Three Difficult & Three Easy Cannabis Strains to Grow

By Alan Ray
Published: June 28, 2018 | Last updated: May 11, 2021 05:29:08
Key Takeaways

You might have the greenest of thumbs, but that doesn’t mean you can simply grow a good crop of cannabis.

Blessed indeed are those born with that glorious gift of the gods, the proverbial green thumb. When it comes to growing marijuana, however, thumb color may be determined more by what brand you are trying to grow and where, rather than your innate ability to grow it.


Indoors or out, plants are pre-programmed to essentially grow on their own provided they get those staples of life: light, food, and water. Still, some can be a real challenge. The reasons a specific plant may be labeled difficult to grow vary. Some plants are just naturally finicky; some are more prone to disease, while others require a stepped-up maintenance program of trimming and pruning to control their growth. Some just take forever to flower.

Experienced cannabis growers know choosing the right strain for user preference and available resources can be key to a successful grow. If you're contemplating trying your hand at growing your own marijuana, some plant knowledge could save you plenty of trouble down the road. It’s important to choose a strain that’s in tune with your personal tastes, environment, and goals.


Sativas vs. Indicas: Sativas can grow long and lanky. According to many growers, finding an unadulterated sativa plant can prove difficult since many believe the true sativas have become scarce as almost all are believed to have been cross-bred with indicas somewhere along the line and hybridized. Regardless, the new breed of sativas work quite well.

No such problem locating a pure short and bushy indica. If you're just getting started, you might like to know of some spectacular strains that are proven easy to grow and some varieties considered more challenging and even difficult. You may wish to avoid the latter until you gain more experience.

Environment is Important: Environment can play a signature role in the success or failure of your grow. For instance, if you're growing in a cramped closet with an aquarium lamp as your light source, you'll be lucky to grow little more than a scrawny specimen no matter the strain. Conversely, if your plants have leg room, the right food, plenty of water and light, your chances for a successful harvest improve greatly.


Do Your Genetics Homework: Whatever the strain, indoors or out, plant genetics will determine much of your success. Choose a strain best suited for your growing environment and learn which strains may be more susceptible to mold or mites, or require higher maintenance.

If growing indoors, considerations include room/space, lighting, odor, mites, and more. Outdoor growing can pose its own issues with everything from damaging weather, animal and insect attacks, as well as detection. If you’re going to grow outside, you’ll need a strain that can handle greater variances in temperatures and the elements.


Three Difficult Cannabis Strains to Grow

If you're up for a challenge, below are three strains proven to be finicky and even difficult to grow. If you aren't looking for a challenge, these strains have been contrasted with three easy ones.

Thai Weed

Thai is one of a few strains of marijuana noted by many as pure sativa. It originated in Thailand and was enjoyed in America in the 1970s. Mature Thai buds were wrapped on a stick with strands of the plant's fiber, thereby creating the sobriquet, Thai stick.

Thai pot can be finicky about its growing medium and does best in organic soil or compost. Being a sativa, it is a leggy plant that likes to grow tall, very tall. Indoors, you'll need to stay on top of your pruning and trimming. Thai pot can also have a much longer flowering period, so if patience isn't one of your strong suits you may want to wait a while before tackling Thai.

Jack Herer

Jack Herer was a legendary cannabis activist and author who fought for the legalization of marijuana throughout his life. Jack's namesake brand of smoke is deemed notoriously difficult to grow and is best left to the experienced grower.

The Jack Herer strain was originally bred by Sensi Seed founder Ben Dronkers to honor his departed friend, Jack. Indoors, this sativa dominant can prove arduous to grow due to its tendency to get big and tall. Given that, it demands more attention to trimming and pinching and requires more nutrients and water, as well as lighting. It's also just finicky. Growing from seed can be difficult, so cloning is the recommended method of propagation. This strain is not recommended for the inexperienced grower.

Maui Wowie

Maui Wowie is a sativa dominant strain that, if legend holds true, had its beginnings in Hawaii (most likely the island of Maui). It was very popular in the 1970s as the quality was head and shoulders above the average bag of anonymous weed. Its popularity faded when importing became risky business and marijuana laws tightened.

Maui can prove difficult to grow partly because of a particularly undesirable trait: around halfway through the flowering cycle she is very susceptible to fungus and bud rot. This can spread quickly to other plants, ruining an entire crop. The untrained eye might spot it too late. Maui Wowie can also grow very tall. Gain some experience before tackling this epic smoke.

Three Easy Cannabis Strains to Grow

White Widow

White Widow is one of the most popular strains ever created and one of the most potent. Its signature snow-covered buds have wowed smokers and growers alike since it was unleashed upon the cannabis culture in the mid-1990s. A balanced sativa/indica hybrid, White Widow requires little more than the basics to reach its full potential. Give it light, food, and water and repeat as necessary. Perfect for growers of every caliber including newbies. It’s easy to grow with a killer stone.

Blue Dream

Blue Dream is trending heavily in gardens everywhere these days, confirming it as one of the most popular strains for growers and smokers alike. This lovely sativa/indica hybrid grows very well with minimal labor and offers the grower a basket of benefits. Ease of maintenance, coupled with strong resistance against two common plagues growers face in powdery mildew and root rot, make this strain a dream to grow. A forgiving plant with a good yield and wicked high.

Most Auto Flowering Kinds

For less experienced growers, when to transition their plants from the vegetative state to the flowering stage can bring about some uncertainty. Indicas can begin flowering when the light hours are reduced from 24 to around 14 hours per day. Sativas are more stubborn and generally won't even consider flowering until they experience 12 hours or less per day of light.

With autoflowering, all the guesswork is removed as these plants flower automatically. They punch their own predetermined time clock regardless of photoperiod, making when to reduce their light a non-issue. Great for the novice or growing guru. On a side note, autoflowering was made possible by years of experimental cross-breeding between varied strains and ruderalis.

Naturally, the choice is yours. Even so, by choosing the cultivar that best matches your set-up and personal skill set, you may avoid many of the pitfalls and problems which can arise from a mismatch. For best results, seek quality seeds you can just sow and grow.


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Written by Alan Ray

Profile Picture of Alan Ray

Alan Ray has written five books and is a New York Times best-selling author. Additionally, he is an award-winning songwriter with awards from BMI and ASCAP respectively. He lives in rural Tennessee with his wife, teenage son, and two dogs: a South African Boerboel (Bore-Bull) and a Pomeranian/Frankenstein mix.

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