Making the decision to cultivate cannabis is a very exciting thing, and often considered to be a big life milestone for cannabis enthusiasts. An expanding list of states and countries are allowing legal home cannabis cultivation for adult and/or medical use, and many consumers and patients are deciding to give it a try. And you’ll be able to increase your chance of success if you start with one of the four best strains for beginner growers.
It’s not surprising to see so many people starting cannabis gardens. Cultivating cannabis provides a number of benefits, not the least of which is cannabis to consume, obviously. Also, cultivating your own cannabis can be more cost-effective than buying it from a dispensary, you know exactly what went into the plant that you will eventually consume, and it’s a very fun activity to do, among many other reasons.
Cultivating cannabis is not as easy as some people think. Many people make the false assumption that all it takes to cultivate top-shelf cannabis, in addition to the plant itself, is some dirt, water, and light. After all, cannabis “grows like a weed,” right?
Unfortunately, that is not entirely the case. People can certainly cultivate cannabis like a weed and it will grow, however, it will not grow well. After all, how often have you seen a weed that is appealing enough to consume? The gap between a cannabis plant simply staying alive versus a cannabis plant thriving and ending up as a desirable end-product is significant.
Cultivating a cannabis plant from start to finish successfully takes attention to detail, ongoing effort, and the consideration of several factors. One of the biggest factors is deciding which cannabis strain to grow. Obviously, the strains that are available in any given legal jurisdiction vary widely, so for some aspiring cultivators, there may not be much to choose from.
For the lucky cultivators who have abundant strain options where they live, whether it’s via seeds or clones, there are certain strains that are better for novice cultivators to start out with. It is rare for someone to start cultivating cannabis and make all the right moves on the first try. If you talk to any long-time cannabis cultivator, they will likely be quick to offer up examples of times when they made poor decisions or avoidable growing mistakes when they were starting out.
Rookie cannabis cultivators would be wise to start their first grow with strains that are more tolerant to the ups and downs that inevitably arise with new gardens. A common mistake that newbies make is choosing a strain that they have an affinity for without considering how temperamental the strain can be to cultivate. It’s only after their plants are dead or their harvest is terrible that they realize they’ve made a mistake. Below are a handful of the best strains to start out with, along with factors to consider when choosing a new strain to add to your garden.
What Are The Best Strains For Beginner Growers?
According to Kevin Jodrey from Wonderland Nursery, four of the best strains for new cannabis cultivators to start with are:
- Bubba Kush
- Green Crack
The marijuana strains listed above are more “forgiving” than the average strain, meaning they’re more bug-resistant, disease-resistant, and produce a quality harvest in a relatively short amount of time.
Those particular cannabis strains are known for possessing better rooting capabilities than many other strains. A solid root base is the foundation for overall plant health because it’s how the plant absorbs water and nutrients. The listed strains are also easier to feed nutrients to because they grow well when fed nutrients that are more common and easy to obtain in legal markets. Newbie growers should avoid cultivating strains that have very specific nutrient requirements.
Bubba Kush, Green Crack, Dogwalker, and AK-47 are all hearty strains that can endure less than optimal climates. This is not to say that they will grow in the middle of winter or in a waterless desert, however, they do better during temperature and humidity fluctuations compared to most other strains.
All of these strains also have sturdy frames, which is very important for newbie cultivators. It’s almost inevitable that something will happen with a newbie’s cannabis plant(s) and create a scenario in which the plant needs to be moved, or the plant has to endure a gust of wind or contact with a swinging arm of the cultivator. The stronger the plant’s branches, the better the chances that it will not break from bending.
Other strains that are worth an honorable mention in any list of the best cannabis strains for newbie growers include Blue Dream, GG4, and Skunk hybrids. If you are not able to find seeds or clones in your area for Bubba Kush, Green Crack, Dogwalker or AK-47, you should look for these honorable mention strains — they each check a lot of the boxes on the list of desirable traits for a cannabis strain for first-time growers.
Know What Your Goals Are Ahead Of Time
The first question that any aspiring cannabis cultivator needs to ask themselves is, what is the goal of the garden? After all, if you don’t know what “the win” looks like, then how do you know if you’ve succeeded or failed when you’re ready for harvest?
For some cultivators, the final destination is not as important as the journey itself. “The win” for cultivators that fall into this category is simply spending time pursuing a cannabis cultivation hobby with a plant that grows. Regardless of what the final outcome is, having a plant to care for and watch grow is enough for them, and that’s perfectly fine.
Many other cultivators are likely growing cannabis so that they can produce high yields in a short amount of time. Regardless of what some breeders may say, there really isn’t one strain that is the highest yielder, grows the fastest, and produces the highest-quality cannabis. One strain may be the best at one of those things, but not all three.
With that in mind, the best approach for newbies is to find strains that have the greatest potential when all three categories are combined. Any of the strains mentioned in this article fit that description. You may not win a cannabis cup with those strains since they are not as exotic as other strains, however, you will increase your chances of successfully producing a harvest that you can enjoy and be proud of while developing your cultivation skill set that you can later use to cultivate strains that are known for being more temperamental.
Assessing Your Situation And Keeping Things In Perspective
Certain strains thrive in certain settings. Some strains prefer to be cultivated under the sun while others prefer to be grown indoors in controlled environments. Some plants need a lot of space and others do not. It is vital that you properly assess your situation and put a lot of thought into which strain is best for what you are working with.
If you are cultivating cannabis in a space that is small, especially from a height perspective, you will want to cultivate an indica-dominant strain like Bubba Kush because it will be shorter compared to a sativa-dominant strain. Conversely, if space is not an issue, you may want to consider cultivating a sativa strain.
For sun-grown cultivators specifically, you will want to research how long the sunny season lasts where you live as well as how much sun the area gets where you plan on putting your plants. If you are planning on planting directly into the native soil, you can test your grow medium to see if you need to optimize your soil or go with a strain that is best suited for that particular type of soil.
At all times you need to keep things in perspective. Nothing guarantees automatic success when it comes to cultivating cannabis, and the cannabis strain(s) used is absolutely part of that. Just because you choose a particular strain that is known for being easier to cultivate does not mean that you will hit a home run come harvest time. For that matter, it doesn’t guarantee that you will even have a harvest. Even the heartiest strains can still be killed, especially by a new grower who lacks in experience. Cultivating the right strain boosts the chances of success, but it doesn’t guarantee it.
Perform Your Research To Ensure Authenticity
Unfortunately, just because a seed company or clone seller claims that a strain is the “fill in the blank” strain doesn’t necessarily mean that the claim is accurate. Sometimes seeds or clones are mislabeled on purpose to boost sales while other times it’s just an honest mistake. Due to decades of cannabis prohibition, the legal industry is still relatively young, and cannabis genetic testing is still in its infancy and is not available in most areas.
To boost your chances of making a purchase of the strain that you actually want, only buy cannabis seeds or clones from reputable outlets. Try to avoid purchasing cannabis seeds online or clones from unregulated sources. The last thing that you want to do is put a tremendous amount of time and effort into cultivating a particular strain just to find out that it’s not the strain that you originally wanted.
Due to how long cannabis takes to cultivate from start to finish, newbie growers will not find out that they were sold the wrong strain for weeks or months. Nothing 100% mitigates the chances of being sold the wrong genetics, however, making purchases through reputable outlets mitigates it from happening as much as reasonably possible.
What about plants high in CBD.? I am currently growing 3 plants from ACDC seeds which I purchased. . They all look healthy and big. But they all look different. One is much taller with a thick stem, another bushy. One has tough dry leaves and hard flowers. I am surprised their genetics look so different. Any ideas on this?
thanks Sabina Lanier
also in autoflowering seed, most first time growers are too impatient for photoperiod cultivars & variety…
Those of us who use the plant for medical reasons, have reason to believe (e.g. Dr. Rav Ivker’s book) that strains having a CBD:THC ratio of 1:1 or greater, which do not have very high levels of THC, produce a better result. These strains appear to have THC in the 15-29% range, and minimal CBD.