Few marijuana strains have made it to the ‘mainstream’ and earned global acclaim quite like Pineapple Express. It gained international attention thanks to the 2008 stoner-comedy Pineapple Express, which starred James Franco and Seth Rogen. The origins of this sativa-dominant (60%) hybrid are mysterious. Rogen claimed that the strain didn’t exist before the film and that it was developed as an homage.
Therefore, we’re not 100% sure whether it originated in California medical dispensaries, or was merely popularized there. Eventually, it made its way along the west coast into states such as Colorado, Washington, Nevada, and Oregon. It is a cross of Hawaiian and Trainwreck, and G13 Labs is accredited with its creation.
With a THC content of up to 24%, you may think that Pineapple Express is a KO artist. In reality, its effects are nothing like what is depicted in the movie. Rather than being extreme, Pineapple Express’ effects are smooth and even. You will feel euphoric, and enjoy a significant boost in energy. It should elevate your mood, and creative individuals often use it to stimulate their brain.
Pineapple Express is also a beloved medical strain because of its balanced effects. It is often used for stress and anxiety disorders. However, it is also said to be a potent pain reliever because it calms the body and mind and enables you to focus on day-to-day activities. As the name suggests, this strain offers a delicious pineapple taste, although you may also experience a hint of mango.
At Marijuana Break, we are busy compiling one of the most detailed sets of growing guides you’ll find anywhere. The goal is to provide growers with tips and tricks to get the most from their strains. In this Pineapple Express grow guide, we will help you determine the right growing conditions, the best nutrients, with a word or two on harvesting & curing.
1 – Know thy phenotype
Barring marijuana aficionados, not many people are aware that each strain has various phenotypes that result in a very different grow. For example, Pineapple Express has sativa phenotypes which cause it to grow tall and is more likely to give you an energy boost, and indica-dominant phenotypes which are shorter and promote a greater sense of relaxation.
If you purchase Pineapple Express, or any marijuana strain for that matter, from a dispensary more than once, you may discover that it looks and acts nothing like the last time you bought it. A cannabis plant’s genetics and environment dictate its structural formation. The genetic makeup, the genotype, is a growth blueprint. A raft of physical traits is possible, but the environment ultimately causes these characteristics to appear.
A phenotype is the physical expression of a genotype. In other words, a phenotype is the characteristics that the environment takes out of the plant’s genetic code. The environment can impact the shape, smell, color, and resin production of a marijuana strain.
Cannabis experts also believe that unstable strains cause different phenotypes. When a strain remains heterozygous, different pairs of genes (which are dominant and recessive) pair up during seed making to create different phenotypes. In an era where hybridization is normal, the phenotype possibilities are seemingly endless.
Pineapple Express, for example, is a cross of two Sativa-dominant hybrids, yet it can potentially be grown to elicit Indica effects. This is because Pineapple Express is capable of reflecting traits anywhere on the spectrum between its parents depending on how the strain was raised.
For example, Trainwreck is a cross of an Afghani Indica, and Mexican and Thai Sativas. Therefore, the effects of Pineapple Express could also depend on how the Trainwreck or Hawaiian portion was raised, and how their parents were raised,etc. Therefore, when purchasing seeds, make sure you know the phenotype you’re after.
2 – Boost your strain’s terpene content
The terpene content of a marijuana plant has a significant impact on its flavor and smell. These aromatic compounds are found in abundance in nature and are even commonly discovered in various bathroom products. Terpenes provide marijuana strains with their signature scents. Pineapple Express is known for its tropical fruit smell and taste, but which terpenes are responsible? In this strain, the most abundant terpenes include:
- Beta-caryophyllene: Better known as BCP, this terpene acts like a cannabinoid in the body. It connects with similar cell receptors as THC and CBD. It is suggested that BCP has antidepressant and anxiolytic effects. The high BCP content is perhaps one of the reasons why Pineapple Express offers such a calming effect.
- Myrcene: This is a sedative compound found in abundance in lemongrass. It offers muscle relaxation, hypnotic, and tranquilizing effects.
- Limonene: This terpene has a strong citrus aroma and is an antioxidant with possible anti-asthmatic and anti-inflammatory effects. As Pineapple Express contains a large amount of limonene, it helps with inflammatory pain.
If you want to elevate your strain’s terpene content, make sure you use premium quality soil (unless you are growing hydroponically). Low-stress training methods could also yield terpene-laden fruit. When you bend and manipulate branches, you produce a smaller plant with large yields and smelly flowers.
Defoliation, a fancy name for trimming leaves, also boosts terpene content. When you get rid of unnecessary leaves, you create space in the canopy and ensure more light reaches the flowers. One final tip is to expose your Pineapple Express to UV-B lights for up to three weeks during flowering.
3 – Should you grow indoors or outdoors?
If you are looking for a taller Pineapple Express plant, it is probably best to try and grow it outdoors. We are fortunate that it is relatively easy to find today, because a few years ago seeds from this plant were like gold dust. It is known as an easy strain to grow and has a decent resistance to mold and common plant diseases. It is usually ready for harvest outdoors in mid-October, and each plant has a high yield of up to 19 ounces.
When growing Pineapple Express indoors, you can expect it to flower in approximately eight weeks. It enjoys a warm, maritime climate and you could receive a generous yield of up to 18 ounces per square meter planted. One final note on growing outdoors: Make sure you protect your plants from heavy winds.
4 – Feeding your Pineapple Express plants
Along with the three primary macronutrients – Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium – Pineapple Express plants will develop fatter buds if you provide them with a heightened dose of silica. This component is one of the most abundant in the Earth’s crust and is used in the glass products you see and use daily.
Its scientific name is silicon dioxide, but it is better known as silica. It is created when silicon comes into contact with oxygen. This compound is also abundant in most soils and is a significant part of plant tissue. Believe it or not, silica is occasionally found in higher concentrations in plants than potassium and nitrogen, yet it is considered an afterthought by many growers.
When applying silica to your Pineapple Express crop, it is best to follow the cautious feeding schedule recommended when providing other nutrients. We recommend using no more than 30% of the recommended dosage as per the product’s instructions. Gradually increase the amount as the plants get bigger and enter the flowering stage.
You will find silica products that can be applied as a spray or root feed. It is better to use the foliar spray option because your plants will absorb more of the compound. Also, silica could help prevent powdery mildew when used in spray form. If you elect to use the spray and feed, make sure you don’t overdose your crop.
Please note that silica is alkaline, which means it raises the pH of your growing medium. Ideally, you will add it after you have already mixed the other nutrients being fed to the plants in water. You should also dilute it in a gallon of water if adding it to a reservoir. Otherwise, there is a possibility of nutrient lockout if it makes direct contact with other elements in the solution.
There are a TON of silica products available, so your biggest problem is choosing the right one! Pick a product with a high silica level to get better value for money. We’ve seen numerous ‘brand’ name products that contain a feeble 2-3% silica. Don’t waste your time by purchasing anything less than 7%.
5 – Keeping your grow room temperature at the ideal level
Pineapple Express is a pretty sturdy plant, which means you benefit from a wide temperature range. Generally speaking, if you keep your crop at a day time temperature of between 70- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit, everything should work out well. It is essential that you don’t allow the temperature to fall more than 15 degrees at night, or else you risk your plants going into shock.
Why is temperature so important? The temperature a plant is exposed to has a significant impact on its general health. Unlike humans and animals, plants are unable to generate their own heat which means they are reliant on their environment. Its temperature develops from a combination of external temperature, external light, and the level of evaporation.
The process of photosynthesis involves plants using the energy from light to produce glucose from water and carbon dioxide. It is essential to the life of a plant and safely occurs in temperatures between 60 and 85 degrees. When plants need to send their sugars to the areas where they are needed, temperature plays a vital role. Sugar doesn’t move well when the temperature is less than 68 degrees.
Therefore, while Pineapple Express has a relatively wide temperature range, it is best to keep your grow room at a temperature of between 68 and 77 degrees during the day in the vegetative stage. You can increase it to up to 82 degrees during flowering. When the lights are off, keep the temperature between 60 and 70 degrees.
6 – Boost light intensity for even bigger yields
As long as your plants are healthy, the biggest factor in yield size is light. Remember, your Pineapple Express plants turn light into energy to help them grow and produce fat buds. One big mistake made by novice growers, in particular, is to forget the importance of light at the beginning. As soon you’ve germinated your seeds, make sure your plants receive enough light. 18 hours a day should be the minimum exposure for plants during the vegetative stage.
It is during this stage that plants without enough light begin to stretch out towards whatever light is available. As a result, they grow too tall and begin to topple over. Once your Pineapple Express starts showing buds, light intensity should be your goal. As you probably know, indoor grow lights provide the highest levels of light next to the bulb. The further away your plants are away from the bulb, the less intense the brightness experienced by your crop.
Contrary to what you may read, it is difficult to provide too much light to your plants indoors. Remember, cannabis grows best in direct sunlight outdoors. Even though the sun is far away, its rays are far more powerful than light bulbs. If you use CFL lights, you’ll need to keep your plants close to the bulbs while ensuring the heat is under control.
LED grow lights are quite powerful so you should ensure your plants are at least 12 inches away. Increase the distance to 18 inches if using a 3W or 5W model. MH/HPS grow lights are more powerful again and should be kept up to 24 inches away. Regardless of the grow lights you use, make sure you have a cooling system in place to keep heat stress at bay.
7 – How to harvest your cannabis
One thing that novices often forget when harvesting is to ‘flush’ the residual nutrients from the soil. If you harvest without taking this step, the buds could taste very bitter or have a nasty chemical taste. When you flush your soil properly a couple of days before harvesting, you will prevent your plants from taking in any further nutrients and break down the salt that’s formed from the nutrient build-up during the growing cycle.
There are several ways to determine whether your buds are ready for harvest. One of the most commonly used methods involves checking the color of the pistils. If 70% of the pistils have changed color and now look brown or reddish, you can begin the process of harvesting. Another possible tactic is to use a magnifying glass to analyze the appearance of the plant’s trichomes. If they look cloudy and have a mushroom-type appearance, it is time to harvest.
We would also advise you to consider hand trimming your plants once they have been cut down. It is a delicate process and timing is everything. If you wait too long, the trichomes become brittle and are more likely to break off. When marijuana is mass produced, machine trimming is preferred. While it gets the job done faster, it also negatively affects flavor, potency, and yield. Hand trimming takes longer and can be frustrating, but it results in beautiful buds that taste and smell as good as they look.
8 – Cure your Pineapple Express to achieve the greatest potency
Your Pineapple Express plants are ready for curing once you have harvested and trimmed them. It is an often-overlooked process as growers are more concerned about trying their product than ensuring it is the finished article. In reality, the curing process is the difference between an ‘okay’ experience and an exceptional one.
When you cure your marijuana, its cannabinoid compounds mature via the decarboxylation process which is the key to transforming the compounds into their psychoactive state. Most experienced growers begin by hanging their plants upside down in a drying room. You can even hang the weed from clothes hangers.
After 5-7 days, store the buds in glass jars with wide mouths. Make sure the jars are no more than three-quarters full. During the first week, open the jars a couple of times a day to release excess moisture content that has built up. In the second week, you only need to open the jars once every few days. After the humidity has been removed, keep the jars sealed for as long as you can stand it! For the record, experienced growers are content to leave their weed in the jar for up to six months; partly because they get better weed and partly because they already have a stash!
The curing process has a positive effect on the flavor of your buds because it breaks down the grassy flavors. When you cure marijuana for long enough, you will taste ‘hidden’ flavors. This is especially pertinent with Pineapple Express. If you are prepared to allow it to cure for long enough, you will absolutely love the tropical sensation. Assuming you cure the cannabis correctly, there is no benefit in keeping it in jars for longer than six months.