Cannabis Seed To Harvest Guide

Harvesting cannabis plants at the optimal time ensure the highest quality buds and potency. But how do you know? Our guide helps you to have an exceptional harvest. The legalization of cannabis has been great for the cannabis industry. Still, it hasn’t made marijuana much cheaper for consumers to buy. Because of this…

The Grower’s Guide to Knowing How and When to Harvest Your Cannabis

Harvesting cannabis plants at the optimal time ensures the highest quality buds and potency.

With restrictive laws governing cannabis consumption and cultivation loosening across the country, there are many novice cultivators playing farmer for the first time. If you are one of the newbies wondering if now is the optimal time to harvest your cannabis, put the gardening shears down and take a deep breath. The last thing you want to do is improvise in the field and risk losing your precious bounty to beginner’s bad luck.

In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the end of your beloved pot plant’s life cycle —the harvesting signals you need to look for, the tools you’ll need on hand, and the basic anatomy of the cannabis cultivar.

Cannabis Plant Anatomy

It’s important to know what you’re growing before you begin producing it. With that in mind, this section deconstructs the cannabis plant to demonstrate what you’re looking at and how it factors into your final product.

Cannabis consists of the same basic anatomy of all plants: a seed that produces roots on the bottom and a stem on the top, with the stem growing from the soil and eventually producing leaves, branches, and flowers. Of course, the magic of THC separates the cannabis plant from other shrubs and flowers. Let’s check out the basic anatomy, define the terminology, and examine each segment’s role at harvest time.


The stem keeps the plant upright, supporting its weight while housing the vascular system that ferries nutrients and moisture from roots to leaves. The stem also carries starches and sugars created during photosynthesis around the plant or into storage via the phloem cells, which can be harvested for hemp fibers. The stem contains little to no cannabinoids (THC and CBD).

Fan Leaves

The gloriously iconic fan leaf has become the universal symbol for marijuana. Shaped like an open hand with multiple parts and separated into three to 13 serrated leaflets, the leaves are removed at harvest. Fan leaves contain only trace amounts of cannabinoids.


This is the stem of the fan leaf, connecting it to the larger branch. Petioles contain more cannabinoids than fan leaves, making them a useful additive for tinctures, extracts, and concentrates when gathered in large quantities.

Stigma and Pistil

As in the anatomy of many plants, the pistil houses the cannabis flower’s reproductive organs, and the stigmas are the vibrant strands found on the pistil. Stigmas collect pollen from the male cannabis plants and change color throughout the maturation process, beginning with a white haze and eventually darkening to yellow, orange, brown, and red. While crucial to the growing process, stigmas and pistils have little impact on potency.

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Bract and Calyx

The female cannabis plant’s reproductive parts reside inside the bracts, which are green, tear-shaped leaves. The bract is covered in resin glands that produce higher concentrations of cannabinoids than any other part of the cannabis plant. Tucked inside the bract and hidden from view is the calyx, a translucent layer covering the ovule on the flower’s base.


This is where all the action happens. Tiny, hair-like structures located on the surface of the buds, stalks, stems, and leaves of the cannabis plant, trichomes form a blanket of frosty, crystal resin that oozes the aromatic oils called terpenes, as well as the all-important THC and CBD cannabinoids. Though their practical purpose involves protecting the plant against microbial organisms, aphids, and insects, everything you work for in the field hinges on trichomes and their potent, sugar-like resin.


This refers to the cluster of buds that grow tightly together. The primary cola forms at the very top of the cannabis plant and is sometimes called the “apical bud.” However, many smaller colas will likely be found on the budding sites of the lower branches.

Female vs. Male Cannabis Plants

A quick note: Cannabis plants are dioecious , meaning they can be male or female. The buds that make up your personal stash are the flowers from the female plant. Only the female cannabis plant produces the resin-secreting flowers that deliver the high we want.

When Is The Right Time To Harvest Cannabis

This is it! It’s the beginning of the end for your beloved pot plant’s life cycle. You’ve watched your cannabis survive all of the peaks and valleys of cultivation, and it’s finally the optimal time to harvest your precious bounty. However, now is not the time for rash decisions and improvisation! Here, you’ll learn pro tips for the right time to harvest, how to do it, and the tools of the trade you’ll need to get the job done right.

There are two basic methods to determining if you’ve reached peak harvest time: The pistil method or the trichome method .

The Pistil Method .

As a pot plant approaches maturity from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage, the pistils will stick straight out from the flower’s body in a pure, white coloring. You’ll know your plant is ready to harvest when you witness with the naked eye at least half the pistils change to a darker hue and curl back toward the flower.

The Trichome Method .

For this method, you’ll need either a jeweler’s loupe, a magnifying glass, a digital microscope, or even the camera on your smartphone (which can be incredibly high-powered these days). If the trichomes resemble clear, glass-like mushrooms, you’ll know it’s not quite time to harvest. But when at least 50 percent of the trichomes turn cloudy, it’s finally time to reap what you’ve sowed.

As for a timespan of when to harvest, that depends on the cannabis strain. Different strains boast varying flowering and harvest times. As a general rule of thumb, indicas are ready for harvesting at about eight weeks, while sativas hit harvest time at ten weeks. Meanwhile, autoflowers can take anywhere between seven to 10 weeks.

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What do trichomes look like when ready to harvest? Other signs to look for at harvest time include dense soil and leaves that have turned yellow and crisp. When the soil is dense, it means your plant isn’t consuming as much water as usual. And when the leaves begin to yellow and become crispy, it means the plant is ripening and could be ready for harvest. But before you pull any buds, make sure to check the trichomes and pistils in conjunction with checking the soil and leaves.

Cannabis Plants: From Grow To Harvest

The legalization of cannabis has been great for the cannabis industry. Still, it hasn’t made marijuana much cheaper for consumers to buy. Because of this, serious marijuana smokers are turning to grow their own cannabis plants in their home.

In the following cannabis grow guide, we’re going to run through some of the basics of growing, harvesting, and curing your own cannabis at home. If you’ve been thinking about growing your own cannabis, but waiting for the right time, then now’s a great time to get started!

How to Grow Cannabis Plants

Growing cannabis plants at home may appear complicated, but with the great beginner’s grow setups available these days, it’s really much easier than you’d think to grow your own marijuana. For this guide, we’re going to recommend grabbing a complete marijuana beginner setup. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. Small mistakes equal small costs – If you make a few small mistakes with a beginner cannabis grow setup, it isn’t going to cost you a lot of money. Start with a beginner setup, and once you’re confident you know what you’re doing, you can expand your marijuana grow operation.
  2. It’s easier to control one or twocannabisplants – To start with, you’re going to find one or two marijuana plants much easier to monitor and control.
  3. Small setup equals small investment – If you only invest in a small marijuana grow setup and find out that you either don’t like it or don’t have the time to invest in it, your investment is only small. If you fall in love with growing cannabis, then you can always upgrade your kit.

With a good beginner setup, the only thing you’ll need to worry about is choosing your marijuana plants and then following the marijuana growing instructions. You have various cannabis plant choices and strain types, so take your time and choose one that suits your personal preferences.

How to Top Cannabis Plants

Many people confuse topping with pruning but topping your marijuana plant is essential if you want to get maximum yields from your marijuana plant. If you don’t top your cannabis plant, the cannabis plant will put too much effort into growing vertically and not enough into growing you more buds!

Wait until your cannabis plant has grown about 6-7 nodes on the main stalk. The reason is that this will ensure the cannabis plant is strong enough to withstand the shock of topping.

  1. Cut the main stem above the fifth node.
  2. Once you have topped your cannabis plant, you’ll want to remove some of the side branches leaving between 2-4 main branches.
  3. Finally, trim some of the leaves off each side branch.
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Your cannabis plant will get more light and expend more energy into growing buds rather than trying to reach the roof. Squat, open marijuana plants receive more light and redirect their energy into growing bigger and more potent, high-quality buds.

How to Harvest Cannabis Plants

Now we’re getting to one of the best parts of growing marijuana, harvest time! In this section, we’ll cover some of the basic steps that you’ll need to follow when it’s time to harvest.

  1. Start by flushing your cannabis plant with water. Give the marijuana plant regular water for 1-2 days with no fertilizer to flush any excess salts and nutrients from the marijuana plant.
  2. Once your marijuana plants are flushed, don’t water them for 24-48 hours before harvest time.
  3. When you harvest, you can choose to hang individual branches or the entire marijuana plant upside from your drying racks.
  4. During the hanging time, keep air cycling through and ensure that the room is well ventilated. Ventilation will help to ensure that mold doesn’t start growing on your buds or marijuana plants while they’re drying.
Indoor Versus Outdoor Growing

When you grow cannabis indoors, you have a much more predictable climate. However, you also have to pay for your setup, including grow tents, lights, ventilation, watering systems, timers, and much more. It will cost you more to get set up, but the results are much more predictable, and you can quickly learn to control your environment.

If you choose to grow outdoors, you don’t have to pay for any of the setup costs, but you’re going to have to learn to adapt to the environment and weather conditions. Growing indoors can be much faster and give you a regular yield, but outdoors is a natural way to grow cannabis without any artificial lighting.

Clones – Male or Female?

If you’re trying to grow cannabis to get a yield of potent buds, go for female clones, especially if you have a particular strain that you love. Female marijuana plants produce the biggest buds, while male marijuana plants usually produce much smaller buds with seeds inside.

Almost all people looking to grow cannabis plants for the yield, especially when you first get started, will grow from female clones. Clones give you a head start on the growing stage, eliminating the need to grow from seeds.

Cannabis Plants – Conclusion

There you go! A quick and easy guide to growing and harvesting your own cannabis plants. If you have any questions about growing cannabis or would like to learn more about each specific stage of the growing process, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly! If you have any growing tips that you’d like to share, drop a comment below.