There are a lot of different opinions about which is better clones or seeds. To start your garden, you should decide if clones or seeds are better for you, both have their advantages and disadvantages. So, in this article I will discuss the pros and cons of each to help you make the best choice for your garden. I think at the end of the day it all comes down to a grower’s personal skill set and preferences.
What are Clones?
Clones are cuttings that we take from a healthy cannabis plant that is still in its vegetative state. Once we take cuttings from a plant, we consider that plant a “mother” and will take multiple cuts from her. Some growers will keep a good mother for a few years before they flower her out.
A Clone is an exact genetic copy of the mother plant it was cut from. Because of this, it is important to take your cuttings from a healthy mother that grows and produces the way you want. Bugs and diseases can carry through to your clones and will affect their success rate, as well as perpetuate any issues you may have in your grow room. So be smart in choosing a mother, we only want to perpetuate a healthy garden.
1. Speed: Growing cannabis plants from clones is a much faster start then growing from seed. You completely skip the germination and seedling growing stage and jump right to a small, rooted plant (once the clone has roots, that is).
2. Consistency: By starting from a clone, you know the exact plant you are growing. You can predict what your finished buds will look like.
3. Guaranteed female: Because your clone is an exact genetic copy of its mother you know that plant will be female. This saves you the trouble of having to hunt the males out of your garden.
1. Unknown genetics: Unless you have seen the mother plant or are growing her yourself, you are relying on the source of the cutting or clone to be truthful about the genetics, yield and growing style of the plant. Good clones can be hard to find. A plant that looks healthy could carry diseases in its genetics and be passed down from mother to clone. Its important to trust your source.
2. Yield: While clones are consistent with their mother in how they grow and their quality of buds, they will produce a smaller yield when compared to a seed of the same strain. This is because clones do not grow a main taproot like seeds do, and therefore do not uptake nutrients as well.
3. Vulnerability: Without a main taproot, clones rely on the quantity of roots they produce, making it important to control the root to plant ratio. Clones need lots of healthy roots and without that they are more vulnerable to environmental stressors, pests and disease. Clones can be very easy to kill before they have a good root base developed.
There are more than 1 kind of cannabis seed?
Cannabis seeds come in a few varieties, regular or feminized photoperiod seeds, and regular or feminized auto flower seeds. Photoperiod seeds are seeds that require a certain amount of darkness to trigger them into flowering. These are the most common and widely known type of cannabis seeds. They can be produced in two ways: Regular, meaning the seeds were bred between a male and a female cannabis plant. These seeds will produce both male and female offspring. The other way is Feminized, meaning the breeder manipulates the genetics of a female plant forcing her to create male flowers or to become a hermaphrodite. These seeds will produce 99% female offspring.
Auto flower seeds are cannabis seeds that will start to flower as soon as they reach a set number of days from harvest, or if their taproot “bottoms out” in its container. Auto flower seeds come in both the regular and feminized variety just like photoperiod seeds do.
Here is a list of things to consider when deciding which seed is right for you:
Photoperiods grown inside can grow as big as you let them before you switch their light cycle to flower. Grown outside they utilize the whole growing period.
Auto flower seeds grow and flower fast, therefor you can get multiple cycles when growing outside.
Regular photoperiods and auto flowers require you to hunt out the male plants.
Feminized photoperiods and auto flowers are more likely to carry their hermaphroditic traits.
Choosing the type of seed that is right for you depends on your growing experience, grow room size and goal. But are seeds the right choice for you? Let’s discuss some of the pros and cons of growing from seed.
1. Taproot: Seeds grow a nice thick taproot at germination. This taproot makes the plant grow with more vigor. It will be stronger and sturdier and produce bigger buds then a clone of the same strain. This is simply because a seed has a taproot, and a clone does not.
2. Accessibility: Simply put, seeds are more accessible than clones. Its easy to google cannabis seeds and get a variety of seed banks and breeders. But try to google clones and you spend all your time going in circles. Good clones are hard to come by, but seeds are easy to order.
3. Fresh Genetics: Seeds are clean of any environmental stressors, pest or diseases. If you’re battling any kind of pest or disease and just can’t beat it, whip it out, clean it up and pop some seeds. This is the only guarantied way to clean your garden for sure. When you clone a plant several generations down it can start to drift in its genetic code. It could start to grow weird or preflower without reason, this is a good time to refresh your room with seeds. And of course, fresh genetics are great when you just need something new.
1. Time: Seeds take longer to get started. It takes time to germinate and then raise a seedling to the point it is considered a small plant. They take some extra care as seedlings. They need extra dirt as the grow tall from their cups. They will need nutrients but only at half strength. They need wind but not too much. But once established they will take off.
2. Non-germination: Some seeds just don’t germinate. Even with a guarantee some seeds are duds, its just mother nature. When you spend your hard-earned money on seeds, and they don’t germinate it can be disappointing.
3. Genotype vs phenotype: Seeds from the same plant can carry different genetic traits and can vary slightly from parents to progeny, and sibling to sibling. These differences in genetic traits are the genotypes of the seeds. The phenotype is the variation caused by environmental influences such as, lights, humidity, nutrients and temperature. Because seeds allow these genetic variances to occur you can plant ten seeds of the same strain and in the end, they will all be a little different from each other.
So, which is better, seed or clone?
Ultimately the choice is yours. Weigh the pros and cons and asses your skill level. Some say clones are easier for beginners and others say seeds. I say try both. Figure out what works best with your personal variables. If you have only ever grown from clone, try your hand at seeds, you might be pleasantly surprised. Growing should be fun and exciting, don’t be afraid to try something new.