With sativas especially … but including many sativa dominant varieties as well, there lies true magic; totally in my opinion of course. Growing sativas well, is the first step in truly appreciating sativas. Sativas and sativa dominants are frequently trickier to grow; and fussier about things. Trickier to grow than a lot of other hybrids.
Longer flowering times are a biggie here. You need some growing skills to keep a plant in the same container for 3 or 4 months. It’s easy to get discouraged after flowering a plant for so long, to have it turn out just okay, or shitty even.
Dominant traits tend to come from olden sativas. Like long inbred lines, heirloom/landrace/cultivar sativa types. Growing sativas well, hinges upon a few basic guidelines when growing. A light touch is required, sativas don’t usually handle things changing fast, very well. Like pH, temperature ranges/extremes, and fertilization dosages. They adapt pretty quickly (10 days or so) to their environments, and as long as you keep everything consistent, they thrive.
Growing Sativas Well
Feeding & Fertilization Techniques
This is, in my experience, the number one issue that causes most peeps to fail with growing sativas well. Unlike when growing most hybrid varieties of cannabis, sativas are especially sensitive to sudden availabilities of nutrients. Sativas are also more sensitive to possible longer-term negative effects of fertilization. Overfeeding, especially using higher P fertilizers in flowering, is the number one issue. As I see, in many a garden.
It is FAR better to feed your sativa plants over a longer time period—in way smaller dosages—than to goose them every two weeks or whatever, with a tea, or other nutrients. Top dressing is a great way to accomplish this. Using something like alfalfa meal as a top dressing, used in smaller amounts more often works great.
Using liquids, like living teas and/or bottled nutrients, you have to be VERY careful! And this is really a game of PPM monitoring. You need to keep a “sweet-spot” PPM range and never wander significantly out of that range. With most soils, I have found that keeping my PPM range between 45 to 65 works well. So, if your water is normally 50 or 60 PPM, you wouldn’t ever want to go higher than say 70 PPM, regarding a living tea. Growing sativas well isn’t at all about cramming food into them. I never use classic teas.
Rev’s Sativa Feeding Tips
Rather than dose my sativas with fertilizer, in dosages, like every 2 weeks or whatever, I use the constant nano method. I just make sure my water has good things in it, like calcium and magnesium, etc. And I use just enough fertilizer, like fish aquarium water, and/or worm farm leachate, with my water every time I water, throughout their lives, until the last few weeks of flowering. With food in it, my plant water PPM runs about 65. During the last 2 weeks or so before harvest, I remove all the extra food and use my water which runs about 50 PPM.
I use top dressings kind of the same way. About every other, or third watering, I apply a small amount of top dressing, like alfalfa meal and crab meal—one of my favorite combos. When I say small amount, I am talking like 1 teaspoon per dosage, in a 4-gallon container or so. I stop these additions 3 or 4 weeks from harvest. Growing sativas well, involves stretching out your additions of anything over time. This keeps things consistent, changing slowly. Sativas especially dig this ????
Using too much nutrient value too fast is bad, but over time it can cost you too. If you run your PPM levels a little too high, your plants will likely grow awesome, until about ½ way into flowering. At this point, extra mineral salts have built up to a toxic level around the roots (rhizosphere).
Growing Sativas Well
Environment & Longer Flowering Times
There are a couple of other things that need particular attention when growing sativas well. Environmental issues, like very high heat, or very cold temperatures. Now, depending upon the sativa’s geographic location of origin, some strains are better equipped for different environmental events. Strains that originate in say, South Africa. These will normally have high tolerances to heat and drought. South East Asian types can normally handle lower pH ranges and overwatering better; as 2 examples.
The fact that sativa dominant, and pure sativa lines especially, flower for up to 20 weeks, can also be problematic for many growers. I love sativa dominant types that take around 12 weeks or so to flower. So, that’s 3 months in the same container—it’s a tad daunting to be sure. Just keep things as consistent as possible. Sativas are super good at working with the soil life, to feed themselves. A light touch by you is all that is needed here.
Growing Sativas Well
The Secret H2O Shit
Good quality soil, combined with just using spring water, can result in harvests that will seriously blow your mind. Large enough container sizes are also needed here. If using say a 1,000-watt light, harvesting 4’ to 5’ plants. I would use 7-gallon containers—minimum 6-gallon. Bottled spring water—like Arrowhead for example—will pH at just about 7.0 and have a PPM value of around 50-ish. Groundwater, may also fall right around these marks for pH and PPM. Spring water after all, is really just groundwater—wink.
If your groundwater has a pH of around 7.0 (6.9 to 7.2) and a PPM value greater than 40, but less than 70 PPM, then your water likely kicks ass just like bottled spring water would. The 7.0-ish pH tells you there is likely a good mineral balance of calcium and magnesium, along with many others. Groundwater always has a wide array of trace and secondary nutrient values. If this water is city tap water, you will need to remove the chlorine (Monochloramine) using activated carbon filtering. Good water is literally all you need here. I mean, of course, Mother Nature’s definition of good.
Rev’s Sativa Finishing Tips
Growing sativas well is only the first part of your adventure. Enjoying exotic sativas and sativa hybrids that are actually done well, is indescribably enjoyable. You need to make SURE there is no available nitrogen during the last 2 to 3 weeks before harvest. This is HUGE! Many peeps don’t think sativas are actually that potent—silly humans—because they have never actually smoked any that were grown with excellence all the way to a fully ripened harvest.
Most peeps fuck up during the looooong flowering period (11 to 20 weeks), forcing them to be harvested before they are actually ripe. A big mistake! About 50% of the potency is acquired in the resin during the last couple of weeks; I would even say, the last 10 days. Basically, you’re screwed if you have to take them early.
Smoking a legit sativa or sativa dominant, grown by someone who knows how to grow sativas well, will fully impress any hard-core smoker. These exotic cannabis plants can rip your f’ing head off, spin it around and put it back in place. Sending you on intense inward trips filled with dark energies. Many sativas I find to be powerful muses. Some are very socially oriented and super fun at parties and whatnot—no sleepy-time smoke, heh heh. L8r G8rs…
Some Helpful Links Related to Growing Sativas Well
- Two Super Wicked Sativas Available at KOS: Darkling Sativa & Cindy Congo
- Another Related Rev Article: True Living Cannabis Water
See ya all back here next week. Expand your horizons with some truly killer sativa if you are able. I would very highly recommend it. I loves me some good indica from time to time, but sativa dominant hybrids are really my dreamboat go-to smoke. Cheers.
- REvski ????
I'm The Rev, and I have been with SKUNK for about a decade now. I hail from Southern California, spent mucho time in Northern California, and now reside in Southern Oregon; always coastal. I am an all natural style cannabis grower and I have written a couple books on the subject - check out True Living Organics 2nd Edition on Amazon - I have been growing for over 45 years, and I have been breeding cannabis for over 30 years. Check out kingdomorganicseeds.com to see some exotic selections. Growing connoisseur cannabis is what I teach mostly, growing it in living soil without using liquid organic nutrients to feed the plant. I am also a highly skilled synthetics grower, hydroponics, aeroponics, DWC/SWC/NFT, Ebb and Flow, and soilless, but I cringe when smoking synthetic grown herbs, so for the last 15 years or so I preach the artisan style of all natural growing, specializing in container growing. Cheers and welcome aboard.