Northern Lights Strain

June 2024

Northern Lights is a beloved and frequently awarded strain of Indica with genetic roots in Afghanistan.

Not many indicas have received as much fame and recognition as Northern Lights, except perhaps for the legendary G-13. Indoor growers consider Northern Lights the ultimate strain and she has left her mark on many contemporary cannabis genetics. To this day she remains popular among growers and smokers. If you love cannabis, chances are you've tried Northern Lights or one of its variants.





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The Northern Lights strain appeared on the scene in the mid-1980s. Since then she has won an incredible number of awards worldwide. Her outstanding qualities have earned her a reputation as one of the most highly regarded cannabis strains of all time. Northern Lights’ genes have laid the foundation for many popular indica-dominant strains on the market today. Think White Widow, Chronic, Haze, Special Kush and many more. Let’s dive into the details of this famous, legendary cannabis classic.

Origin And History Of Northern Lights Strain

As is often the case with the history of legendary strains, the exact origin of Northern Lights is shrouded in mystery. It is claimed that the strain was originally bred by “The Indian”. This was somewhere on an island near Seattle, Washington, in the US. some believe that the plant came to the mysterious Indian from the West Coast. Probably from California or Oregon.

The story goes that “The Indian” grew 11 plants, possibly from Afghani landraces. He named them Northern Lights #1-11 and made a comparison of yield, effects and other characteristics. Two plants stood out for their huge buds, wonderful yield and outstanding resin production: Northern Lights #5 and #1.

Possibly no one would have heard of Northern Lights without Nevil Schoenmakers, the “King of Cannabis” and founder of the very first Dutch seed bank. Some people claim that he is the discoverer of the strain. This is said to have happened on one of his trips to the US in the early 1980s. The story goes that he brought female clones of the plant with him to Holland, where he experimented with cannabis genetics from around the world.

In 1985, he introduced the first variant of this newly discovered strain in his “Seed Bank of Holland”. Northern Lights #1 was promoted as a pure Afghani indica. She flew off the shelves and quickly became a bestseller. He also crossed other Northern Lights varieties with a Thai sativa. This is why many current Northern Lights strains are sold as Afghani indica and Thai sativa crosses. After its introduction, it didn’t take long for the strain to win several awards worldwide.

Why Growers Love The Northern Lights Strain

Northern Lights is known among indoor cannabis growers as a fundamental plant for several reasons. They love her because she is easy to grow and completes her flowering period in just eight weeks. In hydro, she is even faster and you only have to wait six weeks. In doing so, growers always rely on a great production value.

Northern Lights develops into a handy, compact and bushy plant. The buds are firm and easy to trim, thanks to the generous space between nodes. Some phenotypes, such as the original phenotype NL #1, develop only one cola. This results in a large, slender plant, a bit like “weed on a stick.” But it is much more common to see small green trees. These have a central stem surrounded by four or five side branches, similar to the original Northern Lights #2.

The buds are substantial and compact. However, they are not so dense that mold is a threat. For this reason Northern Lights is also very suitable in humid conditions. As the plant develops her dark green buds they become covered in a thick, glistening layer of trichomes.

When you order the seeds most of the times you will receive feminized seeds. So you’ll only be growing female plants, which promotes ease of cultivation.

Expect Northern Lights to flower for 7-8 weeks before you can harvest it. Sometimes it takes a little longer, depending on various factors. Consider, for example, the temperature, lighting and nutrients.

Because of Northern Lights’ Afghani ancestry, it comes as no surprise that the plant loves sunshine. She has good resistance to dry climates and drought. Moreover, she does exceptionally well as an outdoor plant in harsh conditions. In good soil, with moderate nutrition and water, she reaches a respectable height. Compared to other strains, Northern Lights is tough and robust. This makes her easy to grow in different environments.

Although many variations of Northern Lights can be found today, most plants reach a height of 3”2-5”2 in a typical indoor setting. This convenient size makes her easy to handle. Still, she rewards you with outstanding yields. On average you can expect 19.4lbs/3.2”². Outdoors she grows 5”9-7”2 tall with yields up to 22lbs/plant. Harvest time then falls at the end of September.

Effects And Flavors Of Northern Lights Strain

Northern Lights would never have achieved legendary status without her incredible mental and physical effects. This is thanks to her pure Afghani heritage. With 18% THC, she is not overwhelmingly strong. Yet she is powerful enough to make you relax from head to toe. But her effect is not only relaxing. She also elicits a nice dose of euphoria, which makes her great for relieving stress. No wonder she’s still a favorite among indica lovers!

By the way, her balanced effect also offers therapeutic possibilities for medicinal users. Northern Lights may help with pain relief, soothe aching muscles and relieve insomnia. Its relaxing, uplifting effect also makes it suitable if you suffer from anxiety or other mood disorders.

The stunning indica effect is not the only thing that makes the smoking experience so great. Her taste is just as good and pleases even the most spoiled cannabis connoisseurs. She combines earthy flavors with hints of pine and delectable sweetness. This leads to a crazy old-school flavor that you rarely find these days.

The Northern Lights Strain Is A True Classic

Some cannabis strains are famous, but it takes a little more to become a true legend like Northern Lights. This strain is a true classic because it still impresses today as much as it did in the past. Northern Lights looks back on more than thirty years of success, but is still as fun and satisfying as ever.

Autoflowering Variant Of The Northern Lights Strain

Breeders successfully crossed Northern Lights with a robust ruderalis to give birth to Northern Light Automatic. This is a small strain that is easy to grow. Yet this version still produces fantastic yields and has inherited many impressive traits from its world-famous ancestors.

In addition, NLA has some unique traits on its own. Being an autoflower, she flowers with no change in the light cycle. She is also very resistant to temperature changes, insects and fungal infections. So it’s perfect for beginners who want to get to know Northern Lights or experienced growers who need an easy harvest.

Most autoflowers can barely compete with their photoperiod counterparts in terms of yield. Northern Light Automatic, however, goes against the grain here. For a small plant, she produces a decent yield.

Indoors, the plants maintain a medium height. Give them a chance to reach their full potential if you have the space. Is that not possible? Then you can easily prune and train the plants to keep them around 2”6. Just get your stock pots ready for a hefty harvest. Expect a yield of up to 19.4lbs/3.2”² after a flowering period of 5-7 weeks and a whole life cycle of 9-10 weeks.

Outdoor plants grow to a greater height of 5”2 and can yield 7lbs/plant. You may need sticks to keep the heavy canopy upright, especially in strong winds. This strain does best in warmer climates, but can certainly handle the occasional cold.

Northern Light Automatic has a genetic profile of 80% indica and 20% ruderalis. She offers a fine and soothing high that helps relax your body but keeps your mind clear. The compact, green-blue buds have a subtle, effective THC level of 14%. Enough to feel euphoria, without being overwhelmed or mentally hampered.

All in all, this is an excellent choice after a hard day at work. Smoke her in the evening before enjoying a good movie and hearty meal. Each puff is infused with flavors of earth, pine and sweetness.

Northern Lights Strain | Frequently Asked Questions

When did the Northern Lights Strain first appear?

In the ’80s of the last century.

Where does the Northern Lights Strain come from?

Probably California or Oregon.

How about the Northern Lights Strain automatic?

This is 80% indica and 20% ruderalis.

Is the Northern Lights Strain more indica or sativa?

This strain is overwhelmingly indica.

Is the Northern Lights Strain autoflower worth it?

Yes, it offers a relatively good yield.