For some cannabis growers, Croptober is right around the corner. For other growers, the harvest is already underway. It really is a truly amazing time of the year. One of the most common questions that outdoor growers have this time of year is ‘how much does a cannabis plant yield?’ It’s a logical question. Veteran growers likely already have a good idea of what to expect from their plants before they are chopped, but newbie growers may have no idea what to expect at all.
The question is also one that indoor growers often wonder because, after all, the name of the game is to yield a harvest that the grower can consume. I was once there myself when I was a newbie grower. I had put countless hours and resources into my first plants and as harvest approached I couldn’t help but wonder what I would get once the plants were trimmed and the buds were properly dried.
If growers are like me, they called up a friend to come to look at their plants to offer up a rough guess of what the yield might be. What my friend told me so many years ago is what I still tell people to this day – there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how much a cannabis plant will yield. Too many factors are at play.
Height is not necessarily always a good indicator, as very tall plants can have sparse flowers on the plant’s branches that, once trimmed, don’t yield a lot of dried flower. Just because a plant is wide and bushy does not automatically mean that it will yield ‘X’ amount of dried flower because it could be that the buds are wispy and whimpy and the plant yields mostly larfy buds that are light in weight.
What ultimately determines a plant’s end yield weight is how many buds it has on it and how much those buds collectively weigh. The more developed and full the buds are the more they will end up weighing. I have seen tiny closet plants yield as low as half an ounce and have seen sungrown cannabis in Southern Oregon that have yielded 15 pounds (flower only, not including trim).
When I asked my friend in Southern Oregon with the monster plants prior to him harvesting how much he expected to yield per plant, he said between 10-15 pounds, which is obviously a big range. All of the plants looked roughly the same size, so the wide range was unexpected.
My friend has been growing cannabis for decades, and even he doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer for his plants. If you Google plant yield and look at answers on forums and in the comments section of articles, you will see claims of yields that go into the stratosphere. The highest claim I have seen is 28 pounds. But cannabis yields are like fish that people catch (or ‘almost’ catch), and exaggerations are common.
I Love Growing Marijuana offers up some estimates to go by for indoor cultivation, but their rule of thumb comes with the disclaimer that there is no simple answer to this question:
“Experienced growers can produce about a gram of marijuana per watt of light (1 gram = 0,035 oz). So, a 400-watt HPS grow light can potentially translate to 400 grams or 14 oz of dried, usable cannabis.”
Ultimately, a plant is going to yield what it is going to yield, and it is wise to not try to count your buds’ weight until they have dried and are in your nug jug. By doing so you will not set expectations too high and end up disappointed when it comes time to weigh everything out.
If you keep things in perspective and look at your harvest as free to you (minus your time and cost of garden inputs), and focus on keeping your plants healthy instead of just worrying about yield, you will always come out on top. Don’t let greed get the best of you. If you have grown cannabis and know what your plants yielded, please share that information in the comments so that others can benefit from your experience(s). As my friend Jorge Cervantes says, happy gardening!