After nearly 30 years growing marijuana, testing hundreds of seed strains from famous and obscure breeders, I discovered ACE Seeds, a rare Sativa repository based in Spain.
Now that I’ve studied the company, talked to professional artisanal growers about ACE strains and customer service, and grown ACE strains, I realize I’d have had much more satisfaction growing and using cannabis if I learned of ACE a long time ago.
Recommended by Simon of Serious Seeds and other professional growers and breeders, our magazine team first tested the ACE Malawi strain. It was absolute dynamite with incredible scent, and soaring, enabling high.
Now we’ve tested yet another strain no other seed company has: Golden Tiger x Panama (GTxP).
Most growers younger than 40 years old likely don’t know how amazing, rare, and special the genetics in GTxP are, because those genetics almost completely disappeared from the commercial cannabis market many years ago.
These elite heritage genetics deliver cannabis experiences you just can’t get from modern hybrids.
The Golden Tiger used in GTxP is an F3, 100% Sativa hybrid that combines Old Malawi Killer, Koh Chang Thai, Hmong Thai and New Malawi Killer genetics.
The Panama strain in Golden Tiger x Panama took years to develop and is a combination of a Panama genetics from the 1970s, a modern Sativa “green Panama,” and a red Colombian Sativa.
In the USA 45 years ago, this trippy, narcotic rust-colored strain was known as Colombian Rojo, and people craved it more than Colombian Gold.
ACE worked hard to tame the exclusive origin genetics to make Panama more manageable (for indoor growers especially), with shorter flowering times and height.
Then they spent more years perfecting Golden Tiger x Panama, which has proven to be an exceptionally stable feminized seed line.
Cultivating Golden Tiger x Panama
Growing GTxP and other ACE strains requires substantial growing skills and carefully managed grow room environment and inputs.
Fortunately, ACE provides detailed cultivation advice on their website and via the ICMAG cannabis growers’ website.
You see from constant new postings in the ACE strain forums that ACE has a massive worldwide following of skilled marijuana growers who help each other select and grow ACE strains. Photos of ACE strains in these posts are educational and seductive.
Growing ACE strains helped me go from being a competent grower to being a top-rank master grower. Here are cultivation tips for Golden Tiger x Panama:
- About 15 days after germination, or seven days after cuttings are fully rooted, place the young plants in bloom phase lighting.
- PPFD and DLI should be higher than usual—this strain loves photons.
- Bloom phase light cycle should be 11 hours of light and 13 hours of darkness.
- As with all pure Sativa strains, feeding intensity should be less than usual. Be especially wary of overdosing nitrogen.
- Add a little extra phosphorus and potassium during mid-bloom. Add potassium silicate in trace amounts from start to finish.
- The strain grows well outdoors in tropical and semi-tropical climates, yet has a surprising tolerance for cooler conditions.
- It needs 11-12 weeks in bloom phase indoors.
We’ve only grown Golden Tiger x Panama indoors, and the plants seem resistant to mites, thrips, powdery mildew, and botrytis.
Seed germination rate was 100%; we put half the plants in unamended soilless mix and the other half in rockwool. The rockwool plants performed slightly better.
The seedlings were vigorous and uniform, but at 15 days after germination were only a few inches tall with only 3-5 leaf sets. ACE advises flip into flowering at 15 days, and we were glad we did, because a longer grow phase would have created very tall plants and too much branch growth.
Because we started flowering so early, bloom phase stretch isn’t such an applicable term, but just know that plants that entered bloom phase a few inches tall ended up a lot taller than that at harvest time.
Unlike other pure Sativas, Golden Tiger x Panama can be grown in a sea of green garden because untopped it has a classic main cola and short, orderly side colas.
We topped two plants and they became dense, multi-cola, about 17% shorter than the untopped plants.
SCROG (screen of green) or cage growing (especially for outdoor grow ops) is desirable for this strain, because the colas are quite heavy and branches somewhat thin.
The topped plants produced heavier harvests than the untopped plants. Topped plants show a structure more dense than most Sativa strains. They became wide-diameter plants, and some branches required support beginning mid-bloom.
Finished height for the topped plants averaged 68 inches. The untopped plants averaged 79 inches and had to be tied horizontal to keep them from getting too close to grow lights.
Be careful how many plants of this strain you grow at one time indoors; they need a lot of space, and you don’t want them crowded together.
We are fortunate to grow with what our grow op testing and scientific lab testing shows are the most productive lights for growing marijuana, the SANlight LEDs.
Using professional PPFD and DLI meters to carefully monitor light levels, we gave high intensity light doses that would have burned or stunted other strains.
You do best to have a light mover, side lighting, or be able to move plants in individual pots in a circular pattern so they get light from all sides deep into the canopy. The more light penetration from different angles, the better your plant structure, potency, and yield.
Sativa floral development is fascinating. For the first 35 days of bloom phase the GTxP plants mostly gained height, leaves, and structural strength.
There were profuse pre-flowers that very slowly became cylindrical, thin, airy buds. Looking at the flowers during this period would make you worry you weren’t going to get a heavy harvest.
Starting at days 40-45 in bloom, the buds filled in fast, copious white-clear resin glands developed, and buds doubled or even tripled in girth by day 65. They were some of the thickest, most “Indica-like” Sativa buds I’d ever grown, resembling Haze buds.
Thickening was accompanied by presence of scintillating scents, including a Haze turpentine, cinnamon, pine, cat-piss, jet fuel, sweet fruit like an overripe fig, citric fruit, pepper, vanilla, and honey.
Many of these scents survive curing, so when we vape the buds in the 376-389°F range we get a complex array of intriguing, complementary, stimulating tastes.
Golden Tiger x Panama has impressive phenotypic consistency. The only differences between plants other than those we created by topping were in terpenoids and effects, with some plants expressing Malawi or Thai tendencies more than others.
Bloom Phase & Harvest Timing for Golden Tiger x Panama
How you conduct bloom phase and when you harvest makes a big difference in harvest weight, potency, taste and the appearance of this strain’s buds.
Starting at day 62 in bloom phase, resin glands started transitioning from white-clear to white cloudy. At the same time, some buds started foxtailing.
We did incremental harvesting starting at 70 days in bloom phase, with final harvest at 89 days.
The earlier-harvested buds were frosty, very few leaves, thick, dense, long and heavy, with mostly white-clear glands.
Later-harvested buds were frosty and thick, but foxtailed into semi-rectangular shapes, expanding at the tops, and resin glands were cloudy, amber, or red.
These foxtailed buds weighed a lot and were mostly resin glands, bracts, and tiny leaflets, with little stem or stalk.
Resin gland density and percentages are very favorable for making dry sift, live resin, ice water hashish, and other natural concentrates. Concentrates made from this strain are trip-bombs that have a stunning Sativa impact.
Trimming, manicuring and curing the buds are easy, and they retain intense scent, structure, and color as they cure and store.
Average yield per plant is 139 grams dry weight—quite impressive for an indoor Sativa.
How High Can You Fly?
Although Golden Tiger x Panama has remarkably heavy yields, the reason most of us grow it is because the high resembles mescaline…if mescaline was marijuana.
Vaporizer hits are silky, dense, and heavy, with some lung-busting traits. Golden Tiger x Panama is a creeper for most people, so pause after a few hits and wait 5-10 minutes while evaluating how high you are. It could be almost too high.
I say this because I’ve seen the GTxP high overwhelm experienced cannabis users who could handle any amount of hybrids, Indica, and Kush but weren’t accustomed to super-potent pure Sativa.
They got dizzy, disoriented, kind of lost for a few minutes while their mind tried to manage the high.
You experience visual and auditory enhancement, hilarity, loose, fluid energy, energized body, a buzzing in the ears, fire in the eyes, cerebral flights of fancy in a long peak that lasts about two hours. The good news is, you don’t get paranoid, super-hungry, or befuddled.
For 2-3 hours after that peak phase, you enter a sensual, Haze-y high that’s still very potent.
In all but the most experienced users, there’s often a burnout and recovery period from this strain. What goes up so high must come down.
I remediate the burnout by sleeping for a couple of hours, immersing in very cold water, taking the supplement L-Tyrosine, or ingesting a small amount of caffeine.
When I bring GTxP to parties, it promotes social engagement, musical talents, trance dancing, intellectual contests, joking, abstract discussions, and adults running around happy and carefree like little kids.
Just by sharing the buds I gain new customers and realize I need to grow more and more of this strain. I can sell as much as I grow. People beg me for Golden Tiger x Panama, even at $500 an ounce!
This is the perfect strain for raves, aerobic exercise, concerts, movies with lots of visual effects, art galleries. It is not for use when operating machinery, trying to study for exams, or interacting with sober people.
Other seed companies don’t like us to mention that ACE is in a class by itself. No other seed companies have what ACE has, even though some try unsuccessfully to pirate ACE genetics.
Golden Tiger x Panama is so well-regarded that it sells out fast every time ACE offers it. If you aren’t fortunate enough to find it in stock, an alternative is to buy ACE Golden Tiger and Panama strains separately, and do your own breeding projects.
Growing ACE strains is a way of honoring heirloom cannabis and contributing to cannabis genetic diversity. ACE’s rare genetics are among the last truly complex, non-industrialized pure lines available.
Hybridization has taken away a lot of the clarity and individuality of cannabis genetics. Connoisseur growers find many hybrids utterly boring, strong but not much fun, sedating but not inspiring, easy to grow but not special.
If you love growing cannabis, the ACE website and its ICMAG forums will give you a surge of excitement, desire, anticipation. Now’s the time to grow the rarest Sativa strains on earth, while you can still buy seeds for them. Cannabis aficionados worldwide give props to ACE!