Harvesting cannabis plants at the right time is a critical skill, and there’s far more to it than simply waiting a predetermined amount of time. Top cultivators pay close attention to the condition and color of their plant’s trichomes in order to decide the best moment to harvest, and here we’ll take a look at everything you need to know about trichome color and harvesting.

Trichome Color Harvest

As cannabis plants enter the flowering stage of their life cycle, their trichomes begin to develop and eventually cover much of the plant’s surface. During this time trichomes go through three stages of development, first appearing clear and transparent, then over time changing to a milky white, and eventually amber. Ultimately, it’s this change in color that’s used to decide the best time to harvest.

Trichome Color and Cannabinoids

The reason color is important is that the condition that your trichomes are in when you harvest fundamentally impacts the cannabinoid content of your cured flower. Harvesting early boosts THC content which makes for a more cerebral high, while harvesting late promotes more CBD production which can result in a full body experience. 

Trichome Color Chart

If you’re new to cultivation then it can be beneficial to make use of a trichome color chart. These act as a good visual guide that will show you what to look for when you inspect the trichomes of your own plants. Be sure to use a magnifying glass as trichomes are too small to be inspected by the naked eye (a jeweler’s loupe or a lensed camera are also popular choices). 

When to Harvest Cannabis Plants

As a general rule it’s recommended to harvest your plants when almost all of their trichomes appear milky white, but before they turn amber, as this will result in a more balanced cannabinoid profile. However, harvesting 3 to 4 days earlier can really accentuate the head high of a sativa dominant strain for example. Similarly, waiting for half the trichomes to turn amber can also improve the body hitting high of an indica dominant variety. 

Harvesting at the correct time for your crop is a skill that needs to be learned and practiced, but hopefully with these tips you’ll be able to keep a close eye on your trichomes, and know exactly when that perfect moment arrives.