Durban vs Durban

Are you getting what you paid for? In pursuit of a true pure strain, we compare “pure” Durbans from two popular Dutch banks, and share the results with you.

It seems that everyone is selling seeds. Lots of claims are made. How can anyone tell the good from the bad?

Unfortunately, the only way of telling is to grow it out and see what you’ve got in the end. This takes time and energy most people don’t have. Our expectations are high. We all want to smoke the exact same pot we smoked in Holland. The problem is that most of these famous strains are hybrids, or in some cases, hybrids bred with hybrids.

This means that even if you buy 50 seeds you are not likely to see the famed pot you are seeking. You will probably get something good, but it won’t be what you’re after. It’s a roll of the genetic dice at best.


Pure strains however are just that ? pure ? and will reproduce themselves when bred. If the strain is pure and you buy 25 seeds you are likely to get what you are after. With pure strains you can create all kinds of interesting hybrids and at any time still go back to acquire one. Records accurately kept will allow you to go back and re-create successful crosses without much difficulty at all. Sort of like having a recipe file. So pure strains are much valued indeed. Much of what we have today will in one way or another go back to about a dozen or so strains that were around 25 years ago.


One of these strains is “Durban” or “Durban Poison” from South Africa. A lot of old timers will tell you stories about the first Durban seeds they got their hands on in the late 70’s or early 80’s. It was a strain well known for finishing early, which made it valuable for breeding with late strains that wouldn’t finish outdoors. Also, oddly enough, it was a pure sativa and not an indica as many have thought.

We grew out 40 of each of two types of Durban sold by two famous Dutch seeds companies, Dutch Passion and Sensi Seed Bank. Both companies claim that their strain is pure and never been hybridized.


To eliminate any potential prejudice towards one company or the other, seeds were planted in trays and lettered A and B by one person. Only that person knew which was which.


Type A produced 36 seedlings. All looked to be similar structure and grew at an even rate. All were healthy and vigorous.

Type B produced 28 seedlings. There appeared to be two types of leaf structure from the start. One long and slender, the other with a broader shor ter indica-style leaf. All were healthy and vigorous.


Two plots were selected and both received the exact same treatment. Soil was Ph’d at 6.7 and both had nice southern exposure. Both sites received the same treatment with organics as fertilizer. Both types were transplanted when they had lost their second set of leaves, and there were none lost to insects or transplanting shock.


At about one foot in height, both strains were assessed again. Type A were very uniform in both size and structure. In fact, if you didn’t know better, you might think they were clones.

Type B on the other hand were not very uniform at all. There were at least 3 totally different types of plants easily distinguished by the different branch and leaf structure. Some looked like equatorial sativas, and some looked like indicas; some were in-between.

Throughout the vegetative stages both grew vigorously with a slight edge going to A.


It must be pointed out that these strains were grown for the express purposes of making pure seed. Therefore, we took 4 healthy specimens of each variety to another location to grow, where males could be eradicated. The purpose of doing this is to see what the pot is like when grown seedless. It is really difficult to judge what pot is really like when it is totally seeded. That is why a sample of each type is grown elsewhere.


Flowering males were first noticed around mid-August. All males showed within a 2-week period.

Type A showed 19 males, and out of this 3 were kept for breeding. Although 10 were really strong we kept only 3 as they showed superior characteristics (branchy, sturdy, as well as having the right smell when the stalk is rubbed). Save the best ? reject the rest! All the rest were eradicated and disposed of miles away.

Type B showed 18 males starting August 15th and ending September 10th. There were 4 different types! Of the 4 variations, there was only one kind worth breeding, and there were only three plants in this category. It was not difficult to choose, as there was only one that made the grade.


As the females began to show, Type A again showed good consistency with all females confirmed within a 1-week period. All looked the same except for a few very minor variations one would expect to find in a pure strain. All had the same aroma and style of budding.

Type B’s variations that were noticed earlier were now much more pronounced. The type of budding ranged all over the place and there were only 2 that looked and smelled alike. All the rest were completely different. None were overly impressive.


Back at the two small plots where seedless samples were planted, Type A had two males and two females. Both females were beautiful, having very fragrant tight nuggets that looked identical on both plants. Most folks would be very satisfied with this product.

Type B had no females, as four out of four were males with the last faint hope turning male on September 9th. I can only guess what the pot might be like seedless, but by the looks of things, I do not think I’d be overly enthusiastic about it.


Seed produced by both appear to be healthy and viable with more edge going to A for consistency. Type A also produced more mature seeds.

When smoking the pot, type A won hands down. Even seeded, the pot was strong and sweet. Type B on the other hand was not very potent (none of the three variations) and very bland in flavour. The 4th variation is still growing with no sign of bud yet (October 25th). Obviously an equatorial sativa.


Overall without the slightest doubt, type A is the winner. So which seed bank was Type A from? A drum roll please…

Type A ? Dutch Passion
Type B ? The Sensi Seed Bank.

Type A is a pure strain definitely worthy of serious consideration.

Type B, however, is not a pure strain. Type B did not impress me enough to want to continue experimenting with it.

I hope that this information may save some growers time, money, and frustration. Happy growing to all!