harvest in September-November. For indoor growers, if your grow lights and other equipment are perfect, Indica strains will be ready 6-8 weeks after flowering, while Sativa strains will be ready 9-12 weeks after flowering. Autoflowering cannabis generally matures 8-12 weeks after the seedling stage.
These are only approximate times, if you want to get more precise times, follow the next two methods.
Trichomes -The Best Time to Harvest Cannabis
Observing your plant’s trichome morphology is the most accurate method of telling when your plant is ready to harvest. Trichomes grow on the stamens and are shaped like little mushrooms. If they look clear and glassy, then they haven’t reached a harvestable state. When the trichomes start to get cloudy, you need to brace yourself because time is running out.
The best time to harvest is when half of the trichomes are milky white and the other half amber—plants at this stage have the highest levels of THC and are most potent. If you leave them on a little longer, or less than half of the trichomes are cloudyt while there is more amber coloration you’ll be harvesting plants that give you a more relaxing and physical high.
Note that subtle changes in trichomes are difficult to see with the naked eye. So we recommend using a jeweers loupe magnifier or other similar product to observe your plants.
Pistil -The Best Time to Harvest Cannabis
Examining the pistils is another excellent way to tell if a plant is ready for harvest. Pistils are hair-like structures located on the calyx that we can easily spot with the naked eye. The Calyx contains the reproductive organs of the female plant, and the stigma is the vibrant hair-like thread on the pistil.
The main function of the stigma is to collect pollen from male plants and develop seeds. When first flowering, the stigma is white but as the plant matures, it will gradually turn red, orange or brown. Although it plays an important role in the growth of the plant, it does not have any effect on the potency of the flower.
So, while your stigma is still white it means there is still some time before the plant matures, so please be patient. You should wait until at least 50% of the stigmas have darkened before considering harvesting. When 60-70% of the stigma has darkened, this means your flower has reached the highest level of THC it can achieve and this is also the time to harvest. Of course, if you are looking for a more relaxing and physical high, you can wait a little longer for the THC to convert to CBN.
In addition to the above three methods, you can also observe the color of the leaves of your plants as the flowers mature. As the leaves turn from green to yellow and start to curl and dry, your plant is maturing.
Wrap-up The Best Time to Harvest Cannabis
Harvesting cannabis at the right time will allow you to get the highest-yields and most potent THC. This is the last step in the entire process of growing marijuana, so don’t lose your attention yet, this is the moment you’ll be able to determine the quality of the final product.
We hope that after reading this article you will be able to grasp when your plants will need be harvested. In any case, we’re excited you’re here and we want to wish you the best of luck in your grow.
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