Harvest marijuana plants, all the info

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Imagen de una persona comprobanda si su planta de marihuana esta ya lista
Picture of a person checking if his marijuana plant is ready



The marijuana harvest is the happiest part of the crop, because it represents the success of the grower, the goal set at the time of seed germination. But to get a quality harvest, you have to know the perfect moment to cut the plants, choose the optimal point of maturation of the resin, and eliminate the remains of fertilizers from the substrate so that the cannabis has the best aroma and flavor possible.



⭐ When to harvest marijuana plants at their optimum point?



This is the main question, since it does not have a common or definitive answer, because the time of the marijuana harvest depends on the genetics, the phenotype in question, the health conditions of the plants, the environmental parameters, and the preferences regarding the effect of each consumer. There are several factors that must be taken into account before deciding when to cut marijuana, the flowering time marked in the seed bank catalog, the state of the pistils of the buds, or the maturation of the trichomes, so… How know when to harvest my marijuana plant?

It’s a good question, because there are times when the seed banks indicate a shorter flowering time than the real one, or you can even see that many pistils start to wilt but most of the trichomes are still transparent or white. This is something very common, and if you let me give you a recommendation, I advise you first of all to read this article from our blog in which we talk about the maturation of trichomes, and base yourself on their color to decide the best time to harvest cannabis.



Cut marijuana into parts

This is another very interesting option, because it often happens that the buds from the upper parts mature before the lower ones, and in those cases it is best to harvest in parts and as they reach their perfect point. If you check the buds under the microscope every 2 or 3 days, you can cut branches as they mature to your liking, and it may take more than 1 week from when you start cutting the first buds until you finish harvesting that plant.

Let’s take the example of Girl Scout Cookies from PEV Seeds, which in its technical data sheet indicates that its flowering phase lasts between 9 and 10 weeks. In this case, it would be interesting to start checking the state of the trichomes from the beginning of week 9, and possibly the harvest will last several days. It is also very possible that there will be faster phenotypes that can be harvested earlier, and other plants that may need a few more days to mature.



⛳ Marijuana plant ready to harvest


If you want the yerba mate to have the most intense aroma, the cleanest flavor, and the greatest possible potency, you have to cut the plants with mature buds, with a dry substrate, and with the minimum content of nutrient residues. To achieve this, the ideal is to follow the indications of the cultivation table of the brand of fertilizers that we use to feed our plants, to try to ensure that they do not lack anything and thus obtain the best buds, but always keeping in mind that all plants eat the same or go at the same speed.

We must combine the data provided by the seed bank regarding the flowering time of the variety that we grow, with the data from the cultivation table, and taking all this into account, we must choose the day of washing the roots, knowing that If we grow with mineral fertilizers, it must be done 2 weeks before the harvest, and if they are organic, it can be done a week or 10 days before.

Once we wash the roots, to force the plants to consume the nutrient reserves of the leaves, we will begin to check the state of maturation of the trichomes as I told you before. When you calculate that there are 2 or 3 days left to harvest, it is best to stop watering so that the plant consumes all the moisture in the substrate. In this way, when the day of the cut arrives, the buds will be at their optimum ripening point (for your personal taste) with the minimum of nutrients, and with a dry substrate.

There are at least 3 other factors that can help improve the quality of cannabis, but they are not as decisive as the ones we have seen in the previous paragraphs. There are growers who leave the plants in the dark for the last 2, 3, and even 5 days, because it supposedly enhances the production of essential oils. Along the same lines, some growers lower the temperature to 12º C or 14º C the last few days for the same reason, since this way fewer terpenes evaporate. Finally, there is the “cold shock” which consists of watering with very cold water or placing ice cubes on the substrate of the plants to lower the temperature of the root system as much as possible.



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✨ Harvest of marijuana in outdoor cultivation in the open air


When we grow indoors it is easy to predict the days until the plants are cut, since we can set the parameters to our liking, but how to know the right time to harvest marijuana in outdoor crops? This question is more complex than it seems, because in the open air several extra factors intervene that can cause the advance or delay of the harvest.

Outdoors, problems such as rain, hail, wind, fungi and pests can arise. This does not mean that in indoor cultivation thrips or botrytis cannot appear in the final phase of the cycle, but outdoors it is much more common because the plants are exposed to all possible problems. For this reason, it is necessary to pay more attention during the last weeks, knowing the indicative flowering times, but taking into account the environmental conditions and the state of health of the plants to determine the right moment to harvest the marijuana plants in exterior.

A fairly common problem in outdoor crops are caterpillars, and these can appear a few days before harvesting. These caterpillars cause fungi such as botrytis, which ends up in the rotting of the buds and spreads easily, so the best solution could be to advance the harvest so as not to have greater losses in the harvest. Outdoor harvesting is usually in autumn, because most commercial photoperiod varieties mature in this season of the year, which is also the rainiest in many places. For this reason, we must be attentive to weather forecasts and bring forward the harvest a few days in the event of endangering the plants. Wind storms can break branches, and it can be another reason to advance the cut, as well as hail, of course.



👌 How to know when to cut marijuana


  • Take into account the flowering times provided by the seed bank
  • Wait until the buds are well formed
  • At least 50% of wilted pistils
  • It is better that the leaves have lost their intense green color
  • Check the trichomes daily to harvest to our liking
  • It is better to harvest first thing in the morning outdoors, or when the light has just been turned on indoors


*Infographic showing the factors to consider when harvesting cannabis at the best time*.
*Infographic showing the factors to consider when harvesting cannabis at the best time*.



📲 Pictures of Cannabis buds ready to harvest


Below you can see some pictures of weed ready to be harvested, sometimes a picture is worth more than 1000 words. With graphic examples it’s easier to get an idea of when is the best time to harvest cannabis.


Foto de yerba lista para cosechar de la variedad Girl Scout Cookies*
Photo of ready-to-harvest weed from Girl Scout Cookies variety*


Foto de yerba lista para cosechar de la variedad Girl Scout Cookies*
Image of a Fat Banana by RQS at the optimum time for cutting*


Fotografía de un cogollo de Gorilla Glue #4 lista para la cosecha*
Photo of a Gorilla Glue #4 bud ready for harvest*


Imagen de una planta de cannabis a punto de cosechar*
Image of a cannabis plant about to be harvested*



➕ Marijuana harvest step by step


There are different ways to harvest cannabis, but we are going to see how to cut a marijuana plant that, from our point of view, preserves the resin in a better state. It involves cutting the trunk to hang the plants upside down in a cool, moderately dry, dark place for between 10 and 20 days, but let’s take a closer look. We can do the drying in the same room as the crop, if it is a closet we can take advantage of the metal bars on the ceiling to place hooks, and if it is a room, a cable or rope can be fixed from wall to wall.

If we choose the same crop to dry, we will leave the extraction and interior ventilation on 24 hours a day, but the fans that are not pointed directly at the plants, unless they are oscillating from one side to another. The light must be turned off since it must be dark during drying, and it may be a good idea to activate a dehumidifier if necessary to maintain the humidity around 60% the first week and between 40% and 50 % the rest of the drying. The carbon filter will come in handy because the plants continue to smell a lot during this phase, and the ideal temperature would be between 15º C and 20º C


  1. The day before the harvest we can remove all the large leaves and leave only those that surround the buds. This will facilitate drying and it will be a job that we have in advance when we have to do the manicure.
  2. Once the plant is ready to harvest, we wait until the substrate is dry, and cut at the base of the trunk with the help of pruning shears to be able to hang the entire plant upside down.
  3. To hang them we only have to take advantage of one of the lower branches, since thanks to its shape it allows us to use it as a hook. Sativa strains spread the branches further away from the trunk, but with indicas you may need to spread it out a bit.
  4. It is advisable to separate the hanging plants so that they do not touch each other, as this could lead to the appearance of fungi. It is also advisable to check the buds daily to remove affected parts as soon as possible and prevent them from spreading.
  5. The drying time will depend on the environmental parameters, the humidity contained in the plants at the time of harvest, and the type of bud, since the airy ones of the sativas dry much sooner than the dense and compact ones of the indicas or hybrids. However, drying must be slow to achieve the best organoleptic quality, since if they dry completely in less than a week, the chlorophyll will not be completely eliminated.



🚀 Conclusion


In this article we have seen the best time and the optimal way to harvest marijuana plants to achieve the best quality in our self-cultivation buds, we have also seen how to dry cannabis to avoid problems. If you want to know more about drying this plant, I invite you to read this entry on our blog where we delve into this, and if you liked it or have learned something new, I would appreciate it if you share it on your social networks.



✅ Frequent questions


What happens if the buds are cut prematurely?

It depends on how much sooner, because if it’s 2 or 3 days practically nothing would happen, but if it’s more than a week, the most normal thing is that the flavor is not so intense and the potency is generally lower. If it is cut ahead of time without washing the roots, the flavor can be spoiled by the remains of fertilizers. The type of effect also varies, because if the immature buds are cut, it is more cerebral and active than if it is left to mature more.


How to cut marijuana leaves?

It depends on the type of leaf, because if they are large ones that do not contain resin, they can be cut by the petiole, and these leaves can be discarded or used to make compost. The large leaves that contain a little resin on the inside can be cut in half or at the height of the resin, to take advantage of those trichomes later, like all the leaves that are close to the buds and contain a lot of resin, those They are ideal for making extractions, recipes, etc. These small leaves can be cut flush to the bud, or try to reach their petioles to leave the flowers cleaner.

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Fran Quesada Moya
Fran Quesada Moya

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  1. Avatar for Joe S

    Great advice! All your post I have read . A+ 5 ***** ! Thank You. Looking forward to more.
    I to prefer manicuring before harvest. She focuses on fattening up the Bud’s for A potent less leafy result. Lets me enjoy the final harvest much better, and focus on the next harvest- newbies. I find it easier trimming when she is growing. This technique has always worked great for me since the late 70s. HAPPY GROWING 🙂

    FLUSHING AUTO’S IN FABRIC BAGS Do you think they still need as much water ?

    • Avatar for Alan Martinez

      Hello Joe, try not to water the plants too much as you are in danger of rotting the root system. Only water when the soil is dry.