All the hard work in growing cannabis seems to go in vain once the pistils(hair) don’t turn red. That’s because pistils changing color is a good indicator for floral maturity.
The color of pistils stays white at the beginning of the flowering stage. Later it changes from white to yellow, orange, and red/brown.
So what to do when cannabis white hairs not turning red?
If cannabis white hairs are not turning red, check the trichomes on buds. If there’s 70% cloudy trichomes, it’s at peak THC level. It can be caused by excess light exposure and PH imbalance too.
Apart from the color of the cannabis hair, there are other indicators that make them ready to harvest. Don’t worry. We’ll discuss them in detail along with what causes white hair not to turn red in the first place.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s dig right in!
Why Does Your Cannabis Hair Turn Red?
Cannabis hair turns red as an indication that they are matured to harvest. This is a nature provoked phenomenon. The hairs first stay white. Gradually they turn into yellow, orange, and red. Finally, they are seen as brown in color. When 70%-90% of the hairs become brown, it’s the right time for harvest.
Now you might be wondering what people mean by cannabis hairs?
Cannabis hair is basically stigmas that come out of pistils. Pistils are the female sex organs of the cannabis plant. These stigmas receive the pollen from male cannabis plants. Once they come in contact, they become pollinated.
Cannabis hair changes color at different stages of its flowering period. In the past, it was the color and growth of cannabis by which people determined harvest time. However, there are more effective ways now.
Is it a Problem if Cannabis Hair Doesn’t Turn Red?
It’s partially a problem if cannabis hair doesn’t turn red. That’s cause, hair turning red indicates that the plants are matured enough to be harvested. This is a huge hindrance to producing one pound from indoor plant.
However, if you wanna find the best results, you should look at the trichomes. When the trichomes turn cloudy, THC is at its peak in cannabis.
You might be wondering why trichomes are taken into consideration?
Trichomes are the appendages that grow on the flower. They hold the cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis. These trichomes are crystal white in the beginning. THC has not yet gathered up in the plants. When they turn milky/cloudy, it indicates that THC is at its peak now. And when they turn amber, THC has started to degrade.
Now, cannabis hairs are supposed to change colors when they are 4-6 weeks into the flowering stage. Actually, this number varies with the different strains of cannabis. In some strains, the hairs turn red not until 7 weeks after flowering. And in some, it turns quite early.
For example, in the Northern Lights strain, the hairs sometimes turn red in 4-5 weeks. On the other hand, in the Afghan Kush strain, it’s not until 8-9 weeks that the hairs start turning red.
The hairs change color as a provocation from nature. It’s nature’s way of telling that the plants are now mature enough. But, it’s not the only indication that the plant is now mature. A more efficient way to check the time of harvest is by checking trichomes through a microscope.
You can harvest while the trichomes are cloudy. Because THC is at its peak right now. It’s suggested to harvest when there are more than 50% cloudy trichomes.
There’ll be a trade-off between the amount of yield and THC content If you harvest while trichomes are cloudy, not amber. There’s a good combination of quality and yield when it hits 70% cloudy trichomes. And the rest beginning to turn amber.
Why is Cannabis Hair Not Turning Red?
Now you know that it’s quite common for hairs not turning red. So you might be wondering what is the reason behind this common problem?. Let’s have a look-
Problem 1: Excess Light Exposure
Excess Light exposure can slow down the growth of cannabis. It happens because of autoflowers and photoperiod strains of cannabis.
Photoperiods and autoflowers are different from each other. Photoperiods can sense a seasonal change. And once there’s a slight change in lighting, they go into flowering mode. On the other hand, autoflowers don’t depend on light exposure.
What happens here is that sometimes autoflowers act like photoperiods.
And thus, tuning down the light exposure (HPS/LED) can actually boost up the flowering process. And result in the faster turning of red hairs from whites. You can also lower the buzzing sound of HPS if it seems annoying every time you tend to your plants.
If you have 6-12 plants in an indoor space, you don’t need to go more than 2 grow lights. 2 grow lights are enough in this case. They can be either HPS or LED. Their wattage should be a minimum of 200 w.
Here’s our recommendation for cannabis grow lights-
Problem 2: Wrong Watering Schedule
When the plant goes into the flowering stage, it doesn’t need watering every day. Excess watering can obstruct oxygen intake. It slows down the growth process. If the growth process is slowed, the hairs stay white. They don’t start to change color.
It’s okay to water every day in a vegetative state. They need the water back then. But when you’re in the flowering stage, make sure you don’t water them every day. Water them every 2-3 days. Also while watering, make sure that you soak 25-30% of the pot capacity with water.
Problem 3: Imbalanced pH Level of Plants
PH level is quite important for cannabis growth. A higher PH can hinder the growth of the plant.
When the PH is low (below 5), cannabis has more micronutrients available to it. And when it’s high,(more than 7.5 or 8), there’s a lack of macronutrients intake by the plant. This includes iron and many other deficiencies in them. You need to check the PH levels regularly to avoid unexpected circumstances.
Now, you can choose from a number of different fertilizers that will supply essential macronutrients for cannabis. All these fertilizers are different from each other providing different benefits.
When there are lesser nutrients available, it hinders growth. This ultimately results in pistils not changing colors. In fact, they remain white for a long time.
The ideal PH range for having a timely change in pistil color is between 5.8-6.2. Try to maintain this range of PH.
Problem 4: Late Blooming / Flowering
Different species of cannabis have different flowering periods. There’re such strains in which the flowering period is 6-7 weeks. Whereas, strains with flowering periods of more than 11 weeks are also present. The lengthier the flowering period, the longer it’ll take for the hairs to turn red.
For instance, the Sativa dominant strains take up to 12 weeks to complete the flowering stage. On the other hand, an Indica dominant strain takes about 8 weeks. Hairs turn red at the end of flowering periods.
So you need to know which exact strain you’re growing. And then, wait for the right time. Don’t be impatient if the hairs are not turning red. It can be at its right pace based on the strain.
What if Your Cannabis Hair Changes into a Different Color?
By now we know that Cannabis maturity is indicated by the different colors of pistils(hairs). In the beginning, they remain white. But gradually they turn into yellow, orange, red and finally brown. As a rule of thumb, It’s best to harvest when there are 70% brown hairs.
Cannabis hair turning yellow on top is the first indication that it’s closer to harvest. This happens when the plant is starting its floral maturity. The hairs turn yellow from being white in the beginning.
The hairs can remain white for 4-6 weeks of the flowering stage in an 8-week flowering strain. Keep in mind that if the hairs have turned yellow, the later colors will surely appear. Do not harvest them yet. Just wait for the brown ones to come.
After leaves turn yellow, they gradually become darker with each passing day. There’s no definite time period after which yellow hairs will turn into orange ones. After 6 weeks in an 8-week flowering period strain, the hair can turn orange. There’s often a mixture of yellow and orange hairs. Turning orange is the previous stage of turning red.
The optimum harvesting time will be when there’s a combination of orange, red, brown, yellow hairs to at least 60%. But it’s always best to harvest after 70% brown hairs.
However, there are certain strains of cannabis that are orange-haired. These strains indicate their floral maturity at orange and light brown hairs. Some of these strains are-
Blue Dream, Strawberry Diesel, Blackberry Bubba Kush, Purple Urkle, and others.
This is one of the most important stages of cannabis growth. If the hairs turn brown, cannabis is now ready to be harvested. However, pistil color is not the only factor determining the harvesting time of cannabis. Don’t forget to check your trichomes too, it’s an absolute must!
But so far, you should be happy seeing brown pistils. Pistils turn brown at any time between the last two weeks of flowering. It can never be said when. So keep an eye out.
In some strains, it takes even longer than flowering stage completion for the hairs to be brown.
The best time for harvest is when at least 70% of all the yellow/orange/red pistils turn brown.
Can I Harvest/What to Do When Cannabis Hairs are Not Turning Red?
Cannabis hair turning into colors is a very crucial factor. It’s suggested to harvest when 70% of hairs finally turn brown following red, orange, yellow, and white. But if the hairs are not even turning red, there has been some imbalance in the growth.
Or perhaps, the strain is simply a late bloomer. Autoflowers acting as photoperiods can also be the reason. However, Autoflowers and photoperiods are different from each other as we mentioned earlier.
Autoflowers are not dependent on light. They go into the flowering stage without depending on the light. But, the capability of photoperiods to flower depends on the lighting.
So It’s crucial that you don’t depend on the pistil color only in order to find out the harvest time. There are many other factors to be taken into consideration to ensure the harvest time. Let’s see-
Other Factors to Consider to Find Out Harvest Time
Considering the pistil color only can be misleading. There are more effective ways to know if you have reached the harvest time or not. Here’s how-
Less Water Consumption
When the plant is getting closer to harvesting time, it will take in less water. You’ll see that they are not absorbing water as they used to like before.
This happens because now there’s no more room left for the plant’s growth. Now it’s solely focused on bud development. And only the growth of bud requires much less water than before.
So if they intake less water than before, they are getting ready to be harvested.
Yellowing Fan Leaves
When it’s closer to getting harvested, the plant focuses on bud development only. For this reason, they don’t pay attention to the fan leaves like before.
Due to this, the fan leaves start turning yellow. Even in some cases, they die and fall off.
So if your fan leaves are turning yellow or dying by the end of the flowering stage, it’s getting ready to be harvested.
Calyxes Become Plump
The small oval-shaped things that form the buds are calyxes. Now when the plant is ready to be harvested, these calyxes become bigger and plump. You can easily see this difference from before.
Thus, calyxes becoming bigger is a good sign that harvesting time is near.
State of Trichomes
This is the most important factor in the whole growth of the cannabis plant. Also, it’s an even more effective measure to identify the potency level or harvest time than hair colors.
Trichomes are these mushroom-like appendages that form on the buds and small leaves closer to the buds. You cannot see them without a perfect eye. Even a perfect eye cannot see them properly. You need a 30x magnifying glass for trichomes to see them.
Here’s what we recommend:
Trichomes are the ones that contain cannabinoids(THC) in cannabis. The pistils do not have any connection with the THC(potency) of the cannabis.
There are 3 stages of trichomes indicating the potency of cannabis-
- Clear trichomes
- Cloudy trichomes
- Amber trichomes
Clear trichomes indicate that THC has not formed on them yet. It’s usually at the beginning of the flowering stage. Later it turns cloudy and finally amber. You should harvest when the trichomes are 70%-80% cloudy and the rest being a combination of clear and amber.
At this time, it’s most potent. There are issues when the trichomes turn cloudy and amber but the pistils are still white. In this case, feel free to harvest them. Because it’s commonly seen that the pistils turn red overnight after you harvest them. So feel free to harvest when the trichomes are 70% cloudy.
Many people say that you should wait for harvesting until your pistils turn red. Byt keep in mind that THC resides in the trichomes, not in the pistils. So your main concern should be the trichomes for more potency of your cannabis.
So now that you know if your cannabis needs to be harvested, you should use the right tools.
Here’s our recommendation for cannabis harvesting tools
Now we’ll be discussing some of the most commonly asked questions about cannabis hairs-
Do white hairs turn red first?
No. White hairs don’t turn red first. They gradually turn darker from white pistils. First, they turn yellow after 4-6 weeks of flowering in an 8-week flowering cycle. Later, they turn a bit darker into orange. After that, they turn red. And finally, turn into brown pistils prior to 1 week of harvest.
Should all pistils be red before harvest?
Pistils turn brown/red when they are ready to be harvested. However, in many cases, the pistils delay turning red. In that case, trichomes are the ones to be looked at. If the trichomes are 70% cloudy with pistils still not red, they can be harvested. Because they are at their peak of THC at that time.
Do only female cannabis plants have pistils?
Yes. Pistils are the female sex organs of the cannabis plant. They are not present in the males. The males have a green sac of pollen instead of pistils from which pollen is emitted. They are received by the stigmas of pistils in the female cannabis plants. And thus, they become pollinated.
This was all regarding cannabis white hairs not turning red. Keep in mind that the hair changing color is not the only indicator that determines the harvest time. We’ve discussed them in detail above. Also, when the hairs will turn red/brown depends on the strain you’re using.
Thank you for staying with us till the end. Do let us know if you have any queries.