5 Most Difficult Strains To Grow (If You’re Up For The Challenge)

Have you ever grown a landrace or heirloom strain? These five rarities are difficult to grow, but well worth the effort – if you’re up for the challenge!

Mar 9, 2017

By far, the most difficult strains to grow are landrace strains. This is particularly true for landrace sativas, which can have extraordinarily long flowering times. Today, these strains are some that you’re least likely to find on dispensary shelves. If you’re searching for a challenge or are interested in bringing back some old school classics, here are five difficult strains to grow for expert growers.

1. Malawi Gold

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Malawi Gold is perhaps the rarest cannabis strain in the world. This landrace sativa is fabled to produce colas as long as two feet (60 cm), but it has one of the longest flowering times in the world. This equatorial beauty takes 84 to 120 days to flower. Growing this bud outside of its native environment is especially difficult.

This strain is best-suited to a tropical climate and is not appropriate for cool, northern climates. If trying to grow this lady outside of a tropical region, it performs best indoors or in a temperature controlled greenhouse. If growing indoors, this strain needs some space.

However, this plant thrives outside when grown in the right environment. It also prefers high-quality organic soil as a growing medium.

For more info on growing Malawi Gold, check out the strain database here.

2. Dr. Grinspoon

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In a market dominated by Kush, it can be difficult to find a quality, pure sativa like Dr. Grinspoon. Dr. Grinspoon is a unique strain bred by Barney’s Farm Seeds. The fascinating thing about Dr. Grinspoon is the strain’s bud structure. Dr. Grinspoon produces bulbous and somewhat sparse, round calyxes.

The plant itself is wispy and thin, often needing support in late flowering.  Like Malawi Gold, Dr. Grinspoon has an extraordinarily long flowering time of 90 to 100 days. If growing indoors, this strain will need some serious height management.

For more info on growing Dr. Grinspoon, check out the strain database here.

3. Thai

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As you may have guessed, Thai is another landrace sativa. Or rather, Thai may represent a family of strains with roots in Thailand. Many cannabis historians suggest that the original Thai strains are now nowhere to be found. However, Thai family strains that you do come across are likely to be more difficult to grow.

This strain grows tall and takes well to hot, outdoor environments. Like all landrace sativas, growing this strain indoors will take some careful topping, pruning, and training.

This strain also loves organic soil and compost, meaning that growers will need to give this bud plenty of high-quality, natural food.

Depending on the variety of Thai strains available, flowering lasts anywhere from 65 to 98 days. Chocolate Thai, one of the most popular Thai variants, perhaps takes the longest time to grow.

For more information on growing Thai, check out the strain database here.

4. Colombian Gold

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Back in the 60s and 70s, Colombian Gold represented a departure from the leafy, low-potency, shade-grown brick cannabis that many people were smoking. A throwback for many classic consumers, Colombian Gold is extremely difficult to grow outside of its native environment.

Hailing from the Colombia’s Santa Marta Valley, this sativa loves hot, tropical climates. While the flowering time of this strain is fairly long, 75 to 85 days, it blooms significantly earlier than many other sativas on this list. Like other landrace strains, this bud grows vigorously outdoors.

Tall and bulky, Colombian Gold is a little too wild for the indoors. This strain will need pruning for height management and is best grown in the greenhouse in more northern or southern environments.

For more information on growing Colombian Gold, check out our strain database here.


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Some high-CBD strains are finicky, and ACDC is one of them. ACDC tends to be light sensitive and likes a moderate amount of nutrients, so this delicate lady needs to be grown with an expert hand and lots of care. Rumor has it, ACDC particularly loves calcium and magnesium and this whispy plant will need some propping up during flowering.

Fortunately, this extra attention reaps great rewards. This strain can produce up to 20 percent CBD, making it a great choice for making hemp extracts for CBD therapies. This strain is also often recommended to use as dietary cannabis, in the form of raw cannabis juices and smoothies.

To read more grow info on ACDC, check out the strain database here.

Mar 9, 2017