Harvesting, drying and trimming cannabis plants

Harvesting, drying and trimming cannabis plants
harvesting weed

It’s time to harvest these marijuana plants. More than 70% of the hairs are brown, and I think this is a great moment to harvest white widows.

You can see that the main bud doesn’t seem fully ripened, but that’s because it keeps producing pistils. You should therefore always pay attention to the side buds. And those look perfect!

I always let the plant dry in its entirety in the grow room and trim it afterwards.

In this way, the buds can still ripen a while, and it’s easier to trim when the weed is dry.

The quality is also better and the yield will be higher. If you prefer to trim your marijuana while wet, please read this course on Wet trimming.

Time to harvest

Step by step

How harvest marijuana plants

  • Span some wire against the ceiling of your grow room
  • Cut the plant all the way at the bottom at the stem
  • Hang the plant upside down in the grow room
  • Aim a fan under the buds
  • Temperature around 64 degrees, humidity around 45%
  • Dry in the dark with the extractor on
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While drying, the moisture needs to evaporate from the marijuana and the chlorophyll has to be broken down.

If you dry too quickly, your buds still contain a lot of chlorophyll, which gives your weed a very bitter flavor.

Drying needs to take place in the dark at a moderate temperature.

Light and warmth break down THC and slow down the degradation of chlorophyll. It takes about 10 to 14 days for your weed to dry.

Check the buds every day for fungi. Make sure the humidity doesn’t get too high, because that’s what fungi love.

Also check the temperature every day. The plants are looking fine today. Read the article How to dry marijuana for more background information on drying weed.

Download my free marijuana grow guide and start growing high quality strains.


Day 1

It will take about 10 to 14 days for your marijuana to dry. It depends a bit on the climate and the thickness of the buds.

The plant still looks alive, and if you put it in a vase with water, it would continue to live for about a week. But that’s not what we want.

It needs to hang in the dark and start drying. Don’t forget to turn off your lamp.

Day 3

You can see that the leaves have lost some moisture already and that they’ve become a bit more limp.

If you open your drying room it will still smell a bit like freshly mowed grass, but that’s normal.

Make sure a fan blows under the buds to decrease the chance of fungi. Also don’t let the humidity get too high.

Remove any pots with wet soil if they’re still in the grow room.

Also try to touch your buds as little as possible. You could spread diseases by touching them and resin will stick to your fingers.

I always dry a little but next to a heater to see if it has a nice taste already. Be prepared for a bitter taste though, because of the chlorophyll that’s still present.

But if you do this during every harvest, at a certain point you’ll know how the taste will further develop and what you can expect.

Day 5

The leaves are now completely limp and the plant looks a bit sad to be honest. The leaves are starting to turn more yellow and curl around the bud.

This is a good time to check for fungi. Since the leaves still have color, the brown leaves that are the result of bud rot will stand out right away.

Try to touch the buds as little as possible but make sure you check all main buds, because this is where fungi arise.

I don’t really know what else I should tell you, so I advise you to smoke a fat one and think about the next harvest. Which strains are you going to try?

Are you going to invest some money to grow better? Or are you fully satisfied with your current setup? Let us know on the forum…

Day 8

The drying is progressing well. The leaves are already starting to dry out and the buds are becoming nice and sticky.

You can hear the leaves crunch if you gently squeeze them. From now on, it’s important to maintain a good climate and to just wait patiently.

Your plants don’t need CO2 anymore, so the air inlet no longer needs to run. You can play a bit with these variables to arrange the humidity and temperature.

If it gets really cold, you could place an electric heater with thermostat in your growing room.

Place a rotating fan behind it and make sure you never blow warm air directly to your buds.

Be very careful with this and check the temperature an hour after placing the heater.

Day 10

The leaves around the main bud are now bone dry and the buds are really sticky.

Check once again for fungi and touch the buds as little as possible. The drier your marijuana gets, the easier the resin will fall off.

Day 12

It’s almost time to harvest! You can check this by breaking a twig in the bud. If the twig in your bud snaps, your weed is ready to be harvested.


These plants are ready to be cut. The twig in the bud snaps and the buds are very sticky.

Trimming your plants is a time-consuming job, especially because you have to handle your buds very carefully.

But it’s the last step before you can finally smoke your own grown weed in a simple joint or a sick dab or wax pen.

For more information on trimming, read this article on trimming. Here’s what you need and how you should trim.

Don’t want to read. Please watch the video instead!

Bergman’s Shopping List

Supplies for trimming marijuana plants

  • Scissors
  • Surgical gloves
  • Old clothes
  • Tray
  • Folding chair
  • Bin or cardboard box

How to trim the marijuana

You preferably trim in your growing room, because it has a carbon filter against the smell.

If you don’t have too much marijuana and your neighbors don’t mind, you can also just cut it in the living room.

Just know that everything will start to smell like weed and will get sticky.

Trimming marijuana is actually super easy. It just takes a long time and you have to do it neatly.

These are the steps to follow;

  • Take a plant and cut off all secondary branches
  • Take a secondary branch and cut off all buds
  • Take a bud and cut off all leaves that are sticking out of the bud
  • Take a bud, crumble some weed into a pipe and take a hit


After you nicely dried and cut your marijuana, you have to store it. If you store it properly, its quality will only increase.

Some growers don’t smoke their weed before it ripened at least 6 months.

There are some things you have to take into account when you plan to store your marijuana for a longer period of time.

If you want to transport your weed, you don’t want your car to smell or have people notice the weed smell coming from your backpack.

You can buy fragrance-free bags for this. But first somthing about curing.

Curing is the final production step of good quality weed.

Your plant absorbs fertilizers and creates chlorophyll during its growth.

Chlorophyll doesn’t taste nice when you smoke it, and you’ll end up with a sharp taste in your throat.

When you dry your marijuana, most of the chlorophyll is broken down, but this process continues in the months after.

Compare it to ripening a nice wine, cheese or a delicious prosciutto, it benefits the taste and scent of your marijuana.

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The advantages of curing:

  • Improved taste and smell
  • More THC becomes active, so a better high
  • Undesired substances such as chlorophyll are broken down

Like drying, curing your marijuana takes place in the dark. It’s not difficult, you just need quite a bit of patience.

The longer you cure your marijuana, the better it will taste. Make sure you cure it at least two weeks though.

You cure your marijuana by storing it in an airtight jar or zip bag in the dark.

Weck jars are perfect for this! Make sure the temperature isn’t too high. Basements or refrigerators are perfect spots.

In the beginning it’s important you open the jar every day for about 10 minutes, so the water vapor can escape the jar.

Do this every day during the first week, every other day during the second week and every three days in the third week and once more in the last week.

After that, your jar can be closed for years, without compromising the quality of the weed.

Use small jars, so not too much oxygen is added when you take something out for personal use. I usually make 1 ounce jars for per strain.

Storing marijuana

Storing your marijuana under the right circumstances is very important to preserve its quality. Oxygen, heat and light harm the active ingredients the most.

Storing weed
Storing weed

You should therefore always store your marijuana in a hermetically sealed jar or bag, in the dark, where temperatures don’t exceed 68 degrees.

Basements and refrigerators are the best spots to store your marijuana.

Your plant can’t be completely dry when storing it. It has to stay supple and consumable. If it’s too dry, use the following trick to moisten it a bit.

During the first week, open the bag or jar that contains the weed and check the scent on a daily basis.

If it smells like leaves/grass, it’s still too wet and you’ll have to keep the bag open for 10 minutes. This is to let the last water vapor escape the bag.

Know how to perfectly time your harvest so you can maximize your yield. Download our free mini harvesting guide.


Place your weed in sealbags to package it odor free. These bags are odor free, easy to close and can be used multiple times.

Whenever I brought weed to a coffee shop in Amsterdam, I went by foot or by bicycle.

You are pulled over much faster when you’re driving, or you can drive straight into a police check.

After that happened to me twice (they didn’t find the weed) I chose to go by bicycle or by foot.

I always packed the marijuana by the pound in a sealbag. I put the sealbags in a gymbag with some towels over it.

I also wore a tennis racket or a hockey stick on my back, to make it seem that I just came back from a sports game.

This made me feel perfectly comfortable and I didn’t act shady, even though the gym bag sometimes contained $10,000 worth of marijuana…