Once upon a time, when a cannabis strain was described as indica or sativa, we used to be talking about the strain’s genetic and geographic origins.
But in today’s brave new cannabis world, the focus has shifted to marijuana genetics — that is, a world in which hybridized breeding has combined genetics from diverse types of cannabis from all around the world. For that reason, the terms indica and sativa are no longer descriptors of genetics. Rather, they describe the two major categories of a strain’s attributes, which includes:
- Structure and botanical characteristics, such as how tall the plant grows, its branching structure, bloom-phase duration and feeding preferences.
- The psychoactive and medical effects the strain produces when consumed.
In the case of No. 1, when a cannabis seed breeder or grower describes a photoperiod strain as indica, they’re specifying the following structural and botanical characteristics:
- An indica strain tends to have wide-bladed large leaves.
- Tends toward short, dense architecture, with untopped plants rarely growing taller than five feet indoors.
- Produces dense buds that are large in diameter.
- Can handle a high-parts-per-million feed program.
- Resistant to pests and diseases, although fat, dense indica buds are prone to gray mold.
- A heavy yielder.
- The odor and taste from indica strains are that of sweet fruits, cookies, musk and skunk, rather than spicy, lemony or diesel.
- Heavy resin production means indica strains are great for making bubble hash, dry sift, kief, live resins and rosin.
- Photoperiod indica bloom phase can be as short as 46 days and not much longer than 60 days.
- Some indica varieties are ideal for the sea of green grow technique, if they don’t display much side branching. Look for plants that naturally grow fast and short, with one huge main cola.
So, indica strains are usually easier to grow than sativa or Afghanica (Kush) because they’re hardier, shorter, higher-yielding, and have shorter bloom-phase duration. And in the case of the strain’s psychoactive and medical effects, indica suggest the following characteristics:
- Produces a sedating, couchlock high. Not known for creating racing thoughts, mental stimulation or energized euphoria.
- Medicinal effects include analgesia, anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxation, anti-anxiety, sedation and restorative sleep.
If a trustworthy cannabis breeder selling seeds commercially has accurately determined their strain to be true indica, then you can be relatively assured the strain will have most if not all of the noted characteristics. Knowing the physical, psychoactive and medical traits of indica cannabis can help you tailor your cultivation techniques and equipment to achieve maximum yield and potency.
Here’s How To Cultivate Indica For Yield And Potency
Indica In Grow Phase
Give your seedlings or clones 4–5 weeks in grow phase, utilizing a quality hydroponics base nutrients formula that includes Connoisseur pH Perfect or Iguana Juice Organic Grow, along with B-52 vitamin booster and Ancient Earth.
Top your plants only once, at week three in grow phase. Then, at the end of grow phase, flush thoroughly using Flawless Finish.
Indica In Bloom Phase
At the beginning of bloom phase, switch to Bud Ignitor to stimulate budding site and floral development. Your feed program should be aggressive at this point and founded on Connoisseur pH Perfect base nutrients. In week two of bloom phase, begin using Rhino Skin.
Provide intense, high quality, mixed light in bloom phase, such as 600 watts of high pressure sodium and 400 watts of metal halide.
As buds continue to ripen and fatten, keep grow-room relative humidity in the range of 52–57 percent, and do everything within your power to prevent gray mold spores from entering the room, while also discouraging conditions favorable to mold flourishing. To avoid gray mold, underwater your plants slightly. Normal and excessive watering will pump moisture into the buds, which can promote the growth of gray mold.
Also, ensure fans provide a steady breeze directly onto plants, plus a carbon filtration system inside the grow room and inline in the room’s exhaust and air exchange systems.
In peak bloom phase, use Big Bud, Bud Candy and Nirvana, while late bloom is the time to start using Overdrive to ensure you get heavier harvests and more THC, CBD and terpenoid production.
Keep lights-off temperatures 6–9 degrees cooler than lights-on temps, and be sure to maintain 52–57-percent relative humidity during lights-off. Lights-on temps should be below 77°F, unless you’re adding CO2 to the grow op, in which case you can go as high as 80°F.
Although indica plants tend to have sturdy side branches, be prepared to support branches that are laden with huge, fat buds.
Beginning around 47 days in bloom phase, start to closely monitor resin glands. Some indica strains’ resin glands turn cloudy or amber in peak bloom. When 25 percent or more of the glands aren’t crystal clear, this would normally be a signal to commence flushing and harvesting.
However, in the case of indica, resin gland discoloration may be present early, without it being indicative of a need to flush and harvest.
Harvesting Your Indica
Instead of basing your harvest timing solely on whether resin glands have turned from clear to amber or cloudy, look at the condition of the glands and the stalks they’re on. If 15 percent or more of the glands have begun to degrade or collapse, it’s time to flush and harvest.
Don’t get careless and harvest too late. Well-timed harvesting of indica buds will give you sedating, couchlock psychoactive effects. But if you harvest too late, you get a barbiturate body high that feels like wearing a cement overcoat while trying to swim in the ocean.
Drying And Curing Indica Strains
After harvesting, be sure that the drying and curing environments are at 51–56-percent relative humidity. Use magnification devices and your nose frequently to scrutinize and ensure no growth of molds or mildews, especially in the initial week after harvest.
Ensure steady fan breeze on drying buds. Hang-dry individual branches rather than whole-plant hanging, or cutting buds and laying them on drying racks. Be sure buds are at optimum dryness before placing in storage. Fat buds can rot in storage if they have too much moisture trapped in them.
Now that you have an accurate and easy-to-understand description of what indica cannabis is and how to grow it, you’ll enjoy heavier, more potent indica strains that are a joy to harvest and a win for your customers.