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The Pro Grows: Lemon Zkittle by Dutch Passion

Why you should grow Lemon Zkittle

With the on-going legalization in the US and Canada many awesome crosses have emerged from the vast number of varieties developed in that part of the world. Next to OG Kush, Cookies or modern strains like all the Gelatos there is one name to be heard all the time: Zkittlez.

Lemon Zkittle by Dutch Passion is a derivate from Las Vegas Lemon Skunk and cupwinning Zkittlez relative. Her THC content exceeds the 20% as all modern strains seem to do. The phenotype I have grown shows some differences to the given description by Dutch Passion due to the conditions she was in. I grew her in winter, so at lights-off the ambient temp in the tent could drop somewhat under 20°C which gave her a little purple shade in the end. I also used prefertilized soil by Kanamu Pacha and solid nutrition in the form of the GreenHouse Feeding Bio Line. So no bottled nutes were used this time, only organic material that has to interact with the medium and water.
The resin production of the Strain is outstanding, and you will end up with a carpet of trichomes on the leaves and flowers.

Mature cannabis plant
Lemon Zkittle seven days before harvest showing amazing resin production.

Items and Tools

TL;DR – Lemon Zkittle

  • Strain: Lemon Zkittle by Dutch Passion
  • From seed to weed: 143 days (veg 76 days, flower 67 days)
  • Wet harvest weight (wet trimmed): n.a.
  • Final dry yield: 188 gr (6.6 oz)
  • Effect: extreme strong, head heavy, paranoid, numb/dry mouth, long lasting
  • Taste: Due to some fuckups by me on the hay side, subtly lemony, next to no Zkittles flavor

Grow it…
…if you like US resin coated sugar strains.
…if you like lemon flavours.

Don’t grow it…
…if you like to mainline your plants.

The Grow

Germination and seedling stage

I used my usual method to germinate two seeds in a paper towel. I used pH-regulated water (pH of 5.7 to 6.0) and let it soak in water until saturation.

items for germination
Items im using for germination: Bowl with water, paper towel, seeds (in the middle), a jamglass lid, pH-meter
seeds on a papertowel
Put the seeds on the paper…
wet papertowel in a jar lid
Let the paper soak in water as much as it can, and add some additional water to the lid.

This way, the seeds start with a lot of moisture. Put the ghetto-petri dish in a warm (around 27°C is perfect, but not necessary) and dark place and check it every 24 – 48 hrs. After 3-7 days the seed should be ready to pot when the inital root is between 0.5 cm and 1 cm long. The soil should be at least a bit moist at this point, but not dripping wet. Make the root look for the moisture and stretch to it. Place it about 1.5 cm deep and put some loose soil above it.

cannabis seedling in soil
Lemon Zkittle Seedling looking through the soil.

After a couple of days the seedling should break through the soil. In this stage the seedling is most vulnerable. I recommend to just let it be, and keep the area around the plant moist. I use a water sprayer for that. In this time I wet the soil every day. The stem and roots are not strong enough to keep the plant standing if the soil is too wet, so prevent that. Its not lethal if it happens tho. After some days the stem will be strong enough to use my flood watering method again. Since the roots need time to grow through the soil, you can take 5l of waters for the 30l of soil and you will need to water only once a week for starters.

Vegetative Stage: Training!

14 days after germination the plant was ready for the first top at the forth node. I wanted to achieve a mainline of four branches going in perpendicular direction and keep the secondary branches coming out of them for a massive bush.

topped cannabis plant
Cut of the main top of the plant on day 14 after gemination.

The mainline was done via the metal stakes im using for a while now. The branches keep growing horitontally while second nodes develop more heavy since the plant wants to compensate for the hassle of the main branches. I will never

LST applied on cannabis plant
3 days after the top, the plant was ready for LST.
LST reaction from the plant
Lemon Zkittles reaction to LST

The LST is applied everytime the plant grows back pointing upwards. This can take a lot of time, since i wanted to fill up as much area as possible.

reaction of the plant due to LST
A new round of LST is applied (left). After only three days the plant is ready for the next round.

This method will result in a great amount of nodes and leaves. Its your job to decide which node you keep and which one to cut away. Usually I keep mine for a week or two to determine if the plant is distributing energy to it. This will be adressed later when it comes to lollypopping in flowering.

bonsai cannabis
LST keeps the plant flat in check.
LST and clear bottom of plant
Keep the lower branches clear, to reduce larf/popcorn growth in the flowering stage.
stalk of cannabis plant
The stem will grow to a big stalk the longer you veg, and the more room there is for the roots.

Flowering Stage

When the plant uses up most of the grow area its time to send her to the flowering stage. Note that this is only possible if you are using regular or feminized plants and not autoflowering ones.

cannabis plant in full scale
Lemon Zkittle in early flowering filling up the space.

This plant was in veg-stage for 51 days before flowering. In the first 21 days of flowering I let her stretch out and removed some leaves here and there, but nothing major.

stretching plant
Stretch of the Lemon Zkittle is pretty moderate. The mainlined tops are clearly outstanding in height.

On day 21 I removed a lot of fan leafs and cut away some poorly developed tops. The reason for this is, that I want to have well developed main tops instead of a massive amount of larf. From that point on there will still be a fan leaf found casting a shadow over a bud once in a while. Rule for removing leafs: If a leaf keeps direct light away from a bud, it has to go.

Rule for removing entire tops: If its way below canopy level and poorly developed, it has to go. Disclaimer: I should have cut more on that plant. The plant has about 50-60 tops in the end, and the pot was way too little to distribute energy to every single one of them properly.

cannabis in early flowering
Bud development on the numerous tops I left for flowering.

After day 21 i basically just sit and watch the plant thrive. Keep her fed and watered and watch out for deficiencies. This plant was grown fully organically and i stopped actively giving nutrition around week 5 of 9.

cannabis maturing in flowering
Trichomes are highly reflective and look very frosty in the middle of the grow.
single cola of cannabis plant
Lemon Zkittle cola in flowering. This structure with no space in between buds is a very desireable property.

In the course of the grow the Lemon Zkittle developes an amazing trichome density. This is always a good sign! The trichomes start with clear appearence.

macro shot of cannabis plant
Macroshot in the middle of flowering. The trichome denisty is top notch. The trichomes are mostly clear and the pistils are pointing upwards. Maturity is still far from reached.

After seven weeks, the plant shows visible signs of deficiency. Since the life cycle would be over after week 9 to 10 and im using organic nutrition I refrained to use more of that on her and let her fade.

full scale flowering plant
Late flowering: The leaves turn yellow
macro shot of trichomes
Mature flower: The trichome start to change from cloudy to amber. Its time!

After 8 weeks the trichomes were mostly cloud, while a good portion already started the transition to amber. I had her in the closet for another week and harvested her on point after 63 days of flowering.

Harvest and curing

Harvesting such a large plant is not always easy. She had such a large number of tops that I had to do the whole ordeal in two days. I let her dry off about 10 days as a whole plant before I went to dry trim and curing. I aimed for 300+ gramm but only came out about 60% of that. Thats fine for a single plant, but I think I screwd up the training process and was a bit less patient for the flowering switch to happen. I cured her for about a week with burping and paying close attention to the feel of the product. After that I used the C-Vault and Boveda Packs to further store the goods in a perfect environtment. In the end I would like to encourage you to tryout that strain. The trichome density and frost of the flower is extreme and the effect is equivalent to this.


Defoliation – Make way for the light

Buds tent to develop best, when hit by direct light. If a bud is overshadowed by big green fan leafs the bud will develop not as good. Defoliation is the key to make the most of your plant and maximize flower development.
This grow tech requires a bit of experience and knowledge of a Cannabis plants structure. I do not recommend this if this is your first grow. After a full run, without removing leafs you will know exactly what to look out for the next time.

There are growers out there removing nearly every fan leaf that a plant grows after 21 days and after 42 days of flowering. This is called schwazzing and a rather extreme manipulation technique. The other extreme is to remove nothing. My way of defoliation will remove a lot of leafs in the process, but will leave a lot of leafs for the plant. Its kind of a middle way.

The Pros way: Moderate or selective Defoliation

Not every plant needs to be defoliated the same amount. There also no godly plan to defoliation for all the plants.

Defoliation in the vegetative state

If you have a very bushy indica dominant strain or applied a lot of LST to your plant it will potentially grow very bushy. In extreme scenarios only a few leafs on the top of the plant will be necessary to build up a full canopy.
This is not good if you want to encourage branches under there to develop!
Remove the big fan leafs from the top of the plant to make sure that budsites below get direct light aswell.

freshly defoliated plant
Freshly cut plant: Fan leafs from the top of the plant got removed
recovered from defoliation, new growth is visible
New growth after three days: The gaps have been closed by new branches taking the spot.

How to check if a certain fan leaf should be removed:

  • If the fan leaf creating a shadow to budsites below remove it.
  • If the fan leaf is growing “inwards” or growing bigger and bigger, remove it.
  • If the fan leaf grows at the edge from the plant away, it can stay.

This way you will remove the leafs very selectively and keep the plant not as stressed out. Its also not feasable to potentially stun the plant because you removed so much.

Defoliation in the vegetative stage can be tedious since it could be applied about every third day from a certain plant size on.

Defoliation in the flowering process

This is pretty similar to the vegetative state. Since the plant will still grow new green material, remove the leafs that steal light from buds. Just look closely at every bud and check if there is a leaf above. Remove all the leafs. From about week 3-5 the green development of the plant will be reduced because the plant packs more supply into the flowers. Your work is pretty much done then regarding defoliation.

Extreme Defoliation: Schwazzing

Widely in use by certain industrial grow operation schwazzing is the process of removing nearly every fan leaf that grow on a plant at the beginning of the flowering stage, leaving only the top of every budsite intact. This method also involves some kind of lollypopping since every side branch is pretty much removed as well. Just leave the first 2 to 3 nodes from every branch intact.

Timelapse video of schwazzing in an industrial grow setup. These operation have a lot more light power per squaremeter than a common homegrow. The lights can penetrate much deeper! Schwazzing a plant makes sense here.

Chocolope that got alot of nodes removed, leaving up only the top of the plants, sortly before flowering.
The same plant in flowering: Branches full of buds!

Additional notes

I would not recommend schwazzing for every strain out there. There are alot of cannabis varieties that are able to put on serious weight on the side branches where you would harm more than you do good if you remove too much. Branchy indica type plants are very much content with selective defoliation while some other plants like to be cut more heavily. I suggest you.

Lemon Zkittle that got exposed to defoliation: You can see through the branching to the other side of the pot.
Alot of Budsites are directly visible from the topview, since the light now got a free way down there.
Areas that wont get direct light will be cut most.

Defoliation is a pretty harmless tech, since a plant will develop way more fan leafs than needed to survive. A grow tent is also an environment where the plant is enclosed and save enough so that it can deal with this harm without having to fight pests or difficult weather patterns while at it.

The Pro Grows: Critical by Royal Queen Seeds

Why should you grow Critical

Royal Queen Seeds states on the product page of Critical that it is “the ultimate cash crop”. And only there you will find that expression! On top of that it has decent values on the datasheet and a whooping 600 reviews from other growers.

So as with Justin Bieber – can’t be bad if it has such a great fanbase, eh?

I just built my new light earlier in 2018 and wanted to test the limits of my setup back then. I was not up for taste or bagappeal (two things this strain has great values in nontheless), i wanted a massive yield!

cannabis plant in flower
The ultimate cash crop – Royal Queen Seeds Critical – Picture taken on the day it was harvested

Items and Tools that I used for that grow

TL;DR – Critical

  • Strain: RQS Critical feminized
  • From seed to weed: 97 days (veg 39 days, flower 58 days)
  • Wet harvest weight (wet trimmed): 1264 gr
  • Final dry yield: 309 gr
  • Effect: Strong / Couch / Body
  • Taste: Oldschool / Pungy / earthyGrow it…
    …if you want big buds and an nothing to do for the rest of the day.

    …if you look for compact plants.
    …if you like to use LST on your plants.
    …if you are looking for a good starter strain.
    Don’t grow it…
    …if you want fruity flavours.

    …if you are looking a plant high in size.
    …if you are a haze advocate

The Grow

Germination and seedling stage : Week 0-2 veg

Royal Queen Seeds rarely disappoints with the quality of their products. The germination rate was 4/4 (100%) and the plants looked healthy and ready to go from the start. I used my IKEA greenhouse and my 72 W fluorescent lights for the start. My tent was still in use, so the little ones had to start outside of it. They were transplanted very early: about 7 days after first green. In this time of the grow theres not much happening. The Critical didnt like the hot BioBizz all mix very much, but got used to it after a few days in the big pot.
In this stage you just keep watering every other day.

Pro Tip about watering seedlings: Don’t water too much. Seedlings can not hold their own weight very well. So just water the surface of the soil around it to prevent the seedling from falling to the side. Once the stem has established a proper thickness, you can start the Pros Way of watering, i will describe further down.

young cannabis plants in a greenhouse
Seedlings under the fluorescent light. The plant to the left is a clone. Just ignore her 🙂

Vegetative Growth: Week 3-5 veg

After two weeks in the medium the seedling enters its vegetative stage. It is now much stronger and can also hold its own weight after you flood the medium.

Pro Tip about watering in general: Im using a technique called flooding to water my plants. I use about 1/4 to 1/3 of the pot volume in water and give it to my plants. Watering has to be gently! If you spill to much into the pot you will create a channel in the soil where the water just will funnel through. Using this tech will give the plants roots more oxygen: Water closes gaps in the soil. If you water too often the plants just drowns from oxygen deprivation, watering less can result in underwatering. Both will give you a stressed plant and a stressed grower. If you use this tech you can expect to water them only every 5-3 days, since the whole pot will be soaked.

So my watering can of 5 l will be enough for two of the plants to get water. So after mixing in the nutrition you can start watering. I usually dont give nutes right away. Most specialized cannabis soil is premixed with nutrition which is more than enough for the start and even further in.

Pro Tip about nutrition: Water when they need it, nute when they crave for it.” are words to live by. You can treat your plant to get used to nutrition tho. Just follow the nutrition chart of the brand closely. If you use BioBizz soil and nutes you will get a detailed chart that you can follow. Buy a syringe of a cup to measure the amounts of nutes needed for the particular stage and you are fine. If you are new: Don’t give them nutes by good measure! This is one of the most common reasons plants die early – overnuting. Overfeeding a plant is not necesarry lethal, but it takes an uncessary amount of work to help the plants get back on track.

Critical is very nice to spread. It answers exceptional well to techs like LST, which i started about three weeks in. If you can see a good amount of the second node, you can start bending the stems to encourage the side nodes to get more energy. In the end you want to big branches bend down while the smaller ones catch up on them. This process goes by in days and you can soon bend over the newer branches as well.
In the end you want even developed budsite all over the plant to have a nice uniform grow. Critical is also not a massive stretcher, so dont expect plants that are high in size. LST really brings out the bonsai structure in Critical.

Learn all about Low Stress Training like a Pro!

Low stress training of a young cannabis plant
LST with metal hooks. Bend the stems to the side to encourage uniform development. The plant will thank you later!

After week 4 I added defoliation to the training program. This means that i cut away the fanleafs that steal light from lower budsites. I do this very selectively in the vegstate and extensively in flowering. The extreme version of defoliation is called schwazzing. But im not a big fan of this.

Pro Tip – Maximize yield with high potential flowers: In some books or even the BioBizz feeding chart you can read about a vegtime of about “two weeks”. This is totally bullshit if you start from seed in big containers. Theres a technique called Sea Of Green where this is a decent amount of time to get the plants started. But in 3 gal pots or more the roots need much more time to fill up. My tip is: Take a photo from directly above canopy. If you cannot see the ground anymore because its all green with budsites its go time!

Transition to flowering: Week 1-3 flower

To “flip” a plant you just change the timer of the light to 12hrs of light a day. This will initiate flowering and bud production. The end of the branches are called budsites. The transition is a key stage in growing. There is actually happening so much you cant lose track! The stretch and growth are the to main problems to fight with. You will find new big fan leafs everyday to cut away. Defoliation is key in this stage as well as bringing the stretch under control.

Pro Tip: The transition to flowering is technically still connected to vegetative grow. So you can still train your plants, since the stems are still somewhat bendy. Its important to get a hold of some branches that want to grow to high.

If done right you will enter week four with as many buds of the same height as possible.

cannabis plants in early flower process of defoliation
Defoliation. Cut away the leafs that casts shadows on the buds. Helping them to get more of the sweet energy they crave.

The race: Week 4-8 flower

The datasheet says she will make the run in 7 to 8 weeks of flowering. This is a good ballpark number, but its almost necessery to go to the upper end of these to make sure shes ripe. In the end i wont go for this measure anyways. The last weeks are really boring. You just watch the plants fatten up and try to keep your patience. Feed her according to the schedule and you will have a great harvest! The anticipation and blindness for change will become really problematic for some new growers. Learn to go through it til the end. you can do it! The Critical never had problems with deficiencies, toxicities or pests. She was a breeze to grow up until day 58 of flower when i took all of them down at once.

Cannabis plant in the middle of flower
Critical in mid flower. So many buds! They will just fatten up

Pro Tip about training in flower: Leave her alone. Seriously you did everything you could in preparation. Now its on her. Let her go. If you find single fan leafs over a bud, remove them. But dont bend, break or top anymore. Just leave her in peace and you will earn it later.

Cannabis plant towards the end of flower
Pistils are still white and pointing upwards. These plants need a bit more time.

Pro Tip about the harvest: This is one of the most asked questions from new growers! “Does she look ready? I think she is ready.” There is a subreddit with a nice meme for that. It says: “two more weeks.” If you think shes ready, just give her two more weeks. It wont hurt, trust me. New growers tend to harvest too early and are rewarded with rough smokes, low THC numbers and the awful haytaste. Let her build up the trichomes, watch them closely and just do not be stupid.

pre harvest picture of bonsai cannabis
These are about to be ready. The trichomes on the buds are opaque or amber now, the pistils are layed down on the bud. Mouthwatering view.


Get some scissors, beers, a friend or two, your camera to make nice budshots for your kids, some stoner movie on Netflix and go. At this time i still did wet trimming. You did not wait 97 days to fuck it up here! At first you remove all fanleafs that have no trichomes on them. You see trichomes? You keep the leaf! Its trim at the least to make extracts like hash or dab from it. Cut down a bud, take your time with it and cut away as much leafs as you can find, to leave only bud behind. The less green matter in the end, the smoother your smoke will be. Critical was okay to harvest. Weed can be a total bitch if it comes to harvesting.

Pro Tip about wet trimming: I do not endorse wet trimming anymore. The difference is definetly there. Wet trim leads to a shorter drying period and you can start curing faster. But this leads also to less taste in the end. My Tip: Drying and curing is a slow process, and leafs on the buds slow it down by a good margin. Hanging the whole plant upside down for 1-2 weeks is a better way to do it. So if you can wait for nicer weed, keep the leafs and trim dry. Dry trimming is also a total bitch, but in all seriousness, more rewarding.

cannabis flowers in a drying net
Buds in a dry rack. This is controversial: The buds lay flat there, that means they can get out of shape and loose bag appeal. They also tend to dry a bit too fast. They will be in here for four days in darkness.

Drying and Curing

After we were done we put the buds on the hanging nets in the dark and just four days later the buds are trimmed a bit further and put into glass jars, with the lid open. The buds felt very crispy on the nets, but will remoist very fast if packed tightly. So you keep the lid open to let go of the moisture. The packing slows down drying and starts the curing process. You want your weed to be fermented before it reaches its final state. After a few days (2-3) the lid can be closed for some hours (6-12). check them regulary. If they still feel very moist when you open the lid, keep it open and shuffle the buds around. Repeat until you can keep the jar closed for 24hrs. After this your plant is pretty much dried and will now ferment. This process open ended. You could smoke the buds as soon as you get them from the drying rack. But they will taste best if smoked right now.

dried cannabis flowers
One last thing after bringing her to life, care for her and killing her: cherish her existence. <3

Consuming Critical

Criticals effect is just strong. I mean RQS tells you the THC content is just about 18% (which is still significantly higher than most streetweed) but not on the level of some more modern stuff. It’s still a strain I can’t really smoke alone. This Indica dominant hybrid hits you like a truck, so be sure you have someone to pass it after you puff it. 😤
Smell and taste is very old school: earthy, skunky. The prototype smell of what’s in your moms head when she tells you that she smells weed.
I can also recommend this strain to new growers: You can’t really overnute her, she is a fast one and yields a ton after all. Perfect microgrow / homegrow strain!