Launched in 2014, Gelato is a hybrid cross of the two highly popular parent strains, Thin Mint Cookies and Sunset Sherbet and has rapidly become one of the most famous strains among the growing list of strains bred by the Cookie Family. The Gelato strain has since grown to adopt a legendary status in its own right. But with a wide variety of phenos having been produced over the years, which is the best? 

Phenotype NameIndica / Sativa %Flowering time
Gelato #25100% Indica8-9 Weeks
Gelato #3380/20% Indica/Sativa9-10 Weeks
Gelato #4140/60% Indica/Sativa10-12 Weeks
Gelato #4260/40% Indica/Sativa8-10 Weeks
Gelato #4560/40% Indica/Sativa8-10 Weeks
The 5 most popular phenotype variations of the Gelato strain

With so many different variations all with their own unique characteristics, what is the best gelato strain? This is all down to opinion, however below we will list the various Gelato strains on the market and what makes them so great. 

Gelato #25 

A rare 100% Indica variety of the Gelato strain, Gelato #25, also known as Barry Bonds produces potent buds that measure at around 20-25% THC. It is well known for being rich in the myrcene(0.42%), pulegone (0.33%) and caryophyllene (0.25%) terpenes. These give it a floral scent with a sweet taste many liken to strawberries and mango. The most noticeable effect of "Barry Bonds" is a deep seated body tingle that is the hallmark of its Indica characteristic. With a slightly shorter flowering time this pheno could be the best choice for Gelato growers that have a shorter outdoor season.

Gelato #33  

Although "Larry Bird" is the synonym commonly given to all varieties of Gelato, #33 is the actual phenotype that carries this name, in honour of the legendary NBA players jersey number. It is a well-balanced hybrid with dense THC rich buds. It is a visually beautiful strain with buds that can vary from a vibrant green to a dark purple, with the purple hues more likely to occur in this variety than many of the other. Gelato #33 is probably most well known for being the parent strain of Ice Cream Cake.  This pheno has been voted the best one by High Times and this is echoed in the fact that the #33 version has been crossed with more other strains than any other of the Gelato line. The fact that it is stable and well balanced, breeding true, being the most likely reason.

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Gelato #41 

Aka Bacio Gelato, the Gelato #41 strain became famous after winning 1st place in the Indica category at the High Times California Cannabis Cup. For any THC chasers out there, under lab conditions Gelato #41 weighed in at an incredible 29%. This ranks it as one of the highest THC strains ever entered in to a competitive cup. In lab testing, of the 16 predominant terpenes found, Beta-Caryophyllene was the most common (0.81%); Limonene (0.44%) and Alpha Humulene (0.23%) were also present. As the highest ratio Sativa in the family, Gelato #41 gives users a more euphoric and trippy high that many people say has a very positive effect on mood.

Gelato #42 

Gelato #42, otherwise known as Dolce Gelato, is a beautifully balanced hybrid leaning slightly towards Indica. The strain produces a hard hitting 20-25% THC and gives users a mellow, uplifting high. It is highest in Beta-Caryophyliene and Limonene but has a very broad terpene profile.

Gelato #45 

Aka Michael Jordan, Gelato #45 is a real slam dunk of a plant! Being a 60:40 indica dominant hybrid that is extremely forgiving to grow, Gelato #45 is a great choice for any of the less experienced growers.  

All equally impressive in their own way, the Gelato strain is a must try for any cannabis enthusiast. What we love so much about Gelato, is not just how great a strain it is, but also everything it has gone on to create.  

Gelato has been crossed with various strains over the years and each time it has gone on to breed another legendary strain. Take Runtz, Biscotti and Ice Cream Cake strains as examples - three strains that are arguably some of the most sought-after buds in dispensaries and seed banks across the globe. 

What is the strongest Gelato strain? 

Gelato has a range of between 20-30% THC all the phenotypes are considered high THC strains. However, according to lab reports Gelato #45 having recently been tested at 27% THC and Gelato #41 at 29% would have to be the two current ‘official’ highest THC versions. However, that is not to say that if you were to grow any of the other versions under near perfect conditions that you wouldn’t also get those kinds of numbers. 

Does Gelato strain make the top shelf? 

For those of you that have not been into a cannabis dispensary, first I will explain what ‘top shelf’ is. Cannabis dispensaries generally categorize their strains by low, middle or top shelf. These categories signify the quality and price tag on the bud, with top shelf being the most expensive highly sought-after cannabis strains. Strains such as Gorilla Glue, Runtz and Wedding Cake would all be considered top shelf genetics, not just because of their name but simply because their genetics are in high demand. 

top shelf cannabis bud in dispensary

With that being said and having been in my fair share of dispensaries I can confidently say that Gelato (regardless of phenotype) is a top shelf strain and despite its hefty price tag, is often still one of the fastest to sell out. 

Is the Gelato strain right for beginners?  

Gelato is not the easiest strain to cultivate and so would not be considered a beginner strain. But don' be put off. If you have the right set-up and enough time to care for the plant then anybody can grow it. As a beginner, a cannabis strain such as Gelato Autoflower may be better to start off with. Thanks to its ruderalis genetics Gelato Autoflower is a more rugged hardy strain that can handle slightly cooler temperatures and will flower without requiring a change in light cycle. 

Growing Gelato 

Gelato’s genetics take it back to California so it can easily be grown indoors or outdoors, but it thrives mostly in warm, dry, wind-free environments with plenty of sun. If you live in an area where there is lots of wind it would be best suited for greenhouse or indoor growing where the climate can be better controlled. 

Indoors the Gelato strain needs around 8 to 10 weeks of flowering and is likely to reach 1.2 to 1.8 meters tall which is a manageable height for any strain with sativa genetics.   

Thanks to its solid genetics Gelato can achieve yields of 500g/m2 - 600g/m2, although under ideal conditions and the right knowledge this could be exceeded. Outdoor growers can expect yields of 800g to 1kg per plant, which when you consider the consistently high THC levels make Gelato an ideal strain for cash croppers. 

Gelato’s growing style reflects its hybrid genetics.  In other words, it does want to grow outwards as well as upwards making it a perfect strain for utilizing techniques such as LST where you will be able to achieve the highest yields. 

Gelato undergoing LST training during the vegetative stage
Gelato undergoing LST training during the vegetative stage

How long does the Gelato strain take to grow? 

Typically with most Gelato phenotypes, you would want a minimum veg period of 4-6 weeks. The flowering stage of growth would last around 8-10 weeks, by which time the plant will be 150 – 180cm tall. This applies to an indoor setup where you are in control of the lighting schedule. If you are growing outdoors, then your location is the major factor in the time that Gelato takes in veg. Almost all of the phenos mentioned above will finish flowering in 8-10 weeks, with the exception being the Sativa dominant #41 which can take an additional week or two to get the best results.

What is the Gelato strain used for? 

Because of its potency Gelato is mainly used as a recreational strain. However, thanks to its strong hybrid genetics it is used for a wide range of medical ailments too.  

Best consumed later in the evenings, Gelato provides a relaxing high that assists with sleeping. Although low in CBD, Gelato is also a great strain for chronic pain relief, muscle spasms, headaches and cramping.  

With regards to the mental effects of Gelato, being super potent, it is great for those suffering with depression or PTSD, however, the high THC levels can have a negative effect for anybody that experiences paranoia so go easy if it's your first time smoking it.