Whole Leaf Tobacco

tips on getting leaves to yellow


New Member
May 12, 2019
Can you post some pics of the plants themselves? Yellow tips may not necessarily indicate ripeness as it can also be caused by a multitude of things. How long ago did they flower? Did you top them? Better indications of ripe leaves are alligator surface, lightening of the whole leaf, and crisp snapping of the leaf when picked.

Seriously, I'm not trying to be a jerk - we all go through this on our first grow. It takes experience to learn when to pick the leaves, and it does vary some by variety. Rule of thumb, the longer on the plant, the better. Don't rush the harvest unless inclement weather is imminent. Also, the riper the leaf when picked, and the lower the stalk position, the faster it will yellow. If some of your leave are taking a very long time to yellow, it's probably an indication they were picked too soon. Those will be ok, just not Great.

Trust me, you learn so much on your first grow; there is no replacement for first hand experience. Also, you learn a lot of patience! LOL Take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy the experience. :)
Hi is there any good books to read. Totally new too. It’s been growing in my backyard for the last 4 years but never really got past the growing stage
I was so dumb I tried drying it green and then even tried smoking it
Then read somewhere wait until they are yellow .... they never yellow on my plants, so after reading this I should bundle all the leaves up in a dark place in a box and they should yellow then ?


Staff member
May 25, 2011
near Blacksburg, VA
Welcome to the forum. Feel free to introduce yourself in the Introduce Yourself forum.

This forum is, at the moment, the only "good book" on the subject. You just won't find better information anywhere else. Read the New Growers' FAQ (link at the top of the page), and scan through the topics in the Index of Key Forum Threads (link also up there). And ask away.



Well-Known Member
Jan 17, 2014
Central Virginia
I use “the box” too. For me, it’s an important part of the air-curing process, and I’m grateful someone shared the technique with me.

Mine is 36” x 18” x 18”, and opens at the top. It’s made from two 18” cubic cardboard boxes spliced together, with 14 gauge wire “pins” to help the flap/door sit right.

It holds 30-40 big leaves at a time, in a slightly staggered “double-stack”. After a visual inspection for pests or debris, the freshly harvested leaves go directly in the box after priming. I remove and restack the contents twice a day.

I try not to let any leaf that shows brown stay in the box very long, but if there is brown lamina, I put that leaf on top of the stack so it doesn’t compost.

When 20 leaves are half-yellowed (about five days depending on leaf maturity), I string them front-to front/back to back, and hang them under a loose tarp.

These leaves have yellowed in the box and are ready to be strung on wire. I sort the 20 leaves, and arrange them in the wire so that the most-yellowed leaf is on either end, and the most-green leaf is in the center of the string.
The remaining green portions of the leaf yellow and then cure on the wire.

When all of the lamina on a given wire has turned brown, I push that string to the far end of the line (where the air is a bit drier) and I spread the leaves out so there is a space (about an inch) between them.

Anyway, that’s how I yellow and air-cure. I hope it helps your process.