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best sativa strain to grow indoors

A Guide to Growing Sativa Strains Indoors

by Nebula Haze (with a big “Thank You” to alltatup who inspired this tutorial!)


Growing & Caring for Finicky Plants Strains Indoors

When it comes to growing cannabis indoors, there are two main varieties of photoperiod plants that are cultivated for their buds: Indica and Sativa strains. While Indica plants tend to stay small and manageable (which can be convenient for indoor growing), Sativa plants are typically a little tougher to care for indoors.

Sativa strains originated from hotter regions near the equator with long growing seasons, and as a result, they carry a few properties from their family history that can catch an indoor grower by surprise!

Example of two Sativa plants (Panama strain) grown indoors. Sativa strains produce big and tall plants that can get out of control quickly in a small grow space!

Sativa plants really thrive outdoors when they have unlimited space to grow!

Why do we still try to grow Sativa plants indoors if it’s tough? In part, because Sativa strains often have amazing and unique buds effects, and produce very high yields when done right 🙂

Note: It is rare to find a “pure” Sativa strain since that’s a loose definition, and nearly all marijuana strains available today are actually some sort of hybrid. The following tutorial is all about strains with a lot of Sativa plants in their ancestry and which carry a lot of common Sativa characteristics!

Typical Indica vs Typical Sativa plant

These two plants were grown indoors together under the same conditions from seed to harvest. The short Indica plant produced half the yields of the 5-foot Sativa! A big part of this is the fact that the Sativa plant got big enough to take full advantage of all the lights, while the Indica stayed short.

Sativa buds often have “foxtails” (buds grow in little towers) and/or may be relatively “wild” or leafy looking

Just for reference, this is what that same Sativa strain (Kaya Gold) looks like when buds are grown indoors under LED grow lights

This is what the buds of a “true” landrace Sativa looks like – basically all foxtails! Most available “Sativa” strains are actually hybrids with at least a little Indica genes mixed in to help increase bud density and improve overall structure.

Example of untrimmed, dried buds of a Blue Dream plant, a very popular Sativa-leaning cannabis hybrid that’s become well known for being easy to grow.

pic by Psychonaught

General Appearance of Sativa Plants

  • Often have long, skinny leaves
  • Generally stretchy appearance with lots of side branching and plenty of space between sets of leaves (as opposed to the short, squat Christmas tree shape of an Indica plant).
  • Tend to grow tall and fast throughout their life, and may double or even triple in height after entering the flowering stage!
  • Buds often have “foxtails” and may be loose or airy compared to Indica buds, which tend to be solid and dense. However, a well-bred Sativa strain can still often out-produce an Indica in the same conditions because everything about the plant grows so big and so fast.

Long, thin “fingers” on Sativa leaves, compared to Indica leaves which tend to be round and fat.

Sativa plants tend to grow tall, with lots of stem between leaves and extensive side branching

Bud Effects

Sativa buds tend to give a more cerebral “in-your-head” effect than the more “body-based” Indica effects. Sativa buds may feel more energizing, so some people prefer Sativa strains for daytime use or in social settings.

A Sativa-based strain with a little bit of Indica genes

The buds from another “pure” Sativa strain – Although the buds are airy and a little strange looking, some of these old Sativa strains produce unique mental effects that you just don’t find anywhere else.

Dried leafy buds of a “pure” Sativa. Only a few decades ago in the USA, this type of cannabis was common! Now you’ll almost never see buds like this unless you grow them yourself.

Environment & Nutrients

  • Sativa plants generally respond well to high levels of light and don’t mind a little heat, but can easily get stressed by cold temperatures
  • Can be nutrient-sensitive, especially in dry heat, low light levels or if a plant does not have many leaves. Not uncommon to see nutrient burn or Nitrogen toxicity at standard-strength nutrient levels.
  • It’s a good idea to give lower levels of Nitrogen if you see an N toxicity, this will help encourage as much bud growth as possible. You don’t want to give zero Nitrogen, but be on the lookout for dark green leaves and curled tips!

Example of buds on a Sativa plant that is suffering from a Nitrogen Toxicity (too much Nitrogen) in the flowering stage. Nitrogen “tells” the plant to focus on vegetative growth, and the plant keeps putting out more and more sugar leaves if given too much N in the flowering stage. These leaves will turn dark, bend, and eventually turn yellow again as the toxicity goes on.

Growing Tips – Vegetative Stage

  • Sativa plants respond well to LST (low stress training), and are difficult to stress once they’re growing fast.
  • If you’re naturally seeing a significant amount of stem between sets of leaves (as is common with many Sativa strains), defoliation can sometimes do more harm than good. With a stretchy plant, the buds and inside of the plant are often already as exposed as they need to be for optimum results. Defoliation is most effective at increasing yields of bushy plants where buds get hidden by leaves, which is much less common with Sativa strains than Indica strains!

You might not want to choose Sativa-based strains if you’re using a small grow space like this!

Example of a Sativa plant that’s 2 feet tall at only 5 weeks old, and already had to be topped to keep it short! This is a very typical vegetative growth structure for a Sativa plant.

Growing Tips – Flowering Stage

  • Some Sativa strains may need 3 months in the flowering stage to be ready to harvest on the standard 12/12 flowering light schedule. In order to “hurry them along,” they may need longer than average nights until harvest, for example, an 11/13, 10/14 or even 8/16 light schedule!
  • Can be more common to get hermies, especially under stress or close to harvest if buds are not pollinated. If buds appear mostly done and suddenly throw out a bunch of bananas (a type of hermie), it could mean it’s time to harvest

Sativa plant in the flowering stage – may grow with lots of stem between sets of leaves

If you initiate the flowering stage when the plant is still very small, you may end up with just one long bud like this

Example of the power of Sativa cannabis plants when they’re trained to grow flat and wide during the vegetative stage – look at all those huge Sativa colas that are all the same distance from the grow light! These plants still have several weeks of fattening left to go before harvest!

Sativa buds may be airier than Indica-leaning buds on average, but they make up for it with good yields, fast growth and soaring, memorable bud effects! This Sativa-leaning Chem Dawg strain grows mind-altering buds that feel “up” but still relaxing!

Harvest Tips

  • Some Sativa strains have trichomes that may never turn amber even after months of flowering. If your plant has fully white trichomes, it’s possible it may be time to harvest even if no ambers are appearing.
  • Harvest when trichomes are mostly cloudy with a few clears left for the most psychedelic effect
  • Look below for two examples of trichomes from Sativa plants that are ready to harvest.

Trichomes should be mostly milky white with just a few clears for maximum potency! These buds are ready to be harvested, but it’s still on the early side because there are quite a few clear trichomes left.

These buds are smack in the middle of the harvest window. It has nearly all white trichomes and just a clear trichome here and there. You’ll notice even at this stage with nearly all white trichomes you don’t really see many if any amber trichomes (which you would generally see in an Indica plant by the time it hits this stage).

This is the main bud on a Sativa plant just before harvest. Sativa bud structure is often long and thin, almost like spears.

The resulting buds end up looking a little bit differently after they get trimmed from your standard Indica bud, which tends to grow more in “chunks”

Hopefully, you are now more prepared to grow your own Sativa marijuana plants indoors! The challenge of the strain will reward you!

Sativa cannabis strains are typically outdoor strains and originate from regions with long growing seasons. As a result, they can be tough to grow indoors. Learn what to expect, and how to get the most from your indoor-grown Sativa plant!

Best Indoor Sativa Strains to Grow – Compact and Easy

In this article, we will explore the best strains of Sativa to grow indoors. Sativa has many benefits from mental clarity to boosting mood to giving feelings of euphoria. It’s benefits are endless. Although many associate Sativa’s with being a very tall plant, these autoflowers (flowering without sunlight) are the perfect size to grow indoors.

Our Recommendations For Indoor Sativa Strains:

  • Amnesia Haze
  • AK-47
  • Sour Diesel
  • Bubble Gum
  • White Widow
  • OG Kush
  • Blueberry
  • Super Skunk
  • Blackberry Kush
  • Lowryder
  • Northern Lights
  • Granddaddy Purp

Before growing Sativa strains indoors, you must make sure the conditions are conducive for a healthy plant to grow. When conditions are right, Sativa’s can grow to be a fruitful producer of perfectly potent bud.

Here are a few tips on growing Sativa strains indoors. Sativa’s can grow to be quite tall, but these compact sativa strains all remain a height that can be grown indoors. But it is always important to make sure to grow in a space that will allow the plant to thrive. Sativa’s thrive in a combination of warm and cool climates, so it is vital to have enough temperature and light. I’ll break it down when I discuss each of the best strains. So, the three tips to remember are height of space, proper lighting/temperature and nutrients. Here are my top picks for the best indoor sativa strains!

Best Sativa Strains to Grow Indoors:

Amnesia Haze:

  • Amnesia Haze’s high concentration of Sativa makes for a very uplifting and giggly high. A great match for those with Depression, Fatigue, Stress or Pain.
  • To grow healthy Amnesia Haze you must have proper lighting and ventilation like the other strains.
  • This Autoflower loves cool climates, so make sure to keep it in a cool place.
  • This plant yields 7 ounces per square meter, so you can expect 4 to 6 oz per 3x3ft within 9-12 weeks . Overall it’s a pretty high yielding autoflowering strain.
  • This is a perfect sativa strain for new and regular smokers alike because of its virtually nonexistent negative side effects (cottonmouth, dry eyes, rarely headaches and mild paranoia)

Amnesia Haze’s uplifting effects and amazing citrus taste makes it a popular sativa strain. The strains before are more Indica-dominant, but Amnesia Haze is Sativa-dominant (20% Indica 80% Sativa.) Compared to other strains this Autoflower’s effects don’t last very long, but the positive effects are worth it. The energetic, creative and social effects of Amnesia Haze has made it lovely to enjoy socially. This sativa strain is like most Autoflowers because it remains under 3 feet tall (26 inches or about 2 feet tall.)

AK-47 Autoflower:

  • Gives users a chance to have mental clarity and also a great mood; this makes it perfect for social gatherings.
  • Easy to smoke due to the mild negative side effects (cottonmouth, dry eyes and potentially paranoia)
  • Needs the correct conditions to grow indoors (low humidity, proper ventilation, also remember it has a strong smell)
  • Fast growing seeds; flowering within roughly 2 months

The Ak-47 Autoflower has a high percentage of Sativa (65% Sativa and 35% Indica) and is a hugely popular sativa strain. This Autoflower needs a bit more care than the White Widow Autoflower. It must have proper ventilation and low humidity to prevent mold and bud rot. While this sativa strain is more difficult to grow indoors, it’s yield is worth it (yielding 120 grams per sq meter of plant, or 4 to 6 oz per 3x3ft.) Yes, this sativa strain takes a bit more care, but with the right conditions, it can produce great buds.

Sour Diesel Feminized:

  • 60% Sativa & 40% Indica Strain.
  • High yielding plant! This is a great high yielding indoor strain!
  • Gives you a high energy high with psychedelic effects.
  • Relives anxiety and stress.
  • Does best in either indoor or a sunny climate.

Sour Diesel is often considered the best of the best in terms of energetic and uplighting highs cannabis sativa strains can bring. This dreamlike high will keep you feeling good throughout the day without giving you the jitters! This strain is 60% sativa and 40% indica and prefers to be grown either indoors or in a sunny climate! That being said, it also gives you a quite large yield and has a THC of around 20%. Overall Sour Diesel is a must have and I guarantee you’ll be happy with Sour Diesel!

Bubble Gum Auto:

  • Bubble Gum has a 50/50 ratio of Indica to Sativa
  • While the Indica helps you to relax, the Sativa gives you a sense of euphoria and energy.
  • When grown indoors or in a sunny environment, you can expect 14 to 16 oz of bud per 3x3ft after about 9 weeks

Bubble Gum is the ideal Autoflower for beginners because it requires an average climate. Although it isn’t fool proof to grow, it is not difficult to grow at all. The balance of Sativa and Indica gives the best of both worlds for users as well as growers. The energy and relaxation that Bubble Gum gives you will help enhance any hangout or time while using it. Overall this is a great sativa strain!

White Widow Autoflower:

  • With 60% Indica and 40% Sativa, the White Widow offers a euphoric and relaxed feeling making it great for those looking to alleviate stress.
  • Ideal strain for daytime users because it relaxes without causing you couchlock
  • Thrives indoors in a cool or warm environment (great for beginners)
  • Flowering between 8 and 9 weeks
  • Yields 4 ounces per 3 square feet of sativa plants indoors

Not only does the White Widow Autoflower give the perfect combination of happiness and relaxation, but the White Widow Autoflower is one of the easiest Sativa to grow because of its ability to thrive in cool and warm environments. For beginners, this is the perfect plant to grow indoors because it stays relatively small (remaining under 24 inches tall). Since this is an autoflower, it can grow indoors without natural sunlight. This alone makes it perfect for beginners and pros alike.

OG Kush:

  • An intense feeling of full body relaxation followed by a sense ofhappiness. This makes it perfect for those struggling with pain,loss of appetite and mood disorders.
  • This is the type of strain that can lead to couchlock, so be ready tochill out, relax and be happy.
  • OG Kush needs to have proper lighting to mimic the light it wouldget outdoors. What’s great about growing indoors is that you areable to control the environment and insure that your plant growsto its full potential.
  • This small plant (remaining under 3 feet tall) produces 16 to 17 ozper 3x3ft

OG Kush is a very popular strain due to its full body high as well as itshigh yield when growing indoors. If you’re looking strictly for large yields, then check out our high yield autoflower seeds guide! This stain is more Indica-dominant(75% Indica 25% Sativa), so it gives a powerful full body relaxation. The25% Sativa gives a sense of mental clarity. This is the perfect strain forthose suffering with mood disorders and those with pain because itgives them the chance to fully relax. OG Kush does a great job givingyou the munchies, so be ready to eat wonderful food. The increasedsense of hunger makes this the perfect match for those struggling withlack of appetite.

Blueberry Autoflower:

  • Concentration of 80% Indica and 20% Sativa
  • It works very well for those with Depression, Insomnia, Pain, Stress and Anxiety due to its high levels of Indica
  • Thrives Indoors and in a cool climate
  • Like the ones listed before, it yields about 4 to 6 ounces per 3x3ft in roughly 8 weeks

The Blueberry Autoflower is easy to grow, so this is the perfect fit for those new to growing cannabis. Not only does it have a vibrant blueberry color, it also has a beautiful blueberry aroma. For those who aren’t a fan of the more abrasive smells, this gentle smell pleases anyone’s nose.

Super Skunk Autoflower:

  • There is 80% Indica and 20% Sativa.
  • The Super Skunk yields roughly 4 to 6 ounces of calming weed after 8 weeks
  • Surprisingly enough, the Super Skunk helps with Hypertension along with Depression, Stress, Insomnia and lack of appetite.
  • This gives a very physical high, so expect to have a couchlock and the munchies.

Like most of these Autoflowers, the name gives the scent away. This is a pretty standard Autoflower because it yields the typical 4 to 6 ounces of weed per 3×3 ft. What sets the Super Skunk apart from its other Autoflowers is that it yields 5 ounces per 3 sq feet. If you want higher yields, check out our post on the highest yielding indoor strains! You can get a very relaxing high and also have more cannabis yielded.

Blackberry Kush Autoflower:

  • Having a make up of 80% Indica to 20% Sativa, Blackberry Kush is an outstanding option for those dealing with Depression, Hypertension, Pain and Stress.
  • Blackberry Kush yields 14 to 17 oz per 3x3ft.
  • Just like Bubble Gum and Granddaddy Purp, this strain has a pleasant smell, is an Indica-dominant strain, and has a truly breathtaking appearance

Blackberry Kush has a magnitude of superb qualities to offer whether it be its sweet smell or its ability to alleviate nerve pain. The only difficulty with growing Blackberry Kush is having to watch out for spider mites and fungus, but that is prevented easily by pruning your plant and controlling the humidity. It may not be the easiest strain to grow, but its power to create a sense of calmness is worth it.

Lowryder Autoflower:

  • Lowryder is made of 80% Indica and 20% Sativa; this is why is is marvelous for those with ADD, ADHD, Anxiety, Bipolar disorder
  • This outstanding strain thrives indoors and outdoors. This alone makes it a manageable plant.
  • This strain was made to remain small (10 to 18 inches tall) making this an easy plant to grow indoors. It does not require much space
  • Lowryder yields the standard 4 to 6 oz of bud per 3x3ft

Here is another Indica-dominant Autoflower. Lowryder offers relief for those with Bipolar Disorder, ADD, ADHD and Anxiety. Lowryder is special for countless reasons. The major reason Lowryder is glorious is because it can grow in small places and is a great fit for beginners.

Northern Lights:

  • With a concentration of 90% Indica and 10% Sativa, it is great for those with Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia and Stress.
  • Similarly to the Blueberry Autoflower, the Northern lights is easy to grow indoors
  • Flowering after 8 weeks, you should expect to yield 4 to 6 ounces per 3×3

Northern Lights are easy to grow because of their small size and the fact that it is an Autoflower. This wonderful Indica-dominant strain is a magnificent fit for those with Insomnia because of the high percentage of Indica. Northern Lights is very similar to the Blueberry Autoflower. The biggest difference is the citrusy taste and slightly higher percentage of Indica. Northern Lights is a wonderful fit for those who just want to take a break to relax.

Granddaddy Purple:

  • This strain is 100% Indica. This is why it is the best match for someone with Chronic Pain, Anxiety, Insomnia and those who are just looking to be completely relaxed.
  • Like the other Autoflowers this one grows very well indoors and in a cool environment
  • It is incredibly easy to grow and after 9 weeks you can expect to yield 14 to 17 oz per 3x3ft! That is a truly magnificent amount of relaxing bud

Granddaddy Purp is definitely one of the highest yielding sativa plants with a very high concentration of THC (up to 23%.) This strain has so many reasons it is amazing one of which being its smell and taste. It has a grape, berry and sweet taste/smell. If the color purple had a taste it would taste and smell like Granddaddy Purp.

Final Thoughts on Indoor Sativa Strains:

In this post, we investigated 11 of the best sativa strains of cannabis to grow indoors. If you are wanting a high yielding sativa-dominant strain, then Amnesia Haze and AK-47 are for you. If you need a strain that remains fairly small then the Lowryder strain is the perfect match. If you aren’t sure where to start OG Kush has always been a crowd pleaser. These are the best strains for indoor grows whether you have a green thumb or not. All of these sativa strains can be grown indoors with the right knowledge and set up. I hope you found this guide on the best indoor sativa strains helpful! Please leave a comment below if you have any questions or recommendations!

Looking for a new indoor grow? Check out our list of the 11 best indoor sativa strains to grow! These plants are compact and short and perfect for indoors!