The Importance Of Pistils To Cannabis Growers
Cannabis growers that understand the cannabis life cycle and can tell the difference between male and female plants before flowering will always enjoy more success than the witless weed grower. Pistils can tell you a whole lot about your cannabis plants. In this blog, we take a closer look at why they are so important.
WHAT IS A PISTIL?
A pistil is a female cannabis plant sex organ. To the ordinary decent home grower, a pistil is a hair that protrudes from a calyx on a female flower. They are also known as stigmas. When a pistillate hair comes into contact with pollen from a male cannabis plant, it is then pollinated.
Instead of focusing on producing more resinous flowers the female cannabis plant begins to develop seeds. The cannabis will be less potent, and seeds will form in the bracts that contain the ovule. Sensimilla, which means seedless, is entirely dependent on female cannabis plants not getting pollinated.
WHAT CAN A PISTIL TELL YOU ABOUT YOUR YOUNG CANNABIS PLANTS?
Typically male cannabis plants will develop preflowers sooner than their female counterparts in the cannabis garden. 3-6 weeks post germination you should be able to confirm that your feminized photoperiod seeds really are all females even if they are still in vegetative growth. Likewise, if you have regular seeds, you should be able to identify the male plants for removal before flowering.
Pistils tend to poke out from nodes pretty randomly on young cannabis plants. Carefully inspect your cannabis plants and you will spot preflowers sooner or later during vegetative growth. Sometimes they are obvious, close to the top of the plants and easy to spot. But this is not guaranteed so really examine the plants carefully.
Beside a stipule which is itself a green hair like growth on the stem, you will see the preflowers. You are hoping to see a wispy white hair at the node. If you see any kind of ball and no hair you’ve got a male. Until you can see a white hair emerging from a few nodes you really can’t be sure you’ve got a female cannabis plant.
You may have to wait as long as 8 weeks of vegetative growth with some strains to confirm female cannabis plants. However, after 4-6 weeks most growers can at least weed out the males. And keep an eye on one or two uncertain plants in early bloom if need be.
WHAT CAN A PISTIL TELL YOU ABOUT YOUR MATURE CANNABIS PLANTS?
Autoflowering cannabis plants tend to suddenly erupt with flowers quicker than you would expect. Somewhere between day 15-35 post-germination, your feminized autoflowering cannabis seeds will have multiple white pistils bursting forth from the first flowers. A week or so later and buds are beginning to swell up with calyx’s and sparkling with resin. Pistils will rapidly change colour from white to orange/red in days rather than weeks.
With photoperiod cannabis strains’ flowering has three sub-stages: early bloom, mid-bloom and late bloom. Pistils are a great indicator of how your female cannabis plants are progressing. With the onset of a 12/12 light cycle, the pistils will be completely white. Somewhere around week 4-6, midway through flowering, is when the first orange, red and/or pink colours begin to emerge and proliferate. Not until sometime during weeks 7-10 following a good flush with pure water or a light flushing solution will a majority of the pistils be beautiful ripe shades of red, orange and brown.
DO ONLY FEMALE CANNABIS PLANTS HAVE PISTILS?
Female plants and intersex plants will display pistils. Unfortunately, intersex plants will also produce pollen and are as great a threat to your females as a rogue male cannabis plant. Moreover, stress can cause any cannabis plant to develop intersex traits. Some varieties of industrial hemp are bred specifically for their hermaphrodite characteristics.
Do you want Sensimilla? Then you need to make sure none of your female plant’s pistils get pollinated. This means you must continue to monitor your plants throughout flowering. Disturbances in the dark cycle are perhaps the greatest stress factor that contributes to hermies.
HOW CAN PISTILS HELP YOU DECIDE WHEN TO HARVEST?
Before the advent of microscopes and zoom lenses, ganja farmers had to rely on their intuition when harvesting cannabis. The good old-fashioned eyeball inspection of cannabis flowers is a tried and trusted pre-harvest practice. When 75% or more of the pistils are full of vibrant colours, most cannabis growers will call time on cultivation. Flowers covered in red, orange, pink and brown hairs are definitely mature.
Without advanced optics, you’ll also be able to see the shimmer of trichomes. Besides, buds will be sticky to the touch — although you shouldn’t handle them excessively unless you’re making charras. Furthermore, the pungent aroma of ripe reefer should be a loud cue your female cannabis plant is finished. All five senses have a role to play. Pistils are a valuable visual aid throughout the cannabis lifecycle.
Whether you grow your weed from autoflowering, feminized or regular seeds, it pays to know about pistils. Here’s what every cannabis grower needs to know.
When to Harvest Cannabis Plants
Cannabis growers spend a lot of time taking care of their plants in order to produce much better results. Sometimes it can be hard to wait until the time is right to harvest; between impatience and that feeling of being near harvest time, it can be hard to resist. Knowing when to harvest cannabis is quite subjective; growers all have their own method, plus it depends on the substrate, water quality and other determining factors.
This post is designed to help growers that have just started out and have questions regarding when to remove the flowers from their plants in order to cure and dry them. We’re going to have a look at some of the most important things to keep in mind when harvesting cannabis and knowing what a mature plant looks like.
How to Tell if your Plant is Ready to Harvest
There are plenty of signs that can show you when to harvest your cannabis plants. There are also lots of myths and legends that end up causing growers to harvest too early or late. Some people even think harvesting early will stop them from going bad – most growers have had that thought at least once, but if you let them keep growing without getting too impatient, you can get some amazing results. There are still many things you can keep in mind when figuring out when to harvest cannabis.
Seed Bank Reference
Whenever you get seeds, we highly recommend checking out the dates given by the seed bank and their recommendation. They know their strain perfectly and they’ll be able to guide growers with the correct information. Keep in mind that these dates are still just guides, and aren’t 100% accurate. There are many different factors that intervene when it comes to each plant (growing conditions, outdoors or indoors, level of care, latitude etc.).
We all know that the pistils are the little brown “hairs” on your cannabis flowers when they begin to mature. These pistils can, in some cases, be a sign that your plants are almost entirely ready to harvest. The less brown, the more psychoactive and the more brown pistils the more intense the narcotic effect. Some growers recommend harvesting when more or less half of the pistils are brown, while also keeping in mind the effect/flavor/aroma that you’re looking to get.
Keep in mind that pistils going brown doesn’t almost indicate that your plants are ready to harvest; it could be caused by excess watering, spraying at night, having used a certain type of spray product, stress etc. Once your cannabis plant is ready to harvest it won’t be thirsty anymore, absorbing much less water than usual.
Trichomes are small cells that appear on the surface of your plants’ leaves and flowers. They contain cannabinoids, which produce psychoactive and narcotic effects in your buds. They look like droplets, and keep growing until they take on a mushroom shape. A good sign is that they’re no longer producing any more trichomes. Essentially, you should see calyxes covered in resin, which essentially look like mushrooms when looked at under a microscope, and they’ll want to have a creamy, milky color and some should be an Ambar-like color. The best way to check if your plants are ready is to use a microscope.
When the top of the trichome is perfectly round, it’s too early to harvest. You’ll need to wait until they look like a sort of an over-pumped ball, slightly deformed. This indicates that there are more cannabinoids inside. If you don’t harvest early, they’ll explode and degrade – if you wait until they explode, you’ll have waited too long.
What Happens When you Harvest Cannabis at The Wrong Time
All of the previous signs can help you to figure out when your cannabis plants are ready to harvest. However, it’s pretty easy to get impatient towards the end – you’re itching to taste your buds and see how the effect hits. However, this usually leads to issues with your harvest.
If you harvest too early, you may run into quality issues with your harvest; the flavor will most likely be less intense, its buds will produce less chlorophyll and therefore less terpenes. Plus, their buds will probably be a lot smaller and less dense than what you were expecting. Keep in mind that it can also influence the effect, as the pistils haven’t finished growing yet – you can lose a large part of your harvest if you don’t wait long enough.
If you wait too long to harvest, it’ll will essentially go “bad”. The flavor will be much softer and it’ll take less time to cure. The more time goes by the less psychoactive the effect is. This is because THC turns into CBN when it begins to degrade, losing most of its characteristic effects. If you wait longer, your cannabis will have a more relaxing, intensely narcotic effect.
Recommendations for When to Harvest Cannabis
We highly recommend following the previous advice as much as you can; if you don’t have the tools to fully check on your plants, don’t just go by the amount of brown pistils on your plant, pay closer attention to the state of the leaves and how they begin to use up their reserves and fall off. The best way to tell when to harvest is by using a microscope; if you don’t have one, wait until its pistils are more or less all brown and then wait another week or two. If the seed bank says 60 days, you’re better off stretching it to 75 days.
When done right, you can harvest enormous flowers. These tips and tricks can help you to harvest delicious, large and high quality yields. We hope this information has been useful, and that this year you have a better idea regarding when to harvest cannabis plants! If you have any questions or suggestions, go ahead and leave a comment below.
Learn about when the right time to harvest cannabis is and how to tell apart the signs that can indicate your plant's ready to be harvested!