The first step to growing your own wicked buds is to choose the best marijuana seed strains. This is your first crucial step to reaping the highest quality and quantity yields by starting off on the right foot with with the best possible cannabis strain seeds you can get. A “strain” is a fancy way of saying what variety of cannabis it is. Genetics determine the quality of the maturing plants, so what you want to look for are strains with favorable genetics. Potency, aroma, fast growth, early maturation, potential yield amounts and resistance to fungus and pests are a good start.
Each variety is either a “pure” species type (taking two plants in the same species and crossing them) or a “crossbreed” of two or more species (taking two totally different plants from different species and crossing them). The most common examples include Pure Sativa, Sativa (mostly sativa species with indica), Pure Indica, Indica (mostly Indica with some Sativa), and Indica/Sativa Hybrid (this is a 50/50 cross between a Sativa and Indica species).
If you are serious about producing marijuana, don’t settle for any available seed you can get, go for the best and know before you grow.
So first things first, what exactly does the term “strain” mean?
Well, a marijuana strain is simply what sets the marijuana apart from other plants due to it’s genetics. It offers unique characteristics. Veteran growers can recognize specific genetics of on-the-market strains just by mere observation.
Most strains of marijuana are derived from two species of cannabis, they are Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa. Both species have very unique characteristics that affect the user differently. If you are a complete beginner than I highly suggest you start your first batch off with a pure Indica in order to learn how to grow properly. As you gain more experience you can craft an Indica/Sativa “hybrid” mix, and then eventually a complete Sativa strain.
An Indica/Sativa mix will yield a larger crop that is not as tall as a pure Sativa, but THC level will be lower and CBD levels will be higher. If you are growing indoors this Inidca/Sativa hybrid is strongly recommended due to it having the best high and best indoor growth characteristics. Sativas are hard to grow indoors due to specific height requirements and late flowering tendencies, so a hybrid can be bred that will have the energetic cerebral high of the Sativa and the early maturation and “easy-to-grow” characteristics of the Indica plant.
- Height – Squat and dense with heavy, compact buds.
- Nodes – Has long internodes between branches, averaging 3-6 inches.
- Leaf – Broad pointy leaves with no markings or patterns, rounded on the sides.
- Indica leaves are wide with short fingers.
Indica’s originally come from the hash producing countries of the world like Afghanistan, Tibet, and Morocco. They are short dense plants, with broad leaves and often grow a darker green. After flowering starts they will be mature in 6 to 8 weeks. The buds will be thick and dense, with flavors and aromas ranging from pungent skunk to sweet and fruity.
Indica has higher CBD and lower THC levels than Sativa. In laymens terms this means marijuana from a pure Cannabis Indica strain will produce a heavy, stony, tiresome sleepy type of high in the user. As far as the yield of Cannabis Indica plants goes, it is usually greater than Cannabis Sativa plants, and they take a bit less time to mature. Indica buds generally tend to be smelly – they smell like a pungent bad body odor. Their smoke is thick, palpable, even a small toke will often induce fits of coughing! A Pure Indica high has the properties of a body stone / couch potato feel. The smoke from an Indica is generally a body type stone, relaxing and laid back. The best Indicas have a relaxing social high, which allows the person to sense and feel the environment, but does not lead to thinking or over-analyzing the experience with “mind trips”. Poor quality Indica marijuana and processed hashish contain high quantities of CBD. This is where the toker becomes lead-headed and sleepy.
Note: For desirable medical marijuana you should grow a plant low in THC and rich in CBD. Let the plant vegetate for a longer period of time and harvest when all pistils have attained their color, i.e. as late as possible. (More on this later.)
Cannabis Indica strains are easier to grow and don’t get as tall as Cannabis Sativa strains, but they tend to be bushier and have to be grown further apart. They tend to be thick and strong, they can take more cold than the sativa – overall they are just a tougher plant. This is why the Indica strain is best for newbies and when growing in an area where height is a consideration, like a small closet or cabinet. (If you have your heart set on growing sativa as a beginner, then we recommend a Northern Lights cross, as this is a very easy to grow Sativa strain indoors).
The prized things about growing an Indica strain is that they produce a higher yield, are much much easier to grow, are shorter in height, and they grow and matures faster. At maturity, the leaves start to turn a dark purple. It has short branches laden with thick, dense buds, which ripen early. Indica plants tend to be short, bushy, mature early, have more chlorophyll and less accessory pigments (accessory pigments protect the plant from excessive sunlight). Because Indica strains have more chlorophyll than Sativa, they grow and mature faster.
Hint: Can you see why professionals create “hybrid” strains? They take the high THC content of the Sativa and blend it with the fast-growing properties of the Indica. (This is an extremely simplified version of cross-breeding, but it’s all you need to know for now.)
The only downside is that Indica tends to be less potent, and usually doesn’t taste as good. Under artificial light an Indica plant will mature faster than a Sativa. Approximately four weeks of extra light is required to bring a Sativa plant into full maturity, and even then it’s weight is often much lower. Therefore, Indica tends to be a favorite among industrial weed farmers. More Indica strains are grown for sales-specific goals, making the dealer/grower richer, but the experience of the user leaves much to be desired.
- Height – Tall and hardy with fluffy buds.
- Nodes – Has short internodes between branches, averaging 3 inches or less.
- Leaf – Narrow finger-like rounded leaves with marble-like patterns.
- Slender, with long fingers.
Sativa has higher THC content and lower CBD levels than Indica. This means that marijuana from a pure Sativa strain produces a more cognitive (in the mind), “floating” type of high that tends to be more energetic when compared with pure Indica. Sativa buds smell sweet, fruity and perfumed, and their smoke is usually smooth and easily inhaled. Once flowering has begun, they can take anywhere from 10 to 16 weeks to fully mature. Flavors range from earthy to sweet and fruity.
They grow very quickly and can reach heights of 20 feet in a single season. They originally come from Colombia, Mexico, Thailand and Southeast Asia. The buds are long and thin (makes for much fluffier lighter bud), far less densely populated than the Indica, although longer in length (sometimes stretching 3ft. in or more along the branch). The stomas of the flowering bud may be tinged slightly purple in a cool climate but in a warmer environment will turn dark orange or even red. Maturation time varies considerably.
Sativa plants are taller, take longer to mature, have less chlorophyll and more accessory pigments (accessory pigments protect the plant from harsh sunlight). As pure Sativa strains have less chlorophyll than Indica and they take longer to grow, mature, and require more light. Sativas have a huge root system. They are much more drought tolerant than the Indica plant. The yield generally tends to be lower than an Indica, but the plants are much more potent. Since the Sativa plants tend to grow taller, and take longer to mature, they are best suited for outdoor growing.
But don’t worry, there are certain Sativa strains you can get specifically bred for growing indoors.
The good thing about growing Cannabis Sativa buds is that they are more potent and taste really really good. Typically, pure Sativas have a high THC/CBD ratio (that is to say, not much CBD), and so they tend to provide clear, buzzy, “uppity” highs. When smoking a Sativa the high is very Cerebral, you have a rush of energy, a buzz in the body and a great way of getting the housework done without vegging out on the couch all day. On the other hand, pure Indicas tend to have much more CBD present. Commercial hash is usually manufactured using the resin of Indicas, explaining its stoney, drowsy high.
The downside? Lower yield, takes longer to mature, and generally harder to grow.
Note: If your seed has a ratio such as 40% Sativa, 60% Indica then you can imagine what the high will be like. It has 40% of the “head high”, and 60% of the “body stone”.
So remember, Indica plants grow faster, have a heavy, stony high that is relaxing and can help different medical problems.
Sativa plants take longer to mature, have an energetic, cerebral high which can stimulate brain activity and may produce hallucinations.
Hybrid strains have a combination of both Indica and Sativa highs which are relative to strain ratio. The leaves of a hybrid tend to be thinner than an Indica, but much broader than a Sativa. Once you get good it is possible to recognize a good hybrid solely by the leaves when you know exactly what to look for.
Choosing Your Variety
Choosing your cannabis variety is extremely important. It largely depends on your growing goals. There are several key factors to consider when deciding what varieties of cannabis you want to grow – the type of high, the maturation time, and the shape of the plant all are very important. Once you have chosen your quality seedbank supplier and have a good idea of which type of plant you want to grow, it is now time to choose your seeds wisely.
Many newer growers make the mistake of choosing cannabis varieties that favor a high potency thinking this is what they want. The quality of high is just as, if not more of an important selection factor.
Note: Be sure to choose the BEST possible seed you can get your hands on because later you can produce your own seeds and clones from that strain!
Make sure your seed strains have good genetics. This is CRUCIAL. Bad genetics can lead to mutations, warping, flowering problems, poor germination success rates, ad nauseum. Sometimes even problematic nutrient symptoms will appear even though your nutrients are fine and you know for a fact that a nutrient problem does not exist. It is very important to find a reputable supplier for top-shelf quality strains that are bred with great genetics.
If you are a first time medicinal grower I would recommend Big Bud, Top 44, Northern Lights, or Skunk #1. All of these are great – they are the easiest, most durable, with great yields for the beginner grower.
Another important factor to take into consideration when choosing a cannabis variety is the plant’s yield. Some plants will bud heavily and produce very very thick top colas and others simply wont. A heavy-yielding plant can be worth easily twice as much as a lesser-yielding one. (Remember Indica varieties are great for commercial growing as they produce heavy yields and mature early.)
If you’re commercially growing, in general the type of high does not seem to be an important marketing factor at all. The yield, taste, aroma, and the overall bud appearance are important in determining the final price amount.
For some, the type of high may be more important to them than their yield amount, and that’s both OK and very common.
Note: Feminized seeds produce a higher % of female seeds, but 100% female is never guaranteed, no matter what marketing says.
So again, it all really depends on your individual goals as a grower…
Don’t feel frustrated when at first trying to decide. Because there is large selection of strains across the internet, this can sometimes get overwhelming when trying to decide which one to order. Choosing is not as difficult as you may think. There are really only two sides of the marijuana family – Indica’s and Sativas, and both have their foundational growth characteristics as discussed earlier.
Combining different Indicas, different Sativas or a combination thereof creates hybrids. The resulting hybrid strains will grow, mature and smoke in relationship to the Indica/Sativa percentages they end up containing, and the unique genetics of plant. You can modify smells, potency, even the plant’s COLOR to suit your unique needs! Cannabis growing can be extremely fun and rewarding when you get into it!
Indoor vs Outdoor Cannabis Seed Varieties
The next thing to check for is if they are meant for indoor or outdoor growing. A lot of new growers argue saying you can use indoor-bred seeds outdoors and vice versa but they will find that trying the opposite does not produce satisfactory results. Outdoor growers want plants that mature early before the arrival of frost, thieves, or pests. Indoor growers generally are looking for compact plants that ripen quickly and uniformly (so that light and space are used in the most efficient predictable manner possible).
So for outdoor marijuana cultivation choose among outdoor intended cannabis seed strains. Modern marijuana seeds varieties are bred with high level of specialization, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Take advantage of that and use an outdoor genetics of marijuana seeds for best acclimatization, pest resistance and high natural sunlight absorption.
Whether or not a strain can be grown outdoors also depends on the length of season you have. Take note of listed approximate flowering time. This is most important feature to consider and is completely influenced by the Indica/Sativa ratio. There is nothing worse than seeing an outdoor strain fail to mature early enough, enter into winter dormancy, and yield the second year.
Typically you will want plants that will mature before the danger of frost or bad weather comes along. The more Sativa that is in the mix, the longer it takes to finish up. If you have a very long growing season, most strains can be grown outdoors. These flowering periods are approximate and will vary depending on grow conditions. From this foundational starting point you can then go back to what you like and the descriptions of the plants.
Plan to grow indoors? Pick a good seedbank and you can browse through a broad range of indoor cannabis seeds strains. Since modern marijuana seeds varieties are bred with high level of specialization, you can get a customized indoor marijuana strain that has genetics favoring shorter plants, higher yields, and quicker growing and flowering.
When growing cannabis indoors, you have complete control over how tall your plants get. You control this by how long you decide to grow them before initiating flowering. Artificial lights do not efficiently penetrate more than 3 feet down into the garden, so it makes little sense to grow them any bigger than that. You also are able to “train” by cutting & pruning your crop to keep it thick & bushy! An ideal shape for any indoor gardener.
After the light schedule is changed to 12 hours on and 12 hours off, flowering will begin in about 7 to 14 days. During this time the plants will continue to grow another 6 to 14 inches and then stop. How much they grow depends on the Indica-Sativa ratio of the strain. Sativas will stretch the most. Depending on this ratio, indoor flowering crops should be initiated at around 18 to 24 inches to achieve the end height of 36 inches. How long it will take to get this tall depends on the strain and the conditions in the garden.
Nearly all of the strains available today are pretty potent. The success of the eventual potency outcome will depend on your personal tastes and the conditions in which they are grown. Most seedbanks do not test the THC percentages of strains and no one is really sure what the numbers mean when they do. Not to worry, by following the conditions this guide will outline for you and supplying your plants with an optimal growth environment, you are guaranteed to get an incredibly potent high-yielding marijuana plant.
As aforementioned, yield is primarily determined by the conditions in which the cannabis is grown. But in regards to your potential end yield amount, genetics does come into play. All of the yields listed in your seedbank for the strains are approximate and depends a lot on how they are grown and the quality of the growth environment. Think of it like an average. You can probably get more. In fact, I’m confident you will get MUCH MORE if you follow the powerful techniques correctly contained inside this post!
Please note that indoor lights don’t penetrate down very far so it is much better to grow a larger number of smaller plants to achieve the highest yield of top quality bud. Maximum yields indoors are primarily coming from Indicas and mostly Indica hybrids – the more Sativa in the mix, the lower the yields tend to be. (Remember the rushed processing tidbit from earlier? Many people don’t realize they’re buying bunk, rushed harvested Indica schwag strains that look big and juicy but don’t provide a powerful punch!!!)
Typically, your indoor yield is really limited only by the amount of light you use, not the strain you choose. It’s rare to find a newbie grower who is limited by his particular strain selections’ genetics.
It is up to you as a grower to maximize your plant’s potential inside your grow space. Experiment to find out how each strain will respond best.
Flowering times are an indication of how long it will take the plant to mature indoor after flowering has been induced by changing the lights to a 12/12 on off light cycle. This will also be affected by the environment to a certain degree, but is pretty much fixed in the plant.
Indicas are faster flowering than Sativas, and hybrids are in relationship to the percentage which of each they contain. Sativas grow very quickly and if you wait too long to flower them they will outgrow the limits of the space and will not fill out. On the other hand, if an Indica is not grown for long enough, the yield can be severely reduced.
Growing Near The Equator
If you live near the Equator the South Indian varieties from Tamil and Madya Pradish would do very well. These plants are very vigorous and flower abundantlyin India’s hot, dry summers.
Great Choices for Growing Near The Equator:
- Master Kush
- Master Kush x Northern Light
- Northern Light x Shiva
- Hindu Kush
These varieties are adapted to flower in November and December in equatorlocations such as India, but with the slightly shorter days in other regions, they will flower a little earlier, maturing in November. Other varieties that you also might grow are landraces from Thailand, Cambodia, Jamaica and Brazil and some of the central African countries.
- 4 Way (Four way)
- Swazi x Skunk
- Thai x Skunk
- Maroc x Skunk
You could try some of the mostly Sativa commercial varieties. These are adapted for higher latitudes so they will flower several months earlier where you are, ripening in September and October. The Haze varieties may also be of some use. However, your best program might be to use well-adapted Sativas and to make your own crosses with Indicas or Indica-Sativa hybrids.
- Purple Power
- Durban Poison
- Haze 19 x Skunk
- Silver Haze
Backcrossing tropical hybrids with Indicas or Sativa-Indica hybrids produce shorter, more controlled plants than the two to three-meter Sativa giants. With 25% Indica heritage, these plants will begin flowering and will mature inOctober, one to one and a half months earlier than the purebreds.
Example Strain List According to High
Starting with the clearest highs at the top and the stoniest last. Skunk#1 is the zero standard since most smokers have experienced it, and it is a very stable variety that leaves a memorable experience.
+3 “Super Sativas” – Very low in CBD – Edgy, trippy:
- Neville’s Haze
+2 “Party Weed” – Lots of laughter:
- Silver Haze
- Haze x skunk
- Thai skunk
- Cinderella 99
- Bubblegum x Cinderella 99
+1 “Daytime Smoke” – Makes all TV/housework interesting:
- Silver Pearl x Thai Skunk
- Jack Herer
- California Orange Bud (Dutch Passion)
- Silver Pearl (Sensi)
- Big Bud
- Durban skunk
0 – “Zero Standard” – Think about doing stuff, but later:
-1 – “Couch-Lock Indicas” – Relaxing, drooping eyelids:
- Hindu Kush
- Shiva Skunk
- Northern Lights#5
- Sweet Tooth
- Most commercial hash
-2 – “Party Killers” – Lots of CBD – Time for bed:
- White Widow
- Black Domina