When choosing what strain of marijuana you want to grow, it comes down to what YOU want. There are 2 different types of marijuana plants: Photoperiod & Autoflowering. First, you’ll need to decide which of these best suits your needs. Here are some key differences between photoperiod plants and autoflowering plants.

Photoperiod

  • Can control when they begin flowering by switching to a 12/12 light schedule
  • More resilient to different types of plant training – Lollipopping, manifolding, topping, FIMing, LST
  • More stable genetics compared to autoflowers
  • Generally bigger plant size
  • Bigger yields as a result of bigger
  • Longer life from seed to harvest (AT LEAST 84 days for most strains)
  • Can be cloned (can have many plants from ONE seed)

Autoflower

  • Automatically goes into flower regardless of light schedule
  • Doesn’t always respond well to topping, FIMing, lollipopping or manifolding due to shorter life cycle (although it is possible)
  • Responds well to LST
  • Less stable genetics due to being bred with cannabis ruderalis for its automatic flowering abilities
  • Generally smaller in size, though some strains can get pretty large
  • Smaller yields in comparison to photoperiods
  • Shorter life from seed to harvest (45-90 days for most strains)
  • Not recommended for cloning; meaning new seeds for EVERY grow

Now that you know whether you want to grow a photoperiod or an autoflowering strain of cannabis. The next thing to decide is whether you want a Sativa or Indica dominant strain or pure Indica or pure Sativa. Again, I’ll list some key differences between the two types.

Sativa

Plant

  • Taller plant structure
  • Narrow leaf “fingers”
  • Longer flowering times

Effects/Benefits

  • Anti-anxiety
  • Anti-depressant
  • Treats chronic pain
  • Increases focus and creativity
  • Increases serotonin (involved in regulating sleep and mood)
  • Good for day time use

Buds

  • Long and wispy
  • Less dense, fluffy bud
  • Often have red/orange hues

Example: Durban Poison

Indica

Plant

  • Short plant structure
  • Broad leaf “fingers”
  • Shorter flowering times

Effects/Benefits

  • Increased mental relaxation
  • Increased muscle relaxation
  • Decreases acute pain
  • Decreases nausea
  • Increases appetite
  • Increases dopamine (helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers)
  • Good for night time use

Buds

  • Short and compact
  • Dense, tight buds
  • Often have purple hues

Example: Hindu Kush

Most strains available are a hybrid of the two types. Whether it is 70% sativa, 30% indica or 60% indica, 40% sativa. The good news is that hybrids get the best of both worlds. You can get pain relief, decrease in nausea and a clear head all in one. So always look at what the breeder says about the strain.

Popular hybrids: Blue Dream, White Widow, OG Kush, Girl Scout Cookies, Gorilla Glue #4, AK47, Northern Lights, Blueberry, Trainwreck, Pineapple Express, Jack Herer, Gelato, Zkittlez, Diesel, Green Crack, and many more!

Now that you have a better understanding of the difference between photoperiod/autoflowering plants and sativa/indica type strains, you can make an informed decision on what strain you want to grow. My opinion is that it’s good to have some of both sativa and indica dominant strains. I also believe every grower should try growing both photoperiod and autoflowering strains at least once.

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Beginner's guide to cannabis cultivation

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