Top Tips on Harvesting Cannabis Plants

Soft Secrets
04 Jun 2023

Harvesting indoor or outdoor Cannabis plants can be the most exciting time for a grower, however there is a certain criteria that should be followed, before you start chopping. The flowering time provided by the seed bank will often be a guide, so in this article we provide 6 top tips on when to harvest Cannabis plants, allowing you to produce the most terpene rich and flavorsome experience possible.

What does harvesting Cannabis plants involve?

If you are a first time grower, then harvesting at the right time is the next important job you have to get right. After all your hard work over the vegetative and flowering period, the moment has come where you will need a room to hang your plants until they have become dry.

There are two ways that growers choose to harvest, and some are more practical than others. The first is to try trimming their plants, meaning they simply cut the plants away from the stem, and hang for a period of 14 days in a temperature controlled environment such as a tent. Once the plants are dry enough, the buds can then be cut away and carefully trimmed. 

The other way, which can require far more work initially, is to wet trim, meaning that the buds are neatly and precisely trimmed whilst they are still fresh and sticky. Home growers who have a small amount of plants will usually wet trim and oftentimes will make fresh frozen isolator with the trim.


What about the flowering time on the seed packet?

The time stated on the seed packed by the breeder is often a guide to what to expect. However, there are many variables that may influence the flowering time of an indoor or outdoor Cannabis plant, ranging from the size of the plant, light intensity, nutrients and phenotypes. You may be lucky a few times, but when growing indoors following the flowering time, you may be required to let the plants go a week longer than originally anticipated. 

For example, O.G Kush strains can flower between 63–73 days, and some hazes can take between 12–14 weeks. For those who depend on using the tent as their drying room, harvesting their crop at the same time is often the most practical. This may not always reveal the best plants and in some cases may cause a loss of yield. 


Is the ratio of brown pistils important?

In the old days before magazines, the internet and social media, many home growers had little knowledge about the pinnacle moment to harvest their indoor crop. The old rule of thumb used to be when the hairs are mostly brown, then it is ready. Nowadays, there are plenty more viable ways to check if the plants are ready, and they range from how swollen and stacked the calyx are, the maturity of the trichome heads under a microscope, consideration of the flushing period of 14 days, terpene and resin production.


What about the drying room?

It is important that the room in which you dry your plants is smell proof and that you can keep a consistent temperature as close to 15 degrees Celsius as possible and a relative humidity level around 50-60%. Over a time duration of 14 days, this method will produce the most terpene rich and aromatic buds, that when smoked are coffee shop quality.

Drying your plants out in a room that is above 20 degrees Celsius can cause them to become dry too quickly and, as a result, lose flavor and aroma. 



6 top tips for harvesting Cannabis plants

Top Tip #1 - The calyx is the part of the flower which becomes the bud you smoke. How swollen or fat these have become will be a good indicator of how mature the plants are, and how far off the harvest date you may be. Our top tip is to check how swollen the top and lower buds are of the plants before chopping.

Top Tip #2 - Using a microscope or a hand held lupe is the very best way to see up close what the trichome head looks like. The reason why this is important is that inside the head of the trichome gland contains all the terpenes and essential oils. Our top tip here is to invest in a hand - held lupe that you can use to inspect all parts of the plant.

Top Tip #3 - Bigger plants will always take a week or more before they are ready to harvest, compared to smaller sized plants. O.G Kush plants which have been trained and allowed to become big can require 73–77 days before they are fully mature. Our top tip here is being prepared to add another 7–10 days on to the harvest date when working with large sized plants.

Top Tip #4 - Flushing your crop is an essential part of the growth cycle, and will be the difference between the buds having a long-lasting and smooth quality, or the buds being harsh and causing a coughing fit when smoked. Our top tip here is to always flush the plants and to wait until the leaves have faded multicolored to indicate they have used all their nutrients. 

Top Tip #5 - When wet trimming your plants, it is important to place the trimmed buds on the drying net with even spacing. Make sure that when you are using multiple strains, you do not get mixed up, so our top tip here is to always label each part of the drying net in advance, to avoid mixing buds up.

Top Tip #6 - Make sure that your dry room is smell proof, and you are not stinking out your entire house and street during the harvest week. There is no point in risking a knock at the door from an unhappy neighbor or worse, the police, so always make sure you have a carbon filter. Our top tip here is to either build a separate dry room that controls the smell, temperature and humidity, or just use your tent once the plants are taken down. 

Top Tip #7 - Drying your plants out in a room that is above 20 degrees Celsius can cause them to become dry too quickly and, as a result, lose flavor and aroma. Our top tip here is to keep the temperature of the dry room as close to 15 degrees as possible, and to avoid fans blowing at the buds as they dry.



It is very easy to ruin your entire crop by harvesting at the wrong time or speed drying your buds. Drying your plants out is a learning curve, but once done correctly you will have cup winning flavors every time that should burn with a light white ash, and maximum terpene profile. 

Patience is very important when it comes to harvesting a top quality crop, and considering all the hard work and effort you put in up to this point, then knowing the perfect time to harvest and how to dry will give you the edge. Good luck harvesting your plants and learning the best time to do so!



Soft Secrets