Most marijuana growers have heard of AK-47, the legendary cannabis strain created by Holland’s Serious Seeds Company and first put on the market in the 1990s. AK-47 is a High Times Cannabis Cup winner and Sativa-dominant cross primarily consisting of Thai, Colombian, and Mexican Sativa genetics, along with a small amount of Afghani Indica.
Simon, the founder and owner of Serious Seeds, told me AK-47 has just enough Afghani genetics to keep its height manageable for indoor growers, ensure that its bloom phase is shorter than other Sativa strains, and provide heavy harvests.
AK-47 has long been called the “one-hit wonder” because people often took only one inhalation (hit) of the strain, and immediately felt very very high. Even though it was created long ago, AK-47 was so strong that its THC percentages are near those of many of today’s strongest strains, with some AK-47 buds testing at 21-22% THC.
The still-popular strain is available from Serious Seeds in photoperiod regular and feminized versions, and I want to emphasize to growers that AK-47 is one strain you should only buy if it comes from Serious Seeds. There are many counterfeit strains, including some with similar names such as AK-48, but none of them have the real AK-47 genetics that growers seek.
A couple of years ago, Simon decided to make an altered version of AK-47. This new version, which he calls Strawberry AK-47, doesn’t replace the original nor is it an exact copy of it. Simon started the Strawberry project after seeing superb phenotypes of another Serious Seeds Cannabis Cup winner, Bubble Gum. He decided to cross these Bubble Gum champs with AK-47.
Bubble Gum is a Sativa-dominant strain that grows and yields like an Indica. It develops into short, stocky plants that produce extremely dense, heavy, resinous buds and has a relatively short 59-64 day bloom phase. The strain was originally bred in obscurity in the United States, so its genetic origins are unknown, and was transferred to Simon in Holland 20 years ago. After he perfected and stabilized it, award-winning Bubble Gum marijuana found its place in the top ten of Dutch cannabis coffee shop strains, along with AK-47, White Widow, and various types of Haze.
Bubble Gum got its name from its taste and scent, which resemble that sweet bubblegum smell many of us remember from childhood. Simon, however, had a Bubble Gum phenotype with a predominantly strawberry smell, and used that as a breeding partner with AK-47. Here’s what happened the most recent time I grew and tested Strawberry AK-47: GROW ROOM LIGHTING
California Lightworks 550 LED grow lights and Lush Lighting Dominator CL LED grow lights.
Root Zone Media
Peat-based soilless mix with Biotabs.nl supplements mixed in prior to use.
Grow Phase Nutrients
Biotabs.nl veganic nutrients pre-mixed into soil before planting. Dragonfly Earth Medicine Brilliant Black, Radiant Green, Lush Roots veganics nutrients and supplements administered via watering.
Bloom Phase Nutrients
Dragonfly Earth Medicine veganic nutrients: Fat Flowers, reduced amounts of Radiant Green and Brilliant Black. Started using Advanced Nutrients Connoisseur Bloom base nutrients at 50% strength beginning in week four of bloom phase, along with Big Bud synthetic (weeks 3-7). Nirvana (week 2 to flushing). Bud Candy: (week 2-7). Parts per million: 550-950. pH: 5.8-6.2.
Root Zone Containers: Seven-gallon individual Smart Pots
Germination Rate: 100% for five marijuana seeds. This strain is only available as feminized seeds.
Grow Phase Duration: 35 days.
Bloom Phase Duration: 63-70 days.
Bloom Phase Stretch: 70-100% height gain.
Finished height (excluding pots):
Resin gland color: clear, pink, amber
Scent & Taste: Strawberry milkshake.
Yield: 637 grams total, from five plants. The highest yield from one plant was 135 grams.
Strawberry AK-47 Cultivation & Testing
Strawberry AK-47 gave me several surprises. The first is it grew quite slowly in grow phase and even though I topped it only once, it grew wide rather than tall. This isn’t typical for a Sativa-dominant hybrid. The strain showed remarkable phenotype consistency.
The plants ranged from 40-51 inches tall at finished height, with unusually wide circumference that required me to be creative with plant spacing and arranging. Some plants were so wide I couldn’t fit two of them next to each other and get adequate delivery of light to the side branches.
I highly recommend this strain for SCROG (screen of green) grow ops, and grow ops with limited vertical height. Buds can be large and heavy, so SCROG support is useful. Given that my Strawberry AK-47 plants ended up round and wide with 7-12 bud tops of similar height, growers who are fond of stress training and related SCROG methods will have fun with this strain.
If your grow phase Strawberry AK-47 are growing more slowly than other strains in the same grow room, don’t panic, just give the Strawberry plants 3-10 days more time in grow phase before you put them into bloom phase.
I recommend the following feed program for Strawberry AK-47. This feed program assumes you’re using high-quality hydroponics nutrients and reverse osmosis water in soilless mix, inert media such as rockwool, in aeroponics or deep water culture:
From germination to two weeks after germination, feed with 100-200 parts per million (ppm) grow phase formula. After the plants have three or more leaf sets, increase to 200-450 ppm until the plants have at least seven leaf sets, then feed 600-900 parts per million until the end of grow phase.
Before you start bloom phase, do a flush. Then feed 700 parts per million of bloom phase nutrients in weeks one and two, 800 parts per million in weeks three and four, and 900 ppm for the rest of bloom phase until flushing week. If you see signs of overfeeding, such as burnt leaf tips, do a flush with reverse osmosis water and half-strength Flawless Finish.
This feed program worked well in my grow room, but your grow room might have different grow lights and other factors that affect the amount of nutrients your Strawberry AK-47 needs. Contact the manufacturer of the nutrients you use and ask them about dosing. Also, closely monitor your plants to ensure you’re not giving too high or too low nutrients doses.
In a grow room with several other strains grown identically, the Strawberry AK-47 showed budding sites faster than other strains. Its early floral structures generated a delicious pure strawberry scent before any other strain was generating bud scent. When I foliar sprayed, the Strawberry AK responded with a delicious burst of strawberry scent.
By day 29 of bloom phase, the mid-peak bloom buds were the color of strawberries, because they had strawberry-colored pistils. The buds swelled in an unusual fashion that made them dense but also somewhat open, thus reducing chance of gray mold. Copious early resin glands were apparent, and a favorably calyx-to-leaf ratio persisted throughout bloom phase.
On day 58 of bloom phase, I realized some Strawberry AK plants were ready for flushing; all plants were flushed and harvested by the 70th day of bloom phase. Even though the buds were moderately thick and very dense and resinous, I saw no gray mold.
The dried and cured buds retained a beautiful strawberry-red color and a seductive strawberry fruit scent. The scent translated into a creamy strawberry milkshake taste as I tested the buds using a precision vaporized set incrementally from 398-414°F. It was truly uncanny that cannabis buds taste exactly like a strawberry milk shake and left the same smooth, creamy feel in my mouth as a milkshake.
Very rarely do I use a strain just so I can taste it—but Strawberry AK’s taste is that compelling, carrying inside its complex plant pharmacopeia the same flavonoids strawberries have. Strawberry AK-47 is the most distinctively delicious dessert-type strain I’ve ever tasted. Further, I noticed that after the initial strawberry milkshake taste recedes, other tastes came to the fore, including pepper, lime and sandalwood.
The strain’s seductive taste is accompanied by exceptionally enjoyable effects. Ranking in the top potency percentile, most cannabis consumers won’t need to inhale more than a few vape hits before you’re fully satisfied and transformed.
Strawberry AK’s effects are a near-perfect balance of euphoria, creativity and mood elevation, combined with a warming, pulsating, pain-killing, slightly-sedating body high. There’s no Sativa paranoia, or Indica heavy sedation. I tested Strawberry AK-47 buds with several other growers, who all fell in love with the strain, reporting it has just the right mix of head and body effects.
Also note that Serious Seeds is known for selling premium seeds that have 100% germination rate, and grow out to be just like the strain description. Simon, the creator and owner of Serious Seeds, was teaching high school biology and doing cannabis research in his spare time when he was invited by Sensi Seeds founder Ben Dronkers to join the Dronkers empire decades ago.
After he gained more cannabis breeding experience, he founded his own seed company. Here’s what Simon said when I asked how Serious Seeds successfully maintains genetic lineage and phenotype consistency of famous Serious Seeds strains, and why he created Strawberry AK-47…
My cannabis breeding experience goes back to the 1980s when I started collecting the most interesting cannabis clones and seeds. I collected rare strains that had already been bred for specific traits. I used those strains as building blocks to make something newer. Obviously, the cannabis world is no different than the rest of society—we are dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants. That applies to me, and to people taking their turn in standing on my shoulders. Varieties I’ve made such as Kali Mist, AK-47 and others are now widely used to create new cultivars with different names.
The refining and ongoing development of cannabis strains is the process of growing, selecting, crossbreeding and testing the resulting seeds. The choices you make in this process are highly personal and not always objectively explainable. Sometimes it might be a scent trait or some other trait you’re focusing on in breeding.
My cannabis breeding habits and goals include the fact that when I made AK-47, I was looking to make the most potent weed ever. It worked, which is why people fell off their stools in the Dutch cannabis coffee shops after taking one hit—nobody at that time was used to AK’s high potency. With my strain Chronic, the goal was to create massive harvest weight, branch-bending fat buds that give you big muscles to harvest them. With Kali Mist, my goal was to create the cleanest, most enjoyable Sativa effects ever. I achieved that. With Strawberry AK-47, I wanted to sweeten up the original AK-47, and make it even higher yielding.
My ethics for Serious Seeds are quite simple:
- Sell seeds which you would have liked to buy yourself if you were a grower and seed purchaser.
- Deal with growers the way you’d like to be treated if you were buying seeds.
To ensure top quality, we give up on many strains and seeds we’ve developed when they just aren’t good enough for our customers. The good part of our perfectionistic process is we are 100% proud of and confident in the seeds we do sell. I’ve worked hard to make a diverse menu of strains so growers anywhere in the world, growing indoors or outdoors, can grow fantastic buds from our cannabis seeds. We take your concerns and needs very seriously. That’s why we call ourselves Serious Seeds!”