best sativa strains 2021

Leafly Buzz: 8 cannabis cultivars trending up in 2021

Hundreds of thousands of cannabis lovers and newcomers, coast to coast, have an entire year of mega-flavors and potent, euphoric effects to explore in 2021.

The pace of innovation in cannabis keeps accelerating, and mouthwatering results are just a trip to a licensed dispensary away.

Just like sneakers and watches, different weed varieties and brands trend upward and downward across America—where one in four citizens now live in a legalization state. Search and sales data also agree: Americans show consistent, specific tastes in trendy, top-grade ganja.

For example, many of the national flavors of 2021 started with the Cookies cultivar five-plus years ago on the West Coast. Every strain listed below stands on the shoulders of past greats and reaches up into the future of weed Valhalla. Here are eight of the most well-liked trees in the US forest to try in 2021.


Gushers comes from Gelato #41 crossed to Triangle Kush. In fact, four of the hottest strains going into 2021 are crossed with Gelato. Everyone loves Gelato, and you can’t blame them. Not liking it is like saying you don’t like pizza, because it’s gotten too popular. Don’t be that guy.

Gushers isn’t exactly a new strain—it took a 2018 Emerald Cup trophy—but the California staple continues to migrate across the US at a notable clip. Brand Connected Cannabis Co. in California offers a major source of Gushers, though other folks grow it as well.

Like all hot strains, Gushers packs in the THC. Its amazing smell comes from a hit trifecta of aromatic molecules called terpenes: lemon-smelling limonene, funky beta caryophyllene, and floral linalool.

Fans report getting relaxed, happy, and euphoric to manage stress and depression with Gushers, aka Fruit Gushers, and White Gushers.

And lots of seed breeders are also working the fruity Gushers line:

  • Colorado breeders Cannarado introduced crosses like Jolt (Vietnam Black x Gushers) and offspring like Frumpz (Freshwater Taffy x Grumpz).
  • In Cali, Oakland’s Purple City Genetics made Gusher Pie (Gushers x Rainbow Pie F2).


Like Gushers, Gelonade shows how strains typically debut on the West Coast and over several years become commonplace nationally in markets like Oklahoma and Florida. That’s a huge win for legal customers nationwide, as well as the influential breeders and growers still hard at work on California’s next big flavor.

Over at the highly sought after HENDRX Nursery in Humboldt County, owner Daniel Hendrix agreed Gelonade has got the goods. “It combines a new level of potency, purple, and gas with that intense fruit. It is so, so good.”

Connected Cannabis Co. of California made Gelonade from Lemon Tree crossed with Gelato #41—so it’s got gobs of sweet, thick, syrupy lemon terpenes mixed into the creamy berry and cookies flavor of Gelato.

So far that’s two strains that mention Gelato, and buckle up for more. Why did Gelato break away from the pack? Large-scale commercial cultivation, said Ted Lidie, founder of high-end cannabis brand Alien Labs.

“For strains to hit a certain level of notoriety, they have to have a certain level of supply,” Lidie said in an Instagram Live video, Dec. 29, hosted by Leafly freelancer Jimi Devine. “The reason Gelato #41 became so popular is it was the most widely grown exotic at the time.”


A veritable California relic from the Before Times of 2016, Sherblato gains more national fans in 2021 as Connected Cannabis Co. expands into other states, bringing their stable of thoroughbred pot to the masses.

Sherblato comes from crossing two classics Sherbert and Gelato. (Connected calls theirs “Sherbacio”). It’s got Pink Panties, GSC, and Sunset Sherbert in its lineage. Like its cousins, expect Sherblato to deliver a creamy, berry, fuel smell and flavor. As for the high-THC effects, Leafly readers report Sherblato makes them feeling relaxed, happy, hungry, and calm.

Apple Fritter

Let’s take a Gelato break, and celebrate the apple flavors on the rise in 2021.

Apple Fritter from Northern California’s Lumpy’s Flowers dates to pre-2018 medical marijuana era California, but it’s slowly climbing to the top of the adult-use era. It shows how hot strains don’t just fall out of the sky. They debut standing on the shoulders of past genetics, win over fans, seed the culture, then break out into mass recognition.

Speaking of ancestors, influential breeder/grower “Lumpy” bolted a killer apple smell onto a Cookies chassis—Apple Fritter combines Sour Apple (Diesel x C99) and Animal Cookies (GSC x OG).

Now that America’s Main St. customers are asking for Fritter, weed’s architects are at work on new crosses.

  • Lumpy’s released Lemon Trill (Lemonade x Reckless Rainbow) and Cherry Jane , and soon, LAX (Apple Fritter x LA Snow).
  • Lumpy’s also made Sherly Temple , which is Cherry Jane x Apple Fritter #39; plus, for the sativa heads, Lumpy made Sour Apple Haze (Super Silver Haze x Sour Apple).
  • Portland, OR’s Archive Seeds offers Fritter Licker—Apple Fritter to Face-Off.
  • California-based breeder/growers Compound Genetics sell a Grapple Pie #30 (Apple Fritter x Grape Gasoline).
  • Lastly, California’s Alien Labs grows the perfect strain— Atomic Apple (Triangle Mints x Apple Fritter); now on dispensary shelves.

How do you like them apples?

Kush Mints

2021 is all mints everything, and we’re here for it.

Dominating the strain game like Kobe did the NBA in ‘05-’06, Seed Junky Genetics of LA made Kush Mints by crossing Animal Mints with Bubba Kush. Let’s unpack all this good stuff:

Animal Mints draws on the power of GSC, OG Kush, and even some Blueberry. It’s a cross of Animal Cookies (GSC x Fire OG) and SinMint Cookies (GSC x Blue Power).

Stone-cold classic Bubba Kush comes from Northern Lights and Triangle Kush.

Kush Mints spawned its own minty lineage including LA Kush Cake (Wedding Cake x Kush Mints) and Pancakes (London Pound Cake #73 x Kush Mints #11).

And speaking of minty weed, don’t miss the sub-craze in The Menthol (Gelato x White Diesel x (High Octane x Jet Fuel), the hottest of which is Compound Genetics’ unofficial ‘Baby Yoda’ cut of Khalifa Mints (Khalifa Kush x The Menthol).

Jungle Cake

Los Angeles gets to have its Jungle Cake and smoke it, too, this year. Bred by Seed Junky Genetics, Jungle Cake crosses White Fire #43 aka Wifi43 (Fire OG x The White) and Wedding Cake (Triangle Kush x Animal Mints).

Jungle Cake looks so iced out and good, with light aromas of sugary icing and fuel. Indeed, the highest-THC consumers love Jungle Cake, because it is strong AF. The hybrid strain tests into the 30% THC range, assuring a powerful high; the antidote to life in the concrete jungle.


Colorado breeding kings Cannarado have one setting: beast mode. Their Garanimals have escaped the zoo and are running amok nationwide.

Built for Cookies fans out there, Garanimals infuses Animal Cookies with the cherry and grape flavors of strain Grape Pie (Cherry Pie x Grape Stomper). Garanimals is dark, dense, resinous, fragrant evening weed that pairs well with Netflix and your fridge.

In fact, all the most sought after strains in the US center around this relaxing, happy evening effect—as opposed to some racy, daytime, psychedelic vibe. You can’t blame people for just wanting to chill after 2020.

Ice Cream Cake

Lastly, Seed Junky Genetics strikes again with their indica cross of Wedding Cake (aka Triangle Mints #23) and Gelato #33.

Ice Cream Cake exemplifies when a virtuous cycle turns vicious: popularity leads to wider availability, inducing rampant growing, which eventually erodes quality control. Ice Cream Cake became such a sure bet, every Tom, Dick, and Heidi is having a go at it—with varying results.

At its best, this strain makes total sense, because Gelato crossed to Triangle Kush and Animal Mints makes total sense. They’re all awesome cultivars on their own. The combination is cakey, sweet and high-THC, with a fuel finish.

Still, it takes a master grower to tease out the best from Ice Cream Cake. In 2021, fields of not-so-nice cream cake are destined to become bargain B-buds, or, the horror, oil for vape pens.

As a strain, you either die a hero, or live long enough to become a villain to weed snobs.

And with that, we have arrived at the end. You’re probably feeling pretty stuffed on dessert strains, eh? We can already hear haters asking:
When, o’ Lord, when will savory flavors break the stranglehold of the sweet?!’

‘Where are my favorite sativas?’

Will the real old school classics please stand up?!

We got you, fam. Keep clicking on Leafly News, and we’ll keep pointing you to the best.

Padlock your fridge. The 8 hottest strains for the New Year include Gelonade, Gushers, Apple Fritter, and Ice Cream Cake.

Top 10 Best Sativa Strains For 2021

It’s not easy to find special strains amongst the thousands that are currently being sold by the different seedbanks today. Original Sativa genetics are hard to come by, with many of the pure landrace cannabis cultivars now extremely hard to get hold of. This post presents 10 of the best Sativa strains that are still holding true to their ancestors.

Sour Tangie – Reserva Privada

Tangie genetics have gained traction over the past years are now commonly bred to create new Sativa hybrids. Sour Tangie (East Coast Sour Diesel x Tangie) has an 80% Sativa dominance and grows vigorously, both indoors and outdoors. Expect pungent diesel with hints of citrus and pine.

Sour Tangie can be completed in 9-10 weeks of flowering time, making it relatively fast compared to other Sativa dominant strains. This cup-winning genetic can explode with heavy, fruitful flowers. If you’re interested to see the massive results of Sour Tangie grown outdoors using ScrOG, have a look at the following diary:

Acapulco Gold – Barney’s Farm

Acapulco Gold is a mostly Sativa cultivar from Barney’s Farm, who have a reputation for producing outstanding seeds. It originates from Central America and grows well in warm, dry climates. It is slightly harder to maintain indoors and is therefore recommended for growers with some experience.

Outdoor Acapulco Gold plants can explode in height, sometimes reaching up to 2 meters and branching out heavily with flowers that are often too heavy to be supported. Both indoor and outdoor plants can be trained to avoid overstretching. Follow SillyCone’s grow diary to see how well Acapulco Gold can perform:

LA Amnesia – Paradise Seeds

LA Amnesia won 2nd place in the Spannabis Cannabis Champions Cup 2019. This legendary Sativa from Paradise Seeds inherits the best of the famous Amnesia Haze and twists it with delicious Kush genetics. The smell is distinct and fills the nose with a spicy, zesty scent like that of a classic Amnesia bud.

LA Amnesia produces dense, chunky flowers that pack a decent weight and are full of stickiness. Plants may not stretch heavily after flipping the light schedule but they ‘love nitrogen’ so you may want to bump up the feeding for maximum yields. See more from Visions’ grow earlier this year:

Californian Snow Auto – Fast Buds

We couldn’t go without mentioning a top autoflowering Sativa. Californian Snow Auto from Fast Buds is an exceptional development in USA genetics. With around 70% dominance in Sativa and THC levels reaching up to 23%, this snowy lady is sure to go straight to the head. Its Indica heritage gives it quite a kick.

A popular strain amongst GrowDiaries users, Californian Snow Auto has shown strength in the market for being a reliable Sativa auto that is relatively easy to grow, delivering yields of over 100 grams per plant in the right conditions. Its aroma has been described as ‘sour apple’ with ‘very unique terps’.

Fast Buds has many high quality autoflowering strains to offer so we highly recommend you check them out if you’re looking for fast flowering, high yielding, potent genetics.

Chocolope – DNA Genetics

Chocolope has won numerous awards and it is no surprise people continue to enjoy this super Sativa strain. Chocolope is known to come with large harvests and grows tall without much effort. At 95% dominance in Sativa genetics, this famous strain deserves to be preserved.

Check out Sleeve’s grow diary to see how well Chocolope can perform under the right conditions. A single plant yielded more than 250 grams in less than a meter squared. Not bad at all for a flowering time of 10 weeks.

Lemon Zkittle – Dutch Passion

Lemon Zkittle by Dutch Passion won the High Life Cup in 2018 and for a good reason. This citrusy lady has become mega popular across the US and is loved for its high quality and sour lemon flavour. Although only at 60% Sativa dominance, Lemon Zkittle is definitely recommended for those who have a soft spot for Sativa-style experiences.

Overall, Lemon Zkittle reacts well to training techniques such as ScroG, topping and defoliation, as seen in ScarfaceGuerrilla’s diary. Described as ‘resin packed, dense buds, with an amazing fresh-sour smell’. A well executed grow, with yields just shy of 420g/m2.

Blue Dream – Humboldt Seeds

Blue Dream is another top strain from the USA that stands out as one of the best Sativas floating around the market at the moment. This Blueberry x Super Silver Haze leans at around 70% dominance on the Sativa side, and due to its origins, enjoys warm, dry climates.

The rich terpene profile exhibited by Blue Dream gives off a pungent aroma similar to that of fruity berries and pine. Feel free to take a peek at Datrox’s recent grow, who applied serious training and managed to reap enormous harvests in a relatively small space using 5 gallon soil pots and LED grow lights.

Moby Dick – Dinafem

Moby Dick continues to smash the charts and since its launch has dominated as a cup-winner. Considered as a ‘very strong genetic’, Moby Dick can reach a THC content of up to 22% and is recommended as a strongly resistant strain that is easy to grow. Performs well with plenty of light and nutrients, in addition to LST/HST during vegetation.

Here we present a grow diary winner, who made it to 7th place in Diary Of The Month May 2020 with some Moby Dick (Dinafem) clones. In just 1 square meter, Stoner_INDICA managed to get his plants to generate 520g of dry bud. Good job.

Ghost Train Haze – Rare Dankness

This stretchy Sativa won the High Times Cup in 2014 for Best Sativa and has been considered one of the strongest strains around. THC has been tested at over 25%, so it is indeed up there with some of the top Sativa players.

Flowering may be on the longer spectrum, but it is definitely worth the wait. You may need to wait between 11-12 weeks for her to fully mature, but the bud production is likely to be huge. This grower’s plant stretched like crazy and is producing massive flowers which can barely hold themselves up. Looks to be a tasty harvest.

Jack The Ripper – TGA Subcool

Finally, we wanted to end on a unique Sativa dominant (70%) strain not seen being grown too often. Jack The Ripper by TGA Subcool is a one of kind masterpiece and came 2nd place at Spannabis 2017 for the Sativa category. Seeds can be tricky to find, but getting a few clones would mean owning what is considered to be one seriously tasty cannabis plant.

As a highly sought after cultivar by cannabis connoisseurs across the globe, Jack The Ripper deserves further recognition. It can complete flowering in 8 weeks and can achieve yields of super sticky, lemon and haze-like flowers that is said to deliver a powerful high. Unfortunately this grower did not finish their diary to tell us how it went.


We hope you found something new to discover here. There are too many epic strains out there to discuss in one post, but these dominant Sativas cover a few of the best. Of course, there will be others and we’d love to hear about them! For some extra info on the listed strains, see the following data sheet.

Strain Sativa Dominance Flowering Time THC
Sour Tangie (Reserva Privada) 80% 63 – 70 Days High
Acapulco Gold (Barney’s Farm) 70% 60 – 70 Days Medium
LA Amnesia (Paradise Seeds) 75% 56 – 63 Days High
Californian Snow Auto (Fast Buds) 70% 63 – 70 Days (from seed) High
Chocolope (DNA Genetics) 95% 56 – 63 Days Medium/High
Lemon Zkittle (Dutch Passion) 60% 63 – 70 Days High
Blue Dream (Humboldt Seeds) 70% 65 – 70 Days Medium
Ghost Train Haze (Rare Dankness) 75% 65 – 80 Days Medium
Jack The Ripper (TGA Subcool) 70% 56 – 63 Days High

We welcome you to share your top Sativa strains of 2021 with the community down below in the comments section! Happy growing!

A selection of top Sativa strains from this year. Discover genetics that have recently become some of the best in the cannabis growing scene.