When to harvest cannabis plants

Harvest both outdoors and indoors always tends to be a time of joy. For outdoor growers, it’s the moment in which they stop suffering for an eventual theft that would suppose a great loss. The harvest is ready! To know when to cut marijuana plants, we will have confidence on some rules that we will detail below.

Philosopher Seeds
Moment of harvest, outdoors

When to harvest cannabis plants?

When to cut the plants is simple if you know how... The first thing is to know the grown marijuana strain, and if possible, the recommendations of the bank where the seeds come from. These feature descriptions are of indicative guidance. They are a help, but you must keep in mind that many banks indicate the time that plants take for harvest based on cuttings that comes from a parental plant with sexual maturity. The plants from seeds usually needs between 5-7 days more, so, we will be aware. In Philosopher Seeds, the first time we indicate is what cuttings take until harvest and secondly, we indicate the longest time that can take some phenotypes.

For automatic marijuana plants, like other plants, we can trust of the time recommended by the producer, although it’s always better to observe the resin.

Example of a description of SuperJuani:


  • Indoor Flowering: 60/70 days
  • Outdoor flowering on Northern hemisphere: Mid October
  • Outdoor flowering on Southern hemisphere: Mid April

Philosopher Seeds
Secondary bud of SuperJuani ready for harvest

In any case, to know the optimal time to harvest marijuana, we have to observe the resin with a microscope or a magnifying glass. In particular, we have to look at the trichomes (resin glands) and according to their colour, we will know whether or not it is the ideal moment..

Philosopher Seeds
Inspection of the trichomes of SuperJuani prior the harvest

Some growers observe the color of the pistils, but this method isn’t at all reliable. When the plant finishes its flowering cycle, the pistils change colour and oxidize. It can be a sign that their end comes, but other climatic factors can do that this happens without that the resin is completely ripened. The oxidation of the pistils can happen due to a change of humidity or simply because of the UVA rays. In case that it was raining and later it was windy, it’s very probable that the pistils were oxidizing, although the harvest is 20 days away.

As we said above, we will observe the colour of the trichomes, and based on this, we will know the exact state of ripeness of the plant. Another factor would be the preference of each grower, seen that according to this colour, the grass will have an effect or other.

Observe trichomes with microscope or magnifying glass

Observing with a microscope resin glands is a fascinating world. It looks like a forest full of psychedelic bubbles.

To know the state of ripeness of the plant, we will cut a small piece of a bud of the middle part of the plant and will analyze it with a microscope or a magnifying glass. The trichomes goes through a process of color change according to their development.

Philsopher Seeds
Ready to inspect a sample of each plant

In principle, they are all of clear colour, then they become cloudy  and end up by being of amber colour.

  • Clear Trichomes: The trichomes of this color is the sign that a plant is not ripened. It’s better to wait before harvesting except you want to harvest a herb without effects.
  • Cloudy Trichomes: This color indicates that the resin starts to ripen. A plant with the most of cloudy trichomes will have an uplifting and energetic "High" effect
  • Amber Trichomes: If the glands are of this colour it’s a sign of full ripeness of the trichomes. The  "stoned" effect of this resin will be rather narcotic, relaxing, and can become soporific.

Philosopher Seeds
Clear Trichomes of Gokunk

To give you an idea, we generally speak of the percentages of the glands of one colour or another:

  • 70% Cloudy - 30% Amber: Uplifting High Effect
  • 50% Cloudy - 50% Amber: Balanced Effect
  • 30% Cloudy - 70% Amber: Stoned Effect

Philosopher Seeds
Trichomes of Amnesika 2.0 ready for harvest

Philosopher Seeds does not recommend to harvest or before these first 70 % / 30% nor after the 30 % / 70 %. We have said that if we harvest too early, the grass does not have any effect, but if we harvest too late, we will lose in quality. Once a trichome is of  amber colour, it starts to degrade and loses potency. For this reason, we always seek the balance that will best suit us.

Tips for harvesting cannabis

During the last 2-3 weeks of growing, we will stop the feed contribution to our plants. This way, they will assimilate the nutrient excesses and will transform them into sugars. The plants begin yellowing slightly and this will *improve significantly the flavour and smell* of our marijuana after drying.

Philosopher Seeds
SuperJuani at the end of the bloom

Philosopher Seeds recommend to harvest plants when the substrate is almost dry, without that the leaves show signs of dehydration.

To perfect and improve the quality of the end product, many growers are based on a lunar calendar before cutting. The effect of the moon on the plants acts equally in indoor as outdoor crops.  That’s an issue about that we will speak in one of our next articles.

In the upcoming episodes we explain how to trim, dry and cure the marijuana plants. We hope that you visit our blog for more information.

If you have any questions, you can get in touch with us leaving a comment here or sending an e-mail to info@philosopherseeds.com

A big hug to everyone!

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About this Cannabis Blog

This is the blog of the seed bank Philosopher Seeds. It is intended for the use of adults over the age of 18 years.

You'll find information on homegrowing cannabis, tips, tricks and news from the cannabis sector.

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(+34) 972 099 409
(+34) 972 099 409