When choosing the different types of cannabis you want to grow, it comes down to what YOU want. There are 2 different types of cannabis 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.
- 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 plants
- Longer life from seed to harvest (AT LEAST 84 days for most strains)
- Can be cloned (can have many plants from ONE seed)
- 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. It was previously thought that Sativa and Indica had distinctly different effects, but science has shown that it has much more to do with the terpene and cannabinoid profile of the given strain*. The differences between Sativa & Indica are purely to do with plant structure and bud structure. I’ll list some key differences between the two plants.
- Taller plant structure
- Narrow leaf “fingers”
- Longer flowering times
- Long and wispy
- Less dense, fluffy bud
- Often have red/orange hues
Example: Durban Poison
- Short plant structure
- Broad leaf “fingers”
- Shorter flowering times
- 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 which of the different types of cannabis plants you want to grow. My opinion is that it’s good to have some of both sativa and indica dominant strains for variety. I also believe every grower should try growing both photoperiod and autoflowering strains at least once.
*https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5576603/ The Cannabis Sativa Versus Cannabis Indica Debate: An Interview with Ethan Russo, MD