Outdoor Strains Commonly Found and Grown in South Africa [Updated]

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When looking at South African weed strains and strains commonly grown in South Africa, a large portion of that cannabis will be grown outdoors. South Africa has some of the best climates in the world for growing cannabis, and in many places around the country, merely throwing seeds down on the ground will present you with a yield by the end of the season.

The dagga seeds just seem to grow themselves, hence the name ‘weed’.

Cannabis is largely grown in the Eastern Cape and Transkei as the climate is perfectly suited to growing. Supporting many families as a subsistence crop, it’s an integral part of funding the lives of thousands of South Africans living rurally. Especially in places where the government is not providing enough support to these small communities.

These previously illegal farms have been targeted by police helicopter spray operations for years until the groundbreaking change in cannabis legislation in 2018. Also grown in Mpumalanga, Malawi, Swaziland, and Lesotho, Southern Africa is undoubtedly one of the best spots for growing cannabis in the Southern Hemisphere.

Types of Weed in South Africa Commonly Grown Outdoors

The reality is that foreign big-name strains like Cheese (or, as some of us might know it, ‘kaas’), Haze and Kush are gaining popularity. However, South African growing and smoking cultures have long been centred around a number of strains that are native to our region and unique in their properties when compared to landraces found overseas. Most South African landraces are Sativas, and since pollen can be carried as far as 5-10km by the wind, even a field of pure Indica plants will eventually become pollinated and produce hybrid seeds.

These outdoor strains are commonly sold at dirt-cheap prices, are often full of sticks and seeds, and are sold in bankies or matchboxes. The prevalence of seeds is due to large outdoor crop fields containing a mix of male and female plants (females being the ones that produce buds), resulting in pollination and the growth of seeds within the buds.

Very seedy plants generally have a lower THC content, but this isn’t always the case. In higher-end grow operations, males will be cut down as soon as they’re detected, and sometimes growers will even use auto-feminized seeds to prevent this.

Terminology: Landraces generally refer to strains that were never systematically farmed or bred, essentially meaning they develop their own characteristics as a sub-type or ‘strain’ 

Here are some well-known South African landrace strains and some foreign strains that are commonly grown outdoors:


Different Outdoor Cannabis Seeds South Africa is Famous For

Here’s a more in-depth look at the different strains commonly grown outdoors in South Africa. These strains will grow easily in most outdoor spaces around the country with just a little good soil and water. They’re great starter strains if you’re looking to try your hand at growing, however, the timelines, yields, and effects of the strains all vary quite a bit.

Terminology: Cannabis has three subspecies – Sativa, Indica and Ruderalis. Sativas grow thin and tall take longer to flower, and have a higher THC count. Indicas generally grow shorter and bushier, have wider leaves, and have a higher CBD count and lower THC count.

THC is the psychoactive chemical, while CBD is not, and possesses more therapeutic effects, hence its use in cannabis oil. Simply put, Sativas are regarded as more mental, psychedelic highs, while Indicas are regarded as more relaxing, body affective highs – often used for sleep or appetite.

Top 3 Sativa Strains Grown Outdoors in South Africa

Here are some of the Sativas you’ll most commonly find around South Africa.

1. Durban Poison

Species: Sativa Landrace

Flowering Time: 7-9 Weeks

Flavour and Aroma: Sweet, Earthy and Fresh

Medicinal Properties: Stress and Fatigue-related depression issues and light pain management.

Durban Poison is South Africa’s pride and joy as far as cannabis is concerned – recently having a beer and brewing company named after it. Originating, as you might imagine, from Durban and its surroundings in KwaZulu-Natal, it’s one of the last and only pure Sativas in the world. Almost all of the other landrace Sativas have been lost or bred into hybrids over the years.

Being the gold trophy of Sativa plants, Durban Poison grows extremely tall, at times over 2m, and produces very resin-heavy buds, which are perfect for making extracts, and have a very high natural THC content – at times exceeding 20%.

The high it produces is a classic Sativa high: uplifting, boosting energy and creativity and a feeling of being uplifted. This makes it a great daytime strain for creative endeavours, outdoor activities, and interesting conversations.

While Durban Poison is widely accepted to have been bred out of existence thanks to a lack of preservation of mother plants. Many seed suppliers have claimed to recreate or regrow this strain. Making availability in its true form somewhat shrouded in mystery, with very little factual information to back it up.

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2. Swazi Gold

Species: Sativa Landrace

Flowering Time: 8-12 Weeks

Flavour and Aroma: Pungent, Citrus aromas with full-bodied earth flavours

Medicinal Properties: Fantastic for stress, with mild assistance in pain management, nausea or lack of appetite.

Swaziland is yet another seminal strain grown around South Africa, most commonly found in the northeastern parts of the country. It’s a Sativa similar to Durban Poison but has been designed to grow well in the mountainous rolling hills of Swaziland. It grows a little shorter and stockier and has a slightly more unique flavour profile, making it known for its sickly-sweet citrus flavour and aroma.

The high it produces is a fast-acting Sativa high which grows quickly in energy and intensity, smoothing over into a more relaxed and sedated state after 45-90 minutes. It produces very euphoric and uplifting effects at first, making it a great strain for socializing. This strain mellows out very fast, leaving you dazed and relaxed – take it easy so you don’t end up needing to head to sleep early.

Swazi Gold also causes incredibly dry mouth and eyes, so have some water on hand to keep your mouth from turning into a desert.

3. Malawi Gold

Species: Sativa

Flowering Time: Up to 17 weeks

Flavour and Aroma: Spicy, earthy flavours with hints of resinous freshness.

Medicinal Properties: Great for appetite stimulation and stress/depression.

Malawi Gold is another typical African sativa, however can take a lot longer to flower than the others – up to four months – and is a lot harder to locate due to Swazi being a lot more popular and widely used. Much of the Malawi Gold that changes hands around South Africa is, in fact, Swazi Gold, however this is hard to quantify thanks to prohibition causing a lack of scientific and trade research.

It produces very euphoric and ‘trippy’ highs, with more body effects than the previous two strains we’ve mentioned, such as tingles and shivers. It grows tall like other Sativas, and produces buds that are long, thin, and very slow-growing when compared to more popular or common strains found all around the world.

True outdoor Malawi Gold is a real treat and should be sought-after by any South African cannabis connoisseur, as it will grow just as easily (if not easier) in our climate than Malawi’s. Beware, however, the increased paranoid or anxious effects that can come with a more psychedelic high – if you’re not an experienced smoker, take it easy and remember you can always take more, but you can never take less.

In Malawi, weed is historically often cured in a cob, which is the husk of a mielie wrapped around a ‘section’ of weed (a handful of buds), which is then tied and buried under a cattle kraal to avoid detection during the curing process. If you’re someone with an interest in South African cannabis culture, we highly recommend putting a Malawi Cob on your bucket list.

2 Most Popular Indica Strains Grown Outdoors in South Africa

While Indicas are less commonly grown in outdoor plantations in South Africa, this has changed a lot with the recent introduction of seeds from Amsterdam to local grow operations. This cross-pollination has created some interesting varieties, but these are the most common pure Indica strains you’ll find around the country.

1. Cheese (or ‘Kaas’)

Species: Indica Dominant Hybrid

Flowering Time: 7-9 Weeks

Flavour and Aroma: Pungent, smelly skunk/cheese aroma with a sour flavour

Medicinal Properties: Perfect for pain management, headaches and lack of appetite.

Cheese, or as you’ll hear it called in Cape Town, ‘Kaas’, is likely the most popular strain of cannabis in the Western Cape. While mostly grown indoors, it’s also grown outdoors by a lot of cultivators. This strain is immediately identifiable by its skunky, cheesy stench (thanks to its Skunk lineage) and near-white pale buds.

The strain grows very well in our climate, especially if you’re able to come across autoflowering or feminized seeds (which, until recently, were near impossible to find for landrace strains). This one also grows quite tall for a hybrid strain.

The effects it produces are near stereotypical ‘stoning’ effects: a relaxed, happy and uplifted feeling with very bloodshot eyes and a case of the giggles. However, it can also produce a strange focus, which could best be described as a ‘zoning-in’ effect. It might not be the focus you need to write a maths paper, but could definitely help, for example, when cooking or working on a creative project.

If you’ve ever smoked with someone who considers themselves a stoner and lives in the Western Cape, then Cheese should be no stranger to you.

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2. Skunk

Species: Indica Dominant Hybrid

Flowering Time:7-9 Weeks

Flavour and Aroma: Earthy, Pungent Skunky aromas with a sweet flavour

Medicinal Properties: Great mood booster, with relief of inflammation and pain close behind.

Skunk is best known for its popularity in the UK, where strains like Amnesia Haze and Lemon Haze have more recently taken over in popularity. Anyone over the age of 25 will know the reputation Skunk has in the UK, and it’s this popularity that likely played a part in bringing it down to South Africa, resulting in its eventual and inevitable introduction to large outdoor grow operations.

It can be regarded as a less potent, knock-your-lights-out alternative to Cheese, and while it’s a little harder to grow, once again will have no issues almost anywhere in South Africa – from desert to mountaintop.

It produces very dreamy effects of relaxation and happiness with a little sativa-edge of energy and mood boost, making it a great strain for watching movies, listening to music, beach days or dates. Some even swear it is great for exercise, allowing for one to simultaneously focus and zone out while receiving pain and inflammation relief at the same time.

Outdoor Weed in South Africa in a Nutshell

Due to the farming techniques, as well as the previously mentioned lack of research into scientific and trade aspects of cannabis in South Africa, it’s very hard to find a reliably pure strain being grown en-masse outdoors.

Most people don’t mind the blended mix of lineage you find in a bankie (except those snobs we all know), and it can be fun trying to identify the ancestors or lineage of whatever it is you’re smoking, especially if you know the region it was grown in.

We hope that as South Africa grows into its infancy of a legal cannabis industry, research can be increased – resulting in the preservation of these rare landraces that Dutch, American and Canadian growers are seeking at ever-increasing rates. They are, after all, an integral part of South Africa’s history with Cannabis since its arrival from the East and a big part of Southern African history in regard to social circles and counter-culture.

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