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Growing Finicky Sativas - A Quick Guide to Growing Sativa Strains

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  • Growing Finicky Sativas - A Quick Guide to Growing Sativa Strains

    Growing & Caring for Sativa Strains

    When it comes to growing cannabis indoors, Sativa plants are typically a little tougher to care for than Indica plants. Sativa strains originated from hot regions near the equator, and as a result they have a few properties that can catch an indoor grower by surprise.

    Note: It is very rare to find a "pure" Sativa strain since nearly all marijuana strains available today are some sort of hybrid. The following is talking about strains with a lot of Sativa plants in their ancestry and as a result carry a lot of common Sativa characteristics!

    Appearance of Sativa Plants
    • Often have long, skinny leaves
    • Generally stretchy appearance with lots of side branching and plenty of space between sets of leaves (as opposed to the the short, squat Christmas tree shape of an Indica plant).
    • Tend to grow tall and fast throughout their life, but may double or even triple in height after entering the flowering stage.
    • Their size can quickly get out of control in a small grow space, though an experienced grower may be able to use the fast growth to their advantage!
    • Buds often have "foxtails" and may be loose or airy compared to Indica buds, which tend to be solid and dense.
    Typical Indica vs Sativa plant - grown indoors together under the same conditions

    From seed to harvest, these plants were given an equal amount of light from the sides. The Indica plant stayed short while the Sativa plant on the left grew far taller in the same conditions and time.

    Long, thin "fingers" on leaves, compared to Indica leaves which tend to be round and fat.

    Buds often have "foxtails" (buds grow in little towers) and/or may be relatively "wild" looking

    This is what the buds of a "true" landrace Sativa looks like - basically all foxtails! Most available "Sativa" strains are actually hybrids with at least a little Indica genes mixed in to help increase bud density and improve overall structure.

    Sativa plants (Panama strain) grown indoors - amazing and unique buds effects, but also big and tall plants!

    Sativa plant in the flowering stage - may grow with lots of stem between sets of leaves

    You might not want to choose Sativa-based strains if you're using a small grow space like this!


    Other Common Sativa Characteristics
    • Sativa strains may need 3+ months in the flowering stage to be ready to harvest on the standard 12/12 flowering light schedule. In order to "hurry them along" they may need longer than average nights until harvest, for example a 11/13, 10/14 lor even 8/16 light schedule!
    • Sativa's generally respond well to high levels of light and don't mind a little heat, but can easily get stressed by cold temperatures
    • Sativa buds tend to give a more cerebral "in-your-head" effect than the more "body-based" Indica effects. Sativa buds may feel more energizing, so some people prefer Sativa strains for daytime use or in social settings.
    • Some Sativa strains have trichomes that may never turn amber even after months of flowering. If your plant has fully white trichomes, it's possible it may be time to harvest even if no ambers are appearing.
    • Harvest when trichomes are mostly cloudy with a few clears left for the most psychedelic effect
    • Can be more common to get hermies, especially under stress or close to harvest if buds are not pollinated. If buds appear mostly done and suddenly throw out a bunch of bananas, it could mean it's time to harvest
    • Can be nutrient sensitive, especially in dry heat, low light levels or if plant does not have many leaves. Not uncommon to see nutrient burn or Nitrogen toxicity at standard-strength nutrient levels.
    • If you're naturally seeing a significant amount of stem between sets of leaves (as is common with many Sativa strains), defoliation can sometimes do more harm than good. With a stretchy plant, the buds and inside of the plant are often already as exposed as they need to be for optimum results. Defoliation is most effective at increasing yields of bushy plants where buds get hidden by leaves, which is much less common with Sativa than Indica strains!
    Did I miss anything important? What are your thoughts?
    Last edited by NebulaHaze; 04-28-2017, 04:41 PM. Reason: Added point about defoliation, thanks @Weed Pharma!

  • #2
    Thanks for the great idea for a Sativa tutorial alltatup ! Here are Alltatup's own list of tips for growing Sativas, which is what inspired this post in the first place!

    TIPS FOR GROWING SUPER SATIVAS

    • Sativa-dominant strains tend to tolerate warmer temperatures and higher humidity levels versus indica strains during budding.
    • Sativas like LOTS of light intensity. The more you give, the better they respond, so long as temperatures don’t exceed 85 degrees and humidity is maintained at 55-65 percent RH.
    • Even though they grow like crazy, sativas typically respond better to light-fertilizer levels and less-frequent feedings.
    • To prevent an overfed root zone, flush with half-strength Flawless Finish every fourth watering.
    • Sativas tend to do most of their essential oil production at ripening.
    • To help bring your strains to maturity quicker, try shortening the day lengths to eight hours ON during the final weeks before harvest is anticipated.
    • Sativa strains are often unstable, extremely sensitive to environmental factors, and especially reactive to problems with nutrients, water quality, and root zone pH.
    • Under stress, they tend to develop hermaphroditic (male-female) flowers, or their floral development is otherwise mutated or delayed.
    • Many growers believe Sativa-dominant marijuana isn’t able to handle heavy feeding, but this isn’t totally accurate.
    • It’s more accurate to say it doesn’t like inferior feeding with fertilizers that contain harsh compounds and weak pH buffers, such as General Hydroponics, Botanicare, Emerald Harvest, Scotts Miracle-Gro, etc.
    • Use highly-bioactive, cannabis-specific beneficial microbial treatments such as Voodoo Juice, Tarantula, and Piranha, along with an enzymatic root zone cleanser and catalyst such as SensiZym.
    • Feed Microbial Munch to your beneficial microbials to help them thrive.
    • If you see 1/16th of an inch or less leaf tip burn from nutrients overfeeding, that’s acceptable.
    • More than that isn’t, and you’d want to back off your nutrients PPM until the tip burn is reduced.
    • Use less nitrogen than with other types of cannabis.This is tough because grow phase hydroponics base nutrients are nitrogen-heavy. My solution?
    • Feed a bloom phase hydroponics base nutrients product instead of grow phase base nutrients every second or third feeding during grow.
    • During early bloom phase, use Bud Ignitor—a supplement that creates more and earlier budding sites.
    • Add a carbohydrate feed such as Bud Candy during bloom phase.
    • Don’t forget to structurally support your plants. Supporting your Sativa cannabis plants by tying them from above is better than staking or netting.
    • Do a minor trim of needless large leaves (especially at bottom of plant) and sucker branches midway through bloom phase to assist light penetration.
    Be patient with Sativa.
    Sativa-dominant strains that are 70% or more Sativa genetics have bloom phases that last nine weeks minimum, and most of the time we’re talking much longer, such as 9-14 weeks.
    Let your cannabis plants mature to their full potential.
    Only harvest when 10-20% of their resin glands are starting to fall apart.
    Thought you might be interested, too, DingusKhan intergalactic_harvester

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you so much Nebula and Tat, these are an incredible collection of sativa lore that after reading so many other pages, I was completely lost. It's great to have this all in one place. You guys rule.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks so much Nebula for adding your information and pictures!!!

        Just want to repeat what I wrote before: my information was what I found in various articles online: none of it is my original writing. Just my notes for growing my sativas.
        Joined: 10-31-2016
        DWC/Hydroponic grow box 26" x 36",
        400 watt MH/HPS lights
        ActiveAqua chiller 1/10 hp
        Current grow:
        http://forum.growweedeasy.com/forum/...blk-dom-ww-c99

        Comment


        • #5
          thank you Nebula and Alltatup so is this going to be stored in the tutorial section?
          argo max tent ,big kahuna reflector, 1000hps with added leds for the full spectrum . current grow gorilla glue 14th indoor grow ,5 years outside gorilla grows(stealth is the key),veg under t5s

          Comment


          • NebulaHaze
            NebulaHaze commented
            Editing a comment
            Yes, I'll move it over after it gets some discussion

        • #6
          Great info im trying green dr my next round.

          Comment


          • #7
            Perfect timing. Just got my Super Lemon Haze seeds from Seedsman. How well do Sativa's do with training. Are they as easy to manifold and LST? I had some random free seeds from Nirvana that turned out to be almost pure landrace pheno's and they were so tall it was hard to find a good height for the light (either burning the tops or missing the bottom 2/3rds).

            Comment


            • alltatup
              alltatup commented
              Editing a comment
              See my grow 3 journal: I LST'd four sativas.

            • DingusKhan
              DingusKhan commented
              Editing a comment
              And a beautiful job, at that!

            • NebulaHaze
              NebulaHaze commented
              Editing a comment
              alltatup Your Sativa plants look great! I hope when your grow journal is finished you might let us feature your plants on the website!

          • #8
            NebulaHaze : sativa's generally do not respond favorably to defoliation, especially extreme. Their plant structure is open enough and does not require it.
            Sativa's are thirsty plants.
            You can downsize the container by about 1/3- to help control in a small tent - ie usually use 3 gal- sativa= 2 gal grow.
            Last edited by Weed Pharma; 04-28-2017, 12:38 PM.
            Roots Organic Original (amended) - Tents (16"x16"x48"), (20"x36"x63") and ( 2'x4'x6'), space bucket and window sill.LED's, Marshydro300w, Reflector series 48 & 96-150w UFOs

            grow journals-
            #1, http://forum.growweedeasy.com/forum/...oe-og-kush-50g

            #2, http://forum.growweedeasy.com/forum/...ck-herer-28-4g

            #3, http://forum.growweedeasy.com/forum/...nic-soil-24-7g

            Comment


            • 9fingerleafs
              9fingerleafs commented
              Editing a comment
              I also want to add. Stretchy sativas don't like to be supper cropped, they shoot right up and after a few days it's like you never touched it

            • NebulaHaze
              NebulaHaze commented
              Editing a comment
              I agree, if you're already seeing significant space between stems (as with most Sativa's), defoliation can do more harm than its worth. Defoliation is most effective with bushy plants (which is much more common with Indica strains)!

              Great point, I'll add it to the list!

            • DingusKhan
              DingusKhan commented
              Editing a comment
              How about topping? Manifolding? FIMing? What about growing outdoors?

          • #9
            Thank you for the updated info. I rang true for me when you discussed nitrogen toxicity. Thought I had done something wrong. Was feeding a sativa the same nutes as an indica and couldn't for the life of me figure why 1 had nitrogen toxicity and the other one not.
            It's not how crazy I am, but how much I enjoy it that makes me dangerous.

            Coco/Perlite 60/40, GH Nutrients and Calimagic, 5 Gal Fabric pots
            Germination lights 2 30watt LEDS
            Veg and Flowering 1 600 Watt GalaxyHydro LED

            Completed Grows. 1 Photoperiod and 2 Autos

            Current Grows: 1 mystery Auto 71 days, 1 White Widow Auto 62 days, 1 Amnesia Auto 62 days

            Comment


            • Weed Pharma
              Weed Pharma commented
              Editing a comment
              I ran across the same thing while I was developing an amended soil-
              Autos and Indicas did fine, but sativas started to yellow within a day or two of the flip.
              I was able to increase the amendments so the sativa's did not yellow, etc. and the others were not affected!

          • #10
            Great write up.
            Apocalypse DWC/250w floratrio, Floralicious+, Hydroguard, Cali Magic (foliar sprayed) alga-mic

            💚💧🌱🌲http://forum.growweedeasy.com/forum/...dwc-apocalypse

            Comment


            • #11
              I can't wait to apply this when I get my Zamaldelica

              Comment


              • alltatup
                alltatup commented
                Editing a comment
                Oh damn double oh: I looked it up and now I have to have it!!!! Damn.

              • 007
                007 commented
                Editing a comment
                Right!

            • #12
              Originally posted by 007 View Post
              I can't wait to apply this when I get my Zamaldelica
              I want to try some of that! Make sure you @mention me on your grow journal so I can follow along!

              Comment


              • 007
                007 commented
                Editing a comment
                Will do! Never grown a straight up sativa before, planned on doing a grow journal already

              • alltatup
                alltatup commented
                Editing a comment
                Sativa growers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your big fat leaves!!!!!!

            • #13
              I found the principle articles I got my information from: it's actually a two-part article from Buds Magazine, written by Nigel Salazar. Here is part one, with a link to part 2:
              http://bigbudsmag.com/marijuana-sati...-kush-growing/

              NebulaHaze What does he mean when he refers to "harsh compounds and weak pH buffers"? I would really like to understand why he dismisses the nute lines he mentions.
              Joined: 10-31-2016
              DWC/Hydroponic grow box 26" x 36",
              400 watt MH/HPS lights
              ActiveAqua chiller 1/10 hp
              Current grow:
              http://forum.growweedeasy.com/forum/...blk-dom-ww-c99

              Comment


              • alltatup
                alltatup commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks for all that information: I understand a bit better now and I realize that I have to do some serious reading in order to understand the science of cannabis nutrition.
                I read this article on Big Buds and found it quite disturbing about dangerous additives in some nutrients:
                http://bigbudsmag.com/are-the-bigges...growers-users/

                It makes me feel even more cynical about weed turning into big business. I feel like I will never know who is lying and who's telling the truth (present company excluded) about what's in nutes, which are good and which are dangerous to use. Like Jorge Cervantes's famous video of rinsing mildewed buds in H2O2 and water. We had a huge discussion here about it (I'm sure you remember), and from what the experts here said, I was convinced that rinsing buds wouldn't get rid of all the mildew.

              • NebulaHaze
                NebulaHaze commented
                Editing a comment
                I read that article and I did some research. Definitely some serious stuff! There are a few natural PGRs that are okay for cannabis and organic growing, like the naturally occurring gibberellin which would be found inside the plant anyway. However, it appears that in many places, nutrients or supplements with *synthetic* PGRs are required to label their products as "For Ornamental Use Only."

                Each PGR is designed for different applications, and some supposedly can make cannabis plants grow better, be more resistant to bugs and produce harder buds. Some growers use them for those reasons, but there's some worry about its effects on humans so at least in the state of California, synthetic PGRs cannot used in nutrients for plants meant for human consumption.

                I can definitely understand how scary it is to think of something bad going into your weed! It's definitely important to pay attention and understand what's actually in each supplement, not just for safety, but also to avoid snake oil products! I really believe in the KISS method (Keep It Simple, Stupid) for growing, and you can produce AMAZING buds using just base nutrients without any supplements whatsoever!

              • alltatup
                alltatup commented
                Editing a comment
                True dat!! I purchased the AN nutes because the buddy who grew this strain in a larger grow box than I have--1 plant, mind you--produced OVER A POUND of curing bud--sativa bud, which can be so much lighter after drying--using the AN nutes. I've been trying to follow his feeding schedule, etc.--he manifolded and I just LST'd so I could switch to 12/12 sooner.

                I so respect your chemical knowledge!! (not to mention the Greek and Latin!!! ;-}

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