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.
Cannabis Seeds VS Clones
Cannabis seeds VS Clones; a comparison that will allow us to see both the best and the worst of each growing method. Both of these methods have pros and cons, just like everything else in the world of cannabis; depending on the result you’re looking for you should plant either seeds or clones.
Cannabis seeds are obviously the most comfortable and easiest way to gain access to cannabis plants, and you can pick them based on flavors, effects, flowering times, sizes… there are hundreds and hundreds of different strains and seed banks. You can make your own clones from whichever plant you’d like, but people tend to buy them; the cheaper the better. When you buy clones you can’t be sure that all of them are the same strain, if they’ve rooted correctly, if they’ve been infected with fungi or insects; this basically means that buying clones is a risk that many people aren’t willing to take as they can come with infestations that can then move into your grow and screw up entire generations of plants.
When planting from seeds you can save yourself the trouble involved with all of those issues, and if one of them appears such as insects at least you’ll know where it came from and that you didn’t manage to buy it from someone. If you don’t buy clones and want to make your own, you’ll need to maintain a mother plant for quite a while which isn’t that easy.
Another big difference between growing from seeds and growing from clones is the yield that you’ll obtain once harvest time rolls around. When planting clones you know that you’re going to get more or less the same yield, appearance, flavor, aroma and potency, so it’s extremely easy to get large quantities of identical bud, like 2 kilos of the same weed for example.
If you’re growing from seeds then you will find various phenotypes within the exact same seed strain; some will be better than others, some will need more food and some will give a higher yield than others. You won’t have a balanced grow as if it were done with clones, but for many people that grow their own seeds variety is what they’re looking for. You could say that growing clones is for gourmet smokers that only like that exact strain with that exact phenotype; seeds are for growers who just want to have their own gear and like to have a varied supply and more quantity.
Clones don’t have main roots, rather than many lateral roots that act like a secondary root. These roots feed quite nicely but it’s a bit harder for them to get deeper into the substrate. This means that your clones will never have strong trunks and branches, meaning they can’t really deal with much weight. You’ll need to grow them in 12/12 right after planting them in flowerpots to flower as many as possible in as little space as possible, allowing for a decent yield. If you grow them bigger then you’ll actually end up with less of a yield. From a 600w light you can get around 350g of weed, whereas by using seeds you can get 500g in the same conditions.
Cannabis seeds grow a main root when germinated, which will grow to the bottom of the pot and then grow hundreds of secondary lateral roots out to the sides. That root will then be the plant’s main trunk, which will be thick and strong; much more so than a clone. This also makes for thicker and heavier buds than on any clone simply because of the extra weight the plant is capable of dealing with.
There are so many differences between clones and seeds; if you get clones and they’re not yours or from a trustworthy source, then I wouldn’t recommend having them in your grow. Seeds are much safer for growers just looking to smoke their own stash; there’s much more variety and yield, whereas clones can be hard to come by and aren’t always safe.
Clones are a natural reproduction process, just like seeds, and it began getting popular due to the fact that there were no feminized seeds available and if you wanted to plant indoors it was the best way to make sure they were all female plants. Nowadays you can find many strains, in fact all strains, in feminized versions, so you don’t need to plant clones anymore to be sure they’re all female.
Indoors you can grow both ways without many issues, but when it comes to planting outdoors we run into an issue. If you bring your clones outside they’ll have much less light than what you had accustomed them to and they’ll begin flowering. You can only bring clones outdoors to flower so you’ll have to plant early or reveg them, or take them out during the summer and allow them to flower in lots of teeny plants.
So, seeds will always give you more of a yield; the buds will be bigger and heavier, and you’ll have more of a variety of flavors and effects. For smokers that prefer to find a perfect strain and keep it forever, then obviously growing from clones is what you should do; you can get large quantities of the same weed in every harvest, but you’ll get a good 30% less than if you had planted seeds.
If you’re growing for yourself then we recommend planting from seeds, but if you’re a commercial producer then clones are the way to go, guaranteeing top quality and balanced product.
Author: Javier Chinesta
Translation: Ciara Murphy
Cannabis Seeds VS Clones: Which gives more yield? Which is better for outdoor grows? Learn the pros and cons of seeds and clones.