Growing Weed From Seed Vs Clone

It's an important decision to make, because it is going to determine the timeline of your garden and largely influence your garden strategy. 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 When the time comes to start a new batch of plants, there are essentially two main methods a grower can choose. What are the advantages of growing cannabis/hemp using seeds or clones?

Growing Cannabis: Clones vs Seeds

One of the first things you’ll need to decide when starting to grow cannabis is whether to start from seed or clone.

A cannabis clone is a small cutting from a mother plant and has developed its own root system.

It’s an important decision to make, because it is going to determine what timeline your garden is going to operate on, and largely influence the strategy you incorporate into your garden, especially if you plan on making clones to continue your cycle.

Both options present their own benefits and drawbacks.

The Benefits to Starting with a Clone Instead of a Seed

Here are the reasons why some growers prefer cannabis clones.

Benefit #1: Starting with a clone ensures that the gender of your plant is female.

They can still become hermaphrodite if they are stressed, but out of the gate, you at least know that there are no males.

Male cannabis plants do not provide the euphoric and wellness benefits that female cannabis plants do.

Benefit #2: This leads us to one of the biggest benefits of starting with the clone in that you know what you are getting – assuming the source you acquired the clone from is trustworthy and reputable.

If the breeder has samples or documentation as to what previous harvests have looked like, you get a rough yet fairly decent idea of what to expect from the clone.

Benefit #3: Another big benefit is that it speeds up the cultivation process. Seeds take time to sprout and grow into a plant. A clone already is a plant, and is several weeks ahead of the process compared to a seed that has yet to sprout.

Benefit #4: Clones are less delicate than seeds, at least in the beginning. A rooted clone is much easier to keep alive and nourish than a newly sprouted, delicate seedling.

Benefit #5: Growing from a clone is also easier than growing from seed. Clones are ‘plug and play’ so to speak, which is important for newbie cannabis growers.

The Drawbacks of Clones

Drawback #1: Clones lack a taproot. Instead they grow secondary roots also known as a fibrous root system.

For those who don’t know, a taproot is a straight root growing vertically downward from the plant base, forming the center from which other rootlets spring.

Basically, it’s one really big root that other roots spring off of, as opposed to a bunch of tiny roots. Many reputable growers believe that a taproot makes the plant stronger.

Drawback #2: Some cannabis clones carry diseases and/or pests.

Powdery mildew is particularly problematic because a clone could have a disease not yet visible to the naked eye yet.

Whatever the mother plant had, so too shall the clone inherit whatever nastiness ‘it’ may be.

This is why you’ll want to quarantine outside clones before bringing them into the rest of your grow operation.

Drawback #3: With clones, growers are limited to what they can find in their area. Dispensaries and stores are helping increase the variety in areas where they are allowed, but the variety still pales in comparison to most seed banks.

Drawback #4: Also with clones you either use them or lose them. Clones have a limited shelf life, so you either have to see them through to the end, or watch them wither and die.

Debatable Drawbacks:

Many people out there believe clones are weaker than seeds, less pest resistant, grow slower, and the buds are not as large. These claims are based on personal experiences, but it’s worth noting that there are a lot of reputable veteran growers who feel strongly about this.

There are also many people out there who feel very strongly that taking clones from clones results in ‘worn out’ DNA in the plant. We haven’t seen any science behind this, but again, there are a lot of very reputable growers who feel this way.

Why Growing Cannabis from Seed Is a Good Option

Benefit #1: Cannabis plants started from seed have a taproot, which many believe supplies more support for the plants.

Benefit #2: When you start from seed, you are not inheriting the potentially nasty pests and diseases from a mother plant. A seed is ‘clean’ so to speak.

See also  Pictures Of Weed Seeds

Benefit #3: With seeds, there is much more variety out there. It can be risky to acquire seeds, but these days, there are many more stores and dispensaries carrying a much larger variety of quality seeds as compared to most clone inventory selections.

Benefit #4: Seeds last a long time when stored properly, which is a huge advantage to going the seed route. As stated previously, with clones you either use them or lose them. A seed, any kind of seed, can be stored safely for a long time and still germinate.

As mentioned, many growers feel that starting from seed results in stronger, more pest-resistant plants that grow faster and have bigger buds.

The Downsides to Starting with a Seed

There are a few risks a grower takes when choosing to start with a seed.

Drawback #1: A grower invests quite a bit of time before they know if the seed is male or female, even if the source they purchased the seeds from is reliable, it’s still a risk.

After about 6 weeks of growth, the plant will usually show signs of “pre-flowers” (female) or seeds (male). This will alert you to the gender of the plant.

Drawback #2: Seeds are very delicate after they pop. It doesn’t take much to kill them. This can be a very big problem for newbie growers who are still just trying to figure things out.

Plus, seeds take time to pop. Even if the plant ends up being a female, which is awesome, it still takes several weeks for a seed to reach the same size as a clone.

Drawback #3: Germinating seeds is a skill that not everyone possesses. It takes experience. As such, the only way to get ‘good’ at germinating seeds is to do it as many times as it takes to get the process down.

If you are a new grower:

If someone is notoriously awful with plants, starting from seed is likely not a good idea.

We recommend that if you are a newbie grower, to start with clones and work on perfecting your seed skills in the meantime until you are ready to make the transition.

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

Pros:

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

Cons:

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.

See also  What To Do With Weed Seeds

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

Pros:

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

Cons:

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.

See also  Female Weed Seeds

Cost can be high to continue using seeds, whether in time or money. You can spend a lot of time cross-breeding plants and controlling the number of males to produce your own seeds. If making your own feminized seeds, you have to worry about creatingmasculinized female plants which also won’t give you any bud. If you choose to purchase your seeds for every crop, than the cost can really start to add up.

How To Start Growing Cannabis

When the time comes to start a new batch of plants, there are essentially two main methods a grower can choose – either seeds or clones. The most common method is to make clones, or genetically identical copies of a “mother” plant. Cloning involves cutting off a piece of stem with some leaves, then planting it under conditions which make the stem grow roots and eventually a whole new plant. The second method, using seeds, is probably what people typically think of when growing plants. That’s because you can buy packs of seeds for vegetables or almost any other plant at the grocery store. Almost all major crops are grown from seed, and for good reasons. Modern agriculture has benefited from years of science that enables breeders to produce consistent batches of seeds; however, cannabis breeders haven’t had those same tools available, until very recently. An example of a technology that helps breeders speed up development of new strains is dna testing, like what we offer here at delta leaf.

Advantages of Seeds and Clones

Compared to clones made using traditional methods, seeds produce plants that grow larger and are more disease resistant. Growing from seed also eliminates the risk of transferring “stowaway” pests such as mildew and gnats, which can show their face and cripple your garden after months of work. Plants grown from seed are reported to be heartier and larger because they establish what’s called a taproot, which is the large central root that pokes out of a seed when it first germinates. The taproot grows straight down, anchoring the plant and sprouting all the lateral roots that extend outward. While clones might seem to save time because they’re bigger when they enter your garden, it’s not hard to plan ahead so that you have seedlings ready of similar size when you would normally buy or start new clones for your next grow cycle. When proper planning is used, seeds can easily replace clones in grow operations with high turnover (frequent harvests). Using Plant DNA Sex Testing also drastically improves the cost-efficiency of growing from seed.

Plants that are started from seed have also been reported to produce a larger harvest than clones that are started at a comparable stage. Finally, the most important aspect of plant health that is affected by cloning is the acceleration of senescence (deterioration due to aging). Each time a clone is cut from a mother plant, it creates a minor stress of infection and tissue damage that accumulates negative consequences over time. Worse, if a clone is taken from a clone (which must be done after a mother becomes exhausted), then senescence will only be accelerated further each generation you get away from the original seed. The multitude of advantages that seeds offer regarding plant health and vigor make them invaluable to many growers.

Young cannabis plants growing on a commercial farm. Can you tell whether these were started from seeds or clones?

Seeds vs. Tissue Culture

Many of the disadvantages inherent to clone growing can be overcome using plant tissue culture, however, this requires costly infrastructure and continuous maintenance of culture stocks. Cannabis plants grow very rapidly and a single plant is able to produce thousands of seeds. These factors diminish the potential commercial benefits of using tissue culture (a.k.a. micropropagation) to supply clone stocks. Further, seeds are stable for long periods of time under a wide variety of environmental conditions and are easily germinated with high success rates. An individual seed also requires less space to store it than a micro-propagated plant. When consistent genetics become available as seed stock, the cannabis industry will no longer be reliant on clones to produce a consistent product. The hemp industry is already far ahead in terms of breeding certified varieties​ as well as being dominated primarily by seed growers. Both of these methods (seed production and tissue culture) can produce disease-free and genetically predictable starting points; therefore, overhead costs of maintaining seed stocks vs. maintaining tissue culture stocks will become the major factor in determining how cannabis genetics are propagated in the future – and the clear winner is seeds.