There are many potential variables to consider when growing marijuana. The first is whether you will start with seeds or clones. Each option has its own set of pros and cons, and you can either fail apically or experience great success with both. Here’s what you should consider when faced with the clones vs seeds debate.
Clones are cuttings from a mature marijuana plant that grow into new identical plants. They are sometimes called “starts.” Since they are exactly the same as their parent plant, they will inherit all of the features and characteristics of that plant. That means, if the parent plant had health issues, the cloned plant would also have problems from the start.
For that reason, clones should come from strong, healthy plants that are free from pests, bacteria, or any noticeable disease. It’s a good idea to learn about its parent plant’s lineage. That way, you know the potential yield, height, and flowering time. You can also ensure you are creating the ideal environment when you know your clone’s strain. When selecting your cutting, inspect the roots. Clones do not have a taproot. They develop secondary roots, which are also known as a fibrous root system. A clone with a well-developed root system is more likely to survive.
Advantages of using clones
- Your plant’s gender is guaranteed (male or female). If the cutting is from a female plant, the clone will also be a female.
- Compared to seeds, clones have a head start. Since they are cuttings from a mature plant and have an established root system, they will grow faster. This also means you will harvest sooner.
- A single plant can produce multiple clones, and that clone can create more clones. This, in theory, could create an unlimited number of plants.
- Clones are an identical match to their parents. Therefore, you already know what you are getting. By selecting a healthy mature plant, you avoid passing some of the parent’s defects and health issues onto the new cloned plant.
Disadvantages of using clones
- Compared to seeds, clones can be harder to find. You must know a grower, or live in an area that sells starts, while seeds can be easily found via online seed banks.
- Clones are susceptible to their parent’s health issues, which could include low immunity against pests, fungus, rotting of the roots, or even bacteria.
- Freshly cut clones must be handled carefully and are sensitive to light and nutrients.
- If cloned incorrectly, your plants might die or remain in shock for a long time, rendering them useless.
Seeds are the more natural route. Seeds are produced by the process of pollination. When pollen from male cannabis plants reaches a female plant, her flowers will include seeds. Unlike the flowers that are typically used for marijuana, these won’t form into large colas or have as many trichomes. The seeds are harvested from the flowers and used for growing new plants.
Seeds are nature’s way of encouraging genetic diversity. Each seed represents a cross between a male and a female cannabis plant instead of a single plant. Seeds may be created at random, or carefully bred by growers.
Advantages of using seeds
- Marijuana plants grown from seed have a taproot, which provides the plant with more support as it grows.
- Seeds are naturally resistant to pests and diseases; plants grown from a seedling do not have any inherited diseases or pests.
- Compared to clones, which are limited to the available mature plants in your area, there are many varieties of seeds to choose from, either online or in stores.
- Seeds can be stored for a long time (as long as the temperatures are right). Clones must be used, or they will die.
Disadvantages of using seeds
- Seeds are delicate while germinating and can be crushed easily. It takes some practice to get used to handling germinated seeds.
- For the first six weeks, the grower will likely need to pay more attention to their plants than with clones. They will need to determine the sex of their plants and remove any males if they intend to grow non-feminized sinsemilla.
- Unlike clones, seeds take time to germinate and reach the same height as cloned plants.
- Germinating marijuana seeds can be tricky if you are new to it.
Should you grow with seeds if marijuana growing is just a hobby?
Seeds are the best option for a hobby grower because they are easy to find and produce stronger plants (which can lead to higher yields). They’re also a good idea because there are more options. It is fairly easy to find a strain that grows well in your area, fits a particular growing space, or is suitable for first-time growers. Plus, since growing is a hobby, you can be patient as the seeds take time to sprout.
The most challenging aspect of growing from seed – determining the sex of your plants- is remedied by using feminized seeds. These types of seeds are guaranteed to be female and therefore produce sinsemilla weed.
Your yield will also be better with seeds simply because a cloned plant is older. Marijuana is an annual plant that lasts for a little less than a year. If your plant is a clone, it’s already lived to maturity when it was part of its parent plant. However, once you flower your clone, it has only lived as long as a seedling and will produce limited yields. As a result, clones vs seeds yield is a big reason why many people prefer seeds.
It is also gratifying to know that you have nurtured your marijuana plant from seed to harvest.
Where you are going to grow should also be a consideration. When you look at seeds vs clones, outdoor growing tends to be a bit challenging for clones. With lowered defenses such as the lack of a taproot, and other built-in seedling benefits, outdoor-grown clones need a lot of support to avoid shock and environmental attack.
Related Article: Step by Step Guide to Grow a Small Weed Plants
If you are growing commercially, clones are king
If you are growing marijuana commercially, compared to seeds, clones are the best. The main reason is that they take less time to mature since they are cuttings from mature plants. Clones skip the seedling stage and jump straight to the vegetative stage. However, their yields are less than that of seeds.
Clones are also better because you can get several plants from a single mature plant. You can also reproduce the desired qualities of one plant in hundreds of clones. You’ll need to have some experience growing marijuana if you’d like to create your own clones; however, it is very economical if you are concerned about the bottom line.
Creating Clones from Seed Plants
If you are planning to grow marijuana for a few years, it is a good idea to learn how to create clones. Even if you initially start with seeds, you may end up growing a plant that you absolutely love and would like to grow again. Luckily, taking clones from feminized seeds is a straightforward process.
First of all, let’s start with a clarification. You can’t technically clone seeds; you can clone the plants grown from feminized seeds, and there are very few reasons not to do so. Of course, when you look at clones vs seeds yield, you will find that the yields of a cloned plant will be smaller but, the cloned plant does not lose its potency. It also inherits all the best qualities of its mother plant.
However, the downside is that some clones might produce “hermie plants.” Hermie is another name for hermaphrodite, meaning that the clone will produce both male and female parts. If this happens, do not clone using that mother plant again.
That’s why the hardest part of cloning is choosing a good “mother” plant. The best plant should be at least four weeks old, three months at most. It’s a good idea to stop any fertilization (especially any nitrogen) at least a week before obtaining your cutting; this ensures that the clones have better root development.
Before you do any cutting, ensure that the mother plant does not have any pests, bacteria, or signs of diseases. Make sure to check the soil pH and temperature and make the necessary adjustments before planting your clone.
Remember, your clone will be the same age as the mother plant, so you must take your cuttings when the mother plant is in its vegetative stage. Clones obtained from branches develop roots faster and are sturdy enough to support the plant.
Step by step process on how to clone feminized seeds:
- Use a sharp and clean blade or scissors to cut your chosen branch at a 45-degree angle. Ensure that there are about three to four nodes above the cut.
- Immediately after cutting, place it in a cup of water. Leaving it exposed even for a few seconds can result in damage to the clone.
- Trim the stems between the cut and the leaves at the top. When planting, cover it with enough soil. Make sure to include some of the trimmed nodes as it speeds up the rooting and growing process.
You cut obtain several cuttings to improve the chances of a successful clone, in case some do not develop.
Related Article: Ultimate Guide to Cloning Weed
Frequently Asked Questions
Many people have questions when trying to determine whether they should use seeds or clones. Here are a few of those questions:
Clones take less time because they are cut from a grown plant and already have a head start on root development. Seeds also need to germinate before going through the vegetative and flowering stage, adding weeks to their development. The fact that clones grow faster also means there is a lower yield.
Yes, many dispensaries sell clones or seeds to either licensed or recreational growers. This depends on the laws in your area. Clones cannot be shipped via mail like seeds, so they must be purchased or obtained from individuals or stores. Just like you would online, research where you plan to buy your clones so that you can ensure healthy and potent plants with good yields.
Typically, No. Any plant grown from seed will have the genetic makeup of both the male and female parents. If your female clone develops seeds, it has been pollinated by a male. Clone seeds, therefore, will have both the male and female plant’s characteristics. However, the process of selfing can induce a female clone to produce a male flower. The pollen from that flower is used to self-fertilize the female flower on the same plant. The fertilized female flower then produces feminized clone seeds. These seeds will produce identical plants because the clone pollinated itself.
Yes, you can make feminized seeds from clones. This is because it does not matter if the plant is from clones or seeds. The important thing is getting the clone to produce seeds, and then following the same process to feminize those seeds. As long as the clone is female, you can fertilize it using any other male plant.
Yes. This is because clones are branches without roots, and the first thing they develop after being planted is a root system. Compared to seedlings, clones are weaker because they do not have a taproot that travels deeper into the soil, offering support, and reaching water and nutrients located deep within.
Clones also develop a single node, meaning a single branch per node, while cannabis plants from seeds develop two-sided nodes, meaning that they develop twice the number of branches per plant, yielding more than the clones.
Although it is quite challenging to clone autoflowering strains of marijuana, it is not impossible. Some growers claim to have done it successfully but were not rewarded in terms of yields. Therefore, if you are doing it on an experimental basis, give it a try; however, it is hardly ever recommended.
Whether you choose seeds or clones, you’ll want to give your plants their best possible start. A Pot for Pot’s Complete Grow Kit has everything you need to grow marijuana outdoors – from the pot and the soil, to the watering can and trimming scissors.