When to harvest marijuana plants

Knowing when to harvest marijuana can be one of the trickiest aspects of marijuana growing.

Too soon and your marijuana won’t be very potent. Too long and you end up with an overly narcotic effect and too strong of a taste.

It’s true, harvesting cannabis can be tricky! However, I’ll teach you some strategies for timing your harvest.

This guide explains the various methods for determining when the harvest is ready as well as what to expect during the harvest process.

Keep reading to start learning.

When to harvest marijuana

There are three ways to determine the right time to harvest your cannabis plants.

By measuring flowering time, by looking at the pistils, and by looking at the trichome color. Read on to learn when to harvest your weed plants!

The basics of marijuana harvesting

Harvesting marijuana is a bit like harvesting grapes (or other fruits). The longer you wait, the more potent the grape and the stronger the alcohol. With marijuana, the longer you wait, the more cannabinoids there will be.

That means a stronger product.

See, after the flowering phase, your plant starts to die…

But, guess what?

There are many signs that will alert you of this upcoming event. Such as:

  • The pistils turning red
  • The stem broadening
  • Resin on the buds browning and darkening
  • Leaves starting to yellow and die

If your plant has flowered and you notice any of these symptoms, the chances are good that you are ready to harvest cannabis buds!

Pistils are turning red and the leaves are turning yellow Harvest time!
Pistils are turning red and the leaves are turning yellow

There are some basic guidelines for when to harvest cannabis plants, but there is some contention on the exact ‘best’ time. Just like with fruits or vegetables, it partly depends on your personal tastes.

My free harvesting mini-guide has a handy cheat sheet, be sure to download it below!

Time it right

I can’t stress this enough. You must time your harvest cannabis plant correctly.

If you are feeling eager and harvest too early, the potency, as well as the yield, could be greatly reduced.

If you are too hesitant and wait until after the plants’ peak time, the potency decreases.

“Do not water your plants for one or two days before harvest. The soil should be fairly dry, but not so dry that the plants wilt.”

~ Jorge Cervantes

As soon as the flowering phase begins, start paying attention to the sun’s timing and strength as it correlates with the seasonal changes.

Then, keep a close eye on the details to determine when your plants are at their perfect harvesting time. When in doubt, be more patient.

Flowering phase - week 2
Flowering phase – week 2

More waiting, more resin

The one benefit to waiting until you near the point of the leaves turning brown is that the resin glands will contain more resin.

Some people don’t mind the harsher smoke since they bargain that they are receiving a stronger, more intense high.

This is a personal decision that gets easier after you learn more each harvest.

I’ve said it before:

Reduced light causes your marijuana plants to mature.  

Depending on where you grew your marijuana plants, and whether they were started indoors and then replanted, the sun will be the most important predictor.

If you grow in an area with four distinct seasons, this change will be easier to see.

Another sign; one with a bit of latitude; is the color of the marijuana buds themselves.

It is a good idea to pick them at the first sign that they are losing their rich green color.

If they turn brown, (a sign that they’ve withered a bit), the buds will smoke more harshly.

Don’t try and predict your yield

There isn’t a black and white way of being able to know what your yield will be like ahead of time.

You can identify a few signs that will give you a basic idea of whether the yield will be really good, decent or poor.

All of the factors that you have already worried about (sunlight, water, and soil) will have an impact on your final yield.

You can guess at it a bit, though. For instance, if the plant is five feet tall, you should get a minimum of between two and six ounces of bud.

Taller and bushier plants will produce more, of course. If you wait until after the peak harvest, you can expect a significantly smaller yield.

Whether you are growing indoors or outdoors, harvesting your marijuana can be a daunting task for beginners. With this guide, you’re well on your way to harvesting cannabis buds with confidence.

Thanks for reading. Please leave comments or questions below and don’t forget to download my free 70-page guide, the Marijuana Grow Bible, if you want to learn more about growing this magnificent plant.

Harvesting cannabis based on flowering time

  • Indica Strains – Harvest after 8 weeks of flowering
  • Sativa Strains – Harvest after 10 weeks of flowering
  • Autoflowers – 10 weeks from seedling to bud

Looking at your flowers is just one way to know if it is time to harvest weed. You can also simply time it based on the plant’s typical flowering time.

As a rule of thumb, all marijuana will be ready to harvest cannabis plants around the same time, with some variation based on the specific strain. You’ll need to know your strain to effectively use this method.

Browse our selection of feminized and autoflowering strains to find the perfect strain for you.

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Successful marijuana growers do these two things before timing their harvest:

  • Read the strain descriptions
  • Read comments from other growers

If you purchased your seeds from a reputable source (like me) chances are someone else has already shared some ideas about when it is typically ready to harvest.

Now, of course, there are other variables that could impact when your harvest will be ready.

The specific conditions in your grow room, or outdoor climate also plays a role in the development of your plant.

To summarize:

There is no accurate way of deciding when it’s time to harvest cannabis buds. However, there are some guidelines that give you an idea of when it is time.

indica vs sativa marijuana harvest

When to harvest Indica plants

If you are growing an indica plant, you can expect the flowering time to last about eight weeks before you can harvest. Outdoor growers can expect to harvest around the end of September.

Looking for inspiration? Girl Scout Cookies is a delicious Indica dominant strain. If you haven’t grown GSC yet, you really should!

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When to harvest Sativa plants

For sativa plants, the flowering period lasts for about a month longer than indicas, meaning it will take about 12 weeks.

That being said, several haze strains will actually flower faster – more like 9 to 10 weeks long.

Read the strain-description before you order to be sure. Normally sativas will be ready for harvest at the end of October.

Need a fast sativa? Super Silver Haze can be harvested a bit sooner than most Sativas and can usually be cut and dried mid-October.

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When to harvest autoflowers

Autoflowering marijuana strains don’t rely on lighting changes, so they are somewhat easier to predict based solely on time.

Once you see the first seedlings, you can expect auto-flowers harvest to be ready in 10 weeks.

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While harvesting based on flowering time is not an exact science, it can be a good jumping-off point for figuring out when exactly to harvest your marijuana plants.

It also works well for planning ahead because you can see what your growing season will look like.

harvesting marijuana basted on the pistils
The right color of the pistils

Let the flowering period do its thing

When growing outdoors, you should be most concerned about the flowering period. It is, in fact, the most important part of choosing the correct harvest time.

Expect six to twelve buds per plant once their flowering phase begins due to decreased light.

It will start slow but then increase rapidly (like when you make popcorn).

As more buds appear, existing buds will also continue to grow.

Once you notice the rate of bud production decrease by a lot (like when the popping rate decreases in popcorn), the flowering phase is complete.

Flowering phase is complete
The flowering phase is complete

Expert outdoor growers look for these signs:

  • Bud formation
  • Followed by increasing bud formation
  • Finished off by a sudden drop in bud formation

Mark your calendar for one week after the last day of the flowering period. That is when the plants have reached their growth potential.

Once again, the popcorn metaphor can be useful to explain what’s happening. If you leave the popper or microwave on for too long, the kernels will start to burn.

Even if some kernels remain unpopped, you turn off the microwave.

The same goes for marijuana plants. Although you might be missing out on a couple of new buds, letting it go for too long will have worse consequences in terms of the entire yield.

You never want to jeopardize the first few buds to get a couple more.

Over ripe buds

Although a longer flowering period may lead to a greater harvest, letting your plants flower longer doesn’t always lead to optimal results. You must time it correctly.

I can’t say this enough:

If you wait too long, you could experience an overpowering and unpleasant flavor.

You may also experience decreased effectiveness of the active ingredients – and yes, I mean THC!

The easiest way to keep from reaching that point is to pay attention to the pistil color. In fact, it is the most common approach.

Some growers harvest as soon as the pistils begin to turn red. Others wait until they are almost entirely red, and the resin is dark.

As I said earlier, you can examine the resin on your flowering plants to see if they are ready to harvest.

Under magnification, the glands will be enlarged and covered in resin when mature. They may also swell and look sort of deformed.

That’s exactly when you should harvest.

That resin will darken from transparent to opaque amber as it matures.

Harvest when the resin is still sticky and transparent.

Once that resin darkens and becomes more amber-hued, there’s not much time left before the plant’s active ingredients start to deteriorate.

Harvesting based on the pistils

Observing the pistils is the best and easiest method for deciding when to harvest.

Check a bud’s pistils to see what their coloring looks like. If they’re mostly white, it is too early to harvest.

If they’re all brown or red, you’ve missed the peak time – harvest right away before the quality of the marijuana lowers any further.

  • 50-70% brown – young, light marijuana
  • 70-90% brown – ripe, heavy marijuana
  • 90-100% brown – sharp, heavy marijuana
Almost ready for harvest
Almost ready for harvest

If using this method, be precise. Here is a picture guide:

70-90% brown - ripe, heavy marijuana
0 – 49%

0-49% of the pistils are brown, it is not ready yet.

if 50-75% of the pistils are brown, the harvest time has come but it is still early, making it best for a lighter taste and mellower high. Waiting might be your best option
50 – 75%

50-75% of the pistils are brown. Harvest time has come, but it is still early. These will have a lighter taste and mellower high. Waiting might be your best option.

50-75% of the pistils are brown. Harvest time has come
70 – 90%

70-90% of the pistils are brown. You can harvest your marijuana plants because they are as strong and heavy as they ever will be.

When 90-100% of the pistils brown you’re almost too late for harvest
90 – 100%

When 90-100% of the pistils brown you’re almost too late for harvest. The taste will be heavy, and the effect will be narcotic. Harvest right away and don’t wait any longer

Can I harvest with white hairs?

The “hairs” around the pistils don’t tell you when to harvest. You need to look at either the pistils or trichomes.

It can be hard to wait once those pistils start changing, but trust me, it’s for the best.

Here’s the deal:

Once those pistils are ⅔ brown or a bit more, you can safely harvest.

Not sure if you prefer 70% or 90%?

Experiment and find out. Some new growers harvest their plants at different times so they can figure out exactly when is best for their personal preferences.

If you’ve ever wondered, “can I harvest with white pistils,” the answer is yes.

Some people prefer earlier harvested marijuana as it has more uplifting and lighter effects; while others prefer theirs as potent as possible.

Red or brown pistils
Red or brown pistils


When you harvest affects the quality of the resulting buds. Now, what you consider to be high-quality comes down to personal taste.

You’ll have to decide. One of the best things about growing marijuana is being able to control this incredibly powerful variable.

Harvesting weed based on trichomes

If the pistil method doesn’t work and you have one of the magnification tools mentioned above, you could look at the trichomes to determine if you are ready for harvest. 

This method is actually considered the most accurate, so it’s a good idea to know what you are looking for.

  • Clear trichomes – wait a bit longer
  • Milky white/amber trichomes – ready for harvest
  • All Amber trichomes – overripe
Clear trichomes
Clear trichomes

The concept is simple: look at the trichomes on your plants’ buds. Trichomes grow on the buds and look like little mushrooms since they have a little ball on top.

Some of those trichomes are resin glands. They will have a crystalline structure or appear frosty as they grow on the leaves and buds of your plants.

Why does this matter?

Trichomes are responsible for the stickiness of weed. They are also where much of the THC and other fun chemicals are housed.

When we harvest based on trichomes, we are determining when those trichomes are at their highest THC level. This is difficult to see with the naked eye.

Status of trichomes
Pictures trichomes ready to harvest

So, when do you know that the trichomes are ready? You need to compare them based on these guidelines:

Clear trichomes

This is definitely not the time to harvest. If the trichomes are clear, they won’t be potent enough for harvest, and your final yield will suffer.

Wait until nearly half of the hairs are dark in color and not sticking out so straight.

Half clear, half cloudy trichomes

It is still too soon to harvest. The buds haven’t reached their full potential, although they will still produce a high if harvested now.

This type of high will most likely be more energetic or “speedy.” You’ll get a stronger odor and flavor if you wait, however.

Mostly cloudy trichomes

Congratulations, you have reached the perfect time for harvesting your buds!

This is when they have the highest levels of THC; so, if you want to maximize your yield, you must act fast.

You’ll know your plants have reached this stage when 50 to 70 percent of the hairs are no longer white.

I can’t say this enough:

Harvesting now is ideal. This is when your plants are their most potent.

As a result, the high that comes from buds harvested at this time will provide some serious euphoria and pain relief. It will be the most “intense” high you can get.

Amber trichomes

If your plants have made it this far, it is a bit after the absolute peak time for the greatest amount of potency.

However, this is only because the buds have slightly less THC and more CBN.

If you are looking for a more relaxing, anxiety-reducing high, this could actually be the perfect time to harvest.

A high from marijuana harvested at this time will be more narcotic and often result in a “couchlock” effect.

You’ve reached this stage when 70 to 90 percent of the hairs have darkened.

Learn more about trichomes in the article “What are marijuana trichomes


In terms of the ideal time, try experimenting with harvesting slightly earlier or later to reach your desired results.

Harvest a few buds during their peak harvesting time and save some to harvest once they’ve matured a bit more. That way, you have a variety of options.

One important reminder:

Remember to label everything! You don’t want to end up extremely relaxed when you were looking for a more energetic high.

Now that you’re almost done with your grow, be sure to stay posted on the latest deals for your next!

Looking at cannabis trichomes

A magnifying tool is the best way to see if your plants are ready for harvest.

How do you know it’s time?

Look for glistening, resin-filled trichomes on your buds, like the ones in the photo below.

Magnifying tools for harvesting
Magnifying glass for harvesting

With the right magnifying tools you can clearly see these details.

There are a few magnifying glass options to choose from:

Jewelers loupe

Perfect for those on a budget, this low-tech tool is the least helpful. However, it’s still good enough to provide somewhat of a gauge.

Handheld magnifier

This option steps it up, but it can be cumbersome to use. You’ll really need to get the focus right to view those trichomes.

Trichomes under a microscope

Although expensive, this is the best option, as it will give you a clear answer as to rather your plants are ready to harvest.

The main downside is that you’ll need a laptop to see the results. If you go this route, you’ll definitely need to read the instructions.

Bud under a digital microscope
Bud under a digital microscope

Keep in mind, all of these options will get the job done, but only if you know how to use them properly.

Outdoor marijuana plant harvesting

Harvesting outdoors is just like harvesting indoors, except that not planning it carefully would be a serious mistake.

In addition to understanding the basics of harvesting, you also need to understand the seasons, watch the sun, and think about your personal security.

All those variables sure make outdoor harvest time rewarding.

If you grow cannabis outdoors, you will soon find that fall is your favorite time of year.

The sun is your guide

As an outdoor grower, you’ve monitored the sun throughout your cannabis plants’ life.

Watching the sun is key to measuring how much energy the plant receives and for how long.  

The sun is the most consistent and important element of any kind of gardening.

Fundamental for your plant, the sun!
Fundamental for your plant, the sun!

The sun’s role is as important at the end of your plants’ life as it was in the beginning.

Once summer comes to a close, start keeping track of the sun (if you haven’t already).

You’ll need to pay attention to the amount of light it is providing to your cannabis plants.

The seasons will let you know

During the middle of the summer, your plants are probably receiving 14 hours or more of sunlight.

In the northern hemisphere, there could be 15 hours of continuous sunshine around the 21st of June.

When August becomes September, the amount of sunlight decreases dramatically.

For instance, in September you could lose as much as 90 minutes of sunlight per day.

This rapid loss in daylight is exactly what causes your marijuana plants to change their energy focus to flowering instead of vegetation.

This strong reaction is no accident; all plants have the strong ability to distinguish day from night.

So, when summer becomes fall, and there are only 12 or 13 hours of daylight per day, the flowering process initiates within days.

How do you know how much sunlight you’ll get?

The best way is with a grow calendar.

Once you know when your plants will flower based on the sun, it’s easy to plan for your harvest.

Light exposure can impact your harvest

Although the amount of sun that your plants receive is easy to measure, it’s not as easy to monitor the darkness.

That is because marijuana is sensitive to all types of light – even artificial lights. In some cases, it will react to light pollution in the same way it would natural sunlight.

In the case of indoor growing, this is a good thing, because you can manipulate your plants to produce buds exactly when you want them to.

However, for outdoor growing, it means ensuring your plants do not receive uncontrolled artificial lights.

This is why you never plant marijuana near street lights or any other form of artificial light.

Your plants need properly dark nights like they would experience in nature during the fall. If they do not receive enough darkness, flowering could be delayed.

Signs you are ready to harvest cannabis outdoors

Whether you are growing indoors or outdoors, your plant will provide some signs that it is ready for harvesting.

In addition to looking at trichomes and pistils, you should also consider the weather. Ideally, you’d want to harvest outdoors on a dry, calm day.  

No one really enjoys harvesting in the rain.

In terms of your plant, pay attention to the leaves and buds. The physical characteristics of the plant will change considerably, letting you know it’s time.

The larger leaves will turn a yellow-brown color signifying the slow death of your marijuana plant.

The stigmas of mature plants will wither at the base of the buds while remaining a healthy white color on top.

The yellow-brown color leaves shows it's time to harvest
The yellow-brown color leaves shows it’s time to harvest

Harvesting outdoors vs sunlight

If you aren’t using autoflowers, multiple harvests can be triggered using light manipulation.

It doesn’t take much either; simply shining a light on the entire plant a few hours at night with a flashlight will work.  

Light manipulation with LED
Light manipulation with LED

If you have successfully interrupted the period of darkness normally required for the flowering stage, you can start it back up again once you have more buds.

When you want the plants to begin their second flowering phase, simply stop interrupting the darkness with your light.

Keep in mind that flowering takes a couple weeks, so don’t keep the plants in their vegetative phase for too long.

For instance, if the first frost or colder weather will be there within two weeks, then you should have already started up the flowering process three weeks prior.

The equinox and weed plants

Want a quick date to base your final harvest on?

How about the September Equinox?

It’s not a clear rule, however, so don’t blindly harvest on this day.

You’ll still need to look for other signs. The equinox does provide a good date to stop watering, though.

Expert tip:

Start your regular watering schedule a few weeks before the September Equinox.

As the date gets closer, look for differences on your cannabis plants. It might mean they are ready for the harvest. Flowering should stop soon as well.  

The light vs dark factor

Marijuana plants will not typically flower unless they receive at least 12 hours of darkness a day. Indoor cannabis growers can harvest more often because they control the light.

12h light vs 12h darkness for flowering marijuana
12h light vs 12h darkness for flowering marijuana

The trade-off for the outdoor grower is receiving more in less frequent harvests.

That does not mean that outdoor growers cannot manipulate the light, however…

If you only have a few marijuana plants, it is sometimes possible to cover them completely and induce harvesting, through a process called light-deprivation.

However, this advanced technique isn’t used by every outdoor grower,

Bigger plants need more light for bigger cannabis buds

The light and darkness factor works both ways. Some growers will actually shine very bright lights, like halogens, on their marijuana plants during the night to reset the internal clock.

This is useful if you want your plants to grow in size and not begin flowering.

Also read “How to grow big marijuana buds

In Australia, some Sativa varieties can grow to 16 feet with internodes around 3 to 4 inches in variety.

Obviously, a plant of that size will produce a huge harvest but getting it that size requires a year-round growing season.

Here’s the thing:

A marijuana plant will keep growing big if it has enough sunlight.

All the grower needs to do is prevent the plant from flowering until it reaches the desired size.

Harvest in good weather

Make sure your harvest outdoor is done a safe amount of time before the first frost has a chance to damage your plants.

It is best to harvest on a beautiful fall day with clear skies and lots of sun. Don’t overthink this, however, as harvesting in the rain won’t be the end of the world.

Rain will increase the drying time only by a fraction, and it will have no effect on the buds and resin glands. Don’t relax until you’re home safely with all of your plants.

Once you have accomplished this, you will have very little to worry about from that point on.

Harvest twice per year with autoflowers

You can harvest twice in one growing season.

Some cannabis growers, like those in many parts of Australia, Hawaii, and the southern parts of North America, often do this.

They can naturally harvest twice per year because the sun provides plenty of light all year long.

In these places, marijuana plants grow large, and flower as if to reproduce naturally and then begin again.

But since they are already quite large, and have plenty of leaves to catch the sunlight, the second harvest occurs in much less time than did the first.

For everyone else, however, plan on removing your marijuana plants by the end of summer, before the onset of the first frost.

You can do two outdoor harvests with autoflowering plants

Living in an area with plenty of light isn’t the only way to have multiple harvests. You can also try buying autoflowering marijuana seeds.

These seeds will produce plants that are ready to harvest in only 10 weeks, when is plenty of time to harvest two times in most climates.

Outdoor autoflowers cannabis
Outdoor autoflowers cannabis

However, that’s only part of it:

Growing autoflowers doesn’t automatically mean you can harvest outdoors twice in one season.

You’ll also need to follow some specific techniques and live in an area that can support two harvests.

In other words, your success depends both on how well you perform these techniques, as well as where you live.

In northern climates, where cannabis plants are vulnerable to an early frost or other seasonal changes, a second harvest will not be easy.

But in more temperate zones where early fall is fairly mild, you might be able to successfully harvest more than once during the growing season. It all depends on your technique.

You can’t harvest plants normally once and then later decide you want to try a second harvest.

You must plan this. The process of harvesting multiple times in one year starts before the first harvest.

To stimulate a second harvest, start by removing the mature buds, leaving the tiny ones and most of the leaves intact to continue growing.

Then resume the growth cycle by adding lots of water and some fresh fertilizer.

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When you add water and nutrients, you are triggering your cannabis plants back into their flowering phase so that they produce more buds that you can harvest.

If you leave most of the leaves, you will have a higher chance of activating the second flowering phase since they are what absorbs the sunlight that the plants need for growing energy.

Here’s the thing:

This only works in certain climates.

If the timing and intensity of the sunlight have already changed, the plants would already be in their flowering phase.

If you are living in a place that has mild temperatures throughout the beginning of fall (such as in tropical climates), then you should be able to continue your plants’ vegetative phase even longer.

Harvest security

Knowing when to harvest is one challenge, but you also need to think about security.

Overlooking your personal security is as bad as timing your harvest incorrectly.  

You must remember this one fact:

The harvest period is the most dangerous time for a marijuana grower. Many things could go wrong such as:

  • Authorities discovering your grow before you harvest
  • Thieves stealing your plants once they mature
  • Authorities waiting to catch you in the act

In terms of the authorities, it’s very hard to deny the fact that you own the plants if you are caught in the act of removing them.

Therefore, you need to be extra cautious the days before and on the day itself. Don’t inform a single person that you are about to harvest, and on the actual harvesting day you should be extra careful about telling people where you are.

Security is importent while you harvest
Security is importent while you harvest

Before the harvest:

Up until harvest time, security is mainly a matter of diverting unwanted attention away from your marijuana plants.

All of this changes as the flowering period ebbs, because now you must concern yourself with your actual yield.

In this situation, cannabis growers have been known to resort to some very elaborate and even over-the-top means to protect their buds from prying eyes.

Near harvest:

When it gets close to harvest time, you must keep an eye on your plants.

Some growers sleep near their” babies” the days immediately leading up to the harvest. Others set up a tripwire that rings a bell if anyone approaches.

If their site is close to a home, they might keep a dog that barks a lot outside all night.

Other growers take an even more proactive approach by watching known entrance routes like a hawk.

It should be no surprise that growers may be irritable, cranky, and extra paranoid at this time.

However, with a year’s supply (or often, even more) of cannabis at stake, can you really blame them?

In addition to securing your route, you also want to think about how you will transport your harvested plants.

You could try putting the plants in sealed bags to help mask the smell. You should also consider having a friend go first, to ensure the route is clear.

The best piece of advice that I can offer outdoor growers is this:

Have your drying room ready to go before you harvest your plants so you can safely begin to dry them as soon as you get there.

Stay vigilant!

You want to be careful whenever you are growing outdoors, but it is especially important to do so during the harvest.

Chances are your grow was discovered way earlier in the season and someone is merely waiting for them to finish flowering.

It is not unusual for marijuana plants to be staked out by potential thieves who are waiting for them to grow big buds so they can reap the benefits of your time and effort.

Police taking cannabis from grow site
Police taking cannabis from grow site

The police could have detected your grow weeks ago and are waiting for you to walk into a trap that you have unwittingly set.

When you show up at your site with shears, bags, and a backpack, it is hard to claim ignorance.

Save yourself some serious trouble by:

  • Picking a secure site
  • Walking away if you sense anything unusual

If you suspect that something is wrong, don’t ignore that. Instead, relax and walk away.  After all, it’s just marijuana; it is not worth going to jail or getting into a fight about.

Prepare yourself to harvest
Prepare for the upcoming harvest

How to harvest

Once flowering begins, it’s time to start planning your harvest.

Let’s be honest, you’ve probably been looking forward to this time for months.

You have managed to keep your plants happy, healthy, and secure during the whole season, and now you can reward yourself with a high yield and a good harvest.

Just like with any other step in the process of growing marijuana, there are some tricks to harvesting outdoors successfully. You do not want to ruin everything due to a silly mistake.

Keep an eye out for the signs, so that you can avoid potential mistakes.

The last thing you want is a complete failure after getting through an entire growing season.


Especially indoors, you want to make sure to flush your plants around two weeks before you cut them.

Flushing cannabis plants helps flush out the plant nutrients and cleans the end product from any fertilizer residue.

Here’s my guide about flushing cannabis.


When growing outdoors, once you’re close to harvest time, start planning how you will approach it.  Be ready with answers to these questions:

  • Do you have enough time and security to cut the plants on-site?
  • Will you need move the entire plant?
  • How will you transport your cuttings or plants?

These logistical questions will make a huge difference when it comes to harvest security.

Start by bringing sealable bags. If you bring something like ziplock bags, make sure to bring a darker bag too, because ziplocks are transparent. (These bags are not transparent and are odor free).

Cut your plants into lengths that are easily transported. For example, cut the stalks, so they fit into your bags.

Make sure you are not spending too much time at your site when harvesting; be efficient and fast.

Just remember: all that matters is the removal and safe transport of your plants; however you do that is up to you.

Indoors, start by removing the lamps from your grow room. Then, hang some wire from the ceiling in its place. You’ll need it for your plants.

Expert growers have these supplies on hand:

  • Heavy duty shears or scissors
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Gloves

You’ll need those shears for cutting through thick plant matter. The alcohol is for cleaning your tools and hands, as resin can be quite sticky.

You’re best off wearing gloves for the cutting process, as it can get quite messy.

Cutting the plants themselves seems straightforward, but there are some things to consider.

Read my tips for cutting weed.


Carefully cut the plant at its base, then secure it (upside-down) from the wire you just hung.

Once you cut your plants and hang them, the next step is drying out all of the excess moisture.

It needs to evaporate from the plant matter while the chlorophyll in the plant breaks down.

Turn on a fan and aim it right beneath the buds, keeping the humidity around 45% and the cannabis plant’s temperature around 64 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure the room is dark, and the extractor fan is running.

Also read “How to dry marijuana“.

You don’t want to dry the plants too quickly because it will cause some chlorophyll to remain, which negatively alters the taste of your weed.

That is why you keep the room dark and the temperature moderate.

You can expect the drying process to last somewhere between 10 and 14 days.

Keep a close eye on your plants while they dry. Make sure no mold is growing or developing.

(That’s why you keep the humidity low). Maintain the temperature as well.

Hang some wire from the ceiling
Hang some wire from the ceiling
Add your plants you just cut
Hang the plants you just cut
Dry for 10 and 14 days
Dry for 10 and 14 days


Once your plants are appropriately dried (or wet, if you prefer wet-trimming), it’s time to separate those beautiful nugs from the stalks and clean them up!

Read my guidelines for the best way to handle trimming weed.


Now that the buds are trimmed, they still need to settle down over the course of the next few weeks.

Giving those fresh nugs some daily time to breathe will remove the grassy taste, increase its potency, and make them allround delicious!

Jump into my post on curing weed


You will want to keep your yield nice and fresh so you can enjoy it all year-’round!

Keep reading my blog for tips to keep your weed fresh!

Ready for your next grow? Get all of the latest and best strains in my seedbank now!

Happy growing!


Frequently asked questions

How do you know how much sun to expect?

An almanac has this type of information. You can also find it online. If you’d like something specific to cannabis, try my Grow Calendar.

Is there an optimal time to harvest your plants?

For the optimal amounts of THC, it’s best the harvest before the sun has reached its peak. For some, that means dawn, while others prefer to harvest at night.

How soon before harvesting should you flush your plants?

You should flush your plants about two weeks before the end of the flowering stage. For more on the flowering stage, read this article.

What do I do with my harvested plants?

After the harvest, you should immediately dry your plants, so they don’t go bad. For long term storage, cure your harvest. To learn how to dry and cure, read this article.

Do indoor growers need to be concerned about security?

In many places, it is legal to grow marijuana. Where it isn’t, indoor growers should use discretion. Plus, thieves steal whether it’s legal or not.  For tips on creating a secure indoor grow room read this article.   

Avatar for Robert Bergman

Robert Bergman


Robert Bergman is an Amsterdam-based marijuana grow expert who has years of experience from small grows to massive operations ... See profile

264 comments on “When to harvest marijuana plants”

  1. Thanks for this article!!!! I’m not a beginner but always learning. Your article is excellent!!!! It’s close to harvest time and I always get a little antsy this time of year. Wanted to check on how to tell it’s time to harvest!!! You have calmed me down!!!! Thank you!!!!

    • Hi Rick,

      Thanks for your comment! We’re happy to hear you find this article helpful!
      And we can understand that its always a bit of an antsy time when harvest-time is coming around!

      Let us know if there’s anything we can help you with and happy growing,

  2. “The ‘hairs’ around the pistils don’t tell you when to harvest. You need to look at either the pistils or trichomes.”

    This confused me, I don’t know the difference between ‘hairs’ and ‘pistils.’

      • Pistils emerge in the very beginning at the pre bud sites.
        Then the hairy looking white balls will appear and those are stigmas. Look for images online for each of the 3 stages of plant development
        Vegetative/ Bud /Flower

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for your question. From seed to harvest should take around 16-18 weeks for Bruce Banner (fem)!
      We hope this helps, but let us know if you have any further questions, of course!
      Kind regards,

  3. Love all the info… On my second year of outdoor growing (only 4 plants this year over the 17 I grew last year!)…. Use the bend ’em down n let ’em spread technique…. Wife thinks they’re “Creeping Maples”!… Son got me the “3rd edition of the “Cannabis Grow Bible” more excellent n well written information…. N lotsa pictures❗️N I just ordered my 1st seeds from you…. Will the guarantee on germination go to the 2021 season❓As I got these for the spring planting since it’s almost harvest time in joisey… Thank you for alla wonderfilled information ❤️

    • Many spots in this site, and definitely in the ‘Grow Bible’ your questions are answered. READ. Your post does not give any info on your situation. Sooo many variables. So based on ‘no’ info, wait, not ready yet…lol (most noobs harvest too early)

    • I would recommend getting a macro x15 lens attachment for your phone to look at the trichomes. That and you can usually tell by the fan leaves turning yellow or dying.

      • Amazon has a set of magnifiers, 1 jewelers loupe 30x/60x and a slide magnifier 30x/60×/90× both with led and ultraviolet lights
        They work excellent to see the trichomes on the buds, both for $11.99

  4. Do you have to pick your plants at 12 to 4 in the morning for peak harvest or is it the same if you just do it when the sun goes down? Does it really matter ?

    • Cannabis plants photosynthesis during the day and at night release their resins terpenes develop and stickiness. When the bud trichimes show me their ready I harvest before sun up, before the plant begins its daily upload.

  5. I M in michigan getting ready for cold weather my plants are at the end so close but not yet I’m wondering how much longer is it going to take frost is coming maybe got 10 days of weather left help

    • I’m in the same part weather area of the country, just one state West. My plants were covered in the first few possible frosts, one hit solid. And still need more time based on the pistil and trichome colors. We need as much time as we can get at our northern weather line.. Lightweight sheet plastic and a general incandescent bulb underneath will get you through a couple mild frosts. When to harvest? how long? Use a microscope like the Bible says, or wait till ‘most’ hairs are red. Fight the frost and grow as long as you can ’till ‘ya get there.

  6. I have a issue with security for my outside plants. I’m starting to flush them now but I have 2 weeks before I harvest can I light up the hole backyard with a security light. Will it hurt the bud if they get light 24/7 the last 2weeks

    • Short answer = Wait till most hairs are red and/or microscope the trichomes to see when there are milky. Don’t ask such a simple question. TO ALL, DOWNLOAD THE BIBLE. Then, READ IT People!! It’s FREE!! This site rocks and has every bit of info anyone could want. Some just don’t read, and take notes like they should.

  7. Good evening I ordered ten wedding cake seeds I ended up with 3 plants that look like wedding cake but also 7 purple plants can I send pic can u tell me what the r

  8. If someone was growing outdoors in pots, do they need to dry the whole plant roots and all or can they cut branches with buds and dry them? Asking for a freind.

    • Generally hang the entire plant, roots not needed. But nothing wrong with branch by branch. So many variables to quality, most about growth, strain, and feeding… this issue is not one of them.

      • Cut V branches and wet trim
        Dries better less chance of mold and mildew
        Keep air moving monitor temp and humidity

  9. I have been noticing my plants have more oil and odor towards the bottom of the plant than the top. I’m thinking I need to give them less light intensity close to harvest. Anyone, ideas?.

  10. Hi, I grew Gold Leaf Auto in a tent with 24 hr 600 watt LED and I grew Gold Leaf Auto on my deck with normal sunshine. The Outdoor plants had a much fuller bud, much more potent and bigger yield. I read that 24 hours of light in the tent was optimum, so am I wasting electricity, did I get bad info? Any information on the matter of light/time I would appreciate it. Thanks

  11. I grow outside in containers so I can move the plants if need be. As the plants get close to harvest time I have always tried to keep them dry. Someone once told me that a rain will wash away some of the trichomes and resin. Is this true? Do I need to move or cover my plants when it rains?

  12. From some growers ive heard that a 48 hour dark period before harvest is good for the thc development, is that recommend?

  13. guide is good but not upto the mark. always remember rather than textually and theoretically explaining stuff its 1000x better to post videos,cos of the weather the growing conditions ,its september for u may be march for some,may be june for some so record the times best in videos.Instead of crafty instruments and complicated verification techniques best to show simplistic traditional ways to verify the potency and time of buds.Instead of categorically defining the % of browning rather show how much cover it should be.All in all growing is best learnt on fields ,video is the second option too much theoretical and u miss the whole point.

  14. I’m normally an outside grower I’ve been outside Grover for over 20 years I’ve got to the point where it’s like y’all was talking about it’s hard to manipulate the sun because the sun don’t go away but you can manipulate the shade I normally carry mine and 55 gallon drums that’s cut in half and it takes me about two years that actually make the organic compost that I use and I got it down to about a t so I was like wait yeah a buddy of mine got into inside grows you need to talk me into it never done one of my life I know how I can manipulate the sunlight without moving it I found it was easier when you’re in the woods to have them on skids you can move around from one spot to another to influence the shade to get less sun it’ll turn to flower and then you just keep moving it until you get it to where you want it I’ve got a spot because I do I want a lot of land so it’s easier for me to do it like that but this year I done that your experimental one that I got off of growers diaries my name is mr. Greenlee I never give my real name but this year I broke one I think it’s 12 weeks it’s right at 3 months it has 38 tops on it colon buds not regular buds that’s coming up the side the way I made him as I tied him down talk to you three times and that’s why I kept growing because I kept talking it you never had a chance to form to buswell I guess it wanted to bloom and I didn’t get to top at my last time I don’t know if I can send picture or not and probably don’t want to but I make my own soil everything just takes a while to do it to get it good I don’t use no chemicals no fertilizers no nothing it’s all compost and yes you have to watch the pH balance because you will burn them right off at the ground level every time I thought it was a buggy it wasn’t it was my pH balance in my fertile fertilizing my fertile is CT that was literally just burning I’m going to have to take it all the way up you have the 2 seed sucker leaves on them and then a pop off with the one leaving by the time I got the one week it was already yellow and burnt off at the bottom so it took about a year-and-a-half to get it to calm down a little bit but in that time I was making other buckets so now I’ve got about 20 buckets that took me about 3 years to me but it’s a really good compost I don’t even have to use root tone that’s the funny thing I can wet that soil and shovel a cutting in there I need to grow it won’t die it surprised me and that’s what I used outside so I took it and bring it in to see what I can do with it and it’s blowed my mind with full spectrum lights kept the lights on at first four 20 hours a day for the first 6 weeks and then I cut it back to 16 hours a day of sunlight and then I bring it back down to 12 hours 12 on 12 off and it’s in full bloom and I have never change the lights to full spectrum lights I do have I do have some metal handlers and I do have a high pressure sodium lights I do have all that 5000 watt hydro grow system and that’s what I got it’s a thousand watt and I’ve got a metal hollinger which is a 400w for my green and then they do have the settings on both of them that goes from 120 volt all the way to 277 volt so it goes from 1:22 to 10 to 2:40 know it’s 208 240 and then 277 for voltage and I put it on around I got the 208 and the 240 on East side so it’s basically 2:40 but that’s in my other room I’ve got a 20 by 20 a nice light does 10 square feet roughly 3 ft off the plants you don’t want to get into clothes because them lights are hot and yes you have to have at least four or five fans in the ventilation system in the room got to have air go die if you don’tbut thank you I’m sorry for writing this paragraph I had you have a lot of questions though but I ain’t going to have some right here but thank you all very much for the time and I love reading your book it took me a little bit but I read your whole book in every little blue line man I’m kind of skeptical way put in my email address down here I’m kind of don’t want to do that but I kind of want to keep in touch so what do I do so I guess I’m going to do it and take a risk I guess because they can find me through my damn email then I guess save my name and meaning to guess I don’t like that though

  15. Thanks Robert 🙂 I am in Australia. The information you have provided me has been excellent and reassuring. I am 58 retired and have the time to grow herbs. Its really exciting watching them grow. We are just weeks away from picking flowers and a tad excited. Thanks

  16. Thank you for all your helpful knowledge, as a first time grower,I have one plant that has Started to flower,I m in FL. Is is ok for 13hr.of darkness indoors and 11hrs of outdoor natural light, thanks

  17. I live in Florida and growing here is excellent been doing it since 1968 however drying is almost impossible because most of us have ac and it dries out weed in 2 or 3 days trying to keep a temp of 65 degrees inside and a humidifier at 45% Is impossible so any ideals to help, ive tried the closet routine no Difference their either

  18. were two weeks into flowering black berry all plants are thriving we got three clones off three plants all doing well i thank Eric and the team for all there help and thank you Zoe well keep you posted in the coming weeks

  19. Thank you for this wealth of info…. They are beautious plants❗️My wife Thought they were marijuana, but because of the leaf structure and I have lotsa Japanese maples, i said they were a bush variety of creeping maples… Plus they’re not tall because i bent em over. But i have some Powdery white “mildew” n have done the green cure twice… The leaves still have that powdery look, but My understanding is that the GCure crystalizes the invader and the mildew is “dead”…. Am I right in that assesment? Then question I have, ” is the weed smokable?” Without issues. Thanx have a wonderfilled year….

  20. Bill, I answered this exact question for “Ron” below.

    I Suggest You Go Here: Support.Ilovegrowingmarijuana.Com Our Members And Staff Can Help Give You Informed Advice. We Have A Lot Of Topics That You Can Research.

  21. Andy, As far as I know; “pineapple Haze” is still available in our seed bank; Either in a mix pack or sold alone. Look in feminized seed section

  22. Thomas Todd Anderson, Hemp plants are CBD plants. How much CBD produced will be based on the quality of genetics and quality of grow. This is not a hemp/CBD article, So;
    I Suggest You Go Here: Support.Ilovegrowingmarijuana.Com Our Members And Staff Can Help Give You Informed Advice. We Have A Lot Of Topics That You Can Research.

  23. Bernie, We are not set up to do Q and A on off topic questions.

    I Suggest You Go Here: Support.Ilovegrowingmarijuana.Com Our Members And Staff Can Take A Look At Your Pictures And Give You Informed Advice.

  24. William,

    Yes normally we cull males to insure we have only females. If you want to breed in order to produce seeds; then you allow the pollen to be blown about. Most folks are looking for pure females to produce the most resin and oils.

  25. Laurel,

    I Suggest You Go Here: Support.Ilovegrowingmarijuana.Com Our Members And Staff Can Take A Look At Your Pictures And Give You Informed Advice.

    Happy growing 🙂

  26. Ronald,

    I advise you to do a search for this type lamp system and do your own r reserch. you can also, Join Us Here: Support.Ilovegrowingmarijuana.Com and members and staff may be familiar with that ;amp system Happy growing. 🙂

  27. Ron,

    for the best results we recommend allowing leaves to turn yellow, showing that they no longer can produce sugars. This is the natural process. Many growers like to remove fan leaves due to their belief that this help give energy of the oil production; Other believe this stresses the plant and is detrimental to production at finish.

    I have done both for teaching purposes and Naturally; I like to chop entire plants and hang it with all leaves allowing the sugars in the leaves to convert. It can be done however you choose. 🙂

  28. tJ,

    I Advise You To Join Us Here: Support.Ilovegrowingmarijuana.Com wE HAVE MANY JOURNALS AND HELPFUL MEMBERS AND STAFF WILLING TO DISCUSS CURING WITH YOU. (OOoooops! “Sorry about the “caps”)

  29. I’ve learned alot about cultivation thank you Robert bergman its been alot of fun the only problem i have is i cant seem to find the seeds that i would like to get again they were pineapple haze in the fruity mix pack about a year and ahalf ago

  30. I need CBD Seeds ,Because at the present time I only have a HEMP License, I want to Grow In my Basement About 100 Plants CBD. And I talked , Selling CLONES for some Quick Cash!!!!

  31. Good tips but I have a question on wiltting .A large great looking plants branch just suddenely wilts and falls over ,cut it and a few days latter the same thing happens i have ended up with a 1/4of a aplant wht do i do

  32. Should you cut off the large water leaves when its getting closer to harvest time OR just let them slowly turn yellow and fall off on their own??? I’ve heard pros and cons on this.

  33. Hi, a friend has grown some amazing outdoor plants in various size grow bags all different strains…he has two in full bloom that are the most yellow color I have ever seen. He says they have been yellow since day one because I thought maybe it was not getting a certain nutrient but he says he has done the same thing for all the plants as far as nutrients…it looks healthy as hell. Both large plants with skinny leaves so I am thinking sativa strain…is there a strain that is yellow I have never seen one the bids are beautiful, can’t wait to see when it is done…

  34. good info. I really aporeciate your help and advice re: cannibus growing. It as been really helpful yo me as I am a biginner In growing outdoor mariguana. THANKS AGAIN.

  35. Is a Model1’000 l e.d. duel chip made in China and a 1,200 watt king plus with switches anouph lite for my 5×5 tent ⛺? The made in China 1,000 watt is all spectrum

    • I am sorry the download is not working! Please contact the Customer Support, they can help you out! 🙂


  36. Hi: you said outdoor plants get about 6 foot. I have 5 plants that 11 To 12 foot tall, excellent seeds. Just starting to bud can hardly wait for harvest.


  38. Brian, you cannot use fish tank lights if you have any expectation of a successful grow. I have no idea what a heated PH controller is. I suggest you join our forum and get some solid grow advice. Happy growing 🙂

  39. I grew some outside do you use soil inside or Something different I was also told fish tank lights for tropical fish can be used and a heated ph unit I can run these from a solar panel and storage battery please advise

  40. I JUST RAN MY WHITE WIDOW FOR 65 days of 18-6 lights she loves light why would I need to trim her in the dark

    • Spark. Not sure what you mean. This article is about harvesting, not trimming.

      We harvest before light in order to save all the goodies available in the resin prior to the lights coming on.

  41. my dark star plant has been on flower time since Jan 18th, but already the stigmas are 50% orange. Is it ready for harvest at just 6 Wks???

    • Using the pistils to judge harvest readiness is not the best way. We like to look at the clear, cloudy, amber % of the trichomes. to do this you need a 60-100x pocket microscope or jewelers loupe.

  42. Excellent article. ᛕeep writing such kind of infoгmation оn your blog.

    Ӏm reallу impressed by youг site.
    Hey there, You’ve performed a greɑt job. Ӏ will certainly digg it and in my vіew recommend tօ mү friends.

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  43. Question about harvest , indoor gro, diff strains, diff ages , CAN U/I at right time harvest just tops & larger buds at ends of limbs ,then let plants cont to grow & fill out ? My grow filled room at veg stage & have lots of small buds under veg that is not mature yet but ends & tops are. I hate to see this! If I cut all of plant seems like lots of smaller buds that are not getting enough light are immature. Comments PLEASE

  44. I’m a first time grower , I just pulled my plants hung upside down for a couple of days , I’m worried about the stank , its was strong but now it’s getting weak , what can I do to Preserve the flavor ?

  45. Thanks for the info on when to harvest. Since I live in Canada. I just need to make sure no one else harvest my plants before me.

  46. Thanks for taking the time to share the abundant amount of information it takes to help us grow! I find this site the most helpful and easy to read/follow. I am totally surprised at most questions asked here though, did everyone not just read the same thing I did? All of that was covered in the above article! So thanks again for having patience to continue to answer those same questions over & over again!! Btw..I too am about to harvest my first grow. A lil’ conflicted on a couple issues but that’s why I turn to your site.

  47. harvest time those of you that can.. take picture at various stages can compare..in photoshop..can zoom in take a good look at them pistils and trichomes slight sharpening of image good view

  48. This article is very important especially for those who are growing cannabis. This in very informative.

  49. Hi ,
    Great site by the way . I live in NE Scotland my auto flowers which were planted 22nd june still haven’t flowerd the buds are now coming they are in a polly tunnel but it is now getting pretty cold and not that many really sunny days , i realise the flowering process is very much light based but is there also a certain amount of heat also required ? Im hopping I just have to be patient. Any advice would be great.

    • robert burns,

      It is required that you keep the plants at least at 60f. That is a bit cold but, plants adapt. I suggest you join our forum and see what other members in your area have to say. I would also suggest trying to enclose a space that can be heated. Happy growing, 🙂

  50. Chet,

    The only thing to consider when attempting to grow year round outdoors is whether or not your climate will remain in the necessary temperature range that would allow you to continue to grow through out the winter. In So Cal; I believe you can grow year round…period

  51. Im in So Cal and in this article it mentioned year round growing outside. Can you determine year round growing potential by locating your ‘Western Garden Climate Zone’ ? Are there any other factors to consider, especially with the auto flower?

    • Harriet,

      You do not download the Grow Bible until you enter your email address and receive an email with the link which allows you to access the server where it is located. good Luck 🙂

  52. I noticed that you said harvesting them on a beautiful fall day I have heard that is a major No-No do not Harvest during the day you need to harvest in the middle of the night early morning before the sun comes up that way you get maximum THC CBD and nothing else in the plant so always Harvest about 3 a.m. great article loved it

  53. What a great site. Thank you so much!

    I noticed a typo: This is no accurate way of deceiding when it’s time to harvest but it gives a an idea.

    I looked it up and it is spelled “deciding”.

  54. Hey Y’all. First timer here. Any use for trimmings/leaves etc when harvesting (on a VERY small scale!) Waste not, want no

    • Agrower,

      On a small scale, not much to use trim for. If you want, you could make an infused Coconut oil, but, You need to be able to fill a mason jar with trim. Making Infused Coconut oil is an 8 day process using a sous vide. Check out our forum; I think one of our Moderators did a topic about making this oil. We also do have some secrets to even further the intensity of Infused coconut oil which FYI is: Edible, can be used to cook with, and it also topical, providing pain relief. God stuff 🙂

  55. Why would you put weed in the microwave,or stove. That is disrespectful the plant, and also it makes me question your ability to grow. When you wait a half a year for a good grow don’t waste your time. Just wait for the product to be 100%.

    • Steve,

      Sorry to offend you but, we share all options with the public and allow them to make a choice as to what suits them. IN general we do not condone microwaving plant matter but, sometimes a grower needs medicine immediately and this type information allows them some relief from the anxiety as to whether they can take a shortcut.
      Another way to look at it; We share the good techniques with the bad, and hope growers will learn the correct way as we teach them. Otherwise; We would be asked about the questionable methods anyway.

      Thanks for the critique on our article. Happy growing 🙂

  56. This is the first time I have tried to become a grower. My plants are growing fast and seem to be strong. I am going to try and do the scrogging to keep the plants low and bountiful. Really don’t see to much info on scrogging outdoors, going to try and follow the indoor instructions.

  57. I have been growing outdoors as well as indoors for a few years now. To date have not found any unusual problems that you guys didn’t have a solution for! The Bible has great illustrations and soooo much information!! Thanks for all you do!!! Mountainman2

  58. very nice site with intelligence and knowing the closest timing to start thinking its time to harvest your girl thank you sooo much for your information.

  59. After breaking down plant for transportation and into plastic bags ..what’s next…do i take them out and hang or just leave the bag open a bit to dry out…also i tried to dry like “ Tobacco “ i read somewhere.. now leaves are kinda crunchie, can i rehydrate..???

  60. To Whom It May Concern ……i have Bergmans gold leaf strain straight from seed,, How long is the flower stage of this plant., this plant had started outside then brought indoors around last week of sept., due to weather ,The Flower started in beginning of august …???

    • Leonard,

      No do not harvest with clear trichomes indicating no THC is producing yet Wait for heavy cloudy trichomes with some amber colors before considering harvest.

      Happy harvesting 🙂

  61. Thank-you for all the info , I’ve read it twice; as I am a 1st time grower looking for good advice on growing, from start to finish and now I know what to look for when getting ready to harvest which should be in about 2 weeks .

  62. once the equinox has started how often should i water and can i still use phospherous and how often when and how do i flush properly THANKS ROBERT

    • dennis,

      Perhaps you should download and read the Free Grow Bible we offer, Or; Join our support forum at support.ilovegrowingmarijuana.com

  63. I’m a bit confused about the drying process specified in the Grow Bible and that specified here. The GB says dry at 90 degrees and then let cure 5 weeks. This says 64 degrees with 45 degree humidity and a fan.

    • Sherry,

      I could not find this stat in the article above.

      When harvesting; Hang plants until the stems “SNAP” like dried twigs.

      Place in a paper bag to allow the inner bud to dry out and balance the moisture throughout the bud. Room should be 70-80f Humidity should be from 45-60% for curing. I also make sure an oscillating fan is recirculating air and not blowing directly on the buds.

      Once buds appear completely dry, place into glass jarsd with a packet of 58% Boveda which will keep the RH at 58% making a perfect smoke. In dryer climate, a 62% Boveda packet might suit you better.

  64. From my 45 years of experience of outdoor growth in Maine, (where it is now legal to grow 6 plants per person) for a successful grow, I use organic fertilizers conservatively, small amounts of chicken mixed with aged cow manure added to the soil at the beginning of the season, than Fox Farm Big bloom at the beginning of budding when watering weekly, then begin my flushing when the glands turn milky, with 1 tsp of molasses diluted to each gallon of water, one more last flush of just water a week later. no more watering until harvest when half of the half of the pistols are brown…. average yield per plant 6-
    12′ tall depending on strain is 4- 6 ozs. of skunk smelling , grape tasting, awesome weed !

    • Minnehonk,

      Thanks for sharing. Molasses does not break down fast enough to be used in such a manner. To each his own. Just sayin’ “Science”.

      Happy growing

  65. I grew two plants this summer (first-time grower), in a plastic hoop-house. Both developed bud rot at what I’m guessing was about one week before the plants were ready to harvest. Can I still use the plants, or are they write-offs? The bud rot only affected two or three buds per plant.

  66. It’s beautiful! I hope I didn’t harvest too soon or wait too long. I planted in early March, took that baby down today! I wish I could post a pic. This was very helpful information. Thanks.

  67. I have yet to start, however, by me reading all the info and forums I already have a clear idea from start to finish. Unfortunately, I have found little info on growing in water indoors. Which is best in soil which is claimed to be most popular or in water which reads it’s harder to keep nutritious but to me seems like it would be much easier to read pH balances and nutrient balance. Any thoughts or comments to help with my decision?
    Another question, can you grow in water inside the “tent” method which I am choosing for my grow area? Also, I’m really unsure as to what is actually needed for basic supplies to set up from scratch as far as co2, ventilation methods, and so forth. The list of basics supplies are unclear to me and readas though they r in a different language. When I search for the products, the dealer website shows me all different products. “Inlet” what the heck is that? “Extractor” for what is that used for? The website is unclear. “Filter” for what smell, co2?? The star up is where I’m lost PLEZ HELP so I can get started on ordering my supplies and get going

    • Amy,

      You should come and join ILGM support forum. We have a buyers guide for beginners to choose items from. I will personally help you put together a full list and at competitve pricing when you contect @latewood on the forum.

      Go here: ilovegrowingmarijuana.com and sign up. Ask for me. Our many members will help you and make sure I know you are now a member.

      We are not set up for the type and amount of support you need here in the Blog comment section. All the info you need is in our forum and our friendly members and staff are always willing to help new growers. 🙂

  68. For kicks I read through this comment section and it’s really bizarre how a bunch of people are commenting who obviously didn’t even bother reading the article. The article is about WHEN to harvest and people come on and they say…. When should I harvest? They’re like “Hi I live in northern. One of my plants died. The other one is six feet tall, should I harvest now or wait till the buds are ready to be harvested?” Seriously. There was one person who literally said “Help what’s wrong with my plants.” Did that person think somebody with psychic powers was going to magically know all about their plants and report back to them?

  69. I am planning to grow my medical cannibus outdoors. However, I may have started growing to late in the season. Can I bring my three plants indoors to complete my harvest?
    Also, what amount of light (wattage) should I use.

  70. When growing for medicinal purposes, is the best time for harvesting the same as what was described in this article.

  71. I have been growing since I was a teenager in the 60’s everything has gotten way more scientific and open. I have alot of stories. Anyway I always have a hard time when to pick. And by the way I always pull them with the roots I think it has value. But reading your info on when to pull, using a magnifyer really makes since. Im going to try it this time. Thanks for the help

  72. I’m hoping this year i can finally harvest. every time i try someone steals the plant (s) way before they are ready, end of august… new house, new location, i have confidence i will finally see an end result. I just got a LED type light so i can bring my sativa plant inside for the final 4-5 weeks of life. Thanks for the info! love the articles, i passed along the site and info to friends. Take Care!

  73. I usually just pick a bud and smoke it. If it makes me happy then I’m happy and it’s time to harvest! Not all that complicated.

  74. Tony,

    No you do not need to uproot plant to harvest. Some growers cut off plant above pot and hang entire plant, and other growers remove fan leaves from and cut off individual stems.

    Happy growing 🙂

  75. I think you all must be slightly ADHD or retarded not to enjoy the explicitly of the information provided. Nuff Said!!!

  76. Best site so far,and ive looked at a few
    Thanks Bud,Was looking 4 best time of day for cutting outdoor,and found it ,along with a few other useful tips…

    • My plants bout 50cm in height and just started to flower…. is this a bad thing? Is there any chance of it getting bigger before i harvest? Would i be able to get a bigger more successful 2nd harvest? I live in Australia and plant gets at least 13-14hrs sunlight a day

  77. This is so interesting to me, o am a two time grower from seedling to harvest. I like growing my own marijuana I never new there was so much I can learn . I look forward to growing my own plants that much more.and reading your articles are boss.

  78. hello..bro i am from nepal here is marijuna naturally grow in jungle..so i suggeted to you…marijuna always best when it is grow in cold or dry place…

    • Cross pollination only happens in breeding seeds. You may have some traits transferred if you grow many different strains at one. (not advisable)

      Growing 5-10 different strains is labor intensive due to the fact that Sativa dominant will grow taller and longer to finish than Indica dominant strains

  79. There is as much as 90 minutes less light per night. Are you a liberal democrat, with a degree in Aesop?

  80. I see you mention best seeds for colder climates (North states & europe) and then seeds best for Southern states or temperate climates… So what seeds do you suggest for Midwestern states?
    We can experience really hot summers to feet of winter snow… But its mostly moderate.

  81. I’m potentially growing in Colombia, on the equator where there are no seasons and usually plenty of light on my roof deck. How many crops could I potentially get then? How quick is the turn around from a plant I obtain that’s a foot or two tall to start?

  82. Sorry. I meant; After 6 weeks of Autoflowering; Add Feminized seeds. Another 6 weeks and you finish the Auto flowers. You can then switch to 12/12

  83. Sid, Sid, Sid…

    That is what we all do. Autos, Feminized 6 weeks later. Harvest the Autos. Induce 12/12 for the Fem’s. :ds

    Ir is all good !

  84. I am happy to say that I have not had that problem. It is a bad idea to put wet weed into plastic bags though. You found that out..Better in Paper Brown bags IMO. I do realize the smell may be stronger. On the other hand; I never transport a fresh harvest anywhere; It is more advisable to dry it where you grew it. I also realize that you may have grown outside, and I guess you didn’t have a choice.

    You would find more ideas on our grow support forum! 🙂

  85. When i harvested last time, i put the fresh buds in a plastic bag and moved it safely to the drying house. when i opened tha bags the buds were all weird smelling and their color turned darker dramaticly. I think this was because of the still wet air in the plastic bags. The plant remaind potent after drying but the taste and color were all gone. Any one had a similar experience ?

  86. Dude…If you joined our support forum you would get support in a more timely manner.

    When you flush; You just water the plants. Same PH you would use to grow with. Perhaps you should download and read our Free Grow Bible.

  87. Dudes, could you address the “flush” with respect to timing, PH and PPM prior to outdoor harvest. My girls are at that stage and I’ve never flushed before. The Indicas are ready. The Sativa has a little longer but it is getting cold. (These are probably misspelled – missed that class.) Also, I’ve been told that leaving the bud on a little longer will convert to higher CBD. Any thoughts? Thanks

  88. Bodie,
    Do not get caught up with counting days. That # is is a suggested time frame. Growing methods, and local environment can cause the # of days until finish, fluctuate. You do not harvest until the buds are ripe; Meaning, that you read the “trichomes for maturity”, before you harvest.

    We have an excellent grow support forum. Have you read our Free Grow Bible?

  89. I have multiple strains outside. Growing in Washington (about an hour from the coast) Weather is 67-75 degrees high to 42-50 degrees for the low. My outside grow is really green still and leafy, the buds are about 5 weeks into flower. Should I pre trim everything in prep for harvest? Tri combs are varied, clear to cloudy, (depending on strain) I am worried about the weather, it is forecasting rain. I have had no bud rot issue yet, but have had to treat with neem oil to fight off powdery mildew. I am just confused as to when to chop them down. I don’t want the rain/weather to cause me to loose the bud…

  90. scherri

    I suggest you join our support forum and find our “ILGM support ticket”. I created this for growers in need of direction when starting out; or , when in trouble, having issues during a grow. You can find, copy, and paste this Support ticket, located in the beginner section of the ILGM Support Forum. Thanks. 🙂

    • And I can say; Maybe you are ready to harvest, if the buds are getting brown.. really need a picture. As a warning; Turning brown usually means dryied out. Hope this is not the case. Join the forum. Peace 🙂

  91. My question is, if the buds are starting to get Brown in them, is it harvest time, they look like they are ready, but, this is my first time, they are growing outside? Thanks..

  92. I’m looking forward to putting all this great knowledge into action… But I have one problem…. My seeds have not arrived after 23days (Order Number: #36091)

    Waiting patiently……..

  93. Growing in central Washington my plant has been flowering for a bit over 3½ weeks any estimates on when i should start to flush and harvest its my time growing outdoor its a blue dreams plant and any suggestions on gettibg nugs frostier

    • b on

      You have a minimum of 4 weeks left if growing predominantly “Indica” plant. as much as 8-10 weeks if growing predominantly, “Sativa”. You are flowering fairly late in the season.

  94. Would it be advisable to bring a 15 gallon, 3 foot plant indoors and run MH lamps on a 20/4 schedule and restart them as indoor plants? From what I read above on running a second cycle, it would seem possible to bring a few of these veterans indoors and get a new start. Are there drawbacks, other considerations?


    • Bryan.

      15 gallon 3 foot plants. Not sure what you are getting at. Somewhat vague overall on your description.

      Yes; You can bring plants indoors; B Ut, Why would you?

      Yes you can revegitate plants; If that is what you are asking

    • Yes, definitely bring them inside. Leave lots of greenery on them, put them under the lights, re-fertilize (not crazy amounts) and they will be fine for the Winter. Put them out again in the Spring and wait for crop number two!

    • Hi Debbi,it’s was popular in the mid 80ies and was to force sugars and potential resin to to tops of plants.sugar was placed in the boiling pot and did change the colour of the plant after drying.

    • I disagree, lots of info ‘and’ many words. Start yourself a cheat-sheet to get to the info you want, it’s all here, just a little ‘wordy’ is a fair’ critique.

  95. First few amber tricombs are visible the rest milky. Weather forecast has 1 1/2 inches of rain 2 days away. What do you think harvest now ( a little early ), or wait til after the rains and are there any negative effects of a steady 3 day rain this late in flowering stage?

    • You need to start boosting the P-K right now! If your plants aren’t getting swoll and you don’t give it what it needs you will be missing out on her full potential… Also you should defoliate your plants first sign of budding. It forces nutrient uptake to the swoll buds and allows more sunlight to directly influence bud growth…. Grow on….. Feel free to ask me any tree

      • iknowtrichome…
        I have read on quite a few occasions that you should exfoliate the plant at the first sign of flowering. I am in week 5 of flowering 2 beautiful BlackBerry Kush girls in a tent under 2 50w full spectrum LED lights, and just before I turned light cycle to flowering, I read somewhere about the plant still needing to photosynthesise and the importance of it. So I found myself conflicted about exfoliating. I decided I have two plants, so do one to each. So I defoliated one of most of the big fan leaves and the other I left mostly the same except for removing a few fan leaves blocking light from reaching the bottom buds. The defoliated plant’s remaining leaves are still very green and healthy, but I’ve noticed they have a shine to them. The undefoliated plant, kept the dull green. They have been fed the exact same amount of nutrients at the same intervals. They were both put into flowering on the same day. And so far, 5 weeks in, I have come to find that the unaffiliated plant’s buds are almost twice the size of the other one. But I guess, proof is in the taste, so we will see.

    • Joe,

      You can go wither way. I would not see any problem with rain; As it rains on outdoor plants all the time. I did not see you mention cold being a factor. This comes down to a matter of choice, by you. 🙂

  96. Get some sort of magnifier and watch the tricombs. They will first look like they are filled with clear liquid. They eventually will look like they are filled with milk. When the thc inside these tricombs begins to degrade the liquid will turn an amber color. I have found the best time to harvest is when around ten to twenty percent of the tricombs turn amber.

    • A great way to examine trichomes, and pistils with magnification is to take a photo(s) with your phone, then enlarge with fingertips smear (? you know); anyway, you get a nice magnified close up of your beauties

  97. I’ve been growing indoor in hydroponics but I put 3 in my vegetable garden this year actually started as a joke but 1 lived and is doing great. I’m in north east Ohio USA and I planted first week of June. I’ve been watering with my used nutes from hydro grow through the season each week when I do my water change and sprinkler as needed throughout season. .I tied all branches down low for security but also for more light similar to a scog setup… I’m figuring around mid Oct for harvest does this sound about right timing wise. Oh yea and thank you for continuous information its been very helpful even to my hydro grows you give us the best info out there that I can find.

    • It is really hard to say, exactly. You did not mention a strain. (whether genetics are Sativa or Indica dominant.) From the time frame you mentioned; (early June), This could be just right. Unfortunately; Plants do not finish in exact time frames.

      If you are concerned that your plants are not finished, and it is dangerous to keep them outside; Join our “Support Forum” . We have members from all different climates, willing to help out.

    • Read the article again, and take notes. Your plant and your weather will dictate when to harvest. Mother Nature doesn’t give guarantees. It’s entirely possible that someone can have their weather deteriorate into cold and rainy, in which you can lose your crop because it will not ripen in those conditions. So use your head, keep your first crops small, and allow for unexpected surprises.

    • My best advice is for you to download…Our Free Grow Bible. Give it a good read, or 2.
      Join our support forum. We will be glad to help to guide you through the early stages of learning to grow Cannabis. Then we will help you finish a successful grow. 🙂

  98. While I look to your site for growing and harvesting tips, I agree with Jools above that this article is just a bit useless to the average home grower. Believe it or not, most of us are not growing 30 to 40 plants in a national forest close by. I grow half a dozen plants in pots on my deck, and I’d bet more of your readers fit my profile than the other. Also, 75% of California is frost-free, so that has no bearing on harvest decisions. anyway, keep up your good work and remember your audience. Peace.

  99. Here is the way I proceed to harvest. First, I cut off all the tops of my plants (30 of them) so I harvest only the big buds. I do that for all my plants. Then I take off the foliage oh what is harvested and make a rough trim. I suspend the branches head down and with ventilators I let them dry. Ater that, I cut the buds off the branches and make a final trim of all buds. Then I start over until all of my plants are completely harvested. Sure I harvest for over a month but the results are very very good. When the tops are off the plants, the sun penetrates more into the branches and the buds get as big as the top I previously harvested.

  100. my plant is outside and it gets plenty of direct sunshine, with the summer coming to a end should I bring it inside? Its just beginning to flower, or can I leave it outside doing the upcoming months?

    • Jennifer,

      That all depends. The plant will finish as the season ends. i.e. As days day shorter and cooler the plant will adapt and finish.

      Without knowing the region; Or, “Zone” you live in; It is hard to give you completely accurate advice.

      Feel free to join our Support Forum. We have many helpful growers, and experts from all different regions, willing to help out new growers.

      • OK live in Michigan and going through first ever outside grow. Plants at 8 and 10ft tall. They have buds covering then but not huge buds. My pistols are still light green. Weather getting cooler with highs in 70s. I’m wondering how much longer I have be for I should cut them down. I was told th hey could survive into October. Advice please.

  101. It is totally possible to re-vegitate a plant if you leave enough foliage for the plant to heal it self. However; A re-Veg would begin immediately. This would be totally based on climate. If you are in a moderate climate it is possible. If you are in a harsh winter climate, then no. Once the plant dies, and there is not healthy foliage; You must start over.

  102. After harvesting, is it possible to use the same remains of the plant in the ground to grow again the next season? Or do you have to start over with the seeds and germinating and such?

    • Yeah, you can “RE-Grow” the SAME Plant(s), and Even BETTER, the Bigger the “SKELETON” stays, the Better, Bigger and Faster it will be! (U CAN DO IT MORE TIMES!!! but it will become WEAKER!!!)
      I allready did it 4 times with One, and only at the 4th time it “SEEMED” to be weaker!!!
      You will have to leave as many, Leaves and “Popcorn Buds” (small/medium/big) do it so it Remains as MUCH “Green STUFF” able to Grow, as possible! Because, the More “Remains” or Leaves and “Popcorn Buds” stay in the Plant, the QUICKER the “ReHab” will be!
      Give it Nutrients and Lots of LIGHT, as if it was a New Plant, with More Nitrogen and other “Nuts” or Boosters, but Slowly as you would do with a small Plant! 😉
      Hope this helped KSpence

  103. This is my first to growing everything looks good I just need to know if I should harvest now so I can get started on my next go around

    • easy peasy and I am surprised it wasn’t stated on this. I take a jewelry loop and look at my flowers. You can see tiny trichromes which are mushroom shapes that form once in flower if they are clear then not ready. Trichomes look like mushrooms when they have white smoke in them some like to take then says more uplifting . When they turn to a amber color people say more of a couch lock. Don’t let go past when they turn black.

  104. I wanted to know if I can send you a picture of two plants of mine. I don’t know what is wrong with them the leaves are curling/abnormal and maybe you can help me figure out the problem.