When to Harvest Marijuana?

Growing weed is not an easy task.

Especially when you are a new grower.

Even if you’ve years of experience doing the same, still, you need to consider this:

Harvesting time!

Doesn’t matter whatever your growing skills are; you have to be very careful before harvesting your plants.

As it is one of the crucial stages when your plants give you the result of your months of effort and patience.

As if you harvested the garden at the wrong time then all of the efforts might go in vain. 

This ultimately leads us to the question of when to harvest marijuana?

Well, if you too are a weed enthusiast and want to know the right time of harvesting weed then just read along to know everything.

Shall we start?


How to Know When to Harvest Cannabis?

When To Harvest Marijuana

We will be discussing some factors for knowing the harvesting period of a plant.

However, exactly, you cannot measure the perfect time as it is based upon the grower’s observation skills. Hence, the better your observation is, the better you will approach the right time of harvesting period of your garden. 

So, let’s find out what are the factors, which you can consider to know when to harvest marijuana:

  • Trichome color

This is one of the most reliable factors to know the right time of harvesting. 

This includes the observation of trichome colors and it indicates different things on different colors.


  1. Clear trichome – means you need to wait for a while as it is not the time of harvesting.
  2. Milky white/amber trichomes – this indicates that your plant is ready for harvesting. 
  3. All amber trichomes – that means it is too late. Your garden is overripe. 

So, this is all you need to observe the trichome color before heading into harvesting. Well, you need a magnifying glass for observing precisely. 

  • Pistils

This is the second important factor that can tell you if it is the right time for harvesting. 

If the half of pistils turn mostly brown then it means your buds are ready to be served to you. Similar to the trichome colors, pistils are also one of the most crucial indicators that tell about the maturity of plants. 

Apart from this, light brown indicates immaturity and hence you might have to wait for some more time. 

For this task too, you might need a magnifying glass. 

  • Bud Shape and Leaves 

Bud shape gives you a little indication about the harvesting stage. 

Tight buds on a plant are sure an indication that your plant has reached maturity. While on the other hand, the leaves of the plant which turn yellow from green also show that it is the perfect time for harvesting. Waiting for more time might lead to an overripe. 

  • Flowering period

Depending upon various strain types, with the flowering period you can get a closer idea of when will the harvest period of that strain come. 

Like most of the Indica strain generally has 8 weeks of the flowering period. Therefore, you can be extra aware that after that time, you can think to harvest your plants. 

Similarly, Sativa strains as well, which takes around 10 to 12 weeks of the flowering period. 

Therefore, with strain information and their growing stages, you can be sure when to harvest the marijuana plant. Although it requires a little bit of research as well to dig the info about strain. 

Harvesting Marijuana Outdoors

Unlike indoor gardening, an outdoor garden differs a bit. As the outdoor garden is mostly dependent on the climate of the region. 

In outdoor weed cultivation, the harvesting time makes you wait for a longer time because of the climate. As it depends on the weather, therefore, in some regions you can also get two times to harvest. 

Well, you need similar observation skills like indoor gardening and you can be sure at a specific time your buds are ripe. However, you can consider these to ensure the right time for harvesting outdoor marijuana:


In outdoor cultivation, the climate is the most affecting factor. Even in growing weed, the climate of the region matters a lot. 

That is why in harvesting as well, you need to observe the weather. However, the ideal time for harvesting outdoor marijuana is when the season changes from summer to fall. Depending upon the weather, it can extend or fall nearer than the expected time. 

Apart from this, in outdoor cultivation and harvesting, one needs to be aware of the random change in the climate. As rain, cold temperatures are some of the crucial factors which can affect the harvesting time of your garden.

What Equipment Do You Need to Harvest Marijuana?

Once you have got the right time, you need to take the next step, i.e., start harvesting your plant. However, you will need some equipment before you start harvesting. 

They are:

  1. Scissors – for trimming buds
  2. Pruners – for big branches
  3. Tray/bowl – for keeping buds
  4. Rubbing alcohol

That’s it!

With these minimum requirements, you can jump into your garden for grabbing your buds. Even harvesting needs patience, so, make sure you don’t hurry as well. 

How to Harvest Marijuana? 

Everything is ready?

Now, it’s time to harvest weed. However, there are mainly two ways to do so. One of the ways includes the plant being hung for drying and then trimming the buds further. While the other way includes direct trimming of the buds when the plant is chopped. 

You can choose either of the ways according to your convenience. However, whichever way you choose, make sure you follow the curing process as well. 

If you don’t know about curing marijuana then you can read our guide here

Coming to harvesting, depending upon whichever way you choose, you can cut down the large branches of the plants, which will be easy to hang on a wire. Further, you can trim your buds as well. 

However, if you are going with the second way (instant trimming of the buds), you can cut down the tiny branches to make it easier for the buds to fall off. 

Additional Tips for Harvesting Weed

  1. The very important tip is to make sure it is the right time for harvesting. You must check the trichomes. You can also prefer your research on the strain if you have done so. 
  2. At least before one week, stop giving nutrients if you are putting so in your plants. Just water them, nothing else. 
  3. Make sure you have sharp and the right tools for harvesting. 
  4. Wear clothes which can get dirty. Jumping into the garden indeed requires it!
  5. Outdoor harvesting needs to be done in the morning. Harvesting needs patience. As it might be tough to harvest when the sun is above the head. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How often can I harvest weed?

It depends on the conditions. Indoor gardens can be harvested more than four times per year depending upon the grower’s skills. However, in some regions, depending upon weather, outdoor gardens can be harvested a maximum of twice. 

What to do after harvest?

After getting your buds, you need to dry them and cure them. Both the steps are called the curing process. It will help your buds to survive for a longer period while keeping the same potency. Even it is believed that curing enhances the quality of buds. 

How to know if it is too early for harvesting?

Clear trichomes indicate that it is too early for the plants to be harvested. As mentioned before, you can get the idea of perfect harvesting time through trichomes and other factors.

When it will be too late for harvesting weed?

When the trichomes are mostly amber-colored then it means your plant is overripe. This condition also leads the chemical compounds of buds to degradation. Hence, in this scenario, it becomes too late for harvesting weed. 

What are the next steps after harvesting cannabis?

Drying and curing are the next steps once you have harvested your cannabis. After this step, you can enjoy your weed. 

What to do with harvested plants?

The immediate step involves drying the plants. While for buds, you can cure them. Read this curing guide here!

What is the ideal time for harvesting the plants?

Sun before reaches peak is the ideal time for harvesting plants. As harvesting requires patience, therefore, it will be better to do so before the climate gets hotter.

Why rubbing alcohol is needed?

While trimming buds, the scissors slow down due to resins, and hence, you need a lubricant to clean that easily. This is where rubbing alcohol helps.

What if I harvest earlier than time?

This will lead to immature buds. It means your buds are not potent enough yet. Ultimately, you will not get that taste and effect of marijuana. 

Is curing weed after harvesting necessary?

Yes! It is one of the important steps. If you want your buds to last longer for months with the same potency then curing is necessary.

When to Harvest Marijuana: Final Words

Harvesting is a skill just like growing weed. The more you practice, the more you become better. However, in this guide, we have discussed some most important factors which can make you know when is the right time for harvesting weed. 

So, now, it’s time to take some action. You can also let us know how is your harvesting experience this time below.

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