10 Best Strains To Grow In Illinois (2023 Update)

Looking for the best strains to grow in Illinois? Discover our top picks tailored to the state's climate and soil, ensuring a successful harvest every time. Last updated 20/09/2023 9 min read

    Illinois boasts a diverse climate that varies from humid continental in the north to humid subtropical in the south.

    Its summers are warm, winters can be biting cold, and rainfall is unpredictable.

    In this article, we look at the 10 best strains perfectly suited for Illinois' unique climate, ensuring a lush yield every time.

    Cannabis Growing Climate in Illinois

    Best Strains To Grow in Illinois (Our Picks)

    1. Blue Dream

    Originating from California, Blue Dream is a legendary blend of Blueberry x Haze that has wowed growers since its debut around 2003.

    Why Blue Dream is a good strain to grow in Illinois

    Blue Dream is an ideal strain for outdoor growing in Illinois because of its hardy genetics, inherited from the Blueberry indica and Haze sativa lineage.

    Its adaptability allows it to withstand the Midwestern climate, offering resistance to common pests and diseases. Additionally, its relatively short flowering time aligns well with Illinois's growing season, ensuring harvests can be completed before cold fall temperatures set in.

    Smell, Taste, and Effect

    Blue Dream's aroma is a delightful blend of blueberries and lemon. As you indulge, hints of vanilla and mango, attributed to the terpene Myrcene, tease your taste buds.

    This sativa-dominant strain offers an uplifting cerebral high that eventually eases into a calming body sensation. With a THC level of 21%, it provides a robust experience without overwhelming beginners.

    Perfect for those seeking relaxation, relief from anxiety, or simply a mood boost.

    2. Northern Lights

    Northern Lights is a classic strain with origins tracing back to the efforts of the 'King of Cannabis' Nevil Schoenmakers, who popularized it from the blend of Afghani Indica and Thai Sativa genetics.

    Growing Northern Lights in Illinois

    Illinois can often present challenges for outdoor cannabis growers. However, Northern Lights proves to be an ideal choice.

    This strain's rugged genetics, inherited from its Afghani roots, allows it to thrive even in colder and damp conditions, similar to the Netherlands or UK.

    While Illinois doesn't experience the constant humidity of these European countries, Northern Lights' resistance to mildew and its compact growth structure make it well-suited to Illinois' summer months.

    Smell, Taste, and Effect

    Once dried, Northern Lights releases an enticing aroma, blending honey-musk with subtle hints of wild juniper and Afghani. The taste mirrors this profile, offering a rich, honeyed musk that’s reminiscent of its Afghani lineage.

    Northern Lights delivers a potent punch. Dominantly Indica, users can expect a deep, relaxing effect, perfect for unwinding after a hectic day. However, be prepared with a glass of water, as the most common side effects include dry mouth and eyes.

    3. White Widow

    Originating from Amsterdam, White Widow is a classic blend of Brazilian sativa and South Indian genetics, making waves since the late 90s.

    Growing White Widow in Illinois

    White Widow seeds thrive both indoors and outdoors, and their resilience makes them suitable for Illinois's diverse climate. Their low-maintenance nature appeals to both beginners and expert growers in the state.

    Indoors, the plant remains modest in height, usually under 1 meter, making it apt for homes with space constraints.

    When given the chance outdoors in Illinois, especially during warmer months, White Widow shows its true potential, growing taller and yielding generously.

    For those new to cannabis cultivation in Illinois, opting for White Widow autoflower seeds can ensure a successful harvest with minimal effort.

    Smell, Taste, and Effect

    White Widow carries a sharp, yet sweet and sour smell that is distinctively earthy. When smoked, the taste reflects its aroma but with an added hint of woodiness.

    The herbal undertones and spicy aftertaste linger pleasantly in the mouth. As for its effects, White Widow offers a balanced high that stimulates creativity and provides relaxation.

    While it's perfect for a sociable evening, overindulgence might lead to a deep relaxation phase, making it ideal for those looking to treat chronic pain or insomnia.

    As with many cannabis strains, a dry mouth is its most common side effect, so it's a good idea to stay hydrated.

    4. Gold Leaf

    Gold Leaf combines the best of Sativa and Indica worlds, promising growers an abundance of golden-yellow buds and users a trip of euphoria and relaxation.

    Growing Gold Leaf in Illinois

    Gold Leaf offers growers in Illinois a viable option for high yields, thanks to its robust growth rate and high adaptability. Its Sativa lineage ensures it stands tall, which is an advantage for those with outdoor setups.

    Given Illinois's climate, ensuring you harvest around late September to early October is crucial. And with yields up to 800 grams per plant outdoors, Illinois growers can anticipate a generous harvest season.

    Smell, Taste, and Effect

    Gold Leaf carries with it a strong musky odor during its flowering phase, making discretion key for indoor growers. As you light it up, you're greeted with a thick smoke that gives off an earthy and diesel aroma with a touch of skunk.

    It surprises with a fresh piney flavor, rounded off with an unexpected sweet note. But it's not just about the aroma and taste.

    Users can expect an uplifting euphoria which gradually transitions into a deep, muscle-relaxing calm, making it a good choice for both recreational and medical users.

    Beware though, this strain might make you reach for that snack bowl more often than you'd expect!

    5. Purple Kush

    Originating from a cross between Purple Afghani and Hindu Kush in Northern California, Purple Kush stands as a testament to pure Indica power.

    Growing Purple Kush in Illinois

    Purple Kush thrives even in the cool climate of Illinois. Its resilience to mold and fungal resistance makes it a go-to choice for growers in the state.

    Given Illinois' occasional dips in temperature and unpredictable weather, this strain's hardiness ensures growers can expect a decent harvest.

    When growing outdoors, Purple Kush seeks plenty of sunlight, so pick a spot in your garden where it gets ample rays. Its compact height of 60 to 80 cm makes it manageable for indoor cultivation in the state too.

    Smell, Taste, and Effect

    Purple Kush gives off a sweet, earthy scent blended with fruity overtones. When smoked, many describe a spicy grape taste with a sweet touch that lingers on the taste buds.

    The effects give a deep relaxation that takes over your entire body. Its 100% Indica genetics paired with high THC levels means users can expect a pronounced body stone, often leading to the renowned couch lock.

    6. Green Crack

    Originating from a blend of the 1989 SSSC Skunk #1 and an Isolated Afghani Cut, Green Crack is a Sativa-dominant hybrid known for its potent effects and tantalizing aroma.

    Growing Green Crack in Illinois

    Green Crack is an excellent choice for growers in Illinois. Given its sturdy and adaptive nature, it's pretty straightforward to grow.

    Its Indica genetics (40%) ensures it won't skyrocket in height, making it manageable for indoor cultivations. But if you have the space outdoors, you're in for a treat, as Green Crack can stretch up to a massive 3.5 meters!

    With Illinois's long warm summers, this strain will have ample time to flourish and offer generous yields.

    Smell, Taste, and Effect

    As soon as you light up Green Crack, you're hit with a sweet and fruity aroma that's hard to resist. This pleasant scent transitions into a delightful taste, bearing hints of citrus, tropical fruit, exotic wood, and frankincense.

    Light up, and you're quickly greeted with an energizing, uplifting high. It's the kind of strain that keeps you active and focused, perfect for social gatherings or getting through a busy day.

    Some users also find relief from pain and anxiety with Green Crack. However, stay hydrated, as some may experience a dry mouth, and in very few cases, a touch of paranoia.

    7. Amnesia Haze

    Born from a captivating mix of Thai, Hawaiian, and Afghani genetics, Amnesia Haze has secured its place as a top-tier strain in the cannabis community.

    Growing Amnesia Haze in Illinois

    Illinois, with its warm summers and ample sunlight, makes it a suitable spot for Amnesia Haze cultivation. This strain can reach impressive heights outdoors, making the most of the state's extended growing season.

    Its resilience and relatively short flowering time of about nine weeks also make it favorable for first-time growers in Illinois. Given its generous yields, local cultivators can expect a bountiful harvest especially if they employ growing techniques like SOG or ScrOG.

    Smell, Taste, and Effect

    Amnesia Haze offers an inviting aroma marked by earthy and sharp scents, underscored by a spicy black pepper note. Citrus undertones, particularly lemon, dominate the flavor profile, reminiscent of its Haze lineage.

    When consumed, this strain promises an energizing and uplifting effect. Initial puffs might send you into a daydream, making daily tasks a challenge, but boosting your creativity in return.

    While it promotes relaxation and a wandering mind, it won't make you yearn for your bed, making Amnesia Haze ideal for daytime consumption. Its potential in easing symptoms of depression and anxiety adds to its appeal.

    With THC levels touching 20%, Amnesia Haze delivers a potent punch, so users should tread lightly if they're new to the cannabis scene.

    8. Girl Scout Cookies

    Originating from a cross between Durban Poison and OG Kush by collectors in San Francisco Bay, Girl Scout Cookies (GSC) has etched its name as a premium strain in the cannabis industry.

    Growing Girl Scout Cookies in Illinois

    Illinois' diverse climate is quite compatible with GSC. The strain thrives best in mild night-time temperatures, which Illinois frequently experiences, especially during late spring to early fall.

    Moreover, the adaptability of GSC to both indoor and outdoor growing makes it a top choice for local growers. Its pliable long branches are ideal for various cultivation techniques, allowing growers in Illinois to achieve an impressive yield.

    Smell, Taste, and Effect

    Girl Scout Cookies truly stands out when it comes to its aroma and taste. As you might guess from its name, its scent is reminiscent of fresh, oven-baked cookies.

    When smoked, it offers a smooth experience, which is unlikely to lead to coughing. Its flavor profile is a mix of sweet, spicy, and minty hints with earthy undertones.

    The high is uplifting and cheerful, promoting creativity and relaxation. Those experiencing chronic pain may find relief, but be warned: you might find yourself reaching for snacks more often than usual!

    9. Cheese

    Originating from the powerful Skunk #1 and the tantalizing Afghani, Cheese burst into the cannabis scene in the late 1980s, with its unmistakable aroma and memorable effects.

    Growing Cheese in Illinois

    Cheese is a versatile strain, adaptable to both indoor and outdoor settings. With Illinois experiencing moderate climates, this strain thrives especially well outdoors.

    Considering its high mold resistance, growers in Illinois can be confident even during the state's humid months. For those cultivating indoors, be prepared for the robust aroma during flowering and consider a strong carbon filter.

    Whether you're a backyard grower or an indoor enthusiast, Cheese offers a generous yield that's hard to ignore.

    Smell, Taste, and Effect

    Cheese's aroma boasts a spicy, strong scent with underlying earthy notes. It's reminiscent of that strong cheese – initially overpowering but ultimately delightful in flavor.

    Lighting up Cheese is an indulgence, with its rich cheesy taste complemented by subtle hints of incense. Users are greeted with a gentle, yet powerful high that relaxes the body while stimulating the mind.

    It's perfect for unwinding after a long day. However, newcomers should proceed with caution, as its potent effects can be a tad overwhelming.

    On the medicinal side, it's known to alleviate chronic pains, aid insomnia, and even help boost appetite post-chemotherapy.

    10. OG Kush

    OG Kush hails from California, known either for its Ocean Grown lineage or its original gangster roots.

    Growing OG Kush in Illinois

    Illinois experiences a mix of humid continental and humid subtropical climates, making it a challenge for outdoor growers. However, OG Kush's preference for indoor growth and its robust nature make it a solid choice.

    While outdoor cultivation might be challenging due to its susceptibility to pests and diseases, indoor cultivation using hydroponic methods can boost yields and potency, making it a favorable choice for Illinois growers.

    Also, the plant's relatively short flowering time is a boon for those trying to fit in the grow cycle before the chill sets in.

    Smell, Taste, and Effect

    OG Kush boasts a rich aroma that's a tantalizing blend of earthy and woody notes, infused with a refreshing burst of lemon and a hint of pine oil. It's no wonder that its scent is often described as very aromatic.

    When it comes to flavor, OG Kush doesn't disappoint. An earthy taste combined with notes of pine and a slight touch of wood delivers a satisfying palate experience. The hint of petroleum aroma ensures an intriguing and lingering aftertaste.

    As for the effects, expect a euphoric high that offers relaxation and happiness. With THC levels reaching up to 26%, novices should be cautious, as too much can lead to dry mouth, dry eyes, or even bouts of paranoia or anxiety.