One of the key decisions you need to make as a cannabis grower is whether to start your plants from seeds or use clones.
With high-quality seeds, you can grow a plant with a fresh batch of genetics. On the other hand, a clone allows you to produce an exact genetic replica of a favorite plant. Both newcomers and experienced growers have their reasons for preferring one process over the other. Some do both.
This article discusses the advantages and potential disadvantages of each method to help you decide what is right for you.
Advantages of growing cannabis from seed
Here are the main pros when it comes to using cannabis seeds for your growing operation.
- Stronger plants. A cannabis plant started from seed has a taproot, which provides support as it grows and develops. The taproot extends into the soil vertically, allowing the plant to seek nutrients and offering a solid base for the entire root system. Clones do not develop taproots. Instead, they have a fibrous root system that is less firmly anchored in the soil.
- More variety. When you grow from seed, you have a wide variety of options from which to choose. You can really hone your skills as a grower. When you are using clones, you are growing exact replicas of the mother plant.
- Lower potential for pests and disease. Clones are more susceptible to mold than plants grown from seed. Also, any pests and diseases can be passed from the mother plant to the clone. Seeds are “cleaner,” if you will.
- Shelf life. You can store seeds for a long time before preparing them for germination. In contrast, cuttings used for clones must be handled immediately.
- Bigger harvest. Many growers find that plants grown from seed produce more buds than their clones, increasing yields and profitability.
Disadvantages of growing cannabis from seed
As you can imagine, there can be a flip side to the advantages of starting from seed. Here are some of the primary drawbacks.
- Time. A plant from a seed takes longer to grow than a clone. For example, it takes about six weeks or longer for a grower to know if a plant from seed is male or female. With a clone, you already have that knowledge. Then, it can take a few more weeks for the seedling to be the same size as a clone.
- Germination variables. No matter how careful you are with your seed choice and your growing efforts, not every seed germinates. You may find that you need to plant several seeds for each viable plant.
- Inconsistency. Cannabis plants grown from the same seed variety will have differences. You’ll notice variations in height, color, smell, taste, and yield. With clones, you know what you’re getting, so you will have a more uniform crop.
Advantages of growing cannabis from a clones
Here are the primary benefits of cloning your cannabis plants.
- Consistency. Since a clone is a genetic duplicate of the mother plant, you know exactly what you are getting. No guesswork is involved. You can focus on growing the type of plant that has the size, taste, smell, and potency you prefer.
- Less time. Whereas you have to wait for a seed to germinate, a clone is already a plant. As a result, you save time and effort. You also know the gender of the plant from the get-go. The flip side to this advantage is that less growing time can result in a smaller harvest than with plants grown from seed.
- Resiliency. Seeds – and seedlings – are delicate. A clone is stronger and easier to maintain than a delicate seedling.
Disadvantages of growing cannabis from clones
And now, here is the other side of the coin when it comes to growing from clones.
- Weaker root system. As we mentioned earlier, clones do not form a taproot. Their fibrous root systems do not provide as strong a base as the taproot.
- Potential for pests and disease. Powdery mildew is a problem that is common with clones. Unfortunately, it can spread from one plant to another even before it is visible to the naked eye. It’s essential to quarantine your clones from the rest of your plants to minimize the spread of pests and diseases.
- Fewer choices. With seeds, you can choose from many strains and varieties. However, clones need to be cut from an active vegetating plant. If you are a new grower, you may not find much of a selection of clones in stores and dispensaries in your area.
- Timing. Seeds have a long shelf life, but you need to act quickly with cuttings from the mother plant. Timing is of the essence throughout the cloning process.
Growing Cannabis from Seed vs. Cloning: Weighing the Pros and Cons
As you can see, there are positives and negatives to both methods for growing cannabis. After weighing both sides, your decision really comes down to your personal preference.
Many experienced growers suggest starting out with seeds and then later trying cloning when you have a favorite plant. Others say that cannabis plants from seeds can handle an appropriate outdoor environment, while clone plants tend to do better indoors.
The most challenging part of cloning is selecting the best mother plant. Ideally, the mother plant should be at least four-weeks-old and no more than three-months-old. Since the clone will be the same age as the mother plant, you must obtain your cuttings when the mother is in the vegetative stage. Clones cut from branches tend to develop root systems faster.
Depending on the laws in your area, many dispensaries sell clones or seeds to licensed and recreational growers. Clones cannot be shipped via a delivery service as seeds can; you must purchase them from individuals or stores or get them started yourself.
Whatever route you take, be sure to do your research and take the steps to ensure you grow healthy plants.
Outfit Your Grow Operation with GrowHigher
Whether you decide to grow from seed or from clones, GrowHigher can provide what you need to get your commercial grow operation functioning at peak efficiency. Check out some of our products and educational materials.
- Cloning Rack Systems
- Mobile Vertical Grow Racks
- Static Vertical Grow Racks
- Grow Benches and Bench Systems
- Grow Room Humidifiers
- Grow Room Dehumidifiers
Related Glossary Terms
Continue learning with these related glossary terms:
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