So, there you are, getting ready to immerse in the profound joy of growing your very own cannabis plants from seeds. Selecting the strains to grow is such a beautiful part of the cannabis growing journey because this is when the magic of being a marijuana grower actually kicks in.
But how to choose the right strain to grow out of the myriad of varieties available both online and offline?
Picking the best strains might get quite tricky, and in fact, even overwhelming. However, the truth is, there is no place for any fuss, bud buddies.
There is one single thing you need to remember when hunting for the most suitable cannabis strains to plant in your outdoor or indoor garden, and it all sums up to embracing a particular habit you are already painfully familiar with from early age: doing your homework.
Since the process of growing cannabis inevitably starts with picking the right strain/s, it is crucial to skip the rush. You know how things used to work back in school: the diligent students who have put the time to do their homework end up getting better grades. Although we are fairly not fans of the outdated grades system approach because no person’s talents and potential should be restrained to estimations ruled solely by numbers, when it comes to cannabis cultivation, diligence and consistency in doing some proper research do make a tremendous difference in the results you get upon harvesting.
By picking the right cannabis varieties based on factors that are unique for each grower such as experience, growing equipment, the application of different training techniques, among others, your entire cannabis grows adventure can be far more enjoyable, running smoothly from seed to harvest (or at least as smooth as possible).
Pick the wrong strains to grow and you may end up wasting your time, money, nerves, and efforts. Not that doing so is anything fatal or lethal but it is definitely not the best experience.
Ultimately, selecting the right strains to grow is much like selecting the right ingredients for the preparation of a wonderful Sunday afternoon gourmet brunch for your beloved ones: not doing your homework in advance can result in failing to create the Master Chef-style get-together you have pictured in your head. On the contrary, a tiny bit of careful planning, and you will be able to impress your guests with out-of-this-world treats that make all the senses triumph over the beauty and deliciousness of life.
Now, let’s get out of the gourmet example above and focus on how to select marijuana strains that will suit your personal needs and preferences in the best way possible.
Factors to Consider when Picking the Best Cannabis Strains to Cultivate Outdoors or Indoors
Before we jump into listing and discussing the factors you want to consider when picking the best cannabis strains to grow in your outdoor or indoor garden, we need to share some crucially important details regarding the very process of strains’ selection.
Strain Hunters’ Rules of Thumb
Just as doing your homework looks like, you want to get equipped with a sheet of paper/ notebook/ pencil/ pen and/or whatever type of write-it-down tools or modern-day devices you feel most comfortable to work with.
So, what follows next?
It’s time to find out what is it that you are looking for in the strains of cannabis you are about to grow, and subsequently, to consume.
This means that the very beginning of picking the right strain to grow starts with a good brainstorming session and not with roaming the web and (possibly) ending up totally confused.
Now, you need to write down and distinguish the factors that matter the most to you. Here’s a neat cheat sheet of the basic questions you want to answer.
#1.What are the effects that you want to experience through consuming a particular marijuana strain?
Go straight to the point and write down all the effects that you are searching for in a good cannabis bud, such as, for instance, ultimate relaxation, pain relief, euphoria, boost of energy, giggles, a stoned-to-the-bones-head-to-toes feeling, etc.
Most probably you won’t be able to find all of the effects that you wish to experience in a single strain.
Regardless, this list of desired effects will serve as an important pinpoint when you are roaming the vast array of strains and their most common effects, thus, saving you tons of confusion, pointless scrolling, and waste of time.
#2. Are there any particular strains that you are eager to lay hands on?
If you have a list of favorite strains, such as, for instance, Northern Lights, White Widow, Gorilla Glue, Dark Angel (just to name a few), it is more than useful to write these down.
Doing so will help you go through each strain individually when later on you are about to do your research in order to get familiar with the specific descriptions of the strains regarding growth patterns, time spent in flowering, potency, medicinal benefits, flavors, etc.
You might be amazed how many of your seemingly top favorite strains may turn out totally unsuitable for the type of grow you are about to start while strains you might have never even heard of before can turn out to be perfectly well suited to your needs.
#3.What are the factors that matter the most to me?
So, here is where you want to spend some extra time in brainstorming. You want to make a clear, well-structured list of the factors that matter the most to you when it comes to working your way with particular cannabis varieties.
The list of factors to keep in mind includeyield, medicinal vs. recreational benefits, resilience, basic growth patterns, as well as aroma and flavor. For the different growers out there, systematizing this list from 1-5 starting with the factors that matter the most and ending with the factors that matter the least is a strictly individual matter of choice.
To illustrate this better, let’s say that Jenny is about to start her third marijuana growing operation.
She lives in Central Europe where the climate is favorable for growing weed outdoors, although not all-year round.
However, Jenny plans to grow her cannabeauties in a high-quality greenhouse so weather patterns are not an issue.
Jenny suffers from chronic pain, migraines, and she has a hard time coping with menstrual cramps so she wants to grow strains that will help her treat these concerns efficiently.
Meanwhile, Jenny is a very active person and she often consumes weed as part of her training sessions.
Nonetheless, Jenny doesn’t drink alcohol. Instead, she loves to enjoy herself with some good, energizing bud when partying with friends.
Jenny is a true cannabis connoisseur so aroma and flavor matter a lot to her, too, not any less than the quality of the green medication.
Jenny isn’t really into consuming high THC strains as her prudence to marijuana is not very high. Jenny is not a very experienced grower but she is willing to embrace trial and error. However, she doesn’t really like to wait so she is looking for strains that finish flowering faster than cannabis varieties that tend to spend 10+ weeks in flowering.
Finally, Jenny isn’t chasing the highest yields possible because she can afford to grow marijuana perpetually, and she also grows weed only for personal, non-commercial use.
So, if Jenny wants to pick the most suitable strains to grow in her cannabis greenhouse, the list of factors that matter to her will be categorized best in the following way.
1 –Medicinal + recreational benefits
2 –Aroma and flavor
3 –Basic growth patterns
4 – Resilience
5 – Yield
Based on this simple classification, when Jenny starts estimating the pros and cons of the strains she is looking forward to grow, she will be able to pick the most suitable varieties based on her unique needs with joy and confidence.
An example list of the strains that can work great to suit Jenny’s preferences may include Auto Critical CBD which can help Jenny manage her chronic pain and can also work wonderfully for boosting her training performance, Northern Lights autoflower to help her treat menstrual cramps and migraines without exposing herself to towering levels of THC.
Finally, Jenny can also opt for Chocolope which is a great representative of a Sativa-dominant strain that can boost energy and let those party vibes go on and on while also providing a deliciously indulgent experience in terms of flavor and aroma. None of these strains spends a long time in flowering, so Jenny can be ready with her go-to strain selection in a breeze.
Once you have this list systematized by and for yourself, you can actually have a great time mixing and matching the strains you are about to research next, all based on your personal goals.
Now, let’s get down to learning how to distinguish between the top 5 factors that matter the most when selecting the right strains to grow in your garden.
Reputable seed banks, companies and/or breeders do always provide a short description of the average yield you can get from growing a particular strain.
Most importantly, this is only a suggested, relative number, so you mustn’t take it for something granted.
If your cannabis grows journey turns out more successful than you have dared to plan or imagine, you may easily harvest more than the average yield listed by the retailers. Of course, quite the opposite scenario is also possible. If you are faced with issues such as diseases, unfavorable weather, growing mistakes due to lack of experience, or whatsoever on that note, you can end up harvesting way less than the average quantity listed by the retailers.
Indeed, there’s a slippery line when considering yield.
For instance, if you quickly go through a nice list of seeds available online or offline while paying attention only (or predominantly) to the expected yield, you may fail to consider the possible milestones.
To illustrate this better, let’s say you got your eyes on growing Bruce Banner strain.
This strain is known to be capable of producing high yields which is great. However, it is also known to spend an extended period of time in flowering (about 9 – 10 weeks).
Not the least, Bruce Banner strain lives up true to its 60% Sativa genetics, therefore, it requires plenty of sun and warmth to reach those massive yields it has become notorious for (just for the record, you can easily harvest 500+ grams of Bruce Banner if growing this strain outdoors).
So, can you already sense the catch? Or, in other words, can you already see the milestones that may block you from getting big yields from growing Bruce Banner?
If you take the suggested yields for granted but do not think in-depth of the crucial yield-determining factors such as sufficient access to light and warmth, ease vs. the difficulty of growing a particular strain, and flowering time, among others, you can kiss those massive yields you are dreaming of bye-bye.
Above all, you want to twist all these factors through your unique perspective based on the skills and equipment that you have available.
Ultimately, choosing the right strain to grow requires a healthy dose of patience, research and critical thinking but if you have a positive mindset about the whole thing, it is actually a process full of wonder and joy. It is not a process that sucks out your energy but instead, it can recharge you with tons of positive vibes.
2. Medicinal VS Recreational Benefits
Some of you will want to grow cannabis in order to reap particular medicinal benefits. Others will want to grow cannabis in order to enjoy particular recreational benefits.
Then there are those who want to have a fantastic cannabis home kit collection which consists of both medicinally, as well as recreationally beneficial marijuana strains.
Ultimately, it’s a highly subjective matter of choice, and that’s why it should be approached as such.
What you need to take into account is the active cannabinoids content listed for each strain.
Strains high in CBD (Cannabidiol) can provide efficient chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, mood and sleep disorder management, among others. It’s a CBD fever out there, bud buddies, and that’s for some good reasons, isn’t it? Several strains that make a fantastic example of high CBD cannabis varieties include but are not limited to CB Diesel, CB Dream, and CB Dutch Treat.
However, high CBD strains are not the best choice for recreational marijuana users as they usually contain low or insufficient levels of THC, therefore, the much-desired sense of high experienced after consumption is barely there.
Strains high in THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) are nonetheless beneficial in terms of medicinal potential.
Strains high in THC can provide fast-acting and/or long-lasting relief to severe pain, nausea, depression, tremors, cancer-related issues, and food disorders, among others. For instance, Blueberry, Afghani, and White Widow are fantabulous representatives of high THC strains.
However, some users have lower personal prudence to marijuana than others which means that they can feel quite overwhelmed if consuming high THC strains. Because of this, THC levels should be further taken into close consideration.
As a rule of thumb, THC levels of up to 13% are considered well-suited to people who possess relatively low prudence to marijuana. Strains with THC levels varying between 15% – 20% can work great for users that have moderate prudence to marijuana. Any strain that comes with 20+% THC content should be considered carefully by users who do not possess high prudence and/or sufficient experience to and with marijuana use.
Meanwhile, balanced THC to CBD strains combine the best of both worlds. One beautiful example of a perfectly balanced THC to CBD strain is Cannatonic, although the Super Silver Haze CBD seeds which were created in the recent years are not to be underestimated with their harmonious 1:1 THC-CBD ratio of 5%:5%.
Last but not least, it is great to consider the presence of other active cannabinoids and their average levels, such as CBN (Cannabinol) and CBC (Cannabichromene), among others.
While the science and research studying the benefits of the various active cannabinoids present in marijuana strains are still at their very beginning, a little bit of research can take you a long way in understanding how each active cannabinoid can help you target particular needs or concerns ranging from physical to mental.
We will keep things are crisp, precise, and concise as possible in this section. Different cannabis strains possess resilience towards different possible threats and issues that may hit your outdoor or indoor cannabis garden.
For instance, some strains such as Sour Diesel are highly resilient when it comes to bud mold. Other strains, such as Dark Angel are highly resilient to mechanical damage. However, none of these particular resilience-based benefits might matter to you, or it can be that both will matter equally enough for the success of your cannabis grow mission. Then again, critical thinking and some proper planning are key.
When thinking about strains and their resilience, you only want to consider the factors that are most likely to affect your marijuana garden. If you happen to live in a region where humidity levels are on the low side then you might not bother about a strain’s resilience to mold-related issues in general. But if your indoor or outdoor grow space is not well-equipped to meet the demands for low humidity during flowering (or if you are still a beginner and are not 100% confident about your grow room and humidity control), then it is worth it looking for strains that are less prone to suffer due to mold or other high humidity-related issues.
4. Basic Growth Patterns
Quintessentially, you can pick between Sativa, Indica, hybrid, and autoflower marijuana strains. These are the most foundational strains’ classifications you want to get familiar with.
Sativas tend to grow taller and slender than other strains. They spend more time in flowering than other strains, too, and their effects are best known as energy-and-motivation-boosting, great for socializing and getting along with tasks that demand concentration, among others.
Indicas tend to grow more compact, bushier in size than Sativas. They spend less time in flowering than Sativas, too, and their most common effects upon consumption are known as highly relaxing, sedating, and pain-relieving.
Hybrids possess a combination of the genetics of Sativa and Indica strains in varying ratios. For instance, some strains like White Cookies carry 60% Indica and 40% Sativa genetic inheritance which means that both the growth patterns, as well as the expected effects after consuming a hybrid strain will be a combination of the Sativa and Indica traits.
High CBD strains are the new stars among hybrid strains, and just like the name suggests, they possess high levels of CBD. Their basic growth patterns can vary based on whether the high CBD strain is one that carries a high percent of Indica genetics, Sativa genetics, or if it is a hybrid.
Autoflowering cannabis varieties possess the unique genetics of Cannabis Ruderalis which is a marijuana strain that has managed to grow, survive, and evolve in the cold, unfavorable climate of Russia. When the genetics of Cannabis Ruderalis added in order to breed an autoflowering strain, we get a strain that can be an Indica, Sativa, hybrid or high in CBD and that finishes flowering rather quickly. Most importantly, it enters flowering without the need for strict periods of 12 hours of schedule light vs. 12 hours of scheduled darkness.
Whether you will go for an Indica, Sativa, hybrid or autoflowering cannabis variety to grow indoors or outdoors is a superbly intimate choice.
Rumors used to spread among cannabis enthusiasts regarding the low yields one can get from growing autoflowering strains vs. non-autoflowering strains. However, this used to be only partially true at the very first introduction of autoflower strains to the public. Many years have passed since that time, and so experts have managed to create autoflowering strains which are fully capable of spectacular yields, provided they are given the right conditions to thrive.
Then again, it is a strictly personal matter of choice, so do not let anybody’s biased opinions play tricks on you when it comes to picking Sativa vs. Indica vs, hybrid vs. autoflowering strains. The beauty and wisdom of the journey of growing cannabis reside in experimenting. Before you see how a particular cannabis variety grows for yourself, anything you can hear or read remains true only in theory, and not from the perspective of your personal practice as a grower.
As far as the basic growth patterns are concerned, there are three particular factors you must focus on in order to pick the right strain to grow: average height and stretch, as well as flowering time.
The average height and stretch of a strain are so important because they determine if you will make the most out of the grow space you have available. Always measure the grow space before starting to grow a particular strain to see if it will be a suitable choice based on the size of the growing area. If you are an outdoor grower, height and stretch still matter a lot so that you will be able to plan the privacy of your garden, as well as the space you will need to designate for planting your green ladies.
On the bright side, both height and stretch can be controlled, at least to some extent but doing so requires some previous experience to master the training techniques well.
As to why flowering time matters, we think you understand the game fair well.
Not everyone can afford to grow weed perpetually like the example with the imaginary grower Jenny we shared above, and so the time your green beauties spend in flowering is crucial, especially for outdoor growers who are not equipped with a high-tech greenhouse that can allow them to grow pot during any time of the year. Not the least, many indoor growers rely on being able to harvest their green ladies faster because of various reasons.
Last but not least, whether you go for regular or feminized seeds also depends on your personal goals as a cannabis grower and user.
Regular seeds will give rise to both male and female marijuana plants, just like things happen in living nature. Male plants can be used for the making of homemade cannabis tinctures, oils, ointments, and edibles, and they can be also used to pollinate females and produce your very own marijuana seeds. Some people don’t have the free space to take care of male cannabis plants separately from female marijuana plants, though, and many dislike all the fuss related to waiting for about a month before you can tell the sex of your cannabis plant. That’s when feminized seeds that give birth to female marijuana plants can be very, very useful, like in many other possible scenarios.
5. Aroma and Flavor
Ah, the sweetest part of choosing the right strain to grow: considering the aroma and flavor profile of cannabis varieties!
This is a wonderful step because it tickles your imagination and lets you daydream of indulging in the delicious fruits of your cannabis cultivation efforts: those tasty cannabis flowers aka the buds.
Nothing special to keep in mind on that note except for keeping your expectations low as not to end disappointed.
Making all of the subtle, yummy, alluring flavor and aroma nuances of cannabis strains to truly pop out requires experience and a healthy dose of know-how on boosting cannabinoid and terpenes’ content. The best things in life take time, right? As a rule of thumb, organic cannabis growing is what will bring the most out of the complex plethora of aromatic, palatable hues that greatly differ from one cannabis strain to another.
Above all else, do always remember that the seed is the thing. Working with high-quality cannabis seeds from reputable retailers who provide easy-to-digest, well-systematized and reliable information about the genetic inheritance of each strain is the best way to know for sure that your outdoor or indoor cannabis grow mission will be as successful and as delightful as possible, and that the blend of aromas and flavors pointed on the label will make all your senses celebrate the beauty of life.Just a tiny teaser of mouthwatering strains you can choose to indulge in Chocolope strain (the Queen of cannabis chocoholics), Cream Caramel strain (the Deity of the sweet-toothed cannabis connoisseurs), Bubble Gum (the Muse of the out-of-the-box marijuana aficionados)
Selecting the Best Strains to Grow: Let the Final Research Begin (and May the Odds be in your Favor)
Let’s assume that so far you have made a personal list of unique factors to take into consideration as a cannabis grower clearly systematized, and you have answered the rest of the questions we shared in this article when it comes to doing your homework on strains’ selection.
Congratulations, you smart, diligent, creative cannabis growers! You have made it to the final line of selecting the best strains to grow, no matter if it comes to indoor or outdoor marijuana operations. Whew.
After narrowing down the list of strains you want to grow to a top 10 or so, it is time to bring your research to the next level.
Now, you want to Google things up by adding the appropriate keywords.
For instance, if you want to learn more in-depth details about White Widow strain, you can type How to grow White Widow, Tips for growing White Widow, White Widow grow diary, White Widow grow journal, and of course, other appropriate combinations that may come to your mind.
Don’t skip your research gig by reading a single guide or doing a single strain + keyword research. This is the part when you can get a bit more into the details, just go with small steps to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Remember, your cannabis grow journey is a continual learning process. You only want to learn as much as you can handle, so don’t be too harsh on yourself; nobody gets born a guru cannabis grower. Keep that positive mindset ON. Take it one bite at a time and forget about chasing perfection. Weed is not called weed in vain. Cannabis plants are determined to grow and flourish because this is how the living nature works; this is the miracle of Life. As long as you work with awesome marijuana seeds, your path to success as a grower is already half-paved.
Trust seed retailers that provide well-arranged, easy to understand at a glance yet explicit information about each strain. This way you will know that you are dealing with bud buddies who respect cannabis as much as you do, and not merely some scammers.
Last but not least, don’t let sensory details fool you.
You should best restrain from picking a strain because of emotional reasons such as that juicy description of the flavor profile alluring your imagination with something like “refreshing hints of ripe berries with bitter-sweet nuances of Italian espresso wrapped in the gentle embrace of Vanilla undertones dancing with a twist of lime zest and a kick of honey-coated strawberries,” you get the idea, right? Or that another dimension type of picture of a big, heavily sugar-coated bud that simply makes you want to shed a tear from happiness while howling from joy simultaneously, ok? Just avoid falling victim to the appearance and/or the juicy descriptions of a particular strain but stick with the more down-to-earth sides of the matter before considering the sweet-but-not that-crucial extra bits of the big picture.
How to Choose the Right Strain to Grow in your Outdoor or Indoor Cannabis Garden: The Wrap-up
Picking the right strains to grow is a highly subjective process. Therefore, it is only what matters to you as a cannabis user that you need to sift through the tons of information and options available.
And so, the best, as well as the friendliest piece of advice on how to choose the right strain to grow outdoors or indoors sums up to embrace the uniqueness of your cannabis cultivation journey, bud buddies.
It is not like you are about to grow cannabis in a high-tech, large-scale cannabis laboratory-like facility where each step of the process is done by following strictly to the point guidelines, hygiene rules, and professional practices that are only possible to be applied in a cut-edge, top-grade cannabis grow operation.
The factors that matter to you as a grower are unique and there are no shortcuts and ultimate guides that work wonders for all.
Before picking the right strains, pick the right mindset.
Remember what cannabis has taught you about letting go, going with the flow, appreciating the beauty of diversity and imperfection, accepting mistakes as a learning experience, and having plenty to smile about even when the situation seems more complicated to handle than what you wish for.
No two cannabis grow cycles are the same, and this is exactly why cannabis is such an enchanting, complex plant. Picking the right cannabis strain to grow, much like all things cannabis-related, challenges your ability to think critically, to think holistically and to keep an open mind. Do so and your cannabis adventure will reveal to you in ways that you haven’t dared to imagine even in your wildest, purest, most serene, cannablissed dreams.