When to Harvest Marijuana

Newbie cannabis growers and even experienced growers always ask the same question; when to harvest marijuana plants or how to tell when marijuana is ready to harvest? The short period of time between budding the flower and the yellowing of the old plant is the time wherein marijuana buds make the most potent THC and the great high. It must not be harvested too early that its THC content is too low, or before your plants die. Keep reading if you want to know when is marijuana ready to harvest.

When To Harvest Marijuana?

Here is the quick view on how to know when to harvest marijuana:

Flowering time

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


  • 50-70% brown – young, light cannabis
  • 70-90% brown – ripe, heavy cannabis
  • 90-100% brown – sharp, heavy cannabis


  • Clear trichomes – wait for a little longer
  • Milky white or amber trichomes – ready to be harvested
  • All Amber trichomes – overripe

Looking at the Trichomes and the Pistils

Here are the magnifying tools you must use when looking at the trichomes and pistils. 

Jewelers Loupe

Perfect for some on the spending limit, this low-tech magnifying tool is the least useful. However, it is still good enough, to provide a bit of an indicator.

Handheld Magnifier

This alternative will pick up the pace, but this can be burdensome to use. You’re really going to have to get the focus right to see those trichomes.

Digital Microscope

This is the best choice, even though it is expensive, as it would give you a clear solution as to whether your cannabis plants are ready to be harvested. The real drawback is that you’re going to need a computer or laptop to see the findings. If you’re going on this path, you will definitely have to follow the manual. Bear in mind that most of these choices will have the work completed, but unless you know when to use them properly.

Longer isn’t particularly safer

Letting your cannabis plants flower longer does not always mean to the ideal outcome, even though a long flowering time might lead to a greater harvest. You must monitor the time properly. If you’re too impatient, you can encounter an unpleasant and overpowering taste. You might also experience reduced effectiveness of the active compounds the THC. The simplest way to keep from getting to that point is to pay attention to the color of the pistils. In fact, it’s the most usual approach. Some cannabis growers harvest as soon as its pistils start to turn red. While others wait till they’re almost totally red, and the resins are dark. You could test the resin on the flowering plants to evaluate if they’re ready to be harvested. The glands would be expanding and covered in resins if mature. And also, they might swell and look deformed. That resin would darken from transparent to cloudy amber as it matured. Harvest if the resin is still transparent and stick. There’s not much more of time left before the plant’s active compounds begin to drop if the resins darken and start to turn amber. 

Harvest Based On Flowering Time

Looking at the flowers is just the first way to know when to harvest pot. And also, you can simply time them depending on your plant’s normal flowering period. The general rule here is, all cannabis would be ready to be harvested around the same time, with some varieties depending on the particular strain. You will need to know your cannabis strain to properly use this technique.  

Harvesting the Indica Plants

You could expect the flowering time to last around 8 weeks before you can finally harvest when you’re growing an Indica plant. Outdoor cannabis growers could expect to harvest at the of September.

Harvesting the Sativa Plants

The flowering period of Sativa strains lasts for around a month unlike Indicas, which means it would take around 12 weeks. And because of that, several Haze cannabis strains would actually flower quicker more like 9-10 weeks. Sativas will normally be ready to be harvested at the end of October.

Harvesting the Autoflowers

Autoflowering strains do not depend solely on lighting changes, so they’re perhaps easier to predict solely based on time. Once you’ve seen the first seeds, you could expect the crop to be fully prepared in 10 weeks’ time.

Look For Brown Or Red Pistils

Monitoring pistils seems to be the easiest and fastest way to decide when to harvest marijuana. Verify the pistils of a bud and see what their shading looks like. If they are mainly white, it is too soon to be harvested. If they are all red or brown, you have missed the highest point time, harvesting right until the performance of the cannabis goes down much further. 0-49 percent of the pistils are brown, they’re not prepared yet. 50 to 75% of the pistils are brown. Harvest season is here, but it was still too soon. They’re going to have a lighter flavor and a duller high. Waiting could be the best choice. 70 to 90 percent of the pistil is brown. You could even harvest your cannabis plants but they’re as powerful and dense as they always are. If 90 to 100 percent of the pistils are brown, you are just too late for harvesting. The flavor is going to be heavy and the impact is going to be narcotic. Harvest now, and don’t wait anymore. 

How to Tell When Marijuana is Ready to Harvest

It could be hard to wait as soon as the pistils begin to change, but it’s for the best. If these pistils are 2⁄3 brown or a little more, they can be harvested safely. Don’t you know if you chose 70% or 90%? Some newbie cannabis growers harvest their marijuana plants at different periods so that they could still decide exactly when their personal preferences are best. Bear in mind that some people would prefer early harvested cannabis because it has lighter and more uplifting effects; whereas others prefer this as powerful as possible.

If you harvest, it influences the performance of the buds that occur. Now, how much you deem to be of excellent quality depends on personal flavors. You’re going to decide. One of it’s greatest things about marijuana cultivation is to be able to control this immensely strong factor.

Watch for the Trichomes

When the pistil technique does not really work and you use one of the magnifying tools mentioned earlier in this thread, you can look at the trichomes to see if you’re ready for harvesting. Simply, this technique is proven to be the most effective, so this is a good thing to understand what you’re searching for. The idea is simple: search at the trichomes on the buds of your cannabis plants. Trichomes develop on buds and look like the little mushrooms as they’ve got that little head on top. Some of these trichomes are also resin. They would have a crystalline form, or else they will occur icy as they develop mostly on buds and leaves of your cannabis plants. Trichomes are responsible for the stickiness of the weeds. They’re also where a lot of THC as well as other enjoyable substances. 

Harvesting Depending on Trichomes

  • Clear, White Hairs – when the trichome are mostly clear, it means it not potent enough to be harvested
  • Cloudy Trichomes or half clear – it’s still too early to be harvested. The buds have not reached their maximum potential, even though they would still be high when harvested. This kind of high would most probably be much more full of energy or “fast.” Fortunately, if you wait, you will get a stronger aroma and taste.
  • Mostly Cloudy Trichomes – the ideal moment for your buds to be harvested! That’s when they get the highest THC levels rate and know that your plants have reached this point if 50-70% of the hair is no longer white.
  • Cloudy and Trichomes – if your cannabis plants have made it this far, it will be a bit just after utter peak periods for the highest amount of power. But this is only because the buds had very mildly less THC and much more CBN. If you’re searching for a much more anxiety-reducing, relaxing high this might definitely be the ideal time to harvest your weed.


If white “hairs” are mostly all directly out and trichomes are still yellow then your cannabis plant is too young and just not ready for harvesting. Harvesting would also lead to low yields and non-potent crops. The start of the harvest door opens if your cannabis plant has mostly reached maturity pistils or new white “hairs”, and at least 40% of its white hair is curled and darkened. The highest THC level is that when most trichomes had already turned or milky white cloudy. Milky trichomes only with highest THC levels are “ready to be harvested” and make a contribution to much more psychoactive and  euphoric effects. o At this moment, 50 to 70% of the pistils are darkened.

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