You know the basics of growing good marijuana. But what about growing great Indica marijuana in particular?
Sativa and Indica plants grow differently. This is logical, since they evolved in distinctly different climates. Sativa types come from hot, tropical regions while Indica strains originated in the harsh mountainous parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
As a result, the two types demonstrate different growth patterns. With a little planning you can make the variations work to your advantage.
Here are seven steps to growing exceptional Indica buds.
1. Start with the Right Strain
There are so many seed strains on the market; it can be hard to pick the best one. Here’s the secret to growing great Indica bud: choose a strongly Indica dominant hybrid.
You will have better results with a strong hybrid than a pure Indica variety. Hybrids are more resilient. They often have greater resistance to pests and rot than full strains.
Here are a few Indica dominant strains we recommend for starting out:
- Short, stout and flavorful. The body buzz is coupled with an energetic cerebral high.
- Powerful Indica buds. Flowers in just 8 weeks and the smoke will keep you on the couch for hours.
- Multiple award winning strain. Classic short, bushy Indica growth and a knock-out stone.
2. The Trick to Vegetating Marijuana
You can control the size of your plants by varying the length of time you allow them to remain in the vegetative stage. As soon as you change your lights to a 12/12 schedule, flowering is stimulated. The plants may stretch during flowering, but their maximum potential size is already set.
A common guideline is to try to get six large main branches per square foot under your lights. An average 1000 Watt HID provides strong light in a 16 square foot area with good reflectors. A good 500 Watt full-spectrum LED will cover the same space.
Full Spectrum LED Fact: The same 500 Watt full-spectrum LED which covers 16 square feet of flowering cannabis can cover 25 square feet of vegging plants.
For Indica dominant strains grown under a light which covers 16 square feet, you can place the following number of plants:
|Length of Vegetative Growth Stage||Number/Size of Planting Containers|
|One week||30 one gallon pots|
|Two weeks||12 two gallon pots|
|Three weeks||9 three gallon pots|
|Four weeks||6 five gallon pots|
|Five weeks||4 ten gallon pots|
|Six weeks or more||1-2 twenty gallon pots|
3. Grow Small, Fast and Full
For the highest yields of quality buds from Indica type marijuana, you want to grow fast and small. This means packing as many plants as possible into your grow space and limiting the time they spend vegging. There are two easy ways to accomplish this:
- Sea of Green (SOG):
This Sea of Green Dutch technique is very simple. You only allow your plants to veg for two weeks, then you switch your lights and start flowering.
The plants stay small, so you can grow lots of them. They will require no training or pruning. Best of all, you shave up to two months off their growing cycle, so you can achieve extra harvests each year.
If you are growing from seed this strategy is expensive. It is best used when you have lots of cuttings from a mother plant.
Screen of Green (SCOG):
SCOG is very similar to SOG. You use a screen to train your plants to grow horizontally instead of vertically. This forms a canopy, with all of the budding sites at the same height. The goal is to allow light to reach all the budding sites uniformly.
SCOG is one of the most efficient growing systems out there. It is especially well suited to bushy Indica strains, which are easily encouraged to grow out instead of up.
4. Train for Higher Yields
Unlike leggy Sativa plants, Indica strains generally don’t reach staggering heights. They grow short, squat and bushy, with thick leaves.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be training them. On the contrary, it is really easy to get Indica strains to do what you want. Here are two of the best training techniques for Indica plants:
Low Stress Training (LST):
LST is a gentle training technique. It is often combined with topping for best results. In this method, you pinch off the tip of the growing plant below the node. It responds by sending up two new shoots. As they grow these too can be topped.
Once you have several end shoots, you can encourage lateral growth by tying the branches down. This will cause the plant to grow out, forming a canopy similar to that seen with SCOG.
For more information about LST, check out our Training Techniques Guide.
Also called High Stress Training, this technique involves injuring the plant. It responds by growing more vigorously, to survive the perceived threat. Super Cropping is only effective during the vegetative stage, as the plant goes dormant during flowering.
To learn all about Super Cropping, check out this page.
5. Give them a Cool Breeze
Think about the environment that Indica strains evolved in. Even in the summer, nighttime temperatures in the mountains of the Hindu Kush drop significantly. Unlike their Sativa counterparts who like the consistency of tropical temperatures, Indica strains are used to fluctuations.
For the best harvest, make sure you let the grow room temperature drop 10-15°F each night, especially during flowering.
6. Protect your Plants from Mold
Indica strains are famous for their rock hard, resinous buds. They come from a cool, dry region, where water is scarce. This means that they often lack resistance to mold and bud rot.
There are several steps you can take to prevent mold problems in your Indica plants:
- Ventilation: Good air flow is key to healthy buds.
- Trimming leaves: The heavy, broad leaves of an Indica are designed to shade the plant and preserve water. To increase air circulation you can trim fan leaves back late in flowering.
- Proper humidity: Control the humidity of your grow room. Don’t let it top 50% during the flowering, and keep it below 40% during the last two weeks.
- Proper watering: If you are growing in soil, let the top of the dirt dry out between waterings.
7. Proper Drying and Curing
Your job isn’t over after the harvest. For the best Indica buds, you need to cure them properly. We have a full article on harvesting drying and curing marijuana.
Throughout most of the grow, an Indica is easier to handle than a Sativa. But that changes when you begin drying. Those dense buds are prone to mold and need to be handled carefully.
Here are a few things you can do to prepare your Indica buds properly:
- Dry them in a dark room;
- Dry them in a place with good ventilation;
- Do not blow air directly on the plants. This will dry the outside only and the inside of the buds may mold;
- Trim some of the sugar leaves early:
Normally you wait to trim the sugar leaves until it is time to cure the plant. Yet if you have exceptionally large, dense buds, removing some sugar leaves early during drying will help prevent mold;
- Plants are dry when the large stems crack rather than bend between your fingers;
- Cure in glass jars and watch them carefully;
Especially during the first few days you may need to open the jars more often as moisture builds up. Open the lids at least twice a day for fifteen minutes
Grow Great Indica Marijuana
Growing great Indica plants should be a joy. After all, most growers will tell you it is a lot easier than growing great Sativa buds. But Indica’s are not without their challenges. They are especially prone to mold and rot thanks to their dense buds and lack of air circulation. With a little attention and care, your plants will stay healthy.
Remember, the mantra for high Indica yields is: small and fast. Grow your first batch from high quality seeds to find the best mother plant. Once you have clones start up a SOG or SCOG set-up and you’ll be in business before you know it.