The Cannabis plant growth cycle undergoes different stages as they start to grow and mature. Different quantities of nutrients, water, and light requirements for the plant as it grows. understanding and knowing where your plants are in their growth cycle will dictate when you will prune and train your plants, and eventually when to harvest your outdoor cannabis. To continue reading you will answer the question that when to harvest outdoor cannabis?

When To Harvest Outdoor Cannabis?

Generally, it takes 3 to 8 months to grow a marijuana plant from seed. Growing it from a clone or an auto flower seed will make it much faster though.

It is the vegetative stage of the plant that has the biggest variation in time. This is the time after the seedling stage until the time before it flowers. Growing the plant outdoors puts you at the mercy of the seasons and the weather. The Marijuana plant starts to flower during the month of September to November when the days start to become shorter and the night time gets longer. 

Seeds are usually germinated from February to April in a controlled atmosphere inside. This is because growing the seeds to seedlings is very delicate,  and a controlled setting of temperature, humidity, and light assures better seedling growth. It is when they have become matured seedlings are they put out to be exposed to the elements. Marijuana plants should be placed outside for growing by the Summer months. This is when the Sun is very high, inducing the plants to grow and start getting fatter with sweet, sticky buds. Harvesting normally happens between September and November. After harvesting, cleaning, drying, and curing of the marijuana plant should be done sometime in December.

These timeframes are just a guide as there are different growing conditions in different parts of the northern hemisphere. So answering the question “when to harvest outdoor cannabis?”, generally this happens after fall, before the winter solstice, sometime in middle December.

Now it is time for us to discuss in more detail the Four stages of Marijuana Growing.


Germination takes about 3 to 10 days. Seeds should be solid and brown in color and not squishy. after following the proper procedures of marijuana seed germination, sprouts will start to appear. They should be then transferred to a growing medium of your choice. This is when primary roots start to develop and the stem will grow upward. The seed then emerges from its protective rown cover and 2 round leaves pop out, thus the start of light absorption by the plant. Only when you see the small unmistakable marijuana leaves start to grow out will your seed be considered a seedling.


Growing the seedling until it reaches its mature seedling stage takes about three weeks. This is the stage where the pants start developing the fan-like leaves associated with marijuana, as they mature, as much as 5 to 7 blades appear in each leaf. These leaves should have a vibrant green color. Note that seedlings are still grown indoors as they are very susceptible to molds and diseases. Being in a controlled environment indoors is the best way to protect these seedlings from contracting diseases.

Watering during this stage must be also done minimally as the seedling still has small roots and overwatering may cause the seedling to die of having excess water present in the potting medium. Seedlings need plenty of light. 

After 2 to 3 weeks of growing indoors, the seedlings are now ready to be planted outside with their leaves developing the full number of blades.


During the vegetative stage, which lasts 3 to 16 weeks, your cannabis plants really start to grow. By now, the plant is in a larger individual pot, coming from the seedling tray. The plant at this stage should be given more water as its roots have already started to spread around the new and bigger pot and the foliage starts getting bushier.

Marijuana plants in the vegetative stage will need a lot of nutrients to aid them to grow lush leaves and sturdy branches. This stage is the foundation of healthy bud growth. Nitrogen is particularly important in the vegetative stage. It helps the plant grow and aids in flower development. 


The final stage for marijuana growing is the flowering stage. This is when the buds in your plant start developing resin. Since we are growing outdoors, the flowering stage is triggered naturally. As the season changes and the plant receives less sunlight from the sun. This natural phenomenon of flowering usually lasts 8 to eleven weeks. There are a few considerations to be noted when your plants progress from the vegetative to the flowering stage.

  • don’t prune your plants when they are in the flowering stage, this tends to disrupt hormone development.
  • Phosphorus nutrients are a good boost when flowering starts as phosphorous is the main element in flower and bud development
  • consider to give your plants a trellis so buds can be supported as they mature

Towards the end of the flowering life of a plant, is when buds start to grow. Flowering typically slows down when the buds have fully formed. you will know when it’s time to harvest marijuana outdoors when the buds have fully matured.

Bud maturity will largely depend on the appearance of the trichomes present in the bud. This is not too visible with the naked eye so any form of magnifying device is recommended.

Trichomes are those little mushroom-like growths on your buds and have a spherical shape on top. They are responsible for the viscosity of your weed. This is where THC and other chemicals are found. They appear either transparent or milky white and frosty. The trichome-based harvesting is the most accurate form of determining if your buds have reached full maturity and it helps you know when to harvest your outdoor marijuana.

The trichome based on when to harvest outdoor cannabis is the best way to determine if your bud has reached its maximum potential THC level. What we are looking for is when most of the trichomes in your bud are predominantly frosty or milky white.

Harvesting when trichomes are clear will have no potency at all. Harvesting when trichomes are half clear and half cloudy means the buds have not reached full potential but already gives an energetic high.