Seeds Or Clones: Which Is Better For Growing Cannabis?
When growing cannabis, you have two paths to choose from: seeds or clones. One one hand, seeds are reliable, easy, and accessible. Clones, on the other, are fast, efficient, and carry the exact traits of the mother plant. However, both methods have their downsides. Let’s compare seeds and clones so you can decide how to proceed with your grow.
Cannabis cultivators can start a grow in one of two ways. They can either germinate seeds or take cuttings from a mother plant. Both of these methods produce the same end result—cannabinoid-rich buds—but take different routes to get there.
Some growers prefer the speed of clones, whereas others prefer going all the way, start to finish, from seeds. Whether you’re a new grower or a seasoned vet, it’s key to learn about both techniques so you can experiment in the future and maximise results.
Seeds and clones both have a unique set of pros and cons. Once you weigh up the traits of each, you’ll be able to decide which path you want to head down.
ADVANTAGES OF GROWING CANNABIS FROM SEEDS
Some growers view starting from seeds as the “pure” way to cultivate weed. True or not, it sure does offer a deep sense of satisfaction come harvest time.
Most home growers around the world start their projects using seeds. That’s largely because they’re more accessible and legal in most countries, but that’s not all they have going for them. Let’s discuss some of the best reasons to start your grow from seeds.
EASY TO ACCESS
The internet’s made a lot of things easier, especially getting cannabis seeds.
Nowadays, you can easily order seeds online from a long list of established seed banks (like Royal Queen Seeds, of course). They’ll send discreetly shipped packages directly to your mailbox, so you’ll never have to leave the house.
Even in countries where cannabis itself remains illegal, ungerminated cannabis seeds are often perfectly legal to order, possess, and collect. Starting with seeds will keep you on the good side of the law until you drop them in some soil.
STARTING FROM SCRATCH
Not only do seeds offer an arguably more satisfying end result, but they also enable growers to start with a fresh batch of genetics. These small packages of DNA house a code that hasn’t been exposed to a poor growing environment or a host of diseases. As we’ll discuss later, though, the same can’t be said for all clones.
BREED YOUR OWN STRAINS
Once you’ve mastered the art of growing cannabis from seeds, you can start to make your own strains. Breed your favourite female with a prized male, and you’ll have hundreds—if not thousands—of your own seeds at the end of the growing season.
In other words, you’re not “creating a seed” as much as you are creating your own unique strain. Hone in on traits that you enjoy for the most pleasant smoking experience possible.
FEMINIZED SEEDS = DANK FLOWERS
Although regular seeds emerge as both sexes, high-quality feminized seeds offer a 99% guarantee of being female.
Why is this important? Well, as you know, female cannabis plants produce the sticky and cannabinoid-rich bud that most growers are looking for. In contrast, males produce pollen sacs; necessary for breeding, but detrimental to the yield of female plants they breed with.
With feminized seeds, you’ll save an enormous amount of time and effort you’d normally spend on getting rid of males. In turn, you’ll get heaps of quality bud.
DISADVANTAGES OF GROWING CANNABIS FROM SEEDS
After reading the above, starting with seeds might seem like perfection. However, everything in life has a downside. With that in mind, let’s shift the discussion to the not-so-advantageous aspects of using seeds.
THEY DON’T ALWAYS GERMINATE
Although reputable seed banks offer higher germination rates, not every single seed will leave the soil. Unfortunately, no matter what you do, some are simply duds. For this reason, we suggest starting a grow with several seeds, even if you plan on only raising one plant.
GENOTYPE VS PHENOTYPE
Every seed from the same plant will feature a slightly different genotype—a unique genetic code. There will always be genetic variation from parents to progeny, and sibling to sibling.
This means seeds won’t produce an exact replica of a particular parent, and you’ll see differences between brothers and sisters that you grow out. If you plant ten of the same seeds, you’ll notice some variation in height, colour, flavour, and yield.
Cannabis plants also develop specific traits based on their external environment, a factor that influences their phenotype. Temperature, humidity, light, nutrients, and water can all impact phenotypic expression. In this way, achieving a uniform crop is more difficult than with clones.
SLOWER TO START
Lastly, seeds take longer than clones to reach harvest time. It can take anywhere between a few days and a week to see the first signs of life emerge from the soil. After that, add another week or two for your plant to become a mature seedling. It might not seem too long, but there’s a reason speedy autoflowering strains are as popular as they are.
ADVANTAGES OF GROWING CANNABIS FROM CLONES
For those unfamiliar, clones are cuttings taken from vegetating mother plants. Once obtained, growers root the cutting before introducing it to soil or a hydroponic medium.
As the name suggests, a clone provides an exact genetic copy of the mother plant. This can either be a blessing or a curse, as you’ll see below. First, let’s discuss the advantages.
Clonex Rooting Gel
CUTTINGS FROM FEMALES CREATE NEW FEMALES
Because clones are exact copies, cuttings taken from a female mother plant will produce another female. This allows growers to sidestep the 50/50 chance that comes with growing from regular seeds. It also avoids the minor risk of feminized seeds throwing out a male.
CLONES SAVE TIME
With clones, you don’t need to wait for a seed to germinate and grow into a reasonably sized seedling. In fact, you completely skip that stage! Simply root your cutting, and you’ve got a plant that’s instantly ready to grow.
YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT TO EXPECT
Clones deliver exactly what you liked about the mother plant. As exact genetic copies, they’ll carry over all of the mother’s traits, including size, taste, morphology, and productivity. Seeds will differ slightly from the plants they came from, though, due to genetic and environmental factors.
DISADVANTAGES OF GROWING CANNABIS FROM CLONES
Clones far outperform seeds in some areas, but they aren’t perfect. Here are some issues you might run into if you decide to grow from clones.
GOOD LUCK FINDING THEM
Want seeds? Go find a seed bank online. Want clones? Good luck. Since they need to be cut from an active vegetating plant, clones are difficult to find if you’re a home grower. Plus, they’re illegal before they even end up in your possession, making shipping them quite risky.
Paying your growing buddies a visit might be the best way to find clones in most countries. Ask politely, and you might head home with a cutting or two.
YOU NEED TO BE CAREFUL
Seeds are tough. They can be thrown straight into the soil. Clones are delicate and need to be treated as such. If you handle cuttings aggressively or fail to give them a good start, they’ll die before they put out roots.
Fragile cuttings also require a specifically tailored environment with customised parameters to give them the best start in life. They need optimal humidity levels and finely tuned and consistent temperatures. For these reasons, you’ll need to set up additional space in your grow room to cater to their needs, especially if you’re also growing from seeds.
YOU GET THE BAD TRAITS, TOO
Mother plants pass on everything to their clones, including their bad traits. The mother plant, whether you know it or not, might have an underlying genetic issue or fault. It might not become apparent until you’ve raised a few clones, but it’ll do some damage when it does.
CLONES OR SEEDS — WHICH IS BETTER FOR GROWING CANNABIS?
Honestly, the answer is entirely subjective. It all boils down to the personal preferences and skill of the grower. Beginners will have a much easier time—and see better results—using seeds. Clones are more tricky, and best reserved for slightly more experienced growers. However, veteran growers will also choose seeds for breeding purposes, or to see plants through from start to finish.
As with everything in the world of growing, experimenting will enable you to find your own way of doing things. Try both and see what works best for you and your growing style. Good luck!
When growing cannabis, seeds and clones offer a host of distinct benefits and downsides. Explore the pros and cons of each to decide which is best for you.
Should I start my cannabis plant with seeds or clones?
Should you start growing your cannabis plant with seeds or clones? Each method has pros and cons, so check out the comparison below to find out what’s right for you!
Starting With Cannabis Seeds
If you buy your seeds from an established seed bank, than you have a great idea on how your plant will be like in terms of looks, yield, quality, and flowering time.
Cannabis seeds can be discreetly delivered to almost anywhere in the world – you don’t need to know a cannabis grower in person or collect bagseed in order to start growing with seeds
You can purchase feminized seeds from a seed bank which means you will get 100% females and don’t have to worry about male marijuana plants. Only female cannabis plants produce bud. Learn more about male and female cannabis plants.
You can breed your own seeds by mating two cannabis plants, which gives you a basically unlimited supply of seeds
Seeds give you the best chance of a ‘clean slate’ which means you plants won’t come with any sort of disease or pests
Not all seeds will germinate
Old seeds or improperly stored seeds may be slow growing
If using non-feminized seeds, about half of the plants will end up being male, which do not produce buds. Learn how to identify male plants right away.
Seeds can take a little more time than clones to get started growing and be ready for harvest, since clones are usually already “mature” and established when you start growing
Costs can add up if purchasing seeds for every grow, and famous strains can cost quite a bit of money per seed
Creating your own seeds will save you monetary cost, but there is still a cost in time (and effort) to cross together two plants to make seeds
Seeds are a good way for many people to start growing because they can be easily purchased off the internet. Where can I safely purchase cannabis seeds?
Sometimes you will find good seeds (bagseed) in marijuana that you have purchased which can definitely be used to start growing. The downside of using seeds that you find is you will have no idea what to expect as far as growth, yields, or size. The bud quality of bagseed is often different from the buds it came from, since it is not a stablized strain. It could be like the bud it was found it, or it could be completely different.
When using unknown seeds, you will need to determine the gender your plants as they are growing to prevent any males from pollinating your females.
Healthy seeds should be dark brown or light grey. If you find seeds which are small and white, they are likely immature and won’t germinate properly.
Healthy seeds can be stored in a cool dark place, or your fridge until you’re ready to use them(don’t freeze them).
Seeds which are kept in a cool, dark place remain viable for years, though after a few years you will notice that they take a bit longer to germinate and you may get a few more duds than with fresh seeds. Seedlings from older seeds can also be really slow growing even if you’re giving them perfect conditions.
Starting With Cannabis Clones
Guaranteed gender – if the mother plant was female, the clone will be female too
Clones usually have a head start compared to starting with a seed, since clones are usually already mature and established when you start growing with them. Compared to seeds, clones usually have an overall shorter grow period and therefore will be ready to harvest a bit more quickly.
Clones can be quickly grown into a ‘mom’ and recloned, for a constant source of new plants. You can clone any plant to create an unlimited amount of plants
Since clones are genetically identical to their mother plant, you know almost exactly what you’re getting. Although there is some variance even between clones, they tend to grow much more alike than two random plants.
Rooted clones can be coaxed to flower almost immediately if time or space is an issue
Clones can be harder to find compared to seeds – many people don’t know a cannabis grower in real life, and seeds are really easy for almost anyone to get due to the availability of online seed banks
If the original grower had any problems with the mother plant (like pests or viruses) then it’s possible that the new grower (you) can inherit the same problems from the clone
If you start with a clone that hasn’t been well established, it’s possible it might unexpectedly die on you, or remain in shock for a long time. When cloning is done incorrectly, it may take weeks of extra care in order for the plant to recover
Newly created clones are more sensitive/picky about lights and nutrients compared to young plants from seed
In order to get clones, you will need to know someone who already has marijuana plants, or you may be able to buy some from your local medical marijuana dispensary if you’re in a suitable location and have a recommendation for marijuana from your doctor.
Starting with a clone can save you a couple of weeks compared to starting with seeds because they have a head-start on growth. Using clones also guarantees the gender of your plant because the clones have the exact same genetics as their parent plant including gender.
If you have a female plant that you like, you can just clone her indefinitely to make more plants without ever again having to worry about sexing your plants or creating seeds. Yet you will also end up with the same strain/genetics for every clone you take off the same plant.
If you’re starting out with a clone, you want to treat it gently for the first day or two that you have it. If your clone hasn’t established roots yet, then you want to make sure that it stays moist and gets gentle light (like from florescent tubes) until it develops some roots. A humidity dome will help the plant get moisture until she’s established her roots.
If your clone has already established its roots, then put it in its new home with your lights a bit further away than normal until she’s settled in and showing new growth.
Only give your clone just a little bit of water at first with a highly diluted cannabis-friendly “grow” nutrient solution.
It’s tempting to want to put your lights close to the new baby and give it full-strength nutrients because you want to do everything you can to make sure it does okay.
However, in the very beginning, less is more for your clone. Your clone is more sensitive to heat and light than an established plant, and you’re putting it in a completely new environment.
It’s important to check on your clone frequently during it’s first 24 hours to make sure there isn’t any unforeseen problems such as it tipping over. Once the clone has started really growing (usually after a couple of days) then you can put your lights closer and start feeding it with full-strength nutrients.
Should I start my cannabis plant with seeds or clones? Should you start growing your cannabis plant with seeds or clones? Each method has pros and cons, so check out the comparison below to find