How to Know When to Harvest Your Cannabis

It’s important to know when to harvest your cannabis so you can get the most out of your crop. This guide will teach you how to know when the time is right.

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The Trichomes

The trichomes are the sticky, crystalline structures on the surface of the cannabis plant that contain its active ingredients, including THC, CBD, and terpenes. When these trichomes turn from clear to milky white, it’s time to harvest your cannabis. Keep reading to learn more about the trichomes and how to know when they’re ready for harvest.

What are Trichomes?

Trichomes are small, delicate structures that cover the surface of the cannabis plant. They are tiny, clear to white “hairs” that look like they’re growing out of the plant. Trichomes are actually resin glands that produce and store cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds that give cannabis its unique properties. Different strains of cannabis will have different ratios of these compounds, which is what gives each strain its own distinct flavor and effects.

The Different Types of Trichomes

Cannabis trichomes are incredibly important, yet often misunderstood. These tiny, resinous glands that cover the cannabis plant play a vital role in the plant’s survival, as well as the quality of the final product. Trichomes protect the plant from herbivores and pests, provide UV protection, and influence the spread of pollen. They also produce cannabinoids and terpenes, which are responsible for the plant’s therapeutic and psychoactive effects.

There are three different types of trichomes that can be found on cannabis plants: capitate-stalked, capitate-fused, and bulbous. Each type has a unique function and purpose.

Capitate-stalked trichomes are the most common type of trichome. They are also the largest, with a diameter of 50-100 microns (0.05-0.1mm). These trichomes are donut-shaped with a large head and a short stalk attaching it to the cannabis plant. The head of a capitate-stalked trichome is where cannabinoids and terpenes are produced.

Capitate-fused trichomes are similar to capitate-stalked trichomes but they have an irregular shape due to their fused heads. These trichomes are much less common than their stalked counterparts but they serve an important purpose nonetheless. Capitate-fused trichomes help to increase surface area for cannabinoid production and they also make it difficult for herbivores to access cannabinoids without damaging the plant (since they would have to eat through multiple heads at once).

Bulbous trichomes are the smallest type of cannabis trichome, with a diameter of only 5-15 microns (0.005-0.015mm). Unlike capitate trichomes, bulbous trichomes do not produce cannabinoids or terpenes. Instead, their primary function is to provide UV protection for the cannabis plant by reflecting light away from its surface.

Now that you know about the different types of cannabis trichomes, you can start to understand why they are so important!

The Pistils

The pistils of the cannabis plant are often the easiest way to determine when your plant is ready to harvest. When the pistils are red, orange, or brown, and 50-75% of them are pointing downwards, your plant is probably ready to harvest. Keep in mind that some strains of cannabis will have pistils that are mostly white even when they are ready to harvest, so don’t rely on the pistils alone.

What are Pistils?

Pistils are the creamy white- or orange-haired structures that protrude from a cannabis plant’s flowering buds. They are made up of tiny, tightly packed flowers called trichomes, which produce and store cannabinoids like THC and CBD. The cannabis plant’s reproductive organs, pistils also serve as catch-alls for pollen produced by male plants (which you don’t want if your goal is to produce sinsemilla, or seedless, high-quality bud).

As a general rule of thumb, indica strains tend to have shorter, thicker pistils than sativas. And while it’s not always accurate, in many cases the color of a plant’s pistils can give you a pretty good indication of when it will be harvest-ready. For instance, white pistils usually mean the plant still has a ways to go, whereas orange or brown ones signal that harvest time is approaching.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. Some growers believe that waiting until 50-75% of a plant’s pistils have darkened is the best way to ensure peak potency and flavor. Others believe that plucking a few ripe buds here and there (a process known as “Topping”) can actually speed up the overall harvest timeline by two weeks or more.

The best way to determine when your particular plants are ready for harvest is to use a magnifying glass or jeweler’s loupe to get up close and personal with the flowers. Check trichome coloration as well as Pistil development daily during peak bloom for an accurate gauge of your plant’s ripeness.

The Different Types of Pistils

Cannabis plants have both male and female reproductive organs, but most growers are only interested in the female plant because it’s the one that produces buds. Male plants are usually discarded because they don’t produce buds, but they can be used to pollinate female plants if you want to produce seeds.

The female plant produces flowers (or buds) that are composed of many spiraling leaves called bracts. Inside the bracts are the pistils, which are the parts of the flower that actually produce the seeds. So, the pistils are what you want to keep an eye on when you’re trying to determine when to harvest your cannabis.

Pistils can be divided into two categories: white pistils and red pistils. As the name suggests, white pistils are white in color, while red pistils are red or brown. White pistils are immature and won’t produce seeds, so you want to wait until they start turning red before you harvest your plant.

The rate at which pistils change color depends on the variety of plant you’re growing, but it usually takes between 7 and 8 weeks for white pistils to turn red. You can also use a magnifying glass to get a closer look at the pistils and see if they’re ready for harvest.

The Stigma

Harvesting your cannabis can be a daunting task. You’ve worked so hard to get your plants to this point, and now you’re faced with the task of deciding when to harvest. If you wait too long, your plants could suffer from problems like mould or bud rot. But if you harvest too early, you won’t get the full effect of the cannabinoids. So, how do you know when to harvest your cannabis?

What is the Stigma?

The stigma is the part of the female cannabis flower that receives pollen from the male plant. When the pollen grain germinates, it sends a tube down the length of the stigma which fertilizes the ovule and results in seed production. The stigma is located at the very top of the pistil, which is the reproductive organ of the female cannabis plant.

During certain stages of the plant’s life cycle, the stigma will change color to indicate that it is ready to receive pollen. For instance, in most varieties of cannabis, the stigma will turn from white to red when it is ready to be pollinated.

The Different Types of Stigma

In botany, stigma refers to the receptive tip of a carpel, or the female reproductive organ in a flower. The stigma, along with the styles and ovules, makes up the pistil. The stigma is sticky because its primary function is to trap pollen grains so that fertilization can take place.

The word “stigma” has taken on a negative connotation in recent years, often being used to describe a mark of disgrace or negative association. This can be seen in the way society views people with mental illness, for example. In the cannabis industry, “stigma” refers to the negative associations that are often attached to marijuana use.

There are two different types of stigma: social and legal. Social stigma is the negative perception of cannabis use that is held by members of society. This type of stigma is often perpetuated by media depictions of cannabis users as lazy or unproductive. Legal stigma is the negative perception of cannabis that is held by lawmakers and law enforcement. This type of stigma can lead to harsher penalties for possession and use, even in states where cannabis has been legalized.

The different types of stigma can make it difficult for people who use cannabis to find jobs, housing, and other opportunities. They may also have difficulty accessing medical care or getting government benefits. It’s important to remember that these stereotypes are not always accurate and that everyone should be treated with respect regardless of their personal choices.

The Calyx

The calyx is the female reproductive organ in cannabis that swells up at the end of the plant’s life cycle and contains the plant’s seeds. The calyx also produces the resin that contains the plant’s cannabinoids. When the calyx begins to swell, it is a sign that the plant is getting ready to harvest.

What is the Calyx?

The calyx is the female reproductive organ of the cannabis plant. It is where the flowers or “buds” develop. The calyxes are often referred to as “teardrop” shaped, and they are usually green in color. Each calyx contains one or more pistils (hairs). The pistils are what eventually turn into the THC-containing buds that we harvest and smoke.

The Different Types of Calyx

The calyx is the green, leafy growth where the pistils and stamens originate. The calyx is also where the trichomes develop, making it the most valuable part of the plant when it comes to producing THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids.

Calyx Structure
Each calyx is a miniature replica of the cannabis plant, with a stem (the peduncle) and leaves (the sepals) terminating in a flower bud. Once pollinated, the calyx swells and grows around the developing seeds to form a protective shell.

You can think of the calyx as the “fruit” of the cannabis plant—the visible portion that ripens and matures over time. But unlike other fruits, which are edible, the calyx is not meant to be consumed. Rather, it’s home to some of the most potent parts of the plant: the trichomes.

Calyx Size and Shape
The size, shape, and density of calyxes vary depending on several factors, including strain genetics. For example, some strains produce large flowers with numerous small calyxes (e.g., ChemDawg), while others have fewer but much larger calyxes (e.g., OG Kush). The size and density of calyxes also increase as plants mature—particularly during late flowering when they swell up with resins in preparation for pollination.

Calyx Coloring
Calyxes start out pale green or white but darken as they mature. Some strains develop red, purple, or even blue tinted calyxes near harvest (e.g., Granddaddy Purple). These pigments are anthocyanins—the same compounds that give blueberries their color—and their presence is determined by genetic factors unrelated to THC or CBD content.

The flowers

Cannabis flowers, also known as buds, are the most valuable part of the plant. They contain high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound that produces the plant’s signature high. In order to produce potent buds, growers must carefully monitor the development of their plants and harvest the buds at the right time.

What are the flowers?

The flowers, also called buds, of the female cannabis plant are the most potent part of the plant. They contain high levels of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids that offer physical and mental benefits.

The flowers are the only part of the plant that can be smoked or vaporized. They can also be used to make edibles, oils, and other forms of cannabis products.

Flowers vary in size, shape, and color depending on the strain. They are typically much smaller than what you would find on a fruit-bearing plant. The THC levels in cannabis flowers can range from 5-30%, with an average around 18%.

The Different Types of flowers

Cannabis flowers are the reproductive structures of female cannabis plants. Also known as “buds,” flowers are the parts of the plant that are harvested and processed for use. Cannabis flowers contain high levels of cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, which are responsible for the plant’s effects on humans.

Flowers can be either male or female, with male flowers typically containing lower levels of cannabinoids than females. Male flowers are typically harvested for their pollen, which can be used to breed new cannabis plants. Female flowers are the ones typically used for consumption, either by smoking, vaporizing, or using them to make edibles or other cannabis products.

The different types of cannabis flowers include:
-Sativa: These tall plants have long, thin leaves and produce buds that smell sweet and fruity. Sativa strains are known for their uplifting and energetic effects.
-Indica: Shorter and bushier than sativas, indicas have wide leaves and produce buds that smell earthy or skunky. Indica strains are known for their relaxation properties.
-Ruderalis: A small plant with few leaves, ruderalis is not commonly used for consumption but rather as a parent plant for crosses with sativas and indicas. Ruderalis plants flower based on maturity rather than light cycles like other cannabis plants.

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