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When to Harvest Cannabis Buds?

Cannabis crops have different phases, so it is important to recognise them in order to identify plants’ needs during each one. Mistakes in flowering can affect the plants and yield quality considerably. However, if you pay attention to the different aspects, it is easy to achieve high yields and to know when to harvest the flowers. In order to make it easier for you, we will detail below how long it takes for a bud to ripen, as well as the different phases of the plants.

How long does it take for a bud to ripen?

The time it takes for flowers to ripen depends on the chosen variety. Therefore, you should ask the seed bank about how long it takes to mature and its maximum yield. Most cannabis strains offer a generative period between 7 and 9 weeks. Although in some cases, sativas need more time.

The buds appear during the flowering stage, which consists of three parts:


This is the perfect time to use stimulants, products that speed up the internal processes without affecting the ripening time. As a result, they will produce more trichomes.

The specimens start to show the first flowers that emerge from the internodes. These are weeks of transition during which the plants grow continuously; some strains may stretch enormously. The small flowers will become dense and valuable buds during this phase which lasts between 2 – 3 weeks:

Week 1 (transition and stretching): plants are likely to grow rapidly as they realise that winter is approaching and that they will soon be full of flowers. Some may even double in size, which is why it is also called the stretching phase. On the other hand, new leaves and stems will appear, especially on the upper part; the aim is to prepare the structure to support the weight of the flowers and, as a result, they will need more growth nutrients.Week 2: During this period, the first white pistils appear on female cannabis plants. They usually appear in the area where the large leaves meet the main stem. From here, flowers grow. In male plants, however, small pollen sacs will be produced. As soon as they start to flower and the first signs of buds appear, check the manufacturer’s recommendations.Week 3: At this stage, the cannabis plants have not completely stopped growing and are 50% larger. Also, buds appear, but they will have hardly any resin or trichomes, so the aroma will be light. This is an important moment in the ripening process, as they need more and more energy for flower production, so it is important to watch out for possible deficiencies or over-fertilisation, which manifests itself in different ways.

Fattening up

This is the phase where production starts to grow by increasing the size of the flowers, doubling, even tripling them. For this, a high concentration of phosphorus and potassium is essential; these are the components responsible for maximising the size of the bud. Also important are energy-increasing carbohydrates, the production of natural sugars and resin. At this point, the creation of trichomes should occur, which makes the plants smell much more pungent. Indeed, there are various products for fattening the buds.

Week 4: By this time they will have stopped growing, as they are putting all their energy into producing buds. They will start to produce trichomes and odours. The branches may need to be supported, to take the weight.

Week 5: In addition to thicker buds, new ones will emerge in other areas. The white hairs on the flowers are opaque and will darken to brown or amber; in both cases this indicates that harvest is near.

Late Flowering (pre-harvest)

The strain grown will have an important influence, most plants will be ready for harvest during this period. One of the things to do is to rinse the roots, over a period of 2 – 3 weeks.

Flushing is an easy technique, which consists of stopping the supply of nutrients and watering only with pH balanced water. In this way, you will reduce the salts and minerals in the soil, which results in better buds with a more natural taste, avoiding chemical taste.

To harvest cannabis flowers correctly, it is sufficient to observe trichomes regularly, using a small microscope or magnifying glass. If they are still transparent, it is too early for harvest. However, if they are amber and opaque, this indicates that they contain a high percentage of THC so they’re ready.

In order to determine when to harvest cannabis buds, it is important to be aware of the stage the crop is in and to take a close look at the trichomes. The ripening time depends on the type of seed, but normally between 7 and 9 weeks.

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Erik Collado

With more than 10 years of background in the cannabis sector, his experience and knowledge are the base of GB The Green Brand’s success

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