How to Tell When Cannabis Is Ready for Harvest

It’s finally time to harvest your cannabis crop. Here’s how to tell when your plants are ready to be picked.

Checkout this video:


Cannabis trichomes are the tiny, sticky crystals that cover the surface of the plant. These crystals are what produce the plant’s cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD. Trichomes also give the plant its color, smell, and flavor.

Check the color of the trichomes

Under a microscope, trichomes resemble miniature mushrooms with bulbous heads and skinny stems. These glandular structures produce and store the potent, aromatic oils that give cannabis its distinctive flavor and fragrance. They also produce cannabinoids like THC and CBD.

As cannabis plants mature, the cannabinoid-rich trichomes that cover their buds begin to change color, from clear to milky white, then amber. The color change is an indication of the maturation of the plant’s active compounds.

Different cannabis strains have different harvest window timelines based on the ratio of THC to CBD in their trichomes. For example, a plant with high THC and low CBD will be ready for harvest sooner than a plant with vice versa.

You can check the trichomes by using a magnifier or microscope. If most of the trichomes are still clear, it’s too soon to harvest. If they’re all milky white or amber, it might be time to harvest. You can also give the buds a gentle squeeze; if they feel soft, they’re probably not quite ready yet.


The most important thing to look for when deciding if your cannabis is ready for harvest are the pistils. Pistils are the small, white, hairlike structures that protrude from the buds. As the plant matures, the pistils will change color from white to red, orange, or brown.

Check the color of the pistils

One of the most accurate ways to determine when your cannabis is ready for harvest is to look at the color of the pistils. Cannabinoids and terpenes are produced in the cannabis flower’s resin glands, and these glands look like tiny hairs. These “hairs” start out white, and then they turn red, orange, or brown as the plant matures. Once about 70-80% of the pistils have changed color, it’s time to harvest.

Check the length of the pistils

The pistils are the “hairs” that grow out of the cannabis buds. They can be white, orange, red, or brown, and they get longer and thicker as the plant matures. For most strains, 50-70% of the pistils will have darkened and curled inward when the plant is ready for harvest.


The leaves of the cannabis plant are one of the best indicators of when the plant is ready for harvest. When the leaves start to turn yellow, it is a good indication that the plant is getting close to being ready.

Check the color of the leaves

The color of the leaves is one of the most telltale signs that cannabis is ready for harvest. When flowering, the leaves of the plant will begin to change color from green to yellow, brown, or orange. This is caused by a decrease in chlorophyll production as the plant enters its final stages of life. Once about 50-75% of the leaves have changed color, it’s time to start checking trichomes (more on that below).

Check the size of the leaves

One of the most reliable ways to determine when your cannabis plants are ready for harvest is to check the size of the leaves.

As the plants mature, the leaves will start to grow smaller and smaller. When they reach about half the size of what they were when the plant was fully mature, it’s time to start thinking about harvest.

Of course, this is just a general guideline – you may need to adjust based on the specific strain you’re growing and other factors like climate and fertilization. But in general, checking leaf size is a good way to get an idea of when your crop is ready.


Buds are the flowers of the cannabis plant. They are what you smoke, vape, or use to make edibles. Female cannabis plants produce buds in order to reproduce. To produce seeds, male cannabis plants release pollen that fertilizes the female flowers. When growing cannabis for bud, you want to avoid pollination so that your plants put all their energy into producing big, resinous buds.

Check the size of the buds

The size of the buds is a good indicator of when cannabis is ready for harvest. Indica strains tend to produce smaller buds, while sativa strains produce larger buds. However, the size of the buds is not the only factor to consider when determining if they are ready for harvest. The color of the buds and the presence of trichomes (resin glands) are also important indicators.

As cannabis plants mature, the buds will begin to swell and grow in size. At this point, they will also start to develop more trichomes, which are tiny resin glands that contain THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. The trichomes will make the buds look frosty or sparkly, and they will feel sticky to the touch.

The majority of the cannabinoids are produced during the flowering stage, so it is important to wait until this stage is complete before harvest. However, if you are growing for CBD or other medicinal purposes, you may want to harvest earlier than if you were growing for THC content.

Check the density of the buds

You can tell a lot about how mature your cannabis plants are by the density of their buds. When they’re ready for harvest, the buds should be dense and tightly packed. If they’re still airy and loose, they need more time to mature.

To get a better idea of the density, take a look at the internodes—the spaces between the leaves and stems on the plant. When cannabis plants are young, the internodes are far apart. As they mature, the internodes shorten until they’re only a couple of millimeters apart. This is another good indication that your plant is ready for harvest.

Scroll to Top