When starting a cannabis garden, you have two options: start with seeds or start with clones. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so ultimately… Cannabis seeds are reliable and easy to source, but clones offer genetically identical copies of the mother. Which is best for you? 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
Growing with Seeds vs. Clones
When starting a cannabis garden, you have two options: start with seeds or start with clones. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so ultimately, it comes down to a grower’s personal preference, experience, and confidence to know which is the right choice.
Let’s talk the pros and cons of growing cannabis from seeds versus clones.
The pros and cons of growing cannabis from seeds
Like everything in life, there’s some pros and cons of starting cannabis from seeds.
The pros of growing cannabis from seeds:
- Seeds are always uncontaminated
- Seeds grow taproots
- Seeds allow you to phenohunt
The biggest advantage of using seeds is that you can obtain them from an infinite number of online sources. Additionally, fresh seeds haven’t been introduced to the environment, so they are completely free of pests and disease.
A tap root is the plant’s main root that grows straight down from a germinated seed. Essentially, they’re the backbone of the plant. Seeds grow sturdier taproots than clones that do not grow taproots at all. This allows for a greater yield in the long run.
Each seed produces a different representation of its genetics. These are called phenotypes. Growing from seeds allows the grower’s choice of which variation is the best. This is called “pheno hunting.”
The cons of growing cannabis from seeds:
- Seeds cost money
- Your seeds might not germinate
- Seeds require a longer growth period
On the flip side, seeds cost money to keep buying versus clones that start free from a live plant. Additional limits of seeds is that they don’t always germinate or produce female plants. That means if you buy 10 seeds, probably half will be male, and you’ll have to grow and watch the plants carefully to get the males out of your garden ASAP. Lastly, growing has a longer growth period because you must go through both the germination and seedling stages.
The pros and cons of growing cannabis from clones
Growing cannabis from clones has its pros and cons too.
The pros of growing cannabis from clones:
- The plants are always female
- Faster growth process
- You don’t have to pheno hunt
- Clones are less expensive
The main advantage of growing cannabis from clones is that they are guaranteed to be females. You don’t have to watch for males sprouting, and additionally, you don’t have to go through the seedling stages, which makes for a much faster harvest timeline. Another advantage of clones is that you don’t have to pheno hunt. With a perfect mother, you can keep producing that exact expression of the strain without variation. Lastly, clones are less expensive because you just need a cutting of the mother plant versus needing to buy seeds from a dispensary or seed bank.
The cons of growing cannabis from clones:
- Illegal to buy online
- Vulnerable to environmental stressors
- Lower yields
Conversely, there are some disadvantages to growing from clones. For one, it’s illegal to buy clones online so that limits you to whatever genetics the dispensary or a friend has. Additionally, the lack of a taproot makes clones weaker and more vulnerable to environmental pests and sickness. This is why clones are best left to experienced growers that know how to manage their volatility. If your cuttings are sick, so will be the flowers your plant’s grow (or don’t grow). Lastly, clones lacking a taproot also leads to a smaller plant with lower yields.
How to select healthy cannabis clones
If you go the clones route, it’s imperative that you select healthy clones to work with. This mostly comes down to an eye test. A few things to look for are strong, white roots in the bottom of them. Brown roots signify a weak plant that may be on its way to the afterlife. Additionally, take a close look at the plant’s coloring. If it’s yellow, the clone may be sick and frail; or if it has white spots that signify pests like spider mites, this is a clone you shouldn’t introduce to your garden.
Tips of germinating cannabis seeds
If you choose the seeds route, the paper towel method is your best best for getting those seeds to pop. Fold a paper towel in half, then put the seeds between it. Spray the top with water and then put them in a freezer bag, or between two plates. Then sit the bag/plates in a dark cabinet for a couple of days, and after a while, those seeds should pop out with a baby taproot.
Tips for getting seedlings transplanted into soil
Seedlings are extremely fragile and prone to damage, so handle them with care when transplanting into soil. The most important part of transplanting seedlings into soil is to space them out so the plants’ roots can have enough room to stretch. This avoids them becoming tangled up, otherwise known as rootbound.
When transplanting seedlings into soil, make sure to wash your hands and wear gloves so your dirty mitts don’t stress the plant, otherwise known as transplant shock. Spraying the seedlings with a sprinkle of water during the process, or watering them one or two days before, will also minimize transplant shock. Once you move those seedlings into the ground or containers, lightly pack the soil, fully water the plant, and pat yourself on the back.
Do cannabis seeds grow better than clones?
Cannabis growers have two choices to start their grow, cannabis seeds or clones (cuttings). Cannabis seeds are easy to buy online and get delivered to your home. The seeds will remain stable in a cool place for years and are often perfectly legal to buy, own and collect even if germination and cultivation of them remains illegal in your country.
Clones are miniature plants, genetically identical to the parent. This gives absolute certainty in terms of the harvest type/quality. But clones can be difficult to get hold of, they may have variable quality and could carry pests/disease. Both clones and cannabis seeds have their pros and cons – which approach best suits you? Read on to find out more.
|●||The basics of cannabis grown from clones vs seeds|
|●||Advantages of cannabis plants grown from seeds|
|●||Drawbacks of cannabis plants grown from seeds|
|●||Cannabis seeds or clones for indoor vs outdoor|
|●||Buy cannabis seeds with a proven track-record!|
The basics of cannabis grown from clones vs seeds
Cannabis seeds are widely available in many countries and can be bought in a shop or online. You can buy them directly from the seed bank or from a distributor/reseller.
Many home growers around the world keep a collection of their favourite cannabis seeds in their fridge. When they want to start a grow, they simply select their preferred strain and germinate the seeds. Cannabis seeds offer great convenience to the home grower.
Growing cannabis from clones offers certain advantages. You can have a grow room full of genetically identical plants with the same nutritional needs, growth characteristics and harvest date. But not everyone knows people that supply clones from elite mother plants. In contrast, buying cannabis seeds online is easy enough for anyone to do.
Advantages of cannabis plants grown from seeds
For many growers, cannabis seeds seem like a more fundamentally natural way to start your grow. Cannabis seed germination is the first step in an exciting and ultimately hugely rewarding journey. You can enjoy watching your seed produce a seedling which then grows into a mature plant. Many growers find the process of cannabis cultivation therapeutic, rewarding and satisfying, that’s before they get to sample the buds!
Stronger plants and natural phenotype variations
If you use cannabis seeds from a single strain the results will be genetically similar (but not identical) from plant to plant. Many growers feel that seed-grown cannabis plants carry added robustness compared to clones.
The spread of phenotypes seen when growing from cannabis seed should be fairly tightly clustered around the parent genetics. But you will subtle variations in taste, effect and aroma from plant to plant. For some growers this extra diversity is welcome, indica-leaning photos and sativa-leaning phenotypes may be both equally inviting and offer the grower a rewarding selection/variety of buds. Many growers comment on the tremendous satisfaction they feel after watching their cannabis seed grow into a complete harvest-ready plant.
For some growers, it may seem slightly more interesting to grow a room of plants which exhibit a certain degree of genetic diversity. If that sounds like you, then cannabis seeds may be a better choice than clones.
|Understanding cannabis phenotypes, genotypes and chemotypes|
Better resistance to pests and diseases
Cannabis seeds are incredible packages of genetic information that grow into complete plants thanks to the DNA within the genetics. These pure genetic building blocks are free from any exposure or contamination to external pests and disease.
Clones, unfortunately, may carry pests and disease if they came from an unreliable source. The genetics may also be disappointing if the clone source wasn’t reliable. Even healthy-looking clones can carry pests/diseases which can have devastating results on your entire grow room. Bad news if you’re a licensed grower with several thousand plants. Cannabis seeds, on the other hand, are sterile and free of such problems.
Dutch Passion supply cannabis seeds to many of the world’s top licensed, legal cannabis growers. These seeds are supplied with phytosanitary certificates stating that the cannabis seeds are free from pests/disease. The process of seed production and phytosanitary certificates are approved by the Dutch Ministry Of Economic Affairs. When you buy seeds from Dutch Passion you can be sure you are getting the best genetics produced to the finest professional standards!
|Dutch Passion legal seed documentation supplied to licensed cannabis producers|
Outdoor growers in particular will argue that cannabis seeds, rather than clones, are the best way to grow monster plants with harvest levels of a Kg (or two) of dry buds.
Rivalry between cannabis seed suppliers makes for a competitive marketplace for seed buyers. The top seed companies take their profession very seriously and compete hard to win cannabis cups. But as always, buyer beware. There are still some notoriously unreliable seed suppliers out there. A few cannabis cups is always a sign that your seed supplier takes their work seriously.
|Dutch Passion 70+ cannabis cups|
Wide array of choice
Cannabis seeds come in a range of options. Old school growers and breeders may want to use regular cannabis seeds which produce roughly equal numbers of male and female plants. Many prefer to grow photoperiod feminised seeds or autoflower seeds, which have a reputation for speed and convenience. THC levels on the best autoflowers reach 25-30%, that’s right up there with the world’s best feminised strains.
|Auto Skywalker Haze just under 28% THC, independently measured by Delta Analytics|
Drawbacks of cannabis plants grown from seeds
Cannabis seeds offer many great benefits to the grower, but there are some slight disadvantages which are often not discussed.
Uncertainty whether your plant is male or female
Clones offer an identical copy of the parent plant, typically this is a stable heavy yielding female with high THC and a special terpene profile. Seeds are feminised and 95% of the time produce females, but there is always a small possibility of a hermie or male plant.
However, if you buy your feminised seeds/autoflower cannabis seeds from a reputable source your chances of success are maximised and you can grow with a high degree of certainty that the seeds will grow into healthy females.
|How to tell if your plant is male or female?|
Clones deliver predictable cannabis genetics
Clones are genetically identical copies of their parent plant. Many professional, licensed growers prefer the crop uniformity that comes from filling their grow room with identical plants. Plant nutritional needs are identical all the way through the grow cycle, so are plant heights.
All the plants can be harvested at the same time – it’s an attractive combo of benefits for the pro-grower. What’s more, licensed legal growers are rarely worried about producing a crop of plants with identical taste, flavour and effects since professional growers typically sell all their produce to wholesale corporate buyers. Such buyers often prefer homogenous crops of identical buds.
Cannabis seeds can mean a slow start to your grow
Cannabis seeds can take a few days to germinate and then another week or two to become established seedlings. Contrast that to rooted cuttings which, if you can get them from a solid source, are like miniature plants with a developmental edge.
|Top 5 fastest growing cannabis seeds|
Germinating seeds is a very delicate process
If you buy cannabis seeds from an established seed supplier then you should get 90-95%+ germination rates which have been checked and verified in quality control testing. But there are numerous low-quality seed companies that have no idea where the seeds or genetics came from – they simply buy and sell seeds on the wholesale market with little idea what they are buying/selling.
You probably don’t buy that many cannabis seeds each year, so it makes sense to buy them from a seed company you can trust with an established track record for reliable customer service and perhaps a few cannabis cups behind them.
If you’re lucky enough to know someone who can supply established clones from a top quality mother plant then your grow is off to a quick start. No need to wait for cannabis seeds to germinate and for the seedling to develop.
|Best cannabis seed germination technique, the moist cotton pad method|
Cannabis seeds produce a range of results, not identical results
With a range of phenotypes, cannabis seeds deliver broadly similar genetic results but not identical copies. These phenotypes may exhibit slightly different responses to your environmental conditions, producing a range of sizes, varying yields and different tastes/effects. For many growers, this gives acceptable variety so long as the breeding was reasonably well controlled and doesn’t produce massive plant-to-plant variations.
But if you really need a grow room full of genetically identical plants (e.g. to simplify feeding and to produce similar plant sizes) then clones would perhaps be a better choice.
Cannabis seeds or clones for indoor vs outdoor
Cannabis seeds are, in many countries, easy to order and cold-store (in your fridge) once they arrive. Nothing beats the convenience of germinating seeds on-demand. But clones can be very tricky to get unless you have a well-connected network of growers. Due to cannabis illegality in many countries, home growers keep a low profile and for that reason may not have such a network.
Buy cannabis seeds with a proven track-record!
Not that many growers are fortunate enough to have reliable contacts who offer an on-demand supply of genuinely elite clones that are always 100% free of pests/disease.
That’s why most growers cold-store a collection of their favourite cannabis seeds in their fridge for future grows. Most growers only tend to buy a few packs of cannabis seeds each year, so do your research carefully and buy the best seeds from a supplier you can trust.
If you’re not sure which cannabis seeds to start with, check out the Dutch Passion High THC cannabis seed collection. These are the very strongest strains in the Dutch Passion collection, you can rely on them to deliver the highest quality results.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.