Cannabis Seeds or Clones: Which Is Better?
When setting up a cannabis grow, there are two choices available: starting from seed or with a clone. Some growers appreciate the consistency and efficiency of clones, while others prefer the convenience and quality of seeds. Both methods will produce flowers that are rich in cannabinoids, but each has its own advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at both options so that you can make the right decision between cannabis seeds or clones.
What Are Cannabis Clones?
Clones are cuttings taken from vegetating mother plants. These cuttings are rooted before being planted in soil or a hydroponic medium. A clone is genetically identical to its mother plant, retaining the same aroma, flavor, effects, and growth traits as the original plant.
Advantages of Clones
Guaranteed Female Plants
As clones are exact copies, cuttings taken from mother plants will always produce female plants. This saves the grower from the hassle of determining the sex of the plants and removing the males from the garden.
Because clones are taken from mature plants, they tend to grow faster than seeds. If you buy a clone that is already rooted, you can jump right into the vegetative growth phase, saving weeks of time.
While cannabis seeds vary in their phenotypical expressions, you can expect clones to produce the same results every time. They will retain all the qualities of the mother plant, including size, taste, effects, and yield.
Disadvantages of Clones
Difficult to Acquire
Clones are challenging to find because they are illegal to possess or distribute in many parts of the world. They’re also difficult to send in the mail because they are very delicate and need to be kept warm and hydrated. As a result, growers often charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a single clone of cannabis.
In contrast, seeds are easy to distribute because they are small, fairly sturdy, and don’t need to be watered or kept warm. They are also legal to sell and possess in many countries, as long as they are not germinated.
Tough to Root
If you’ve never taken clones before, it can be challenging to learn how to do it effectively. You need to know when to take the cuttings and where on the plant to take them. And because the cuttings don’t have roots to draw in water, you must keep them in a humid area and regularly mist them. It can take weeks to get the clones to root, and many of them may not root at all. Some strains are more difficult to clone than others, so you may have to change up your routine to find a cloning method that works for each strain.
Mother plants pass on everything to their clones, including bad characteristics. So, if the mother plant has some genetic issue, don’t expect the clone to be any different. In general, you want to select a mother plant that is hardy and healthy to take clones from, or you’ll likely wind up with the same problems.
Many growers prefer to grow with cannabis seeds. Unlike clones, seeds produce entirely new plants with their own unique combinations of genes. Given the availability and affordability of seeds, most small-scale cultivators choose this option when starting a grow.
Advantages of Seeds
Accessibility & Convenience
There are numerous seed banks around the world that will deliver high-quality cannabis seeds to your doorstep. Many of these seed banks offer a wide selection of strains, affordable prices, and fast and discreet shipping. Growers can place an order online and have it delivered within a few days, making it very convenient to buy seeds.
Seeds are also more convenient than clones because they can be stored for long periods of time. When kept in a cool and dry environment, seeds can remain viable for many years. In contrast, clones must be kept alive, or you will lose the strain.
When you start from seed, you are growing a fresh plant that has not been exposed to any diseases or stressors. In contrast, some clones may lack vigor or produce subpar buds because the genetics have been weakened by years of suboptimal conditions.
Seeds also allow you to discover new phenotypes that have never been seen before. Because each seed presents a new combination of genes, you’ll be able to find plants with unique aromas, flavors, effects, and other traits. Every time you sprout a seed, you have the chance of finding the next world-famous strain. And when you find a phenotype that you like, you can make clones of it to keep it around forever.
Breed Your Own Strains
If you buy regular seeds, you’ll be able to grow both male and female plants. This means that you can easily make your own seeds by using the pollen from the males to pollinate the females. One female plant is capable of producing hundreds or even thousands of seeds, so can make enough seeds to last a lifetime from just one harvest.
With regular seeds, you can preserve your favorite strains by inbreeding the plants or make your own unique hybrids by outcrossing the plants with other varieties. Breeding is a fun and rewarding hobby that can save you lots of money in the long run.
Feminized seeds are an excellent option if you are more interested in growing smokeable flowers than breeding your own strains. These seeds produce 100 percent female plants, so you won’t have to waste time and space growing males that won’t produce cannabinoid-rich buds. As with clones from a mother plant, every feminized seed you grow will produce a female plant.
Disadvantages of Seeds
Seeds take a bit longer to reach maturity than clones do. It may day a few days or a week for the seeds to germinate and another week or two to enter the vegetative growth phase. Rooted clones, on the other hand, are taken from mature plants and tend to grow more quickly during the early vegetative period.
While high-quality seeds typically have excellent germination rates, some simply won’t sprout. And if you use old, poorly stored, or low-quality seeds, you may have a hard time getting any of them to sprout. As a result, it might be a good idea to buy a few extra seeds in case one of them is a dud.
Achieving uniform crops is more difficult with seeds than with clones. There is always genetic variation from parent to progeny. In other words, every seed from the same plant will be a slightly different phenotype. Also, cannabis plants develop specific traits based on their external environment, which affects their phenotypical expression.
While most inbred strains will produce fairly uniform plants, hybrid varieties will display a wide range of traits. This is great if you are hunting for new keeper plants, but it is not ideal for large-scale commercial growers who need to produce a consistent product.
Cannabis Seeds or Clones: Conclusion
So, should you choose cannabis seeds or opt for clones instead? The answer to this question depends on your experience, goals, and personal preferences. In general, cannabis seeds are the best option for home growers. Seeds are easy and affordable to obtain and are free from pests and diseases. Clones are more challenging to cultivate and harder to acquire, so this method is more suitable for experienced growers. Finally, veteran cultivators who would like to delve into breeding would be better off going with regular seeds. No matter what method you choose, you’ll be able to grow your own cannabinoid-rich buds.
What are your thoughts on the pros and cons of seeds and clones? Please let us know in the comment section below.
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