A plant is a plant is a plant. Right?
Amature and professional gardeners alike understand that different types of plants enjoy growing in differing situations. You can’t stick your aloe plant outside in your Pennsylvania garden next to your tomatoes, amidst your cucumbers and expect it to thrive.
It won’t even survive.
That’s an obvious example. But different strains of the ‘same’ marijuana plant have varied growth requirements when it comes to substrate, light, space, and nutrients.
Ganja isn’t just ganja when we’re talking about growing conditions. If you’re looking to cultivate some cannabis plants of your own sit up and pay attention.
This guide will show you what you need to know.
Growing Different Strains of Marijuana
If you’ve heard anything about marijuana use lately, you’re probably familiar with the fact that there are three different strains of cannabis available. Well, actually two strains, but for our purposes we’ll call it three. You’ll see why in a bit.
When it comes to actual use of the plant, they all have their place:
- Indica strains have a sedative effect on the body and are good for helping you to wind down and relax. They’re used for relieving insomnia, muscle spasms, anxiety, and pain.
- Sativa strains tend to be more cerebral, offering uplifting and invigorating feelings. They’re good when you need to be active, social, and creative. They’re used for relieving ADD/ADHD, mood disorders, depression, and fatigue.
- Hybrid strains are a mix of the above two strains and offer a good balance of their qualities somewhere in the middle. They usually express more of one strain’s qualities over another, though.
Many of these have similar effects when it comes to pain control, appetite stimulation, and other uses, though to varying degrees.
That’s all useful information when choosing what plants you want to grow, but it also comes in handy when plotting out how you’re going to grow them.
Growing Indica Marijuana Strains
Indica is great for growing indoors where space is limited, as it tends to stay short. That’s also a good reason it does well outside in smaller space gardens, where soaking up direct sunlight is a priority.
But this plant also does well outside in climates where fall is short and winter comes on quickly. That’s because these plants mature and reach their full potential quickly.
That also means their flowering period is shorter, but they put out a higher yield.
Indica Growing Highlights
- Leaves are short, broad, and bushy, allowing for maximum light absorption
- Plants are shorter in stature and stocky with a branchy low profile
- They grow and mature quickly
- Grows well indoors
- Short flowering period pushed by higher chlorophyll content, so there can be more annual cycles. Flowering period is usually around eight weeks.
- Plants produce more buds than sativa
- Tolerates higher fertilizer than sativa
- Needs nutrient-rich medium
Growing Sativa Marijuana Strains
Sativas can sometimes be difficult to grow indoors for many people, as they tend to grow tall and lanky. They love the heat since they originated near the equator making them ideal for hot climates or indoor growth space with no summer temperature control.
Sativa’s vegetation generally grows faster, though they have a longer flower cycle. They tend to produce lower flower yields, so they aren’t as profitable for professional growers.
Sativa Growing Highlights
- Leaves are tall, thin, and lanky
- Plants are tall and thin in stature, some growing taller than 12 feet or becoming vine-like
- They take longer to grow and mature. Average growing period is about six months
- Sativa requires more light than indica
- Long flowering period. Can take up to 10-12 weeks or longer until ready for harvest.
- Low flower yields
- Requires light to medium fertilization. Take special precaution to not over-supplement nitrogen.
Growing Hybrid Marijuana Strains
As we mentioned earlier, hybrids tend to lend the best of everything. They have the ability to offer the better qualities of each. As a result, we see a wide variety of different growth patterns and flowering times.
Today’s hybrids tend to be cultivated to be higher yielding.
Especially with newer hybrids, it’s often difficult to know what you’re going to get ahead of time. That’s because the genetics of cannabis aren’t necessarily cut and dried.
Many of the typical garden plants you’re familiar with are monoecious. One single plant has both male and female organs, making resulting offspring typically more uniform.
Marijuana is dioecious. Each singular plant is either male or female, making breeding more complicated. The female plant has to be fertilized by pollen from the male plant.
With two plants’ in the mix instead of one, there’s the possibility of more genetic variation than when a singular plant self-pollinates. If you took a fistful of seeds from one cannabis plant, planted them all in the same soil, and tended to them all in the same way you’d wind up with a bunch of different plants.
They would all resemble the parent plants to some degree, but not a one would be an exact copy in stature or traits.
With all that said, you don’t really know how your hybrid will present itself, especially since it’ll be a combination of its sativa and indica predecessors. It’s a good idea to understand the needs of both.
Growing Multiple Marijuana Strains
Growing more than one strain together in the same place/room/tent/bed can prove to be a very frustrating endeavor, even for the most experienced of growers. Bushier indicas may crowd into sativas.
Taller sativas may hoard light from indicas. Providing the correct nutrient content for your sativa-dominant hybrid may choke the indica-dominant hybrid (of the same strain!) with nitrogen.
Most experts agree that one of the most difficult things to do is to cultivate pure indicas and sativas together, and many also believe that even individual hybrids follow the same rule. It’s best to keep your strains separated so you can keep good tabs on exactly what they need to thrive.
As a grower, even if a hobbiest, it’s important to understand the needs of your plants. By understanding the differences in your cannabis strains, you’ll be well on your way to cultivating a thriving crop.