Marijuana Seeds vs. Clones

August 22, 2019

Before starting to grow marijuana, you should make sure that you understand the entire process as this will get you off on the right foot. There are two main methods of growing cannabis, from seeds or clones. Neither method is better than the other, but they have different uses. Discover the differences between these two methods of growing marijuana so you can better choose the ideal way for your situation.

Overview of Growing With Seeds

If you choose to grow your marijuana from seeds, you will need to begin the process with germination. To begin germination, place the seeds in warm water and leave them there as long as 72 hours. During this time, the seeds will start sprouting roots so they can start growing.

Once the seeds germinate, place them in high-quality soil. Make sure the soil features peat moss as this helps maintain moisture. You should also confirm that the soil has natural vitamins and is aerated. You can start your marijuana seeds in smaller pots if you want. Just remember that you will have to move them as the seeds grow.

As soon as the cannabis plants begin flowering, make sure you remove the male plants. This prevents them from pollinating the female plants, which you do not want. A pollinated female will give you more seeds, so you would have to begin this process from scratch. When not pollinated, the female plants provide you with the buds you want.

Between germinating the seeds and harvesting the buds, this entire process may take as long as four months. That depends entirely on your growing method and the strain.

Benefits of Growing with Seeds

It tends to be much easier to find information on specific seeds and to purchase seeds than it is to find and buy clones. You can purchase seeds from a reputable supplier that will tell you the strain and other information. That lets you save time and money that you would have wasted trying to grow a low-quality plant.

Additionally, you will find yourself with multiple options for seeds, including feminized cannabis seeds. Although feminized cannabis seeds tend to cost a little more, they will save time, as all the seeds will grow female plants. This means you will not have to determine the sex of the plants and get rid of the male plants to prevent pollination.

You can also find auto-flowering seeds that make growing from seeds easier, thanks to their crossbreeding conditions. Specifically, the grower bred the auto-flowering seeds in an area with greater daylight hours. Since the plants have already had a large quantity of light, they need less before they can begin blooming.

Growing from seeds also means that you work with the nature of the plant. Cannabis is an annual by nature, so it only lasts about one year naturally. The mother plants used to get cuttings for clones are forced to stay active for a longer period. This could result in older mother plants with reduced yields, although that is not always the case.

It also helps that cannabis seeds tend to create plants with stronger root structures, thanks to its taproot. The taproot goes deep into the soil, and while seeds develop a taproot, cuttings cannot. This taproot serves an extension of the plant’s stem, keeping it in place securely like an anchor. The taproot lets the cannabis plant reach deeper into the soil so it can get water and nutrients, even if they are not readily available. The taproot also grows lateral branches, so the plant has a larger area with roots. This makes it easier for the plant to get water and nutrients. While the taproot is a big advantage for cannabis seeds in outdoor growing, it is not as crucial for container or indoor gardening.

It is also worth noting that if you buy cannabis seeds, you do not have to plant them immediately, this would not be the case with clones, as they need to be planted and cared for right away.

Challenges of Growing With Seeds

For many, the biggest disadvantage of growing cannabis using seeds is that you will need to spend extra time. After all, the plant will still need to go through its entire development stage.

Growing With Clones

If you have a clone handy, then you can save a bit of time by growing your cannabis from a clone. This will also let you keep the genetics of a favorite plant going. If you plan to grow clones, you will want to keep the mother plant healthy.

You can start with your clones by taking cuttings from your mother plant. Alternatively, you can buy clones from a master grower. When cutting the clones for growing, always get the clippings when the plant is in the vegetative stage. You do not want to take the clippings during the flowering stage of the mother plant, as this will cause it to go back to its vegetative stage, slowing growth.

If you purchase the clones, make sure that you know the conditions the mother plant and the clone were grown in, including temperatures and nutrients. Asking this will let you maintain a consistent environment for the clone, which encourages healthy plants with quality cannabis.

When using clones, you do not need to worry about germinating seeds or removing the male plants. You will only have female plants, and they will have already begun their growth. However, you will need to change the container that you grow the cannabis in as the plant gets larger.

Benefits of Growing with Clones

The biggest advantage of growing cannabis from clones is the plant’s developmental stage. You will not need to spend time on germination, meaning that you are closer to the actual yield.

For experienced growers of cannabis plants, the biggest benefit will be the ability to reuse the genetic material of your favorite cannabis plant repeatedly. This way, you do not have to play a guessing game with the quality of seeds and can instead use clones from a plant you already have good experiences.

When growing with a clone, you will always know what to expect from your plants. This makes it easier to get the identical aroma, appearance, potency, and other features. If you share your cannabis with others, that is great for uniformity. Even if you grow for just your use, this means that you know the plant will produce buds that you enjoy. The balanced nature of growing multiple clones also means that you will not have to adjust your feeding and other inputs based on the plant; all will have identical requirements.

Challenges of Growing With Clones

There are a few challenges associated with growing clones, including the health of the mother plant. Since a clone will have the same genetic material as the mother plant, any susceptibilities that the mother had will also apply to the clones. This is why it is important to choose your mother plant carefully and always ask questions if buying a clone. That is particularly important for beginner growers as you may lack the experience to overcome weaknesses, disease, and infestations.

There may also be issues depending on the condition of your clone. When freshly cut, clones require a great deal of care. They are also very sensitive when replanted the first time. During this phase, you will need to minimize transplant shock via specific quantities of nutrients and light.

There is also the potential challenge associated with even finding a clone that you trust. Not only do you have to find someone with a strong cannabis plant that permits you to take a cutting, but you also need to know the quality of the plant. You will not be able to verify the strain of cannabis until much later in the growing process, so you must trust the clone supplier.

For some people, it is easier to find a clone online than in person, but this comes with its challenges. Due to their sensitivity, the shipping process can take its toll on the clone. As such, your clone is unlikely to be healthy upon arrival. You may also realize your commercially bought clone was treated using chemical fungicides or pesticides. Even if the grower only treated the mother plant with these chemicals, the clones will contain them.

If you plan to use your clone, keep in mind that you will need to have space for it and continue caring for it. This can use up some of your valuable resources, but it may be worth it if you love the strain.

Growing the Mother Plant

Those who plan on growing clones may want to grow their mother plant. This lets you keep the genetic material of your favorite plant and saves you money as you will not need to buy clones. It also makes it easier to maintain the same growing conditions throughout the entire process of growing the clone. After all, you will have been in control since you took the cutting.

Start by choosing the mother plant carefully. You want a plant that is stable, healthy, and strong. Choose a plant that is four weeks old or older and has a minimum of six separate nodes. Before taking your clippings, be sure to sex them, so you choose the right ones.

Ensure your plant gets between 18 and 20 hours of light each day. This will prevent the plant from flowering so you can keep using it as the mother plant for clones and do so continuously.

Keep in mind that over time, the clones you get from the mother plant may lose their strength. This means that the latter clones you get may have reduced overall growth, aroma, potency, and yield.

Summary of the Differences

For those who need a direct comparison, instead of the pros and cons of each method, the following summarizes the key differences between growing marijuana clones and seeds.

  • Time Spent
    • Growing from clones lets you skip the germination stage, saving time. However, you can opt for auto-flowering seeds to reduce the time from seed to harvest.
  • Ease of Finding
    • It is much easier to find seeds than clones, and they are less sensitive to transport.
  • Control Over Genetics and Strains
    • When buying from someone else, you have more control over the strain and genetics of the seeds, as these are explicitly stated.
  • Ability to Prolong Your Favorite Plant
    • If you have a favorite plant, growing from clones will let you reuse its genetic material.
  • Growing Identical Plants
    • When using clones, you can grow two identical plants simultaneously. They will have the same requirements in terms of water, light, and nutrients. With seeds, some may be stronger or weaker.
  • Potential Disease
    • If the clones come from another garden, they may carry a disease or pests that can ruin your whole garden.
  • Taproots
    • Cannabis grown from seeds will develop taproots, boosting stability. This benefit does not apply for container growing or indoor growing.
  • Shelf Life
    • Clones are delicate cuttings, and you must care for them immediately. Seeds tend to have some shelf life, although the time can vary. If you get clones from your mother plant, you will need to care for that mother plant constantly.
  • Sexing
    • When growing with seeds (other than feminized seeds), you must spend time sexing the plants to discard the males. Otherwise, pollination will occur.

Conclusion

Whether you choose to grow your marijuana from seeds or clones is entirely up to you, and you should make your decision based on your circumstances. Most experienced growers will caution against using clones unless you grow the mother plant yourself or fully trust the grower. Otherwise, there is no guarantee of what you get, and you may accidentally bring disease into your garden.

Overall, growing from clones is ideal if you have found your perfect strain and want to keep it going. Clones are also suitable if you want to guarantee quality. Growing seeds will make it easier to get started and typically give you a larger yield. When done right, growing marijuana from either seeds or clones will provide you quality buds that you can enjoy. 

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