growing sativa strains

How to Grow Sativa Strains

Sativa strains, known for their uplifting and energizing effects, can be cultivated for a successful harvest both indoors and outdoors.

Whether you have a dedicated grow room or a sunny balcony, this article will equip you with the knowledge to get started with these beneficial cannabis strains.
Let’s delve into the specifics of sativa growth, including fertilizer needs, ideal indoor growing conditions, and what goes hand-in-hand with indoor growing – optimizing energy usage.

For those of you who prefer not to grow indoors, we’ll touch on the best practices for how to grow Sativa outdoors, on your balcony, patio, or garden. Read on to learn how to grow Sativa safely and gain more useful knowledge about the Sativa strain in general. We hope you put these tips to good use!

Growing Sativa Indoors vs. Outdoors – What’s Better?

The decision to cultivate your sativa indoors or outdoors hinges on your priorities (and your climate conditions!) Indoor growers get more control – over light, temperature, and humidity. You can plan, execute, and measure absolutely everything in an indoor growing setup. This means taking notes for “next time” and following directions and advice from other more experienced growers. This meticulous environment fosters potent bud development and allows you to grow year-round, regardless of weather and sunlight.

On the other hand, outdoor enthusiasts are drawn to the natural sunlight and ample space, often resulting in larger yields and a distinct, terpene-rich flavor profile thanks to the sun’s influence. Understanding these advantages will help you choose the cultivation method that best suits your needs and desired outcome.

Pros and Cons of Outdoor/Indoor Sativa Cultivation


  • Control over the whole process 
  • Grow no matter the season
  • Measure and improve your process in detail
  • Takes up a lot of room
  • Uses a lot of electricity 
  • Investing in expensive equipment


  • More space for the plant 
  • Reduced costs 
  • Less maintenance  
  • More interesting flavor (according to some!)
  • Pests
  • Unreliable weather 
  • Nosy neighbors 
  • Shorter growing season

What Do I Need to Grow Sativa Strains Indoors?

Sativa strains are famous for outgrowing their indoor homes – or grow tents. This is why you should carefully consider the size of a tent before purchasing. How big do Sativas grow? The answer is: very tall. They can climb up to about 3 meters (about 9.8 feet) in height during one growing season.
This isn’t very good for indoor growers unless you have the accommodations for a tree! Luckily, Sativa strains are being manipulated genetically into being easier to handle when growing indoors.
Our advice: pick the right Sativa strain for growing indoors. Here are some examples:
Cheesewreck is a great example of a modified Sativa strain that was bred to be less “stretchy” and easier to contain in a grow tent. Cheesewreck is a love child of the TrainWreck strain and Cheese, achieving a more manageable nature.
Do you have your favorite Sativa strain that you’d like to grow indoors, but it’s tall and you’re stubborn? If you’d rather not choose the more compliant, shorter cultivars of Sativa, there are other options for you, like learning how to trim your plants as they grow.

How to Prune Sativa Plants

Other than helping the plant fit into a grow tent and prevent it from taking over, there are other reasons to prune a Sativa and other strains of cannabis.
Increased light penetration helps nourish buds and encourage strong growth where you need it.
Enhanced airflow prevents moisture buildup and helps avoid any hard-to-get rid of mold problems.
By removing unproductive branches, you redirect the plant’s energy towards developing larger, denser buds on the main colas.
And of course, it keeps your plant a manageable size: Pruning helps control the overall height of your Sativa, which is especially important for indoor growers with limited space.

When to Prune Your Sativa – Get the Timing Right!

The prime pruning window falls during the vegetative stage before the plant starts flowering. Avoid pruning during flowering as it can stress the plant and hinder bud production.
Use sharp, sterilized pruning shears or scissors to make clean cuts that heal quickly. Why sterilized? Plants can become
It would be a shame for all that work to go to waste, so don’t go overboard with pruning. Begin by removing around 20% of the foliage at a time, focusing on the lower branches.

Focus on:
Water shoots are fast-growing shoots that emerge from the main stem below established branches. They won’t produce significant bud and can steal energy from the rest of the plant.Suckers are small shoots that grow where branches meet the main stem. They won’t produce quality buds and can hinder airflow. And poor airflow = moisture, which can lead to mold.
Dead leaves are easy to identify and get rid of.
Topping (Optional, not for beginners) involves pinching off the topmost growing tip of the main stem. It encourages bushier growth, maximizing bud production potential. However, topping can stress the plant, so it’s best for experienced growers.

Indoor Growing Equipment

Now that we have discussed some hard manual labor behind indoor growing (and you’re still interested,) it’s time to talk hardware.

Imagine this: it’s always the perfect spring day inside your grow space, no matter the season outside. That’s the magic of using a grow tent! These handy enclosures are like personal greenhouses for your cannabis plants. They block out unwanted light and give you complete control over the climate.

Grow tents are a must when growing indoors. They come in various sizes, so you can find one that fits perfectly in a spare closet or even a spare corner of your basement or attic. They come with features like ventilation ports, hanging bars for lights, and removable floors. They are built for easy maintenance and control.

Having said that, a grow tent is only the beginning – you’ll need to fill it with everything that your plant will need to survive.

  • Grow lights – all plants need light to grow. The design of a grow tent is ideal for not letting any light go to waste, thanks to its reflective lining. Look for LED grow lights with a wattage between 250 and 300. These are super efficient and won’t jack up your electricity bill. The best light fixture will be nice and rectangular, almost the same size as your grow tent. This ensures all your plants get a good dose of light, no matter where they’re positioned.
  • Ventilation – with light, water, and tight, enclosed spaces comes heat and moisture. You need to vent that off in order to keep your plants healthy. Grow tents come with spaces to install ventilation systems, and many will come with recommendations about the type of ventilation device you need to get.
  • Earth and Water – these are important because they are the primary carriers of the nutrients your plant needs to grow healthy. In a grow tent setup, you can opt for automatic watering with a timer and a larger fertilizer/water tank setup, or you can do it manually. There are many philosophies to choosing the right soil – and a lot of experienced growers can give you tips on particular strains and their soil and nutrient needs.

Growing Sativa Out in the Wild

The great outdoors is any plant’s natural environment. Some people like to let nature take its course without having to worry about maintaining complete control of the process.

Some growers even say that Sativa left to its own devices and developed its own specific taste and “terroir,” much like fine wines do, depending on where they’re grown.

Of course, you won’t be able to grow year-round, and you’ll be in danger of pests. On top of that, you’ll be subject to nosy neighbors or passersby if your patio, balcony, or garden is in plain view. We trust that if you’re growing cannabis of any kind, you make sure to do it legally – but legal or illegal – beautiful Sativa plants grown in plain view might be tempting to any passerby. You have to be careful about people who are tempted to “help themselves.” Grow safe!


Balcony and Patio Growing

Since Sativa tends to grow very tall, unless you’re planning on putting some work into pruning it, you have to plan on accommodating some pretty large plants. If you’re growing on a patio or balcony, you need large, stable pots that will hold the plant in place in case it becomes top-heavy. You don’t want it to fall over when the wind blows just a bit harder. We know that beginner plants are tiny, and it’s hard to believe that they will grow like crazy – but plan your pots accordingly!

Sativas aren’t recommended for smaller balconies as they really tend to branch out and take up a lot of space. This means that if you’re trying to keep it on the lowdown, balcony cultivation probably isn’t for you.

Not-So-Secret Garden 

If you have a garden, you’re in luck because it’s much easier to handle a large plant like Sativa in your backyard. If you have a private space away from prying eyes, then all that’s left is to pick a sunny spot to plant your seedlings. If you already have a working garden and a compost heap, you’re close to achieving success already. 

Loam is generally considered to be best for any type of cannabis growing – it combines clay, sand, and silt, creating a well-balanced growing medium. The ideal mix is 40% each of sand and silt, with 20% clay. Loam also typically falls within the desired pH range of 5.8 to 6.3 for cannabis.

You can test your soil’s pH with a kit or consult your local extension agent. If needed, adjust the pH using amendments available at nurseries or garden stores.

Loam is great for both container and outdoor growing. Building your own loam by adding compost over time is a more budget-friendly option but requires patience and effort. This is a great way to build great soil over time – remember, gardening in general, requires a lot of time and patience. 

our soil, though. If you already have a working garden and a compost heap, you’re close to achieving success already.

Key Takeaways: Growing Sativa Cannabis

Indoor vs. Outdoor

  • Decide based on your priorities and climate.
  • Indoor offers complete control (light, temperature, humidity) and year-round growing but requires equipment and uses more energy.
  • Outdoors offer natural sunlight, larger yields, and potentially richer flavor but have unpredictable weather, pests, and potential legal restrictions.

Indoor Growing

  • Choose Sativa strains suited for indoor growing (shorter varieties) or prune regularly.
  • Invest in a grow tent, LED grow lights (250-300W), a ventilation system, and a proper watering/fertilizing setup.

Outdoor Growing

  • Select a sunny spot with good drainage.
  • Use large, stable pots for balconies or patios (especially important for Sativa’s height).
  • Loam soil (mix of clay, sand, silt) with a pH of 5.8-6.3 is ideal. You can build your own over time using compost.
  • Be aware of potential problems like pests, weather, and attracting unwanted attention to your plants.

Happy growing!


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