Cannabis Cultivation 101 – Glossary of Growing Terms

Let’s Get Growing!

The Mars Climate Orbiter was a space probe launched in the late 90s to provide accurate meteorological data of Mars as the next step in our space exploration mission, however the plan quickly went south, resulting in the robotic probe ending up being destroyed due to miscommunication between two different teams of engineers (English and American) working on the project. Where one used the Imperial unit system, the other used the metric system and it lead to a complete misunderstanding of the flight trajectory by the vessel’s computer systems. This disaster cost over $125m in damages and is an excellent example of the importance of language and being on the same page. Our Glossary of Growing Terms is a useful tool designed to aid those new to growing navigate the often-confusing world of cannabis cultivation. With our guide, you’ll be well on your way to growing healthy and wealthy crops of beautifully potent cannabis in no time!

1. Genetic terms
2. Seed-related terms
3. Strain-related terms
4. Cultivation terms & Training methods

Genetic Terms

Indica – the perfect package of cannabis attributes: a relatively small, fast-flowering cannabis strain with excellent yields best suited for growing in cooler climates. Her effect is strong and relaxing, leaving most users glued to their couch.

Sativa – a more tropical cannabis experience. Sativa or Sativa-dominant cannabis strains have a more exotic genetic lineage with some strains originating as far as Indonesia and having flowering periods of up to 16 weeks. The patient grower is rewarded with heavy yields of dense, resinous cannabis flowers.

Ruderalis – the elusive cannabis variant which gives rise to autoflowering properties when bred with photoperiod variants. Not only has this revolutionized the world of hybrid cannabis strains by allowing growers to cultivate without worrying about light cycle or leaks, but has also given rise to some of the most popular cannabis strains in the world, such as Tangerine Dream Auto and Cosmic Queen.

Hermaphrodite – Hermaphroditism occurs when a plant displays both male and female features and can pose a very serious risk to your garden. As hermaphrodites contain male parts, it’s imperative to remove them from the grow space as soon as possible to avoid cross-pollination of your female plants. In nature, this occurs naturally to create seeds, however when growing cannabis, it’s important this is limited.

Flowers/buds/nugs – what we all know and love – it is the flowers of the cannabis plant, which are the most covered in cannabinoid-containing trichomes, making them the most psychoactive region of the plant. These dry into compact, resin-covered nugs.

Seed-related Terms

Feminized cannabis seeds – cannabis naturally exists as male and female versions. However, it is the female plant which gives us the flowers we all love, which is why indoor growers often opt for feminized seeds.

Regular cannabis seeds – regular cannabis seeds are those which haven’t gone through a feminization process and are an excellent choice for those who are into breeding new cannabis strains!

Packs/ Mixes – if you cannot make up your mind about which strain to grow next, let us do the hard work for you! Our seeds come in packs of varying size and are even available as mixes of random cannabis strains from a single breeder or seedbank.

Seedbank – a seedbank is a producer of high-quality cannabis strains which sells seeds in addition to breeding new strains putting them at the forefront of modern cannabis cultivation techniques.

Strain-related Terms

Medical cannabis – medical cannabis is defined as a cannabis strain which yields powerful cannabis, often with a high cannabinoid content and a unique terpene profile. For example, Sweet Pure CBD by Sweet Seeds, is a CBD-rich cannabis strain which contains very little THC, making it great for medical users who want the soothing properties of cannabidiol (CBD) without the psychoactive aspect of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) interfering with the medication. CBD:THC ratios of 1:1 are ideal for medical users as it provides a balanced effect, which can help alleviate the effects of stress and depression.

Photoperiod cannabis strains – cannabis is traditionally a photoperiod plant, meaning the type of growth it exhibits (vegetative vs flowering) depends on the photoperiod it receives. Growers who choose photoperiod let their plants grow in the vegetative stage on an 18/6 (hours light on/hours light off) schedule for the first 4 – 6 weeks to establish a strong root system and a thick canopy of tops, followed by 12/12 for the duration of the flowering period until they’re ready for harvest.

Autoflowering cannabis strains – autoflowering cannabis strains are all the hype these days! Created using rare ruderalis genetics, autoflowering cannabis strains – as the name suggests – switch from the vegetative phase to bloom after a few weeks of vigorous growth without needing a change in light schedule. Most autoflowers remain a small to medium size and go from seed to harvest in less than 10 weeks – a significant improvement on the total grow time of their photoperiod counterparts, which makes them a fantastic choice for indoor growers.

Cultivation Terms & Training Methods

Harvest time – the total life cycle of a plant is given by the sum of its component stages. The typical growth cycle for a photoperiod cannabis strain is as follows: 3-5 days for germination, 4 – 5 weeks for vegetative growth (until multiple sets of leaves appear), and 8 – 10 week flowering period followed by a week or so for flushing the plant to ensure your crop is free of any excess nutrients. After this time, your plant will enter the harvest window wherein growers have roughly 10 days where they can harvest their plant to their liking. What does this mean? Harvesting cannabis earlier leads to flowers with a greater proportion of THC-A resulting in a racy, cerebral high while those that are allowed to mature for a longer have time for the THC-A to degrade into the more pleasant and body-heavy stoned effect we all know and love.

Indoor cultivation – one of the multiple ways of growing cannabis, indoor cultivation gives the grower the most control over their garden environment as factors such as light, temperature, humidity and nutrient feed can all be monitored and tinkered to maximise yields. Indoor growers have the added benefit of not having to worry about mold or pests affecting their crop.

Outdoor cultivation – the most traditional way to grow cannabis. People have been cultivating cannabis outdoors for thousands of years and will continue to do so for thousands more due to her hardiness and willingness to grow in even the most testing conditions. While indoor growers have more control over their environment, those who opt to grow outside will not have the added cost of electricity to power lighting and fans as they use the power of sunlight to deliver heavy yields of dense, resinous cannabis flowers. Moreover, outdoor plants are not limited by any height restrictions and can grow as large as you let them, resulting in some growers having to employ teams of people to harvest a tree-sized outdoor cannabis plant.

SoG (Sea of Green) – as the name suggests, sea of green refers to a growing style wherein a “sea” of cannabis tops is created using a repeated arrangement of grow pots containing clones from a common mother and the use of training techniques such as topping and low stress training to manage height and create an even canopy. A typical setup would consist of a 2 x 2 arrangment of small pots containing clones in a 1 m2 grow space using a powerful light with good penetration such an LED quantum board to target bud sites lower on the plant.

SCRoG (Screen of Green) – like the ‘sea of green’ growing style, growing via SCRoG entails creating an even canopy of tops in the vegetative stage so that when switched to 12/12 these turn into chunky flowers which are dripping in resin.

LST (Low Stress Training) – one of the most simple but powerful growing techniques when it comes to cannabis cultivation. Due to her apical dominance, when the direction of growth of the plant is redirected (by bending the main stem over, for example) the plant responds by creating new bud sites which, given enough time to mature, will form new tops which will fill into dense, resinous flowers with a high bud-to-lead ratio. LST is excellent in the case of plants which cannot tolerate much stress such as autoflowers, for example.

Hydroponics – hydroponic growing is one of the fastest evolving sectors of the horticultural industry with new advancements in technology allowing to us to harvest bigger and better plants than ever before! Unlike organic grows, where the plant grows inside a medium such as soil, hydroponic grows see the roots being suspended in an aerated nutrients solution which allows for rapid uptake of nutrients and other key building blocks the plant needs to grow and mature. A key benefit of this is very vigorous growth leading to larger-than-normal yields and a reduction in the total grow time by a week. However a downside is that the nutrient reservoir constantly has to contain fresh solution as small fluctuations in pH can result in very dramatic changes to the plants health. Recommended for experienced growers.