Cannabis was among the first plants to be improved by selection. This is the process of choosing and planting seed of the best plants to concentrate certain characteristics. Ancient farmer landrace strains are the heirloom roots of modern breeding. They are the foundation of modern strains and hybrids based on the gene pool of these two relatively different species.
From the Hindu Kush Mountain Range of Afghanistan and Pakistan is a strain originating at 10,000 feet in elevation. It was discovered growing in village gardens where the growing season is very short. Thus, this is a valuable short season strain easily grown in mountain communities.
Because each of these original strains are now coming together in the budding agriculture of cannabis cultivation, breeding is occurring at an even faster rate. Many hybrids are seedless and thus can only be propagated by cloning. When a great plant is selected and named, this is the only way to create a genetically identical plant. Cloning can occur with most propagation methods such as layering, or on a mammoth scale with microscopic tissue culture of plants. By and large, most of the major strains sold today are hybrids. Those listed as I/S mean characteristics of Cannabis indica dominate and vice versa, but this is highly subjective. Some dispensaries sell live clone seedlings and seeds of named varieties for those who wish to grow at home.
These heirloom strains stabilized in the cultures of origin for reliable seed cultivation.
Some of the original strains, considered phenotypes, have interesting stories that explain their value to the big picture. Each have been sculpted genetically for many characteristics, from disease resistance to flower size, potency or fiber quality. Amateur breeders first used the original strains in America to develop new hybrids. Modern breeders still seek these old-school named varieties for more pristine, undiluted original gene pools.
Sativas do offer some good qualities when it comes to growing. The period of time it takes for a sativa to complete its flower cycle can be offset by faster vegetative growth. Additionally, some purebred sativas have been developed to have faster flowering times and increased yields. Coming from the equator, sativa strains handle heat better than most indicas, which is good for indoor gardens where temperature control is difficult or costly in the summer months.
Sativa genetics come from near the equator, where the summers are long and the winters are mild. Sativas grow long, lanky, and take their time to finish. Generally, they are not a first pick for gardeners as their height is difficult indoors while their lower yields make for a reduced profit. However, if you are more interested growing as a connoisseur you might take great pleasure from exploring the sativa strains and the varying effects.
Traits of hybrid cannabis plants:
Growing Sativa Cannabis Strains
Hybrids may inherit the shorter flowering time of indicas while retaining the cerebral high offered by sativas. They can also have the quality yields of indicas while taking on the fast vegetative growth of a sativa. Because hybrids can blend attributes of each, it’s no wonder they make up most of the market.
Traits of a typical sativa cannabis plant:
Growing Indica Cannabis Strains
We’ve already covered the main differences in cannabis types , so what’s there to know about growing each?
Because of indica’s shorter flowering periods and higher yields, they have always been popular amongst growers. Shorter flowering periods mean plants mature and finish growing sooner than sativa strains. This allows outdoor gardens to exist in climates where fall turns to winter quickly. For indoor gardeners, this means more cycles annually. The higher yields also incentivize growers to work with indicas to increase profit margins. Additionally, a benefit of growing indicas is their short stature which is ideal for most gardens indoors and out where space is limited and direct sunlight is a top priority.