When to Harvest Outdoor Cannabis

The leaves of the cannabis plant tell us when it is time to harvest. Follow these tips to learn when to harvest your outdoor cannabis plants for the best results.

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Understanding the Plant

Before diving into when to harvest your cannabis plant, it is important to understand the plant and it’s stages of life. The life of a cannabis plant can be broken down into four stages: pre-vegetative, vegetative, flowering, and ripening.

The cannabis plant life cycle

Harvesting is one of the most crucial—and challenging—aspects of cannabis production. Getting it right can mean the difference between profit and loss, and great product or lackluster results. Though each type of plant has specific characteristics, there are generalities that apply to most when it comes to harvest timing.

Most cannabis strains are photoperiod dependent, meaning they flower based on the number of hours of darkness they receive each day. In general, indica strains flower faster than sativas and are ready for harvest earlier in the season. However, there are always exceptions to the rule. When growing cannabis outdoors, keep a close eye on your plants and use a combination of experience and these tips to determine when it’s time to harvest.

The stages of the cannabis plant life cycle:

Vegetative stage: This is when the plant is growing leaves and stems, but not yet flowering. The vegetative stage can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months, depending on the strain and conditions.

Flowering stage: This is when the plant starts to grow flowers (the buds that contain THC and other cannabinoids). The length of the flowering stage varies depending on the strain, but is typically around 8 weeks.

Harvest: This is when you cut down the plants and dry/cure the buds so they’re ready for consumption.

The vegetative stage is typically when growers have the most control over the size and shape of their plants. Topping (cutting off the main stem) and training (bending branches) during this stage can help encourage a plant to grow in a certain way that makes it easier to harvest later on. For example, topping can be used to create more even canopy growth so all buds receive an equal amount of light, leading to more consistent bud size across your entire crop.

The difference between male and female plants

The difference between male and female plants is that females have pistils, while males have pollen sacs. The pistils are the white, hairy-looking structures that protrude from the center of the plant. The pollen sacs are the small, round balls that form on the tips of the leaves.

The main difference between male and female plants is that only females can produce buds. Buds are the flowers of the cannabis plant, and they contain high levels of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. Male plants do not produce buds, but they are necessary for reproduction. When a male and female plant reproduce, the male releases pollen into the air. The pollen then lands on the female’s pistils, and fertilization occurs. The result is seed production.

Some growers prefer to grow only female plants because they produce buds. However, it is necessary to have at least one male plant in order to produce seeds. Seeds are used to grow new cannabis plants, or they can be sold as souvenirs or for collectible purposes.

The Right Time to Harvest

The right time to harvest your outdoor cannabis crop is determined by the strain you’re growing, the climate you’re growing in, and when you want to harvest (based on personal preference). In this article, we’ll go over all the factors you need to consider when deciding when to harvest your outdoor cannabis crop.


In general, you should harvest your outdoor cannabis plants when most of the plant’s trichomes have gone from clear to milky white. Trichomes are the tiny, glittery crystals that covers the buds and leaves of the cannabis plant. These crystals contain most of the plant’s THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD (cannabidiol), and other cannabinoids.

You can use a jeweler’s loupe or microscope to get a better look at your plant’s trichomes and determine when they have reached peak maturity. Most growers prefer to harvest when approximately 60-70% of the trichomes have turned milky white. However, some growers prefer to wait until 80-90% of the trichomes have turned brown or amber before harvesting.

The color change from clear to milky white happens gradually over time as the THC levels increase. For this reason, it’s best to check your plants regularly so you can harvest at just the right time.


Pistils are the hair-like structures that protrude from the buds and are usually white, red, or purple. As the plant matures, the pistils begin to change color and curl inward. The plant is usually ready to harvest when 50-75% of the pistils have changed color.

Weather Conditions

It is a common misconception that cannabis harvesting is only dependent on the date, when in reality there are many other conditions that must be met in order for growers to produce a high-quality product. The three most important things to consider when deciding when to harvest are weather conditions, trichome visibility, and pistil colour. Let’s go into detail about each of these conditions.


Cannabis plants love humidity because it helps prevent them from drying out and developing powdery mildew or other types of mould. However, if the air is too humid, your plants will be more susceptible to pests and diseases. The ideal range for cannabis is between 40-60%. You can use a hygrometer to measure the amount of moisture in the air.

If the humidity is too low, you can increase it by:
– grouping your plants together
– using a humidifier
– placing a dish of water next to your plants

If the humidity is too high, you can decrease it by:
– using a dehumidifier
– increasing air circulation around your plants


Temperature is a significant factor affecting the rate of enzymatic reactions, including those involved in photosynthesis, and thus temperature affects the growth rate of plants. Most plants grow best within a temperature range of 20-25C, but there are many that have adapted to live in regions with much higher or lower temperatures. The optimum temperature range for cannabis growth is between 21-27C; however, cannabis can tolerate temperatures as low as 10C and as high as 35C. For best results, try to maintain a relatively constant temperature if possible and avoid large swings in temperature.

Other Considerations

In addition to the weather, you’ll also need to take into account the maturity of your plants. While most people believe that you can only harvest once a year, this isn’t always the case. Depending on the variety of cannabis you’re growing, you may be able to harvest multiple times.

Soil health

While there are many ways to grow cannabis, soil remains the most popular method among amateur growers. One of the main reasons for this is that growing in soil is much easier than other methods, such as hydroponics. Soil is also much more forgiving than other methods, meaning that it is easier to correct mistakes that you may make during the growing process.

To grow healthy plants, it is important to start with healthy soil. If you are using store-bought soil, make sure to get a high-quality product that has been amended with organic matter. If you are making your own soil, make sure to add plenty of organic matter, such as compost or aged manure. Another important consideration when it comes to soil health is drainage. Cannabis plants need well-draining soil so that they do not become waterlogged. If your soil does not drain well, you can amend it with sand or perlite.

Pest and disease control

The best time to pest and disease control is early in the season, before your plants have fully developed. This gives them the best chance to recover if they do get infested or diseased. Keep an eye out for pests and diseases throughout the season, and act quickly if you see any signs of them.

Some common outdoor pests include:
-Slugs and snails
-Spider mites

Some common outdoor diseases include:
-Powdery mildew
-Downy mildew
-Fusarium wilt
-Verticillium wilt

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