There are many ways to dry your buds after harvest, some ways are better than others, but the principles are the same. The best way to dry cannabis after harvest is slowly, and evenly. It takes time, and practise to know when the buds are dry enough to be put in jars and cured.
In this guide we will explain a few different methods of drying your cannabis after harvest. You can then decide which method is best for you, and dry your cannabis the right way, for better flavour, and a smoother smoke.
- Preparing Your Drying Space
- Harvesting Your Plants
- To Trim or not to Trim
- Hanging Your Buds after Harvest
- Drying Cannabis in a Drying Rack
- The Best Way to Dry Cannabis After Harvest
- Airflow and Extraction
- How Long to Hang Cannabis to Dry
- Curing Cannabis After it Has Dried
Preparing a Space for Drying Cannabis
For the best results, after harvesting your cannabis plant, you will need to be ready to move the buds into the drying area as quickly and as easily as possible. You need to make the whole process as simple as possible, and preparing beforehand can help you keep the whole process smooth and easy.
To reduce the chances of rot and mould, or buds infecting your harvest, you should thoroughly clean the area you intend to dry in, before hanging the plants to dry.
Cleaning the Drying Area
There are many ways to clean the area before you hang your plants in it. You want to make sure this area is free from dust, mould spores, or any other things that may contaminate your flowers whilst they dry.
Wipe the walls down with a disinfectant, and allow the room to dry out before hanging the plants in it. Preferably, the drying area should be prepared the day before harvest, to give the room a chance to dry out.
Letting the room dry out is especially important if you’re using a scented cleaner. Any smell may leech onto your buds and affect the flavour. Use a light scentless bleach mix, or a sterilization fluid like Milton, or a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide.
Prepare Somewhere to Hang the Plants
After you have removed a branch, or chopped the plant down, you will need to hang it, upside down. In some cases, a grower will remove the buds, and lay them down on a drying rack.
It is better to get this ready before you harvest the plant. You want to have a place where you can chop and trim a bud, then hang it, and move onto the next one. Get as much as you can done before you harvest the plant. It will make the whole process easier.
Harvesting Your Plants for Easier Drying
Depending on whether you will be hanging your plants by the branches, or cutting the buds off the stems to dry, you will need to choose the easiest method to chop, and move them into their drying area.
You can either chop the whole plant down from its main stem, and hang the whole thing upside down, or remove branches one by one, and move them into the drying area.
It is better to hang each branch singularly, and you should also cut the branches in a way, that gives you an easy way to hang the branch.
Cutting the Branches
When you chop branches off your cannabis plant, you should chop them in a way that makes them easy to hang. You can do this by chopping just below one of the internodes.
Doing this will give you a nice hook to hang the branch up on. Simply cut the branch off, trim if necessary, and then hang upside down in the drying room.
To Trim or not to Trim
After a branch is cut, before hanging it, you should decide whether you’re going to trim it now, or when it is dry.
There are pros and cons to both wet and dry trimming, you need to try both and decide which method works best for you.
Wet trimming is when you trim the fan and sugar leaves off the plant as soon as it is harvested. You will cut the branch from the plant, and finally manicure the buds before you hang them.
This is a common way of drying, and most growers will trim their buds before hanging them to dry.
Wet trimming takes a lot of time, and can reduce the amount of time it takes for your buds to dry. To extend the amount of time your buds take to dry, you can leave the leaves on, until the buds are ready to be cured.
Harvest takes a lot of time, some growers choose to dry trim and it is easier, takes less time, and can improve the final quality of your buds.
Leaving the plant to dry before trimming will also stop clorphyl from “bleeding” onto the buds. This can improve the quality of the final product and make the smoke smoother.
If you want to find out more about the benefits of dry timing, check out our article below:
Hanging Your Buds After Harvest
After chopping and trimming, you need to hang your buds upside down, in a dark place.
When the buds are hanging, they should not be touching each other, or the the walls of the grow room. It is important to leave enough space between flowers to ensure good airflow.
Having good airflow around the drying room whilst the plants are drying will reduce the risk of powdery mildew and bud rot attacking your buds.
Some growers will remove the buds from the stems and lay them on a drying rack instead of hanging them. This will speed up the amount of time it takes for your buds to dry.
Drying Cannabis in a Drying Rack
If you are going to dry your cannabis in a drying rack, then you will trim and manicure the buds, and place them, laying down, on the drying rack.
This takes more time to harvest and trim the plant, but the time it takes to dry is decreased. For a better quality product, you need to allow your buds to dry for at least one week.
Drying racks are good, and a great way to dry a big harvest and make the most of any space you have. But for best results, you should hang the buds on their branches as this will allow them to hang without being in contact with any surface, and give them some extra time to dry.
The Best Way to Dry Cannabis After Harvest
The best way to dry your cannabis plants after harvest will always be up for debate, whether hanging or using a drying rack, dry trimming or wet trimming, every grower will have their own way of doing things, you need to decide yourself which methods work best for you.
Time is important, when your buds are drying, the moisture inside them is used to break down chlorophyll, and other sugars and starches that are left in the buds after harvest.
To give the sugars time to break down, you need to allow the plant enough time to dry. If you dry too quickly, the plant will not be able to break down these starches in the buds, and you will be left with buds that not only smell like grass, but are harsh to smoke.
It should take at least 7 days for your buds to dry to the extent where they need to be cured. Do not put them in jars too quickly, do not dry them too quickly. The drying process can take fine, top shelf cannabis, and turn it into cannabis that has no flavour, and a rough smoke.
Do not ruin months of hard work, by rushing the drying process. Hang the buds in the correct environment and let nature do its thing. After 7-10 days, your buds should be ready to start the curing process.
Best Temperature for Drying Cannabis
If the drying room is too warm, the moisture in the buds will be evaporated too quickly. If there is no moisture in the buds, the sugars and starches produced by the plant, cannot be broken down.
On the other hand, if the drying room is too cold, then the buds will hold onto the water longer, and this can result in rot, or mould setting in and ruining your harvest.
Keep the drying room at a steady 18-20°c, and keep a steady breeze blowing around the room. Do not point a fan directly at the buds, as this will also encourage them to dry too quickly. Just have a breeze moving air around the buds, and they will dry evenly, with less risk of rot and mould.
Humidity for Drying Cannabis After Harvest
If the humidity is high in the dry room, then the water inside the buds will have a harder time getting out of the buds and into the air. If the humidity is too low, the air will pull moisture out of the buds, and this will force your buds to dry too quickly.
Humidity is an important factor to properly drying your cannabis after harvest. If levels get too high, then mould will develop on your plants and the harvest will be ruined.
Humidity should be kept between 45%, and at the highest 55%. Keeping the humidity level in this range will keep the chances of mould spores germinating to a minimum, and also give your plant a good environment to dry in.
Airflow and Extraction
Airflow is hugely underestimated, and having the correct amount of airflow will save your crop from going mouldy. Mould spores will germinate in stale humid air, so keep the air moving by applying a breeze to the drying room.
Make sure the fan in the drying room isn’t blowing directly at your buds. Rather, have a fan pointing into the corner of the room, on a low setting, so it can move air around the room, without blowing at your buds.
Along with keeping the air moving, you will need to extract the old air in the room, and you have to do it right! The air coming out of your dring room is going to smell very strong of cannabis, and you have to cover this smell!
Use a carbon filter to remove the smell out of the air before it is vented outside. This should be linked up to your extraction and air should pass through it before it is vented outside.
With good extraction, and a good amount of airflow in the drying room, your plants are at less risk of mould and rot, and they will also dry evenly, in a good amount of time.
How Long to Hang Cannabis to Dry
As long as you have hung your buds in the correct environment, with the correct temperature and level of humidity, they should be dry in about 7-10 days.
Smaller buds take less time to dry than the big buds. The popcorn buds may be dry in around 5 days, but the bigger colas can be left for 2 weeks before they are dry enough to be cured.
It is important not to rush this step! Once the plant is dry, it is done, and there is very little you can do to change things if it has dried too quickly. Also, it may seem that a bud is dry on the outside, but moisture will be left in the middle of the buds too.
Moisture will evaporate quicker on the outer surfaces of the buds than on the inside of them. You need to dry slow enough to allow this moisture to move its way out of the centre of the buds, to the outside, where it can evaporate.
Just because the bud feels dry, it doesn’t mean that is it dry on the inside.
How to Tell When Cannabis is Dry
The best way to tell if a branch is dry enough to take down from hanging, is to snap a stem.
Snap the stem at the base of the bud, this will give you the best idea of whether the bud is dry on the inside or not.
If the branch snaps, then you can take the bud off the stem, and place it into jars ready to be cured. The branch may not snap, you should be able to hear it go “snap”. If the branch is not snapping, and is just bending over, then the bud isn’t dry enough to go into jars.
Curing cannabis too early, when it is still wet can ruin the smell and flavour, it is important to only put your buds into containers when you know they are properly dry.
What to Do when Your Cannabis is Dry
Smoke it, cook it, whatever you like, but, to get real good quality cannabis, another step needs to be taken known as “Curing”
After being properly dried, your buds will be ready to use. But there is still some moisture in them that you can draw out to give a better final product.
By placing buds into airtight containers after drying, you force the moisture to disperse back through the buds evenly. Where it can be evaporated easier. This is known as curing.
If you start curing the buds too soon, when there is still too much moisture in them, the terpenes can get wet, and this will damage them. If the terpenes get wet after drying the smell and flavour of the buds will be affected and you will not be able to fix it.
To make sure you get the best out of your harvest, ensure the plant is properly dry by trying to snap the stems under the buds before placing them into jars.
Curing Cannabis After it has Dried
After drying, it is a good practise to cure your buds a little before using them. Over time, the last bits of sugars and starches will break down, and the smoke will become smoother, and the flavour will massively improve.
You can use your buds straight away, but giving them some time to cure will bring you a much better final product.
You should cure your cannabis after harvest for at least 1 week, and anything up to a couple of months. Cannabis will get better with time, after 2 weeks of curing, you will have some top shelf home grown for your own personal use.
You can find out how to cure your cannabis for the best taste in this article:
Final Notes on Drying Cannabis After Harvest
These last few weeks of drying and curing will make or break the quality of your cannabis. Ensure the plant is ready for harvest before chopping it, allow the plant at least 7 days to dry, and then cure for a further seven days.
Doing this will bring you the best cannabis you have ever smoked. Full of flavour, a smooth texture to the smoke, and the high the strain produces will be much more prominent.
Do not ruin your months of hard work, by rushing the last couple of weeks. Just because the plant is down, it doesn’t mean the work is over. The drying process is a very important stage of the grow cycle, don’t underestimate how important it is to get right.
Thanks for reading Percy Growers, congratulations on your harvest! Stay safe, and happy growing.