Top 10 In cannabis terms, ‘indoor growing’ is basically shorthand for ‘growing cannabis indoors under special lighting using fans, timers, and often watering systems or other specialized equipment to recreate nature and provide the plants with everything they need to flourish as though they are growing outdoors under the best possible conditions’.
The nomenclature can be confusing. If you happen to be in an Amsterdam coffeeshop, the words ‘Indoor’ and ‘Outdoor’ on the menu refer to where the cannabis was grown, not where you can consume it. People who are new to the wonderful world of cultivating their own cannabis can be under the impression that indoor growing simply means ‘not outside’. Many an inexperienced first-timer has been disappointed when the plant that they are attempting to nurture on their kitchen windowsill as though it was a geranium fails to thrive and flower. However, with the advent of autoflowering cannabis seeds, now even windowsill growing can be successful!
What are the advantages of indoor growing?
Cultivating cannabis indoors means that you can control all the elements that are necessary to produce the finest quality buds. You can begin at any time of year rather than having to wait for the spring. Your crops are protected from unexpected weather such as frosts, very heavy rain, or high winds. They are also safe from predators such as rabbits, deer, and teenagers. With the right preparation and the right seeds, indoor cannabis growing has many advantages for various different groups of gardeners, from beginner to medicinal, casual to connoisseur.
What should you bear in mind when choosing an indoor strain?
There are a few basic elements that should be considered when choosing which seeds to buy for an indoor grow. Your level of gardening experience; your budget; whether you want an indica, a sativa, or a hybrid; and the size and shape of your grow area should all have influence on what strain you decide to buy. Here (in no particular order) we have collected ten of the best cannabis strains for indoor growing, with handy tips for their ideal use.
Top Three Autoflowering Cannabis Strains for Indoor Growing
Sensi Skunk Automatic
• People on a budget
Sensi Skunk Automatic is a wonderfully easy and rewarding strain. These seeds are both feminized and autoflowering, for a hassle-free grow. It harnesses the qualities that have made Skunk a household name and multiple award winner, and delivers them in a format that even people with no gardening experience or special equipment can achieve great results with. The autoflowering component, bred from a carefully selected Ruderalis strain, causes the plants to begin flowering without the need for a change in lighting cycles. After about five weeks, you should see the first buds begin to develop on these compact bushes. Harvesting can take place around fifty days later.
Sensi Skunk was bred with the intention of making a delicious, robust, affordable Skunk and was one of the first strains we chose to develop a feminized expression of, followed by this Automatic version. The flavour is sweet and citrus-infused rather than being on the pungent, herbal end of the Skunk spectrum. Bright notes of lemon and lime combine with a base of candy and bubblegum. The effect is potent, uplifting without being overpowering, making it good for daytime use. Beginners especially will benefit from its forgiving, resilient nature, as it will bounce back from most of the common cultivation mistakes.
Super Skunk Automatic
• Medicinal growers
• Multiple crops per year
Strong, sturdy and skunky, Super Skunk Automatic provides a powerful indica effect but without making you too sleepy. Good news for medicinal consumers seeking pain and stress relief without the heavy ‘couchlock’ which is often a feature of potent indica-dominant strains. Medicinal growers also benefit from how low-maintenance it is. With no need to remove male plants, change lighting cycles or perform any training or pruning (unless you want to!), this is a great variety to consider if you have low energy levels. Once it has started blooming (when the seedlings are about four weeks old) it is even resistant to changes in photoperiod. This means that not only will it not be stressed if there is a problem with growroom lighting, but that you can – in a pinch – actually grow it on a sunny windowsill during summer.
The flowering period takes approximately 65 days, so it is possible to achieve up to three crops per year in a well-organised grow space. Together with its small to average size and reliable performance, this makes Super Skunk Automatic an excellent candidate for getting the most from compact growspaces.
Northern Lights Automatic
• Intermediate growers looking for something special
• Powerful effects
One of the most famous cannabis varieties of all time is now gloriously easy to grow. Northern Lights has won many awards, been mentioned in various songs, and continues to easily outdo more recent hybrids at cannabis fairs and events in terms of flavour, yield and effect. This feminized autoflowering version of the original Northern Lights is a good choice for growers who have a little experience and want to try something really special, and also for those who want a connoisseur quality product but are limited in time and/or energy.
The plants will stay quite small, usually finishing at just under a metre, and have a short flowering period of about 55 days. Flowering is triggered once the seedlings are around a month old, sometimes even sooner, so you can look forward to pleasing harvests of dense, sparkling buds as many as three times a year under the right circumstances!
Top Three Feminized Cannabis Strains for Indoor Growing
Northern Lights #5 x Haze Feminized
• Connoisseur growers
• Small areas with a lot of ceiling height
If you’ve already got numerous successful indoor grows under your belt, and you want to try something that both requires and rewards skill and patience, this feminized version of the world-famous Northern Lights #5 x Haze is for you.
Yes, it has a flowering period of at least 10 weeks, and can run to even longer. Yes, it can – and often does – quadruple in height during said flowering period. Yes, it is one of the most expensive strains on the market. Yes, it requires attention, tender loving care and extra support for the lateral branches once the gigantic, spiralling buds are in their final stages of development. However, yes – it is one of the most beautiful, powerful and high yielding plants you will ever come across.
Both parents of this multiple award winning legend are globally renowned; Northern Lights #5 x Haze is basically the Shiloh Jolie-Pitt of the cannabis world. Combining the stellar high of an original Haze with the outrageous resin production of Northern Lights, this feminized strain will amaze and delight the experienced, ambitious gardener with its potent effects and mouth-watering flavours of fruit and chamomile.
Big Bud Feminized
• Very high yields
• SOG or topping
Whether you decide to flower whilst still in the seedling phase for plants that will finish at around a foot high, or prolong the vegetation time to achieve something the size of a Christmas tree, Big Bud Feminized will produce a gargantuan amount of bud for its size. Long a favourite of growers who prize yield above all other qualities, this award-winning strain is rarely surpassed in that area. Big Bud is the result of a painstaking breeding program that blended a prized Afghan cultivar with the Skunk Afghan genetics of the original clone-only Big Bud, resulting in a pungent indica-dominant variety. The colas it produced were so massive that the name for this new strain was immediately self-evident!
Big Bud Feminized is very well suited to SOG techniques. Conical and chunky, the plants do not spend a lot of energy on producing lateral branches unless they are topped – in which case, you will be rewarded by gorgeous candelabras covered in dense buds. Lollipopping can also give good results when applied by growers who already have some experience.
Silver Haze #9 Feminized
• Sativa lovers
• SCROG, training, super-cropping
Some people are deterred from growing Haze varieties by their infamously long flowering period, their height, and their tendency to keep on vegetating even under a 12/12 light cycle. Whilst Silver Haze #9 Feminized does have these characteristics to some degree, the final result is well worth the effort! The yields are large, the high is exquisite and a lot of work has been done by the Sensi Seeds breeders to ensure that the plants are homogenous and reliable. Another common view of Hazes is that they can be delicate, but this strain is vigorous and robust enough to thrive when techniques such as training and super-cropping are used. If you are in a situation where you are limited to a certain number of plants, yet not the space in which you can grow them, these are great ways of maximising your crop.
SCROG is also an option for the experienced cultivator, as Silver Haze #9 Feminized grows tall and narrow with only marginal lateral branching (and has the obvious advantage of being feminized so you don’t have to wade in looking for males during flowering). With zealous resin production and a classic flavour, this Haze won’t disappoint you.
Top Four Regular Cannabis Strains for Indoor Growing
Maple Leaf Indica
• Resin production
• Distinctive flavour
If you think you’re over pure indicas, think again. Although for many years they were the staple of indoor growers thanks to their short flowering times, high yields and reliable growth patterns, once stable sativa-dominant hybrid strains began to emerge, they rapidly eclipsed many of the old-school indicas in terms of popularity. The attraction of the new is a powerful force.
However, there are some classic indica strains that still more than hold their own against the hybrid newcomers. Maple Leaf Indica is one of these. It is a direct descendant of the famed Mazar-I-Sharif, smuggled out of Afghanistan just prior to the former Soviet Union invading the area that gave the strain its name. This ancestor is possibly the most famous and potent original Afghan variety, and the hash produced from it has caught many an experienced consumer unawares with its potency. The resin production of Maple Leaf Indica makes it an ideal hash making plant, but you may find yourself unable to crush the beautiful, dense, deep-green buds that these vigorous plants produce in abundance!
In contrast to many Afghan breeds, the flavour of Maple Leaf Indica has a distinctive sweet citrus tang, similar to candied peel, overlaying its deep earthy tones.
• Perfect indica / sativa balance
• Exciting quadruple phenotypes
One of the reviews of Jack Herer is simply titled “Nothing compares to Jack”. After nearly half a century of cannabis breeding, this still holds true. Half indica, half sativa, a perfect balance of body stone and cerebral high, this strain has (as far as we know) won more awards than any other variety of cannabis. If you are looking for a perfectly homogenous strain, Jack Herer is not for you; the surging tides of indica and sativa within its genetic makeup express themselves in four different phenotypes. However, three of them are sativa-dominant and can flower and finish at the same time, making it easy to work with. The fourth, an indica-dominant expression, has a slightly faster flowering time and chunkier buds.
As you would expect from a strain that leans heavily towards sativa characteristics, Jack Herer will continue to increase its height during the flowering period and the lateral branches will form a candelabra-like shape around the main stem. As the huge, spiralling colas develop, some extra support may be needed to prevent thinner branches splitting under their weight! Its namesake, the activist and author of The Emperor Wears No Clothes, was something of a legend himself and this astonishing variety is a fitting tribute.
Shiva Shanti II
• Milder effect
• Beginners on a budget
Fast, tough, forgiving, cheap, and with an effect that is on the milder end of the scale, Shiva Shanti II could almost be named ‘My First Cannabis’. One of the guiding principles of Sensi Seeds has always been to make the best cannabis genetics available to as many people as possible, which is why Shiva Shanti II has such a low price yet such high quality performance. A 75% indica, mostly via the Afghan side of its heritage, it has a fast flowering time and average height gain, yet delivers sizeable yields. The Skunk that makes up the rest of its lineage adds a bright high and hint of citrus to the relaxing body stone and garlicky aroma.
Despite being described as mild, when its flowers are consumed they are by no means ineffectual. Shiva Shanti II can be thought of as a vintage strain, harking back to the seventies when grow techniques were nowhere near as advanced as they are now. Together with its gentle influence, the oldschool flavours make it an excellent choice for people who enjoy consuming but do not want to become incapacitated. Ideal for the weekend or occasional user, and all novice growers!
• Large, fast yields
• Compact grow spaces
The blend of genetics in American Dream come from diverse regions. One of the advantages that Sensi Seeds has is being able to draw from an exciting and highly varied gene pool to create exceptional strains. American Dream brings together the reliability, speed and potency of our classic Skunk – Afghani hybrid with the delicious, rarefied high of sativas from Jamaica and Hawaii. The resulting strain produces compact plants with dense, spiky buds and a consistent Xmas tree shape which makes them easy to work with in small grow areas. Also coming from their indica heritage is the short flowering time (45 – 50 days) and deep, earthy, distinctively Afghan flavours. Not to be outdone, the sativa side expresses itself in tropical fruity topnotes and a very giggly element to the effects of consuming it, which nicely balances the body stone. Despite the stocky nature of the plants and the short blooming period, American Dream produces large yields.
American Dream seeds are, so far, only available as a regular strain so attention will need to be paid to removing males as soon as they make themselves known. However, it has plenty of qualities that make it well worth this small effort!
We hope you have found inspiration for your first – or next – adventure into cannabis. Some final things to remember: don’t be discouraged by mistakes. Everybody starts somewhere, and even such legends as Eagle Bill (for whom Sensi Seeds has named their newest strain) made errors in the beginning (he used to shake his male plants to demonstrate how much pollen was on them, not realising that not only were the males useless, but he was pollinating his females!). Learn from your mistakes, and if you are an absolute beginner, pick a strain that will be likely to bounce back from them.
Educate yourself on growroom safety. This is essential when you are mixing water and electricity, especially in a space that you are probably not going to be spending lots of time in every day, so you may not spot hazards until it’s too late.
Finally, always buy from a reputable seed bank! There seem to be websites popping up every week that claim to send seeds worldwide, to have the best genetics, to have the lowest prices. Sensi Seeds sometimes receives queries about sites that make these claims, especially if they are selling seeds with the names of our strains. Buying directly from our website, our Amsterdam shops, or one of our trusted affiliates (you can contact us to check, or look for the ‘Sensi Seeds Authorized Dealer’ sticker with the current year) is the safest and most reliable option for getting what you want. And don’t you deserve that?