Left: Cannabis Sativa in bloom outdoors, Right: Cannabis Indica under grow lights.
When it comes to starting a grow, the variety you choose is very important. Seeds from commercial marijuana (schwag), often referred to as “bag seed,” can grow some great medication, but the problem is, not knowing its genetic background or traits, they could be a total waste of time. Purchasing seeds from seed banks (reputable ones), is a safe bet for quality genetics and the best chance for great results. But with so many choices of many vendors and varieties, it can be confusing and overwhelming, however, choosing the best strain of marijuana for a geographical area or specific environment (indoor, outdoor, greenhouse) is not difficult.
Plant’s natural genetics can be bred and enhanced for specific traits, the base gene pool for all modern varieties all stem from either pure strains, or hybrids of the following three:
Cannabis Sativa* – The polar opposite of indicas. Tall, thin plants, narrow leaves, lighter green colors, grow quick, extend to heights of 20 feet in some cases. Sativa origins are traced back to Mexico, Columbia and southeast Asia. Flowering times vary from 10 to 16 weeks, normally longer than indicas. Taste ranges from earthy to fruity. A good head stone. A great outdoor favorite. Example Strain: Durban Poison »
Cannabis Indica* – Short stocky thick plants, broad leaves, darker green, flowering in 8 to 10 weeks with thick dense heavy fragrant flower tops. They grow and mature quicker than sativa. Advances in all aspects of growing have lead to shorter flowering stages. Flavors of indica range widely from stinky skunk to fruity sweet. Origins traced back to Afghanistan, Morocco and Tibet. Great for making hash. More of a body stone. Indoor grower’s favorite types are white widow and skunk. Example Strain: Afghani »
Cannabis Ruderalis** – The least known variety of cannabis and mainly used for it’s fibers. It originated in central Asia. Flowers earlier than indica and sativa. Goes into budding based instinctively on age not light conditions. Generally lower thc values associated with ruderalis. Resistant to both bugs and disease. Example Strain: Easy Ryder »
Generally, Sativa plants do best outdoors in warmer climates, Indica and Indica/Sativa hybrids do well both in and outdoors in southern to more northern climates.
*Standard Photoperiod Plants
** Auto flowering genetics
Other traits to consider
Seeds which have the ability to produce cannabis with a high level of THC quite often forfeit yield for strength. This means that when you collect these seeds they really are packed with THC producing power but will not necessarily grow very large. Being able to develop seeds in this way is really quite astounding and helps us appreciate the skill which has gone into producing these powerful little seeds. Most marijuana these days is super potent. Claims of over 20% THC are out there. Success of course depends on your green thumb and growing conditions. To maximize potency use a hot, dry atmosphere and drop the humidity when flowering.
Different strains have different flowering times. FLowering or Bloom time is counted after the plant is mature (one month old, at least or 7 nodes minimum) and light cycle has been switched to 12 light/12 dark. The general bloom time is 7 to 11 weeks depending on variety, indica plants usually bloom & mature faster than sativa plants do.
Certain varieties of cannabis will emit strong odors, early in the vegetative state, others are mild all the way through bloom. If you are growing where the smell can be a dead giveaway, look for a variety or breed with low odor.
Award Winning Strains
The Cannabis Cup is held every year in Amsterdam. It brings together the best breeders in the world who have been working all year to come up with the best strains with the best characteristics they can muster. This year’s event takes place between 21st-25th November. Many seed banks and breeders proudly offer their award winning seeds as their flagship variety.
Through careful, selective pollination, the present feminized technology has advanced to easily produce quality seeds from all types of marijuana that have an incredible success rate of all female seeds, saving the grower time and space not having to cull male plants.
Marijuana seeds are used to grow autoflower types of cannabis as cloning is impractical. The new auto-flower marijuana strains are claimed to begin the flowering period by age rather than light cycle. Height requirements are minimal with a short growth span of 9 to 12 weeks. Male and female plants will expose themselves in 1 to 3 weeks. Outdoor growing means a possibility of 3 harvests in one year, meaning less work with water supply and dirt.
Hybrids, F1, F2
Combining different sativa and indica breeds will produce the corresponding traits of each mother and father. Actual percentages each strain will contain is not exact, but pretty close.
Indoor or Outdoor
The most important thing to realize is the length of flowering time. Indoor doesn’t matter but outdoor maturation would depend on your climate. If you have a short summer then go with a more indica strain. Remember, the more sativa in the mix the longer the flowering time. Some types of marijuana are specifically bred for outdoor, just look at your details. For indoor growing, don’t choose something that says outdoor.
Sativa stretches the most. Height is usually listed but can be controlled indoors. Light usually does not reach down past 3 feet sufficiently enough. A well grown plant can grow 1 to 2 inches a day. A two foot plant, put into flowering stage will reach just over 3 feet when done maturing in approximately 8 weeks.
This all depends on how well you manage your garden. Excellent lighting, good fertilizers and nutrients along with how long you let your cannabis plants vegetate before flowering effect yield. Obviously the longer the vegetation period the taller the plants, therefore more yield. Maximum indoor yields come from indica.
As with any claim of potency, yield and such – Your milage may vary!
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