Top 10 Best Outdoor Strains For New England: 2021 Comparison

If you plan to grow cannabis plants yourself, doing so outdoors is the easiest way to get strong, healthy plants with a high yield. But, growing cannabis outdoors in New England means choosing strains that suit the growing season, temperature, and hardiness zone. Most of the Northeast United States is in hardiness zone 4-7, meaning short growing seasons, warm wet summers, and long, cold winters. A successful outdoor cannabis crop means choosing the best strains for New England’s climate.  

Luckily, New England is well-suited to growing some of the world’s favorite cannabis strains. In fact, many Dutch strains, like the ever-popular White Widow, were bred for similar climates. Most early-harvest hybrids are ideal for New England’s climate, and you can plant them directly with few concerns about mold or drought. This makes New England one of the easiest regions in the country to grow Cannabis outdoors, although the Mediterranean-like climates of the west-coast are still the best.  

The table below gives a quick comparison of the best outdoor strains for New England / Northeast USA:

Strain  THC %  Indica/Sativa  Yield (per square meter)  Flowering Time  
AK 47  17-20%+  Indica dominant   400-600g  8-9 weeks 
Northern Lights   20-33%  Indica dominant 300-400g  7-8 weeks 
Afghan Kush  15-17%  Indica dominant 500-600g  4-7 weeks 
Lemon Haze   12-23%+  Savita dominant   300-400g   6 Weeks 
White Widow  16-20%  Sativa dominant   400-500g  8-9 weeks 
Super Skunk   19-24%  Indica Dominant   400-600g  8-9 weeks 
Purple Haze  14-20%  Sativa dominant   400-500g  8-10 weeks 
Blue Cheese   14-20%  Sativa dominant  500-600g  8-10 weeks 
Sour Diesel   19%  Sativa dominant   300-400g  8-9 weeks 
Cherry Kush  18-20%  Sativa dominant  400-600g  7-10 weeks  

 Below we have outlined the details of each strain and why they may be the best strains to grow outside in New England. Please note that strains are not ranked in any particular order. 

1. AK 47 

AK 47 is one of the most popular sativa hybrids out there. It originated in the Netherlands during the 90s, taking its name from its heavy-hitting THC profile. AK 47 was one of the first strains to exceed 15% THC content. Today, it often reaches 20%, and has the cannabis awards to prove its lifetime popularity. Nowadays, it’s also more valued as a high flavor strain that’s easy to grow in most climates, and popular with growers from coast to coast and across Europe.  

  • 65% Indica / 35% Sativa 
  • 1.5% CBD (Medium) 
  • 17-20% THC (Medium to High) 
  • Easy to grow (good for beginners)  
  • Strong resistance to disease and weather  
  • 400-600g per square meter average yield  
  • Typical Effects: Relaxation, Creativity, Sleepiness, Decreased Anxiety  
  • Smell & Taste: Citrus, sugar, Pine wood, Skunky, spicy  

2. Northern Lights 

Northern Lights, also known as “two hit and quit” is a potent and popular strain that’s as easy to grow as it is strong. With THC levels as high as 33%, Northern Lights is one of the strongest strains suited to New England soil. That makes it a top choice for anyone looking for help with insomnia, pain relief, or a strong sense of well-being and happiness. The strain was bred in Holland from Thai and Afghani landrace strains and perfected for growing in a climate similar to New England’s. That makes it one of the best options for outdoor growers, and an extremely popular one in both Europe and across the East Coast, despite its only recent introduction to America.  

  • 95% Indica / 5% Sativa 
  • Up to 10% CBD (Very High) 
  • 20-33% THC (Very High) 
  • Easy to grow (good for beginners)  
  • Strong resistance to disease and weather  
  • 300-400g per square meter average yield  
  • Typical Effects: Relaxation, Sedation, Pain Relief, Body buzz 
  • Smell & Taste: Earthy, Pine wood, Pungent, Sweet  

3. Afghan Kush 

Afghan Kush is a hardy, small, nearly pure-bred Indica plant, ideal for growing nearly anywhere. This fast grower is perfect for the short summers of New England’s coast and mountains. Plus, with a compact base, large but heavily crystalized bud, and high yield, it’s ideal for growing under cover. Like other Indica strains, you’ll have to trim the large top leaves for optimal growth. It’s also incredibly well-suited for lower temperatures and thrives at 65-70 degrees. Afghan Kush has a long history as primarily a breeding strain to optimize heavier THC-content strains, but it’s a strong contender as an outdoor growth superstar on its own.  

  • 95% Indica / 5% Sativa 
  • Up to 5-6% CBD (High) 
  • 12-17% THC (Medium-High) 
  • Easy to grow (good for beginners)  
  • Strong resistance to disease and weather  
  • 500-600g per square meter average yield  
  • Typical Effects: Relaxation, Sedation, Pain Relief, Sleepiness  
  • Smell & Taste: Sandalwood, Pine wood, Lemon

4. Lemon Haze 

As one of the most popular cannabis strains of the moment, Lemon Haze is hard to skip. It’s also hardy, grows quickly, and as a Dutch strain bred for a climate similar to New England, ideal for growing outdoors. The strain is a hybrid of Lemon Skunk and Amnesia Haze, popular for creative and long-lasting highs. However, Lemon Haze prefers humid summers, so individuals living closer to the Great Lakes with more arid summers may want to skip this one.

  • 70% Sativa/30% Indica 
  • Up to 6% CBD (Medium to high)  
  • 12-23% THC (High) 
  • Medium difficulty to grow (You should have some experience before growing this outdoors)  
  • Medium resistance to disease / Low resistance to weather 
  • 300-400 g per square meter 
  • Typical Effects: Focus, Relaxation, Energy, Body high, Trippy  
  • Smell & Taste: Lemon, Skunk, Sweet, Spicy  

5. White Widow  

One of the most popular cannabis strains in the world is also one of the easiest to grow. White Widow’s history is shrouded in mystery, though it’s almost undoubtedly Dutch in origin. It also stems from two landrace strains, Brazilian and South Indian. While developed after classics like Lemon Haze and Northern Lights, White Widow has gone on to claim its place among them, winning awards and hearts alike. White Widow produces a very high trichome count, or a lot of crystal. This makes it highly suitable for making hash. The plant is also excellent for growing outdoors in short, unstable summers so it’s an ideal choice for nearly anywhere in the Northeast.  

  • 60% Sativa/40% Indica 
  • Up to 1% CBD (Low)  
  • 20-22% THC (High) 
  • Very easy to grow (Top choice for beginners)  
  • High resistance to disease / Very high resistance to weather 
  • 400-500 g per square meter 
  • Typical Effects:  Uplifting, Relaxation, Energy, Happy  
  • Smell & Taste: Fruit, Pine, Pungent, Sweet  

6. Super Skunk 

Super Skunk is the result of a cannabis breeding project dating back to the 1970s, dubbed the first true Afghan hybrid. The result is an easy-to-grow yet high-yield plant with a flavor and high users rave about. Plus, with high temperature tolerance and a flowering period between 7 and 9 weeks, it’s ideal for growing outdoors. It’s also incredibly popular for medical use, with a balance of CBD content and THC for calming, long-lasting highs.  

  • 80% Sativa/20% Indica 
  • Up to 2.4% CBD (High)  
  • 19% THC (High) 
  • Very easy to grow (Top choice for beginners)  
  • High resistance to disease / Very high resistance to weather 
  • 400-600 g per square meter 
  • Typical Effects: Body Buzz, Relaxation, Calming, Happy  
  • Smell & Taste: Sweet, Pungent, Spicy 

7. Purple Haze  

Renowned for its trippy highs and beautiful purple buds, Purple Haze is perhaps one of the most well-known strains out there. Purple Haze is a large plant offering a high yield. It’s also ideal for New England’s reduced sun, with wide-spread leaves that allow sun to penetrate through the plant. However, you may still want to trim top leaves.  With an up-to-1o-week flowering time, you may want to get Purple Haze in early. However, with high yields, it’s very worth the wait.  

  • 70% Sativa/30% Indica 
  • Less than 1% CBD (Low)  
  • 16-20% THC (High) 
  • Medium grow difficult (Start early)  
  • Medium resistance to disease / Medium resistance to weather 
  • 450-500 g per square meter 
  • Typical Effects: Creative, Uplifting, Energetic, Intense  
  • Smell & Taste: Tropical, Fresh, Sweet 

8. Blue Cheese 

Blue Cheese is a Cheese and Blueberry cross, renowned for intense flavors. The blend of British and Oregon strains makes it ideal for surviving most climates. Blue Cheese is also a fast grower, ideal for shorter summers. That, plus a large bud with small leaves make it ideal for growing outdoors in lighter sun. Most users appreciate the strain for flavor, mediation-like highs, and for making hash and edibles. Plus, with high trichome content on leaves, you’ll want to save and use the leaves for extraction.  

  • 60% Sativa/40% Indica 
  • 1% CBD (Medium)  
  • 14-20% THC (High) 
  • Medium growing difficult  
  • Medium resistance to disease / Medium resistance to weather 
  • 500-600 g per square meter 
  • Typical Effects: Relaxed, Calm, Meditative, Creative 
  • Smell & Taste: Berry, Skunk, Cheese, Pungent 

9. Sour Diesel 

Originally bred in California, Sour Diesel does remarkably well in New England’s climate. The hybrid boasts parentage including Shiva, Hawaiian, Northern Lights, and Diesel. It brings together some of the best of west-coast breeding and European cannabis, for a flavor and high profile that is one of the most popular in the world. Sour Diesel grows to over 4 feet high outdoors, so if discretion is required, this may not be the strain for you.  

  • 60% Sativa/40% Indica 
  • 3% CBD (High)  
  • 19% THC (High) 
  • Medium growing difficult  
  • Medium resistance to disease / Medium resistance to weather 
  • 300-400 g per square meter (double this if you have a very sunny, humid summer)
  • Typical Effects: Relaxed, Cerebral, Focused, Energetic
  • Smell & Taste: Diesel, Bitter, Sour, Herbal 

10. Cherry Kush 

Cherry Kush or Cherry Pie is a popular, easy-to-grow strain with remarkable weather tolerance. In fact, it’s ideal for New England’s climate because the buds turn purple when exposed to cold temperatures. Growers might wait to harvest until nighttime temperatures have been at 55 degrees for a week for a beautiful purple bud. The strain has a markedly mixed parentage, with Cherry, Purple Afghani, OG Kush, Grand Daddy Purple, and many other heavy hitters in its breeding program. That all comes together to create a mellow high, popular for recreational use with happy highs.  

  • 70% Sativa/30% Indica 
  • 2% CBD (High)  
  • 18-20% THC (High) 
  • Easy growing difficult  
  • Medium resistance to disease / High resistance to weather 
  • 400-600 g per square meter  
  • Typical Effects: Relaxed, Happy, Sedated, Mellow 
  • Smell & Taste: Citrus, Cherry, Berry, Sweet 

New England Climate  

The Northeastern United States has pros and cons for growing cannabis outdoors. For example, the climate is warm, relatively dry, and ideal for outside cannabis growth during the summer months. On the other hand, the growing season is relatively short. In addition, with varying temperatures throughout the year, a relatively unstable autumn period, and early frost, you want fast-growing plants. This means hybrid strains with fast flowering periods (6-9 weeks) are ideal for the New England climate.

New England’s last frost is in April or early June and the first frost starts as early as September to the end of October. This means you have 120-180 days of the growing season. Plant outdoors in early June or start seedlings indoors and plant outdoors in the second week of June. You’ll want to harvest before the second week of October, although you can watch weather predictions if your strain needs slightly more time.  

Additionally, the Northeast does not have a lot of sun. You can improve flowering and yield by choosing low-density strains. On the other hand, you could commit to pruning and keeping large top leaves down to allow the sun to reach every part of the plant. This will allow it to grow and mature across the full plant.  

New England soils are often rich and ideal for cannabis growth. You may, however, want to choose to use planters if you’re starting late. Similarly, if you have rocky or clay soil locally, you might want to consider potting soil, rather than planting directly in the ground. Other than that, you should have no trouble growing any of the strains listed above.  

Summary  

Growing cannabis outdoors means paying attention to the weather, checking the climate, and learning how to deal with pests. In most of New England, early frost, water, and adequate sun will be your largest problems. These 10 best outdoor strains for New England comprise fast-growing hybrids, most of which will grow from seed to smokable bud in 12 weeks or less. That makes them relatively easy to grow in the northeast’s short growing season.