home grown dagga marijuana when to harvest

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Everything you need to know about harvesting homegrown dagga

Knowing when to harvest your cannabis plants is an essential part of the growing exercise, which will heavily influence your high and ensure you end up with medication tailored to the high you are looking for.

home grown dagga marijuana when to harvest

Photo: Unsplash

So you’ve managed to make it all the way from seed, through your vegging stage and your homegrown dagga plants are now flowering.

You’re almost at the end of your journey, but there’s one more very important aspect to know before you get to trimming, drying and curing your bud – the harvest.

To many new growers it may feel like an eternity before your plants are ready to get the chop, but patience is essential and knowing when to harvest will prevent you from experiencing unwanted effects when using your bud.

Female cannabis plants tend to flower for anywhere between 6 and 13 weeks, depending on the genetic lineage of the plant.

Plants which are full indica or indica dominant hybrids will take shorter to flower, while sativa and sativa dominant hybrids can take extended periods of time to mature, especially the case in landrace sativa strains, such as those native to Southern Africa.

Knowing your dagga plant’s genetics

If you’re growing from bad seed, it may be difficult for you to get an idea of how long you’re going to be waiting until you harvest, though the thickness of the leaves will assist you later in the plant’s life as it begins to show either wide or narrow bladed leaves.

Narrow leaves are a genetic trait from the sativa lineage, while wide leaves are a trait of an indica or indica dominant plant.

home grown dagga marijuana when to harvest
Photo: TSA

Seeds acquired from a breeding company will typically state how long the flowering time is on the strain, though it should be noted that these values are not absolutes, and you’ll still need to be able to manually discern what a mature flowering plant looks like versus an immature flower that is not yet ready for harvest.

Pistils and Trichomes

Pistils are the reproductive area of the female cannabis plant, the thin hairs that catch the pollen to induce fertilization. It is made of the ovule, style and the stigma. These are the same parts of the plant you look at when determining the sex.

The trichomes are the extremely small lumps found on the calyx and sugar leaves of the plant, these are where your terpenes are housed in and the trichome is what you can thank for your high.


When looking whether your plant is ready to harvest or not, you’ll want to focus on two parts of the plant.

The stigma is the part of the pistil that you will be looking at for a rough gauge on the bud’s maturity, it will not give an accurate final representation, however it can act as a basic guide to your harvest window.

As the female dagga flowers mature, the stigma turn from a white colour towards a shade of orange typically.

If your plant is still showing white stigma across your buds, it’s certainly not yet ready for harvest. However, once you start to see these stigma turn mostly orange, you can start focusing on the trichomes for a more accurate representation of when to harvest.


Trichomes also change colour as the plant matures, starting our as translucent mushroom looking features, turning cloudy towards harvest and then becoming amber in colouration.

If your bud is showing mostly orange stigma, it’s likely that your trichomes have already started to become ‘cloudy’ and almost milky.

When these trichomes are milky, the plant is at its highest in THC. As these trichomes turn to amber, the THC starts to convert into CBN a compound that is associated with couch lock and a more sleepy high. In order to see what your trichomes look like, most growers will use a jeweler’s loupe or a macro lens, as the naked eye cannot attain enough detail.

Which trichome colouration to harvest at?

Well that depends, what high are you looking for? Below are three of the common harvest windows as well as the high you’re likely to experience from each:

Mostly Cloudy

Harvesting your bud when the trichomes are mostly cloudy, but before they have turned amber and with some clear trichomes still present will provide you with a more heady high, a bit of a rushing feeling. The high you get from an early harvest like this is somewhat similar to what one expects from some of the sativa strains like a Haze.

This is probably the closest harvest time for those looking for a more ‘psychedelic’ high, though many do not enjoy the dizziness that tends to be more prominent with this harvest period.

Some Amber

One of the more common harvest periods, is when the trichomes have matured to the point of being cloudy but also with some having converted into CBN and turned amber. 10-30% amber is my personal favourite, especially for sativa dominant strains where I want to accentuate the natural high of the plant. Sativas tend to be more head high while indicas tend to relax the body more.

Some growers will seek to offset these attributes by harvesting later on sativas than indicas, but this remains a personal preference between growers. This is a good place to harvest if you’re a newer grower, as it’s the most balanced. It is also more productive than a late amber harvest.

Mostly Amber

Harvesting when your plant is showing more than 30% amber is generally considered a late harvest, and is sought after more by those seeking medicinal assistance with body pain or insomnia.

The conversion of THC to CBN is not all bad news, and CBN can play a great role in the medicinal use of cannabis. CBN is a great medicinal cannabinoid and studies have linked it to pain relief, anti-inflammation, anti-convulsant and as a sleeping aid. CBN is also a promoter of the appetite, and is often responsible for that all too well known “munchies” and “couch-lock”.

Harvesting is a personal thing

Now that you know what to look for when you are getting ready to harvest your dagga plant, you just need to decide what you’re hoping to get out of the plant.

If you’re looking to just get high and be active or social, harvesting in a mostly cloudy or light amber period is probably best for you. If you’re looking for something to smoke, while sinking into your bed and watching a movie before sleep, you can harvest a bit later with more amber trichomes.