As growers become more comfortable within their growing space, many enjoy the challenge of a hard-to-grow strain. They thrive on learning more about the plant and optimal cultivation practices, whether it is their tall posture, low resilience to pests and predators or exceptionally long flowering period.
Landrace strains which haven’t been introduced to hybridisation will be the hardest to grow. These strains have developed over centuries and are indigenous to a specific region. As such, they haven’t been stabilised, and little is known about the cultivation process compared to genetics available from seed banks. Vigorous breeding programs allow seedbanks to provide the cannabis community with consistent, uniform genetics.
Although feminized photoperiod and autoflowering cannabis seeds are much easier to cultivate, many experience growers are looking for the chance to produce both male and female plants. Regular seeds give cannabis enthusiasts the opportunity for phenotype hunting and breeding programs.
Complex genetics require more time and experience in the garden. Sativa strains can often reach greater heights than indicas and, as such, require more attention throughout the cultivation process. Strains with longer flowering times mean more time for the grower in the garden, but it also means a substantial feeding schedule is needed throughout the extended flowering period.
So let us guide you through 7 of the best strains for experienced growers!
1. Jack Herer
A strain which needs no introduction! Named after the Emperor of Hemp himself, Jack Herer. This uplifting hybrid has been a classic in the Amsterdam coffeeshop scene since the mid-90s. It was created by crossing our classic Northern Lights #5 with our Shiva Skunk and Haze.
This multiple award-winning strain is renowned for having four phenotypes; three long slender sativas and one compact indica. It is a very complex strain to grow, with a flowering period of up to 12 weeks and a lust for warmer, Mediterranean climates. However, for cannabis enthusiasts, the rewards are extraordinary.
Users can expect a perfect 50/50 hybrid with a long-lasting high, providing cerebral relaxation and a soothing body stone. The strain Jack Herer has a unique terpene profile, including an abundance of terpinolene, caryophyllene and pinene, so be prepared loud, sweet, creamy, fruity notes with subtle hints of sandalwood.
After initiating flowering, Jack Herer proliferates and has the potential to reach excessive heights and substantially increase yields; training techniques are recommended. Training techniques aim to break the typical apical cola structure and provide more horizontal growth while maximising light distribution. So for those looking for XL yields, and don’t mind the extra attention during the cultivation cycle, look no further than Jack Herer!
2. Northern Lights #5 x Haze
We created this iconic strain by crossing the world-renowned Northern Lights #5 with a classic Haze to produce a remarkable 70% sativa and 30% indica. It received awards at the High Times and High Life Cannabis Cups in the early 1990s and has remained a fan-favourite for craft cannabis growers ever since!
With a terpene profile dominant in terpinolene and beta-caryophyllene, it has a deliciously sweet flavour with zesty citrus notes and undertones of spicy hashish! Like a classic sativa, Northern Lights #5 x Haze has an uplifting, euphoric cerebral high, whereas the 30% indica lineage is evident in the slightly-soothing body stone.
Growers welcome a long-flowering period of up to 75 days, and Northern Lights #5 x Haze can grow exceptionally tall, with long slender branches and large internodal spacing. Support is essential throughout the final weeks of flowering when branches can snap under the weight of the dense buds. Due to its relatively tall posture, super-cropping and cropping are ideal for reducing height.
If kept in constant vegetation under an 18/6 lighting schedule, Northern Lights #5 x Haze can make an exceptional mother plant ideal for cloning. With the correct training techniques, outside growers can anticipate XL yields of up to 800 grams per plant!
We developed Michka during our Eagle Bill breeding program, and this elegant, zesty sativa is a tribute to the Grand Dame of cannabis, and our great friend, Michka Seeliger-Chatelain!
Tropical and exquisite terpene profile with loud notes of freshly peeled lemon and mango with subtle floral hints. It is an iconic sativa renowned for its uplifting, creative, cerebral high. Michka will increase your productivity and have you writing into the early hours.
With an extra long 85-day flowering period, it is a vigorous sativa that can reach impressive heights outside. Training techniques such as lollipopping and SCROG will help spread energy evenly throughout the plant, helping to ensure all lateral branches all equal.
Large internodal spacing, large fan leaves and elongated, spear-shaped, open-structured buds are all common traits of this resilient sativa. It is a perfect strain for those experienced growers with long summers or Mediterranean climates.
4. X Haze
X Haze combines all the classic haze traits and combines them with a resilient indica, it’s a 60% sativa and 40% indica hybrid. Cannabis enthusiasts can anticipate a refreshing cerebral high with a flavour profile packed with limonene, reminiscent of fresh lemons and orange rhine.
It has a classic haze structure and extremely long lateral branches. During the 80-day flowering period, outside, this monster almost doubles in size, reaching heights of up to 4 metres. Look out for significant internodal gaps and elongated, open-structured buds with a dense formation thanks to its indica heritage. Many growers are adamant that support is crucial throughout flowering due to the excessive weight of the flowers.
Like most sativa-dominant strains, X Haze is only suitable for growing in a warm, Mediterranean climate or grow areas with sufficient overhead spacing. A Screen of Green is ideal for increased yields, with each branch stretched over a mesh screen to receive equal light coverage. Due to its potentially tall posture, Supercropping and Lollipopping will also work well with X Haze.
Although the long flowering period of 80 days is off-putting for some growers, experienced growers can reap the rewards from this unique Haze variety!
5. Ed Rosenthal Super Bud
Ed Rosenthal Super Bud combines genetics from Afghanistan, Thailand, Mexico, Northern India, and Africa to create a perfectly balanced 50/50 hybrid.
It was named after leading cannabis activist Ed Rosenthal and provides the user with a clear-headed, soothing, euphoric and relaxing high. It is an ideal mix of sativa and indica. High concentrations of beta-caryophyllene, myrcene and limonene produce a terpene profile with a heavy pineapple aroma, spicy undertone and loud notes of freshly-squeezed lemon.
Due to this strain’s diverse lineage of pure Afghan and equatorial sativas, there can be differences in phenotypes which may lead some novice growers away. However, the bud structure remains similar, with an open structure and highly resinous, swollen, pointed calxes.
This strain needs a generous feeding schedule, and during flowering, Ed Rosenthal Super Bud has the potential to increase by 150% in height. So, indoor growers must be sure to have enough overhead space! Due to its Afghan heritage, Ed Rosenthal Super Bud is ideal for Sea of Green.
6. Amnesia White
This delicious sweet cultivar was created by crossing a unique Thai sativa with an earthy Afghan. Amnesia White is a 70% sativa and 30% indica and is only available as regular seeds. Reminiscent of classic haze strains with loud floral and spicy notes among a backdrop of sweet citrus and fresh earth. This cultivar is ideal for those enthusiasts looking for a robust and stable mother and is perfect for producing hearty, resilient clones.
Under the open sun, this cultivar can reach heights of up to three metres. Like most sativa varieties, Amnesia White is only suitable for Mediterranean climates or indoor cultivation. However, unlike most sativa-dominant strains, it has a shorter flowering period and densely formed flowers. The initial high starts with a comfortable and uplifting cerebral high, increasing productivity and creativity before dissipating into a soothing body stone.
For optimal yields, growers must pay close attention to detail throughout the entire growth cycle. Heavy foliage during vegetation and larger fan leaves should be removed to ensure light reaches the lower bud sites, increasing airflow throughout the lower branches and limiting the development of mould pathogens. For indoor growers limited in space, cultivation techniques like the Screen of Green or Sea of Green can also help to increase flower development.
7. Honey Melon Haze
Introduced as part of our 2022 Sensi Seeds Research collection, Honey Melon Haze is a 65% sativa and 35% indica hybrid with an exotic profile! It was developed by breeding the renowned California Orange Bud with Orange Haze.
Honey Melon Haze is an ideal cultivar for Mediterranean climates, with a tall structure, large internodal spacing and open-structured, spear-shaped buds. With a lengthy 70-day flowering time, this cultivar can reach excessive heights of over 2 metres in open soil and would not be suitable for inexperienced growers with limited headroom.
Honey Melon Haze is a high-maintenance strain that needs extra attention during flowering to support the heavy budding and limit lateral breakage. For experienced growers looking for an XXL yield of up to 600 grams, this strain can benefit from training techniques such as SCROG, SOG, Supercropping, and Lollipopping.
Connoisseurs can expect a uniquely sweet and fruity terpene profile with loud citrus notes and orange made up of an abundance of terpinolene, limonene and beta-caryophyllene. The high starts with an uplifting cerebral lift that gradually dissipates into a slightly-relaxing body stone, and Honey Melon Haze is an exceptionally pleasing strain for increased creativity and elevated awareness.
Are you up for the challenge?
Cannabis is a hardy and resilient plant which can grow almost anywhere in the world. However, it can be said that more patience and experience are needed for complex strains. So, it is time to prepare your garden for those hard-to-grow genetics.
Strains with minimal harvests, long flowering periods, and the need for optimal climate conditions can all be challenging to cultivate. However, with practice, these genetics could become some of your top-yielders and favourite strain to grow.
We hope the seven strains listed are ideal for experienced growers who have mastered the growing process and are looking to increase yields with plant training techniques. If you think we‘ve left out a hard-to-grow strain, or are having some difficulties with the cultivation process, let us know in the comments below. Moreover, as always, happy growing!
Laws and regulations regarding cannabis cultivation differ from country to country. Sensi Seeds therefore strongly advises you to check your local laws and regulations. Do not act in conflict with the law.