Harvesting cannabis is a tricky business. If done incorrectly, you can lose up to 70% of your crop in the drying process. You’ll also waste valuable time and money on growing plants that ultimately don’t make it to the end game. So how do you know when it’s time to harvest? Trichomes are tiny resin glands on your marijuana flowers that secrete essential oils and cannabinoids (the active ingredients in cannabis). The trichomes themselves come in several different forms: clear, milky white, amber or cloudy white (aka frosty). Each color means something different for growers — so let’s review what each signifies about your plant’s readiness for harvest!
Amber trichomes are mostly cloudy and clear, with only a small percentage of milky white. This is the stage at which you are most likely to see crystallization, though it is not necessary for your plants to be ready for harvest at this point.
Milky White Trichomes
Milky white trichomes are the most common type and indicate that your harvest is ready. They’re a sign of potency, so you know you have good product on your hands.
50% Amber Trichomes
A 50% amber trichome is ready to harvest. In the picture below, you can see that half of the trichomes are turning amber and half are still clear. This is a good time to harvest your cannabis as it is at its peak of potency and terpene production. Trichomes turn from clear to amber when they have been produced for a long enough time period, usually about two or three weeks after flowering begins.
These look like they are ready. The trichomes should be clear and not cloudy, which means they have been harvested at their peak potency.
Harvest your cannabis when the trichomes tell you it’s ready.
Harvest your cannabis when the trichomes tell you it’s ready. The most common time to harvest is when there are a majority of cloudy, milky white or amber trichomes on the buds. However, you should always check in with your grower and use their feedback as a guide for determining when to harvest.
The harvest window is a great time to get high and celebrate the fruits of your labor. You can check out our 10 tips for growing weed here.