High Quality Strains for Hobbyist Growers

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In an excerpt from Ed Rosenthal’s latest book, the infamous cultivator seeks advice from noted cannabis breeders on growing the highest quality strains.

I asked some of my favorite seed breeders to suggest their best cultivar for home growers. The stipulations were that each was easy to grow, adapted easily to different environments, and most importantly, that it had a distinctive personality. The breeders responded with some great suggestions for quality strains. 

Each cultivar is handsome, above average and potently effective. A garden featuring these selections will provide you with a library of wonderful sensations to fit time, space and mood. A couple of the strains produce high ratios of CBD.

Here’s the list.:

Blueberry Muffin

Parents: The Razz (Razzleberry) x P.P.D (formerly known as Purple Panty Dropper)

Indica/Sativa ratio: 65% – 35% 

Breeder: Nathaniel Pennington 

Seed Company: Humboldt Seed Company

Humboldt Seed Company recommends Blueberry Muffin because it is easy to grow. It has a sturdy stalk and resistance to molds, mildews and pests. This strain pretty much maintains itself. 

Blueberry Muffin is a shorter stocky type 65%-35% indica/sativa hybrid that produces bountiful buds for its size, beautifully tinged with purple flakes. With a quick flowering cycle of 45-60 days you will have plump, trichome coated buds before you know it. 

The variety grows well both indoors and outdoors, but it tends to stretch unless it is pruned to branch. Once pruned, it can be trained to a screen of green (scrog). 

Both environments bring out the real blueberry muffin smell that has been compared favorably to the Jiffy brand blueberry muffin mix. The fruity aroma extends to the flavor of the inhalation. Leafly reviews show Blueberry Muffin is the world’s most aptly named strain. A heads up for indoor growers: Be prepared for pervasive terpenes that tend to overpower other varietals in a grow room or greenhouse. 

Blueberry Muffin is also known for the fact that it seems to lack any paranoia inducing characteristics. The high is relaxing and happy and induces a positive attitude. It can be used when doing routine work, but it does not encourage creativity or mind wandering. This is useful for medical patients medicating throughout the day. It’s also a good choice for individuals new to cannabis. 

“Blueberry Muffin is a gentle strain that is here on this earth to help people… she wants to be given organic soil and real sun ideally, but she will provide her medicine whenever and however she is needed”  — Humboldt Seed Company

Cheese Quake

Parents: Exodus Cheese X Querkle (Urkle x Space Queen)

Indica/Sativa ratio: 60% – 40% 

Breeder: Subcool

Seed Company: The Dank (Formerly TGA Seeds)

When asked about a recommendation for home-growers, Subcool enthusiastically recommends Cheese Quake. “It’s easy to grow and pretty to look at,” he says.   

It’s a heavy producer with purple leaves and an aroma that is a blend of fruit and cheese, which it inherited from its parents Querkle and Cheese. The buds are more round than cone shape. Cheese Quake grows well both indoors and outdoors. Indoors the plant is short and stocky. Outdoors, it grows over 6 ft tall given enough time without being topped. This variety is perfect for SOG when it is flowered early. Flowering time is 8-9 weeks. 

The terpene profile is high in myrcene, which enables the high to take effect sooner because of its ability to allow THC to reach the brain cells more rapidly. Even Subcool has been surprised at the intensity of the high. He describes it as “mental energy that can be confusing, yet delightful.” However, in reviews two thirds of respondents used the terms, happy, relaxed, and euphoric. Myrcene is also associated with analgesic and anti-depressive qualities. Reviewers also noted relief from stress and anxiety as well as muscular pain. 

Subcool describes the taste as a “grape cheese danish.” It picks up the grape from the Querkle on the inhale and an exhale that is the cherry and the sourness associated with the cheese varieties. 

“By combining the grapey-lavender taste of Purple Urkle with the unique smell and taste of Cheese created a flavor so incredible it instantly became my favorite Cheese hybrid.” ­ —Subcool.

Mendocino Skunk

Parents: Skunk #1, Haze, and Afghani 

Indica/Sativa ratio: 60% – 40% 

Breeder’s Name: Luc Krol 

Seed Company Name: Paradise Seeds

When asked to recommend a variety for the hobby grower, Mendocino Skunk was the clear choice. It’s part of the Tommy Chong collection. 

Mendocino Skunk is a very manageable plant because it does not get too large, accommodating growers with limited growing space. Size does not limit the yield. The plant is short, with a thick central cola and robust side branches. Indoors the plant grows up to 5 feet. Outdoors, especially in sunny climates and given enough time, the plant grows to 6.5 feet tall. It has a higher flower to leaves ratio and more dry weight than many classic indica skunk strains

The Mendocino genetics make this a good choice for growers in North America, Europe, and Canada. Flowering time is 7-8 weeks. In developing this hybrid, Paradise Seeds created a high that balances the energizing qualities of sativas with the relaxing effect of indicas resulting in an experience generally described as positive and uplifting. Routine daily tasks can be handled as normal, and with even more focus. Myrcene, caryophyllene and limonene are the dominant terpenes. And of course, there is that robust aroma of earthy skunkiness. 

“It was a challenge for us when Tommy Chong asked us to develop seeds that are called Choice of Legends, but we worked hard in our breeding rooms and we are super pleased with the final results.” —Paradise Seeds

Grapefruit Web

Parents: Charlotte’s Web x Grapefruit Web F2

Indica/Sativa ratio: 60% – 40% 

Breeder: Professor P 

Seed Company: Relic Seeds

Relic Seeds’ recommendation of Grapefruit Web is a variety that offers a balanced 1:1 ratio of CBD and THC. The mom, Charlotte’s Web is a legendary high CBD cultivar recognized for medicinal use. The dad provided by SowLow Farms contributed a rich array of terpenes resulting in a very tasty hybrid. 

Both parents passed down performance as high yielders to their progeny. Grapefruit Web is a beast of a plant, producing enormous colas of massive proportions. The breeder advises that stakes are certainly required considering the girth on the terminal buds.   

The plant performs well indoors and out. Grapefruit Web grows in the typical christmas tree shape with large spear shaped colas. There is a slight purple fade during maturation. Flowering time is shorter than average; 7-8 weeks. 

Smelling like fresh cut pink grapefruit, the aroma and taste are refreshing yet calming due to the terpene profile. The top four terpenes are beta-myrcene, linalool, limonene and pinene balancing the alertness induced by pinene with the relaxation associated with linalool.

Grapefruit Web has an extremely inviting buzz, great for users of all levels. It’s an even keeled head/body high that is great for any time of the day.

“She’s an easy plant to succeed with for several reasons: Easy to grow, large yields, and short bloom times” —Relic Seeds

Northern Lights

Parents: NL #1 x NL #2 x NL #3

Indica/Sativa ratio: 90% -10%

Breeder: Sensi Seeds

Seed Company: Sensi Seeds

Northern Lights is a classic strain and one of the most famous indica varieties. There are now many variations on its name and genetics. During its original development, Sensi Seeds was able to acquire one of three pure types of Northern Lights, and have maintained the intent of plant vigor and potency.

A petite plant averaging between 3½-5 feet, Northern Lights is fast-flowering, resilient, and produces dense, resin-rich flowers. Highly adapted to indoor growing, Northern Lights is a satisfying yielder that can finish in just over 6 weeks. It is very well suited to the ‘sea of green’ method. Because the buds are so dense, be sure to provide a proper airflow to prevent any humidity build-up within them. In cooler climates it will give excellent results when grown in a greenhouse. In warmer climates Northern Lights will do well outdoors developing into massive trees. 

The aroma is a pungently sweet herbal aroma with pepper and citrus notes and the taste is a flavorful mixture of sweet and spice. 

Although Northern Lights is a high THC strain with very little CBD present, the presence of the terpenes myrcene, caryophyllene and limonene result in a very calming effect. This strain is a great variety to relax and can be used to ease stress and pain. It is also well suited to people having issues sleeping. 

“This strain is great one for beginners and experts alike and is available in regular, feminized and auto-flowering variants.”   —Sensi Seeds

Sensi Skunk

Parents: (Afghani x Skunk #1) x Skunk #1

Indica/Sativa ratio: 80% – 20% 

Breeder: Sensi Seeds

Seed Company: Sensi Seeds

Sensi Skunk is a potent hybrid, leaning heavily towards indica characteristics. The variety is a favorite with beginners and aficionados alike. Sensi Seeds specifically bred the variety for ease of cultivation. It has a vigorous growth pattern with a comparatively short flowering time. 

The plant is average in height with strong branches, easily manageable growth, rapidly-swelling buds and sizable harvest of thick, pungent colas covered in resin. Left to its own devices, this plant grows in a christmas tree shape with a main central cola. The plant can produce a large yield with minimal care; it is easy to grow indoors and outdoors.

Outdoors this plant’s potential is truly expressed, producing high yields between the end September and mid-October. In temperate climates Sensi Skunk grows well in a normal warm summer. The breeder recommends cultivating below 42 degrees north, which covers American gardens from the Oregon-California border across to the New York-Pennsylvania border and south. This also includes Southern Europe, parts of China and even North Korea.

Sensi Skunk delivers an attention grabbing sugary-citrus bouquet that’s uniquely different from the regular skunk funk. A refreshing sweet-citrus aroma infuses each bud. The overall effect of Sensi Skunk is a balanced one. Its effects will make you relaxed, happy, and euphoric, without being overwhelmingly strong. 

“Quick to bloom, thick-budding and potent enough to surprise even a jaded smoker, Sensi Skunk is also very forgiving when growing and flowering, making her a strain that is actually quite difficult to mess up.” —Sensi Seeds 

Chocolate Tonic

Parents: Cannatonic x Chocolate Kush 

Indica/Sativa:  35% – 65% 

Seed Breeder: The Purple Caper

Seed Company: Purple Caper Seeds

This strain originated from a CBD project designed to help patients with a range of conditions: pain management, seizures, and inflammation, and cancer treatment. The breeder crossed a high THC father with a high CBD mother. Both were chosen for their cannabinoid content, vigor, and yield, and the tendency to pass the desired traits from each to the offspring. 

Chocolate Tonic offers a 2:1 CBD to THC ratio. The typical gardener can expect 14% CBD and 7% THC, as well as small amounts of CBC and CBG. 

Chocolate Tonic is very versatile and can grow in any environment. It takes on a christmas tree shape with little branching so it’s best to prune from above. Plants can reach heights of eight feet outdoors. It’s a strong grower that can withstand heat, drought, and even being root-bound. Outdoors, when planted in May and grown in the ground or planted with 6-foot centers, look for a yield of three pounds per plant. Ripens in October. Indoors flowering time is 8-10 weeks. Expect 1.5 pounds per light. 

Pain relief is a key feature of the high. The numbing and relaxing qualities are also sleep inducing after a long day. Chocolate Tonic lives up to its name with a chocolate, piney, citrus  flavor.

“This CBD strain grows like a weed and can handle abuse.” —Purple Caper 

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