Cannabis cultivation is a rewarding practice regardless of whether it’s for commercial or private purposes. There is a great feeling of satisfaction when it’s time to harvest a crop of particularly tasty and potent flower. You’ve nurtured the plants and tracked their progress for weeks in anticipation of cutting them down for a proper cure. When you finally taste the fruits of your labor, you can take great satisfaction in a job well done.
While enjoying the final product once the plants come down is a well-earned reward, planning your next grow can be nearly as much fun. Deciding which strains to grow is something worthy of your extensive research and consideration. How many plants will you grow? How large of a yield do you want? Will you grow indica or sativa strains? All of these questions are relevant to selecting the specific strains you will put in your garden.
Some Pros and Cons of Indica
These days, the lines differentiating indica and sativa strains are blurred due to the huge numbers of hybrid strains that dominate the market. Compared to the massive assortment of hybrids out there, pure indica and sativa strains are relatively few and far between. Most hybrids, however, lean one way or the other, so there are some extremely sativa-dominant and indica-dominant strains that are available in seed and clone form.
There are several compelling reasons why you should focus on indica or indica-dominant strains the next time you grow cannabis. While some people avoid sativa strains because of occasional side effects like panic and anxiety, much fewer people seem to shy away from the calming relaxation that results from smoking a good indica.
Indica plants are short and stout. They don’t take up nearly the amount of space as sativa strains, which can attain towering heights. Indica also matures much quicker than sativa. A grow consisting of indica plants can be harvested, trimmed, and cured, while a similar-sized sativa grow is still in soil awaiting full maturity and harvest. An indica-dominant strain often capitalizes on some aspect of its sativa genetics to make it even better than a pure indica. Northern Lights (Afghani indica crossed with Thai sativa) is a perfect example. Although leaning heavily to the indica side as far as bud structure and effects go, the yield on Northern Lights is much more robust than that of a pure indica. Some indica-leaning Kush strains, however, are known for their amazing flavors and effects but come up short as far as average yield. The terpenes in these strains are amazing enough to keep them in demand and in commercial production.
As well as the aforementioned positive indica qualities, indica does have traits that make it less appealing to some cannabis consumers. Some people appreciate the motivational, clear-headed sativa high as opposed to the sedative, relaxing high of indica, which tends to have more of a narcotic, cloudy effect. Some cannabis smokers also prefer the sweet and spicy flavors of sativa strains to the skunky dankness so often associated with indica.
If you want a good bang for your buck, and time is a consideration, there is much to be said for growing a crop of indica or indica-dominant strains. In a comparatively short amount of time, an indica grow will produce copious amounts of potent flowers. There is a great deal of diversity among the indica hybrids, so you have quite a variety from which to choose. While a skunky quality is a somewhat common trait, there are fruity indica hybrids as well. Other hard-hitting indicas like Chocolate Chunk from T.H. Seeds has a delicious chocolate flavor and knock-out punch.
Top Indica Strains to Consider
Although pure indica strains like Afghani and Maple Lead Indica are vastly outnumbered by indica-dominant hybrids, many of these hybrids behave almost identically to indica in the garden and deliver the same relaxing, intoxicating effects. Many of them are worthy of your consideration when planning your next grow, so let’s take a look at some of the better ones.
A pure indica landrace strain, Afghani comes from the mountains of Afghanistan, as its name implies. Afghani has decent potency and a pungent, musky, dank quality to it reminiscent of other typical indica strains. There are no real surprises with this strain as far as how it grows. You’ll get a consistently short stature and a quick finishing time. Don’t overlook this classic. It’s been kept in its pure form for many years for good reason.
Maple Leaf Indica
A pure indica classic from Sensi Seeds in Amsterdam, Maple Leaf Indica grows nothing like a typical indica. It likes to stretch out and can grow quite tall for an indica. It hails from the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan, and has a unique, sweet flavor, but not in the typical candied or fruity category. There is nothing skunky about it. The flavors have a slightly savory quality, and are pleasing to the palate, with notes of sandalwood incense, caramel, and coffee.
We’ve already touched on Northern Lights, but it’s an iconic strain that warrants additional discussion. Although it’s been around for many years, it’s a classic that can compete with the best indica strains out there. It’s been a cornerstone strain in several breeding programs and has been used to create other classic strains. The sweet, pungent, spicy flavors combine with good potency to make Northern Lights a memorable classic.
Blueberry is another iconic strain created by cannabis breeder DJ Short of Oregon. An indica-dominant strain with murky information as far as lineage goes, Blueberry contains Thai, which provides a sativa influence that makes the effect very relaxing, yet balanced enough for consumers to enjoy themselves socially. The pleasing effect is coupled with the flavor of fresh blueberries that is both remarkable and memorable. There have been a few knockoffs of this legendary strain, but get your hands on the original, and you won’t be sorry.
Another classic indica, Hash Plant has a history in the creation of hashish. As you can probably imagine, it usually has a thick coating of sticky trichomes. Fans of this strain appreciate its quick finishing time and classic Afghani-influenced flavor. Expect dense flowers with pungent flavors of earthy dankness with a slight spiciness. While not quite as popular as in years past, Hash Plant remains an industry standard with a loyal following.
Truly grapey and delicious, Grape Ape lives up to its name. The flavors of this indica-dominant hybrid have a strong grape quality that dominates. If you like fruity strains, this one may become one of your favorites. Mendocino Purps, Afghani, and Skunk strains combine to create something altogether new. If you like grape-flavored indica strains, you owe it to yourself to give this one a try. Grape Ape has knock-out potency that will serve the needs of medical and recreational cannabis consumers alike.
This strain often shows amazing purples colors, as its name implies. Appropriate for its coloration, the flavor has a skunky berry quality combined with grape notes. This indica-leaning strain hails from California originally, where it gained great popularity for its decidedly indica effect. Extremely relaxing, Purple Urkle serves as great medicine for those suffering from insomnia—or who have nothing more ambitious planned than settling in on the couch and watching a movie.
Sometimes referred to as Afgooey, this is another classic indica-dominant strain. Like its name implies, the sticky quality of the flower is quite pronounced, which makes it immediately popular with some cannabis enthusiasts. Although its name makes it sound like a pure indica, it’s actually a nicely balanced indica-leaning hybrid. True to its name, Afgoo descends from a potent Afghani. As a counterpoint to this heavy-hitting, sedative indica, it was crossed with a Maui Haze, which is most definitely sativa. This provides nice uplifting quality, and an overall effect that has a great relaxing balance much like Blueberry.
Hugely popular in past years, Granddaddy Purple often develops the purple color in its name. Among the heavy-hitting indica strains, it has appeal for commercial and private growers alike. Granddaddy Purple combines Purple Urkle with Big Bud. Some people love it so much they believe that the result of this cross is greater than the sum of its parts—which is the goal of every skilled cannabis breeder, in this case, Ken Estes. The Purple Urkle side of its genetics gives Granddaddy Purple a berryish grape flavor that’s quite nice. This strain has an impressive yield that makes it especially well-suited to commercial cultivation.
Brought to you by the fine folks at D&A Genetics, LA Confidential made a big splash in grower circles when it debuted several years ago. Popular in seed form, there are two phenos. One is stocky and short in stature—a classic indica appearance. This one is a low-yield plant compared to the taller pheno, but both have the amazing LA Confidential flavor. There are hints of OG Kush and other tantalizing flavors present. LA Confidential has been able to maintain its favorable status for several years with very good reason.
Indica strains have a great deal going for them, and growing select indica or indica-dominant strains is a very worthwhile endeavor. Easier to grow than sativa, various indica strains capture such a range of flavors and effects that’s there’s bound to be several of them that please even the most discriminating cannabis connoisseur.