When to Harvest Indica Strain: A Complete Guide for Growers

When to Harvest Indica Strain

Table of Contents

Cannabis has two primary species: sativa and indica. For beginners who are just starting in the cannabis industry, knowing about the characteristics of indica and sativa strains is greatly beneficial. There is a lot to learn and cannabis enthusiasts want to know everything about cannabis including when to harvest indica strain.

Since sativa and indica strains have unique features, knowing the difference between the two can help consumers personalize the effects they receive when taking marijuana for recreational or for medical use. 

A recent estimate stated that there were more than 2,495 marijuana strains out in the market. Of course, these strains are made up of sativa and indica but most of them are listed under the category of hybrid strains. 

The Difference Between Growing Indica and Sativa

The distinction between sativa and indica strains does not only appear on their effects. The moment these plants sprouted, differences are evident in both species. Differences run through their plants, leaves, and roots once they are harvested. Each plant has unique characteristics, appearance, and effects. Some like indica for its effects; others prefer sativa for its benefits, and vice versa. They both offer different flavors and experience to consumers. No wonder they are sought after by many.

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Ideal Climate for Indica and Sativa

Since indica and sativa are a completely different species of marijuana, they also thrive in different temperatures. For instance, indicas grow better in places that have a colder environment condition. It flourishes in the cold climate of Morocco or Turkey. On the other hand, sativas like warm growing areas, in places like Africa, Mexico, Thailand, or Brazil. 

Apart from this, if you are planning to cultivate indica or sativa, you have to consider its ability to thrive in an indoor or outdoor garden. Sativa plants are ideal to plant outside because of their height, while indica plants are best to cultivate indoors.

If you wanted to customize these plants and put together their distinct characteristics to fit your ideal growing environment, you can alter their genes and create a hybrid. For instance, you can produce a sativa-dominant strain that is much shorter compared to pure sativa strain. This way, you can plant it indoors without worrying about its massive height reaching your ceiling.

Differences between Indica and Sativa in Appearance

Aside from their differences in the growing environment, indica and sativa also vary in their appearance. Most indicas are bushy and petite. They only grow for about three to four feet tall. On the other hand, sativas are slender and tall. They can grow as much as twenty feet or taller. Their buds also display visible contrast. Indica plants have denser buds compared to sativas, though sativa buds are usually much stickier. 

In terms of their branches, indicas appear to be spread out while sativas look longer. When it comes to their leaves, indica plants have broader and bigger leaves compared to sativas. Indicas also have leaves with darker green shade than sativa plants. 

However, if you examine the look of the hybrid, which is the most cultivated and harvested marijuana strain; it combines the physical characteristics of the two iconic strains. Its appearance is a perfect blend of sativa and indica, thanks to expert breeders from different parts of the world. They gave birth to this strain, which currently dominates the cannabis industry. 

Indica vs Sativa Buds

Apart from the physical appearance, avid marijuana users can typically tell the distinction between indica and sativa by its aroma or scent. When comparing the buds of indica and sativa, the majority of cannabis consumer claimed that the scent of fresh and new sativa buds are extremely pungent compared to those of indicas. Also, sativas’ aroma ranges from sweet to floral or fruity. It also has little traces of fuel-like scent. On the other hand, indicas usually have musky, piney, woody and earthy aroma. There are even consumers who describe its smell as being equal to a skunk.

Despite this, there’s no consistent way of telling the difference between sativa and indica strains. This is because there are strains that go beyond the expected aroma of each species. For example, there are sativa plants that are associated with a pungent aroma and there are also Indicas that offer sweet and fruity scent.

When to Harvest Indica Strain

If you think sativa and indica plants only vary in their appearance, well you got it all wrong. From physical characteristics to the harvesting period, these strains are completely different from each other.

Sativas and indicas have different periods of flowering and duration of harvest. Compared to Indica plants, Sativa plants take a lot of time to grow to reach their mature height to produce buds. Fewer leaves mean less chlorophyll.

Indicas usually takes 45 to 60 days to finish flowering. On the other hand, sativas need 60 to 90 days to complete its blooming period. But in terms of the vegetative stage, sativa plants need less time compared to indica. Their general growth period is somehow the same. 

Indica and sativa also differ in terms of their production. Indica plants produce more yields compared to sativa plants. However, sativas are more potent compared to indicas.

But today, growers are now capable of combining the ideal growing ability and massive yield of both indicas and sativas. Thanks to cross-breeding, hybrid strains were created. They can thrive and mature in just a short period and produce a staggering amount of yield, just how growers and consumers like them.

Drying and Curing Indica

Before drying or curing marijuana leaves, it is important to know the distinct characteristics of indica and sativa plants to process it appropriately.

In terms of their visual characteristics, indica and sativa plants have different variations. Sativa’s leaves tend to be more narrow and it has a brighter and lighter green tone. In contrast, indica’s leaves are stout and it appears to be bushier. These characteristics contribute to the differences between the plants when talking about their appearance. 

To differentiate the buds of sativa and indica, you need to sniff it. Pure indica strains will give you that strong musty, pungent or skunky smell, while the pure sativa strains give off a subtle hint of a fruity and sweet smell. Hybrid plants combine the aroma of both of these strains.

Now that you know the prominent features of indicas and sativas, this will help you treat their leaves correctly, without the risk of destroying their natural and flavorful smell. Apart from that, being knowledgeable will allow you to enhance the strain during the curing and drying process, rather than ruining its potential effects. Doing your research is an essential step before altering your cannabis produce. 


Indica and sativa strains are the marijuana species that opened doors to many possibilities in the cannabis industry. These contributed incredible yields to growers offered amazing highs and benefits to users, and thanks to breeders resulted in hybrid strains. Hybrid strains are the daughters of pure indica and pure sativa, and they are the most sought after type of strains today. They offer personalized marijuana experience which suits the user’s preference.

Knowing the distinction between sativa and indica is very important for established and first-time growers. The differences between these two strains are visible in their leaves, flowering period, and type of smell. For growers, it is also important to know when to harvest indica or sativa strains, along with other factors like maturity, appropriate growing climate, and location. 

If you are planning to cultivate marijuana in your home, for instance, you should research about pure indica strains because they grow much shorter compared to tall sativa strains. There are also exceptions to these differences. When looking for the ideal strain to plant or use, personal preferences, genetics, and harvest yield play a significant role.

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