Growing Weed From Seed Vs Clone

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It's an important decision to make, because it is going to determine the timeline of your garden and largely influence your garden strategy. Growing cannabis clones has both its advantages and disadvantages. The best method depends on your personal preferences, needs, and plant growing skills.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

Differences of Cannabis Clones versus Seeds

If you are planning to grow your own cannabis, whether it’s one plant or many, there are two main ways to start the plants. This can be done either by seed or by cloning. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

The technique you use to grow your marijuana can depend on several factors. One consideration is what your end goal is. Are you looking to produce an abundant crop to be harvested and sold or enough for you and your friends to enjoy? Your skill level at growing plants should also be considered, especially if you are going to be marketing your harvest.

The best way to decide which technique is right for you is by first knowing the differences in cannabis clones versus the seeds.

What are Plant Clones?

Clones are grown from a central plant and are genetically identical to their parent. They are created by taking a cutting from the parent plant. This is usually a piece about several inches long from a healthy branch. That piece of limb, or cutting, is then allowed to grow roots. This is often done by placing the cutting in water until sufficient roots are grown and the plant can be put into a pot with soil or placed in the ground.

The best clones are the ones created from a healthy mother plant. The plant should be fast growing with a strong, and robust root system. It should also generate abundant harvests that are known to produce high-quality buds.

Growing Cannabis from Clones

Growing cannabis from clones instead of seeds is done for several reasons. It’s a quicker method of cultivation. The cannabis clone is already germinated and just needs to take root. Growing a plant fast also means economical. Less time spent waiting for the plant to mature means a quicker harvest, and if you are a seller this equates to the faster a product can be marketed.

With a clone, you also have an excellent idea of what the mature plant will turn out like. They are predictable in the quality of the buds they will produce. This is a good thing when it comes time to harvest. You know what kind of cannabis product you will be getting. Another benefit of growing cannabis from clones is if the parent plant has pest resistant qualities so will the clone. A plant resistant to bugs makes for a stronger plant and a better marijuana harvest.

On the other hand, cloning a plant does have a few drawbacks. Plants grown from seeds have the ability to adapt to changes in their environment, and so does each future generation of the plant. This adaptability helps the lineage of the plant be strong enough to grow in different environmental conditions. A cloned plant is exactly the same genetically as its parent and can’t change its own genetics to adapt to a changing environment.

Also, coned plants generally produce a smaller harvest than one grown from a seedling. The clone tends to be a much weaker plant, with a root system that doesn’t grow as strong and deep as the seedling’s does. Another issue may be the parent of the clone may not have had bug and pest resistant qualities in its genetic makeup. This can make the cloned plant susceptible to damaging infestations.

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Growing Cannabis from Seeds

There are two types of seed strains, stable and unstable. As the name states, a stable seed strain lineage always has the same qualities. The grower or breeder will start with both a male and female plant and breed them until the specific desired qualities are stabilized in the plant. The new plants in the breed’s lineage will have most of the same desired traits, along with a few genetic variations.

An unstable seed strain often produces plants more quickly, but there is no consistency in their traits and quality of their harvests. The plants that do grow are not a reputable strain. Most cannabis dispensaries won’t buy products from plants grown from unstable seed strains.

Cannabis plants grown from stable seed strains are a much healthier plant than ones grown from clones. The seedling has a much stronger root system, starting with a taproot. This is a root that grows vertically downward for a considerable distance away from the seed. It forms a strong anchor that is able to reach rich nutrients deep in the soil. A robust, healthy plant creates a more significant yield of the product. With cannabis seeds, you also have a much greater variety of plants to choose from.

The disadvantages of growing from a cannabis seed include not knowing the specific qualities of the plant until it reaches maturity. Growing a plant from seed takes more time to cultivate. Seeds are very delicate in their early stages of growth and need more skill to grow. When growing a plant from seed, you won’t know if it’s male or female until it’s fully grown.

A female plant grows the flowers or buds, and a male plant creates the seeds. The female is the plant you want for harvesting your marijuana product.

Which are better for Starters?

Whether starting a plant from a seed or a clone is the better method, depends on several factors. The skill of the grower is essential. Seeds take more time, patience, and a bit more know-how than growing from a clone. For a newbie to gardening, growing a cannabis plant from a clone is the better option. If you do have some advanced gardening skills but just started to learn how to grow cannabis, growing the plant from a clone may still be the way to go…at least until you understand the unique techniques needed in the marijuana plants growing process.

Growing cannabis either from a seed or a clone has both its advantages and disadvantages. The best method depends on your personal preferences, needs, and plant growing skills. Either way, with some time, patience, sun, and water you can have your own cannabis plant or rows of plants in no time at all!

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