When it comes to drying cannabis, growers are often faced with the decision of whether to hang the whole plant or individual branches. This choice can significantly impact the quality, potency, and overall experience of the final product. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the nuances of each drying method, examining their respective advantages, disadvantages, and best practices. Whether you’re a novice cultivator or a seasoned grower, understanding the differences between hanging whole plants and branches is essential for optimizing your drying process and maximizing the potential of your harvest.

Fresh cannabis flowers hanging on a metal hanger after harvest

Hanging Whole Plant Pros

Preservation of Terpenes

One of the significant advantages of hanging the whole plant for drying is the preservation of terpenes. Terpenes are volatile compounds responsible for the distinctive aroma and flavor of cannabis strains. By leaving the plant intact during drying, terpenes are less likely to evaporate, resulting in a more flavorful end product with enhanced aromatic properties.

Reduced Handling

Hanging the whole plant minimizes the need for handling individual branches, buds, and flowers. This reduction in handling helps preserve the delicate trichomes covering the buds, which contain cannabinoids and terpenes. Minimizing physical contact during drying helps maintain the integrity of the buds and prevents potential damage or contamination.

Uniform Drying

Drying the whole plant promotes more uniform drying throughout the entire structure. Since all parts of the plant are exposed to the same environmental conditions, including humidity and airflow, there is less variation in moisture levels between different sections of the plant. This results in a more consistent drying process, leading to evenly dried buds with consistent potency and quality.


Hanging the whole plant is a straightforward and uncomplicated method that requires minimal preparation. After harvesting, growers can hang the entire plant upside down in a well-ventilated area, such as a drying room or closet. This simplicity makes it accessible to novice growers and eliminates the need for specialized equipment or complex procedures.

Enhanced Cannabinoid Preservation

Hanging the whole plant allows cannabinoids to distribute evenly throughout the plant structure, potentially enhancing their preservation during the drying process. This distribution may contribute to a more balanced cannabinoid profile in the final product, providing a more consistent and well-rounded experience for consumers.

Hanging Whole Plant Cons

Increased Risk of Mold

Hanging the whole plant can create dense clusters of buds, especially in areas with high humidity or inadequate airflow. These conditions can promote the growth of mold and mildew, posing a risk to the quality and safety of the dried cannabis. Proper ventilation and humidity control measures are essential to mitigate this risk and prevent mold contamination.

Longer Drying Time

Due to the larger mass of the whole plant, drying may take longer compared to drying individual branches. The dense structure of the plant and the presence of foliage can slow down the evaporation of moisture, prolonging the overall drying process. This extended drying time can delay the availability of dried cannabis for consumption and storage.

Limited Space Requirement

Hanging whole plants requires sufficient space to accommodate the entire structure, including branches, foliage, and possibly the root ball. Growers with limited drying space may find this method less practical, especially when drying multiple plants simultaneously. Adequate spacing between plants is crucial to ensure proper airflow and prevent overcrowding, which can lead to mold issues.

Difficulty in Monitoring Individual Branches

Drying the whole plant makes it challenging to monitor the progress of individual branches and buds. Some sections of the plant may dry faster than others, leading to uneven drying and potential quality issues. Growers may need to adjust airflow, humidity levels, or positioning to achieve more consistent drying results throughout the entire plant.

Risk of Bacterial Growth

The dense clusters of buds and foliage in a whole plant can create pockets of moisture, providing an ideal environment for bacterial growth. Without proper ventilation and humidity control, bacterial infections may develop, compromising the quality and safety of the dried cannabis.

Drying Individual Branches Pros

Enhanced Airflow

Drying individual branches allows for better airflow around each bud, reducing the risk of mold and mildew formation. With branches spread out evenly on drying racks or screens, air can circulate freely, promoting even drying and preventing moisture buildup. This method is particularly beneficial in humid climates or indoor drying environments where airflow may be limited.

Faster Drying Time

Drying individual branches typically results in faster drying times compared to hanging the whole plant. With better airflow and reduced mass, moisture evaporates more efficiently from the buds, accelerating the drying process. This can shorten the overall drying time and expedite the transition from harvest to curing and storage.

Uniformity of Drying

Drying individual branches allows for more consistent drying throughout the entire batch. Each branch can be positioned and monitored individually, ensuring that all buds receive adequate airflow and exposure to maintain uniform drying conditions. This uniformity minimizes the risk of uneven drying or over-drying, resulting in

a more evenly dried and higher quality final product.


Drying branches individually offers greater flexibility in terms of space utilization and organization. Growers can arrange branches on drying racks or screens based on size, strain, or drying preferences. This flexibility allows for optimal airflow and efficient use of available drying space, maximizing the drying capacity and throughput.

Customized Drying Conditions

Drying individual branches allows growers to customize drying conditions for different strains or batches of cannabis. By adjusting factors such as temperature, humidity, and airflow for each drying rack or screen, growers can tailor the drying process to meet the specific needs of their plants, optimizing quality and consistency.

Ease of Monitoring

Drying individual branches enables growers to monitor the progress of each branch independently. By inspecting individual buds regularly, growers can assess their moisture content, appearance, and aroma, allowing for more precise control over the drying process. This hands-on approach helps identify and address any issues promptly, such as mold development or uneven drying.

Reduced Risk of Cross-Contamination

Drying individual branches reduces the risk of cross-contamination between different plants or strains. With each branch isolated and labeled, growers can track the progress of each batch separately, minimizing the risk of mixing or confusion during the drying process. This segregation helps maintain the integrity and identity of each strain, ensuring accurate labeling and product differentiation.

Space Efficiency

Drying individual branches offers greater space efficiency compared to hanging whole plants, especially in environments with limited drying space. By utilizing vertical drying racks or screens, growers can maximize the use of available space and dry larger quantities of cannabis in a smaller footprint.

Drying Individual Branches Cons

Increased Handling

Drying individual branches requires more handling and manipulation compared to hanging the whole plant. Each branch must be trimmed, prepared, and arranged on drying racks or screens, which can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. Excessive handling can also increase the risk of damaging delicate trichomes or contaminating the buds with dirt, debris, or pathogens.

Potential Loss of Terpenes

Handling individual branches during the drying process may lead to a greater loss of terpenes compared to hanging them.

When deciding between hanging whole plants with hanging kits and drying branches, it’s essential to consider factors such as humidity levels, available drying space, and personal preferences. For growers in humid environments or with limited drying area, drying branches individually may be the preferred option to minimize the risk of mold and ensure optimal drying conditions. Conversely, growers in drier climates or with ample space may opt to hang the whole plant for a slower, more traditional drying process. Ultimately, the best method will depend on your specific growing conditions, preferences, and goals.