How Long From Seed To Harvest Weed

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. Being a cannabis consumer growing your own weed can be one of the most rewarding aspects. It is vital that you know and understand that when it comes to

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.

Stem

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.

Petioles

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.

Trichomes

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.

Cola

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.

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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.

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.

Average Grow Period for Sativa , Indica , and Hybrid Strains of Cannabis

Being a cannabis consumer growing your own weed can be one of the most rewarding aspects. It is vital that you know and understand that when it comes to growing all strains aren’t created equal.

Sativa, Indica, and hybrid strains all grow differently and have varying degrees of time it takes to flower. Are you aware of the different growing periods for each? It is important to know the average grow period and differences of growing each strain.

The Life Cycle of Cannabis Plants

Once your seeds have been sown and your cannabis plant has become a little baby seedling. After that; it will experience two major stages of life; known as the vegetative stage (when plants are growing) and the flowering stage (where plants are producing buds).

The Seedling stage:

Can last anywhere from 3-6 weeks.

The Vegetative Stage

This is where your plant begins to grow, and grow, producing those big jagged leaves cannabis is famous for.

Did you know a healthy pot plant can grow up to 2 inches in one day if you did everything right. Whether sativa, indica, or hybrid, this is the time when the roots of your cannabis plant continue to expand, and your plant continues to grow larger.

The length of time a plant is in the vegetative stage is completely dependent on its exposure to light. Growing cannabis indoors, means you can manipulate your light cycle, essentially keeping plants in the vegetative state as long as you want. To keep a plant in vegetative without flowering, it

Should receive under 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness. The longer your plants stay in a vegetative state, the bigger your plants will get, so you will need space.

Flowering Stage

The flowering stage of cannabis is when your plants start to produce the flowers that will eventually become the buds you harvest. It’s also the stage of a cannabis plant occurs after light exposure’s reduced. Where cannabis plants will stay in veg forever if they’re kept under light for 18 hours a day, switching the light cycle to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness will initiate the flowering stage.

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The average cannabis flower time is 6-10 weeks and sometimes longer. The length of time plants are in flower depends on the type of cannabis you’re growing as well as the conditions you’re growing in.

The normal grow period for Sativa , Indica , and Hybrid :

Sativa Flowering Time to Fully Grown Plant

Sativa strains of cannabis usually grow: long, tall, and lanky. Secondly; sativa stem is from regions near the equator, where the length of the day rarely changes regardless of what time of year it happens to be. Equal days and equal nights have led sativa strains to grow in short, consistent photoperiods. This simply means that the height of a sativa plant increases during both vegetative and flower periods.

Pure sativa strains can grow to heights of 20 feet due to growing so tall, indoor growers generally stick to indica strains instead. Sativa typically has a shorter vegetative cycle, but once the plant begins to flower it can take up to 10-12 weeks until it is ready for harvest. A pure sativa strain take 16 weeks to finish in flower.

The growing period for pure sativa strains is around six months.

Indica Flowering Time to Fully Grown Plant

Popular choice for many experienced growers. Indica strains grow short and fat and typically yield more than their tall, lanky sativa counterparts. They are also known to have shorter flowering periods than sativas. Because indicas have a shorter flower period, indoor growers can have more annual cycles. The flowering period for indica strains is typically around 8 weeks. If you’re growing indica, you can expect your plants to be in flower for 8-12 weeks.

Hybrid Flowering Time to Fully Grown Plant

Hybrids are a blend of sativa and indica cannabis strains. Also, hybrid cannabis strains are a blend of both indica and sativa, when cultivated they typically take on traits of one or the other. Much like sativa strains, hybrid strains can grow quickly during the vegetative stage. When it comes time to flower however, they may take on the shorter flower periods common to pure indica strains. Typically, hybrid strains will stay in flower for 6-10 weeks until ready for harvest.

By growing indoors, you manipulate your environment a bit more. Overall, the average growing period for all types of cannabis, sativa, indica, and hybrids included is around 3-6 months depending on the environment you’re growing in. To stay updated on the Medical Marijuana Cannabis laws and regulations check out the DHSS website.