Northern Lights

Quick Cannabinoid Profile | Average and Maximum Mass by Plant Weight

Northern Lights Qualities and Characteristics

Mental Aid
Stress, Anxiety disorder, Depression
Physical Aid
Headache, Migraines, Nausea, Pain relief, Arthritis, Anorexia, Cachexia, Sleep disorder
Northern Lights, Purple
Type of High
Relaxing, Uplifting, Lethargic, Sleepy, Calm
Green, Purple
Earthy, Pine, Spicy, Sweet
Lemon, Pine, Spicy, Sweet
Side Effects
Dry mouth, Dry eyes, Dizziness, Paranoia, Anxiety

Perhaps the most well known indica strain, Northern Lights’ history is only partially understood. What is known is that multiple versions of this Afghani dominant cultivar made their way from the Pacific Northwest to the Netherlands in the mid 80s where they quickly became the backbone of many of the strains we see today. If you look into genetic history, you will find one of the Northern Lights varieties in several award-winners from Jack Herer to Big Bud to Shiva Skunk. Tasting and smelling earthy, sweet, and spicy, Northern Lights has been prized in its own right for its calming, uplifting, and pain-relieving attributes.

Cannabinoid Profile | Average and Maximum Mass by Plant Weight

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Cultivation Info | Vetted methods to get the best from your bud

  • Indoor flowering time: 50-55 days
  • Indoor yield: 650-700 g/m2
  • Outdoor yield: Up to 1000 g/plant
  • Harvest time: (Outdoor/Greenhouse) October

The Seed Bank - Northern Lights #1: NL #1 is a true-breeding Afghani, with extreme Indica characteristics. These are short, stocky plants, with leathery, dark green, extremely broad leaves. The stems ere very strong, and it is easy to clone. As the seedlings generally tend to grow to one main stem, this is an excellent choice for the "Sea of Green" or "Small Plant" method. Resinous, potent, and sweet, not nasty and acrid like some Afghanis. Very vigorous end cold resistant, works well outdoors with a long season. Indoor height at 100 days: 40-50 inches. Indoor yield at 100 days: up to 1000 grams. Flowering period at 12 hours of darkness: 50-55 days. Outdoor height: 5-7 ft. Outdoor yield: 1,5-2 Ibs. Outdoor finishing date: October 15 at 45° N. latitude.

Highly adapted to indoor growing, Northern Lights is a satisfying yielder that can finish in just over 6 weeks. The best results are obtained from hydro culture gardens. Small sea of green plants or bigger indoor plants will both do well, but remember that yield is directly related to the amount of light and space. A petite plant averaging between 4 and 5 feet, NL has dense, resin-rich flowers and wide-fingered indica leaves. The aroma is pungently sweet and the taste is a flavorful mixture of sweet and spicy. The high is a potent physical experience that feels comfortably lazy and relaxing.

Appropriate for SoG method. Classification: dominant indica hybrid. Optimal Environment: indoors, but does well outdoors too. 6-8 weeks required for flowering (45-50 days). Outdoor harvest in mid-October. Low Yielding: Appx. 125 g/m2. One of the most potent indica strains. Gardening Skills Required: novice to moderate.

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More Info | Everything else you need to know


No other indica plant besides the legendary G-13 has accumulated such widespread recognition and fame as the Northern Lights Afghani. The original Northern Lights plants were pure indicas but later hybrids were released with a bit of Thai Sativa in their pedigree. This probably accounts for the fruity taste and great, almost psychedelic, high that this plant is known for today. Although most of the subsequent plants were bred towards an indica expression, there are still sativa phenotypes popping up now and then as a reminder of the genetic history of the plant. Making its way from the Pacific Northwest to the Netherlands in 1985, the Northern Lights arrived in the possession of Neville Schoenmaker. Neville was the owner of Holland's first cannabis Seed Company known as The Seed Bank, which later was renamed Sensi Seeds under new ownership. According to the most credible source, Northern Lights was originally bred by a man known as “The Indian” on an Island near Seattle Washington in the United States. Some also claim that the plant originated in California before ending up in the hand of this mysterious man from Seattle but there is no conclusive evidence to support this. Apparently there were a total of eleven plants that were labeled Northern Lights #1 through Northern Lights #11. Northern Lights #5 was said to have been the best of the bunch, with Northern Lights #1 coming in at a close second. The original Northern Lights plants were described to be true breeding Afghanis with extreme indica characteristics. They were dark green in color and very stable, with a high flower to leaf ratio while sporting a piney taste and purple hues in flowering. They were also known to be highly resinous with a THC percentage over 15%, sometimes higher. The story goes that all the various Northern Lights plants that were given to Neville Schoenmaker at the Seed Bank were female clones. Soon after, many new plants showed up on the Seed Bank list, including several different Northern Lights strains. This is where the history begins to get a bit hazy. How exactly these new seeds came to be is unclear but apparently Neville Schoenmaker used the plants that he got from the Indian to create new hybrids by further crossing them to some males of Afghani origin. He might have acquired them from the same source as the females but the Northern Lights males were never labeled, so their history remains unclear. The best guess is that Neville Schoenmaker created the new seeds by further hybridizing and inbreeding the plants that he acquired from the Indian to his old stock. Northern Lights #1 was described as a true breeding Afghani IBL (inbred line), suggesting that it contained none of the Thai Sativa that was later incorporated into some of the Northern Lights strains. At what point the Thai Sativa was infused into the genetic lineage is however unclear. Most likely it was bred into the Northern Lights #2 hybrid at some point. Regardless of their origin or genetic makeup, two particular males labeled Northern Lights #1 and Northern Lights #2 are clearly mentioned as the fathers of many new plants in a Seed Bank catalogue from the 1980’s. Northern Lights #2, a wonderfully potent Northern Lights #1-Hindu Kush hybrid, is still offered by Dutch Passion under the name Oasis. There is also some Northern Lights #2 in Aurora B from The Flying Dutchmen. The two Northern Lights males fathered several potent and exotic hybrids that included the notoriously potent G-13 female as well as Big Bud, Skunk #1, Hash Plant, Haze and Swazi, among others. One of the more noteworthy unions from this time was the Northern Lights #5 x Northern Lights #2 hybrid, which now no longer exists. The only strains from this collection that are still available at Sensi Seeds today are Hash Plant, which is made up of one quarter Northern Lights #1, as well as G-13 x Hash Plant, Black Domina and Big Bud with a slightly smaller portion of the same Northern Lights genes. Four-Way is also one quarter Northern Lights although it does contain some Cannabis Ruderalis, so it might not be the best choice for everyone. It might however appeal to the outdoor grower looking for auto-flowering or fast flowering varieties. The original Lowryder was also partly made up of Northern Lights #2 for those interested in the history of auto-flowering outdoor cannabis strains. The genetic lineage of the various Northern Lights plants quickly becomes confusing since the entire line is diverse but also closely related and inbred. However, the Northern Lights #5 clone, which was considered the most superior plant of the bunch, was apparently never sold in seed form and must therefore have been the only unaltered version of the original plants. The pure Northern Lights #5 Afghani indica was used to create several outstanding and potent hybrids in combination with many of the strains that The Seed Bank had to offer at the time. Although many of these Cannabis Cup winners are now extinct, some are still available in seed form today at Sensi Seeds. These plants are also the closest relatives to the glorious Northern Lights #5 mother that Sensi Seeds has to offer. Most notable of these strains are the Northern Lights #5 x Haze, Northern Lights #5 x Skunk #1 or Shiva Skunk, Silver Pearl and last but not least; Jack Herer, the main ingredient in the now legendary Cinderella 99. The glorious Jack Herer is a superior plant that forms a union between the three most important building blocks of modern cannabis strains; Northern Lights, Skunk and Haze. Some of the strains mentioned above were also sold under the flag of the Super Sativa Seeds Company carrying different names. Some might remember the M39, which was made up of a strain called Basic 5 and Skunk #1. The Basic 5 was apparently Northern Lights #5, which means that this hybrid was similar to the Shiva Skunk offered at the Seed Bank, now known as Sensi Seeds. The Brothers Grimm also offered their version of the Aurora Borealis but it has since disappeared from the market. The current, unnumbered version of the Northern Lights that Sensi Seeds offers today is according to their description a mix of the three pure variants of Northern Lights that were at their disposal in the past. Since the plant is a result of years of selection and back-breeding, it is difficult to say what the exact lineage is but an educated guess would be that they perhaps combined their Northern Lights #1 male to either the original Northern Lights #5 mother or the Northern Lights #5 x Northern Lights #2 hybrid in order to create this current version. There are a few other breeders that offer high quality Northern Lights plants and hybrids. One of the most highly regarded versions of modern Northern Lights #5 comes from the British Columbia Seed Company. Their plant possibly derives from the original Northern Lights #5 x Northern Lights #2 hybrid created at the Seed Bank by Neville himself. Dr. Atomic, Joey Weed, Reeferman as well as many others also offer select versions of Northern Lights, some more highly regarded than others. The Sweet Pink Grapefruit that Breeder Steve used to create his Sweet Tooth seed line is also allegedly an old school Northern Lights #1 cutting from British Columbia. Federation Seeds Mikado is also thought to be a reworked version of the Spice of Life Sweet Pink Grapefruit. The Sagarmatha Seed Bank in turn offers a plant that they call Northern Lights #9, which is made up of Northern Lights #5, White Widow and Durban. Slyder from Sagarmatha contains the same Northern Lights #5 and can be considered a forerunner to the Northern Lights #9. Some of the strains from Serious Seeds also contain some old school Northern Lights, mainly Chronic, which is made up of 50% Northern Lights with a touch of Skunk #1 and the notorious "one-hit-wonder" AK-47. The origin of the Northern Lights used in both the Serious Seeds and Sagarmatha hybrids can be traced back to the original plants, since the owners of both seeds companies apparently worked at Sensi Seeds at one point of their careers and thereby obtained their plants directly from the source. Likewise, some of the strains from The Mr Nice Seedbank contain pure, authentic old school Northern Lights #5 genes, including their Super Silver Haze. Apparently Neville and Shantibaba are also reviving the original Northern Lights #5 from a Haze hybrid from old stock. It might resurface in the near future. Exile from Magus Genetics is also made up of one quarter Northern Lights with some White Widow thrown into the mix but the strain is still highly propelled by the potent and always popular Warlock Super Skunk. Double Dutch from the same company is an early version of Chronic from Serious Seeds coupled up with the same potent father, making it a true Northern Lights hybrid. Both plants have accumulated several awards and are of uttermost high quality. There is also some mentioning of a private Northern Lights cutting that is said to be the real thing. It is known as P91, which stand for Poway Class of '91. This version of the plant, which originates from Poway San Diego, is supposedly an inbred or cubed version of Northern Lights #5 but this was impossible to confirm. It is considered to be one of the few, true and pure Northern Lights plants left in the world. The strains containing Northern Lights are simply too many to mention. Northern Lights has over the years become a very important line in modern cannabis genetics. Today, most seed companies offer their version of Northern Lights. Some of the plants are more closely related to the original plants than others, and descriptions by breeders are often lacking in detail. One thing is for certain and that is that there is more than one version of Northern Lights in circulation, ranging from indica to sativa in expression.

The genetics of Northern Lights is one of the most confused of all existing cannabis seeds strains because there is no one who can take entire credit for its creation. Northern Lights was developed as an indoor cannabis seed strain in the late 1970s near Seattle in Washington, although the genetics involved in the cross were known to have come from California - the original home of a great many of the most famous cannabis seeds strains. It was initially a stabilised cannabis sativa strain crossed with an Afghani indica hybrid. Northern Lights travelled to Holland as a clone where it was introduced to the commercial cannabis seed market in 1985 by The Seed Bank. Because it arrived as a clone it could not be inbred for stability and cannabis seed production, therefore Skunk No 1 and Original Haze were used to produce seeds off it so it could be used as a parent plant.

Maybe you have yet to try the powerhouse indica Northern Lights for yourself, but if you’ve done any exploration in cannabis connoisseurship, you’ve likely chanced upon one of her descendants. Super Silver Haze, Hash Plant, Shiva Skunk, and many others carry on the Northern Lights legacy of potency that has won the indica numerous Cannabis Cup blue ribbons. Despite its prevalence, Northern Lights has beginnings that are not well understood. The retrieval and cultivation of cannabis varieties in the 1970s and 80s can be seen as a prohibition-driven Dark Age, in that many breeders and pioneers kept their illegal art under wraps. As a result, the origins of many favorite strains survive only by word of mouth and folklore. Tradition has it that Northern Lights began on an island near Seattle, Washington, where 11 indica sprouts began their climb to glory. The genetics they propagated came from indigenous Afghani landrace strains, cherished for their highly resinous buds, fast flowering, and resilience during growth. Each Northern Lights sprout was given a number, and when seed turned to flower, Northern Lights #5 came out top crop. Northern Lights migrated to Holland in 1985, where Nevil Schoenmaker had recently founded the Netherlands’ first seed distribution company known then as The Seed Bank. The lineage of Northern Lights begins to blur around this time as the plants were selectively bred and backcrossed. The Afghani males used in the breeding process were also left undocumented, further muddling the strain’s elaborate genetic history. Some Northern Lights phenotypes were hybridized with varieties like Thai sativas, but others were left to carry on the pure indica genetics. Sensi Seeds bought the seed bank in 1991, and have continued propagating the Northern Lights family line ever since. The once pure indica can now be found in several genetic variations, some of which even express sativa-like characteristics. Below are just some of the offspring introduced by Northern Lights, and the list’s constant expansion is testament to the ever-important place this indica holds in the cannabis world.

The Northern Lights (NL) is one of the most potent and famous indica varieties. Even though there are a lot of copies circulating around with variations on the name, there are only 3 pure types from the original development of Northern Lights, which Sensi was lucky to acquire. Historically, the NL 1, a longer, more stretchy type with a fresh scent and good bud formulation, was the basis of the NL cross that was sold as Sensi’s Northern Lights. Currently, the NL 5 has taken over the most important role in the cross. Because NL 5 adds potency and reduces flowering time, but is not dominant in taste and smell, it also plays a starring role in the overall breeding plan at the Cannabis Castle. It has functioned as a test case for many crosses. The f1 generation is very predictable, giving uniform results and passing uniformly onto its hybrids it parents. The NL 2 contributes to the overall vigor of the plant and strength of the high, also lending its spider mite resistance to the cross.

Sensi seeds Northern Lights is one of three fundamental breeding strains that have changed the face of global cannabis culture over the last three decades. Apart from Skunk #1 and Haze, no variety comes close to matching Northern Lights’ influence on the world of weed. Whether you’re a smoker, a grower or a breeder, it's more than likely this strain has had a direct effect on your understanding of ganja. Virtually every cannabis enthusiast has, at the very least, had their day brightened by a fat bud of Northern Lights or one of her hybrid descendants. As far back as the Eighties, Northern Lights was setting the standard by which other Indicas are still judged and she remains one of the most trusted names and sought-after varieties in modern cannabis culture. For many years, Northern Lights dominated the various harvest festivals, winning cup after cup, leading to more than one request that she be retired from competition in order to allow other strains a shot at the title.

Additional Information

Some varieties are pure indica (NL #1, NL #2), some have a small percentage of sativa (NL #5). Northern Lights distinctly shows its Afghani indica genetic background; it is a small plant that produces, big highly resinous flowers. Although it was initially developed for indoor growers excellent results have been produced outside.Northern Lights has a sweet resinous taste and produces a physical comfortable but lazy feeling, known to some as "couch lock".

Her frosted buds possess a honey-musk aroma blended with an earthy Afghani undertone and a hint of juniper — highly enticing when dried and smoked, yet remarkably understated when growing and flowering.

Awards    1


3rd Cannabis Cup (Bio Cup)