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Clone vs. Tissue Culture: What's Better?

November 04, 2020

Clone Vs Tissue Culture

To grow cannabis, you can start with seeds, clones, or clone tissue culture. Seeds are a reliable method for growing marijuana and are easy to find. Clones, on the other hand, are fast, efficient, and exactly like their mother plant. Although tissue culture clones are almost identical to traditional clones, they take up less space and eliminate the risk of pests and diseases. However, clone tissue culture, seed, or cuttings all have their disadvantages. 

In this post, we'll talk more about growing cannabis from seed, clone, and clone tissue culture so that you can identify your best method. First, we'll establish the difference between growing from a clone and growing from a seed

Clone Vs. Seeds

Clone vs. Seeds

A clone is a cutting from a mother plant. The cutting is replanted and grows into a new plant. A clone is a genetic copy of the parent plant, which can either be good or bad. 

Here are the pros and cons of growing marijuana from a clone. 


  • You know what you are getting
  • Since a clone is a genetic match to the mother plant, you can pick out which plants you want to clone. Farmers usually pick the healthiest and highest-yielding plants. 

  • Saves time
  • When you use clones to grow your marijuana, you save time that you would have otherwise used waiting for the seeds to germinate. Although some growers let their clones' root system develop before planting them, you can also root your cutting directly and wait for it to grow.

  • Always females
  • Clones are cuttings taken from a female marijuana plant, making them an exact copy of the parent plant. As long as the mother is female, marijuana growers have no chance of getting a male plant, which is a possibility with seeds. 

  • More harvests
  • A cloned marijuana plant matures faster. This is because the clone skips the germination and seedling stage of a plant life cycle, allowing you to get in more harvests per year. If you are growing your clones outdoors, you will be able to get several extra harvests per year before winter. However, if you are an indoor grower, you can harvest year-round.

  • Cheaper
  • When you have a reliable mother plant, you have a constant source of clones. Creating clones from a single plant is a lot cheaper than buying seeds every season. If you are looking to grow the cheapest way possible, consider growing and keeping a strong, healthy, and high yielding mother plant. Then use cuttings from the mother plant to grow your marijuana. 

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  • Harder to find
  • Finding reliable, healthy, and high yielding clones is a challenge. Science is creating new methods such as micropropagation, but don't expect to find tissue culture clones for sale anytime soon. Until then, seeds are the best way to ensure a healthy marijuana plant. 

  • Mother plants get sick
  • If the mother plant had genetic issues such as low yields, pests, and any other disease, any new plants will as well. Tissue culture cloning helps prevent this problem; however, there aren't many tissue culture clones for sale to the average grower.

  • It's harder to grow clones
  • Clones are fragile and should be handled with care. They are sensitive to light and nutrients.

  • Mother's must be strong
  • Clones have to work a little harder at the beginning, so they must come from a strong plant. If you use a clone from a mother plant that was not well established, your new plants may experience stunted growth, shock, or death. 

    Clones have many benefits, but marijuana plants are most often grown from seeds. This is the easiest and most natural method. 

    Now, it's also one of the easiest. With the help of the internet, many seed banks can legally ship marijuana seeds to your mailbox. This makes it easy to find a wide variety of marijuana strains, as well as purchase feminized seeds. Feminized seeds remove the risk of seeds being male. 

    Unlike a clone, each seed is genetically unique. That means you will have a variety of marijuana plants with varying susceptibility to pests and diseases. If one plant doesn't perform well, another seed may do better. You can also breed plants to create your perfect plant. 

    Plants grown from seed tend to be easier to grow, with sturdier root systems and branches. Healthier plants tend to produce higher yields. Seeds are also a good value. You can store seeds for years or fertilize your plants for an endless supply of marijuana seeds. 

    Of course, there is a chance that some of the seeds will not germinate, especially if they weren't stored properly. Seeds can also take longer to grow, meaning you cannot grow as many per year. 

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    How to clone 

    There are two reasons why growers opt to clone; one being a lack of access to quality seeds, and two being a preference of using clones over seeds. Cloning a marijuana plant is relatively easy; here's how to do it in five steps. 

    How to clone a marijuana plant 

    1. Obtain a cutting from a mother plant
    2. Trim the cutting to remove the leaves. Plant the stem in a small pot with growing medium
    3. (optional) Add plant hormones such as rooting powder to encourage root growth
    4. Cover the cutting with clear plastic to preserve moisture and keep it warm
    5. After a few weeks, look for developing roots 

    That is the traditional method of cloning. Now, science and technology have led to newer and better ways to grow marijuana. Many believe that tissue culture propagation, a different type of cloning, is the future of marijuana cultivation. 

    Tissue Culture Propagation

    Tissue Culture Propagation is the process of taking a small cutting from a mother plant and placing it in a sterile environment. That environment is typically a jar containing a plant preservative mixture composition (agar gel). The mixture provides the cutting with the right nutrients and hormones necessary for healthy root and sprout development. Once developed, it is transplanted into a medium that can accommodate its growth.

    Here's a more detailed look into how to clone plants using tissue culture.

  • Initiation
  • Tissue culture uses small pieces of the mother plant to make clones. These tiny pieces are washed and sterilized. They are then placed in a jelly-like substance rich in nutrients and hormones. The hormones stimulate the division of the plant tissue cells leading to the formation of many cells, which form a shapeless mass referred to as callus.

  • Root Development
  • Next, the callus is transferred into another jar containing another substance with plant hormones. These hormones stimulate root development. The callus with roots is then transferred to another jar with jelly containing different hormones, stimulating sprout development. 

  • Formation of Sprouts
  • The cannabis tissue culture lab clones now have roots, and the sprout is separated into many tiny cannabis plants.

  • Transplantation
  • Once the plantlets are hardened enough, they are then transplanted into the growing medium. During the hardening process, the seedlings are grown under low light and high humidity. Hardening cannabis tissue culture lab clones makes it easier for them to survive in harsh weather conditions.


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    How Culture Differs from Clones

    Unlike seeds and clones, tissue culture lets the grower preserve a living specimen by using a small piece of plant tissue. They then use that sample to produce several identical plants. 

    The life of a tissue culture starts from a cutting of the mother plant. The cutting is first trimmed and sterilized, then placed in a jar containing nutrient cultures, including nutrients, hormones, and sugar mixture. The dense tissue culture controls the plant cutting.

    The sample remains in the culture mixture as long as the grower deems necessary. The introduction of nutrients and hormones triggers the growth and root development of the clone. When the tissue culture clone is tall enough and ready to be multiplied, it is cut into several individually cloned tissues. 

    The diced pieces are then taken through the same process of washing and sterilizing. They are then placed in jars with a different hormone to encourage root development. The samples are developed until they are hardened well enough to be into the growing environment. The new tissue culture clones have identical genetics with the mother plants but are disease and pest free.

    If you are well organized, a small sample can help you produce hundreds of tissue culture clones, all without contamination from the mother plant.

    Point to note: all cultures should be maintained at 24 ̊C, and you should use fluorescent lighting with 16-hour light exposure.


    Is plant tissue culture the same as a clone?

    Cannabis tissue culture for clones is not the same as a clone; it is better than clones. It is a little slower, but it grows faster than seed and has more disease-resistant than a clone. Like a clone, cannabis tissue culture for clones shares its mother's gender, so there is no chance of males. 


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    Tissue culture benefits

    • Growing clones from tissue culture let the grower preserve the plant's genetics while eliminating the effects of pests and diseases. Tissue culture plants that are more vigorous than a traditionally derived clone
    • Growing clones from tissue cultures is more efficient and high yielding. This helps growers save money and increase revenue.

    Tissue culture can produce superior plants at a better value, but it is not for everyone. The process of cloning using tissue culture is neither short nor easy. This means it may be a while before things like hemp tissue culture clones are readily available for purchase.  

    Tissue culture can be a great value in the long run; however, the process to set up and develop hemp tissue culture clones is expensive. The process requires very skilled cannabis growers, and they're still aren't many in the current job market. Tissue culture cloning also requires both clean rooms and expensive equipment to filter the air and minimize the chances of contamination, both of which are costly to build and acquire.

    Growing from culture can also take longer than clones. Tissue culture clones mature slower than cuttings, taking close to a month before they can be transplanted. Traditional clones take about two weeks to be transplanted.


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    Should you use tissue culture?

    We believe there are two types of marijuana growers. 

    Hobbyists should use clones

    If you are growing marijuana as a hobby, clones are easy to use, and they mature faster. You already know what to expect from the plant. Since you selected a healthy mother plant, you do not have to worry about pests or diseases.

    Commercial growers use tissue culture

    If you are growing hemp or marijuana commercially, you should use tissue culture clones. If you can provide a stable environment and expertise for growing a hemp tissue clone culture, you do not need much else. With a small sample from the mother plant, you can produce hundreds of hemp tissue clone culture. 

    As a commercial grower, you can use this opportunity to produce thousands of hemp tissue culture clones for sale. Selling these clones could keep the cash flow rolling while you wait for your crops to reach harvest. If you ensure that the mother plant used to produce the hemp tissue culture clone for sale is from a plant with high yield, you'll have plenty of profit. 


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    The Future of Cloning? 

    Tissue culture cultivation is the latest in marijuana growing tech and is considered the future of marijuana cultivation.

    Compared to seeds or a cutting, a tissue culture clone is more viable. It has distinct advantages, such as the ability to eliminate pests and diseases while maintaining the mother plant's genetic composition. Add to that a capacity to produce hundreds of pants from tiny pieces of the mother plant is also another reason why tissue culture clones seem like the answer to many problems. 

    However, the process of creating tissue culture is expensive. You'll need a sterile environment, a specialist to create the cultures and costly equipment. Even though the process is utilized right now, it definitely feels futuristic to the average grower nowadays.


    FAQ On Clone vs. Tissue Culture

    What is tissue culture propagation?

    Tissue Culture Propagation is the process of taking a small cutting from a mother plant and placing it in a sterile environment. 

    Why would someone opt to clone their marijuana plant?

    There are two reasons why growers opt to clone; one being a lack of access to quality seeds, and two being a preference of using clones over seeds.

    At What Temperatures Should Cultures Be Maintained At?

    All cultures should be maintained at 24 ̊C, and you should use fluorescent lighting with 16-hour light exposure.

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