Have you ever wondered why some people grow from seed while other people grow from clone? Are you thinking about making the step up to seeds yourself? This article will take a look at why growing cannabis from seed makes far more sense than growing from clones. And, because we love Star Wars, we’re giving it a cool-ass theme.
Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.
Whether you’re a first-time grower or marijuana expert, deciding between seeds and clones can be tricky. Large-scale commercial operations, particularly those in the US, still grow thousands of plants from clones. Many dispensaries have clones on display, (exposed to whatever pathogens or pollen the customers bring in). Much online cannabis growing advice is based on growing from clone. With all of this going on, it’s not surprising that marijuana growers of all ability are still tempted to use clones. Don’t get us wrong, clones are not without advantages… but if anyone was to ask, what is better, seeds or clones? The answer would be seeds in nearly every measurable way.
Much to learn you still have.
Clones are cuttings from mature cannabis plants (mothers) which are replanted and grown to produce buds. People assume that growing from a clone will be easier. Clones are more developed and the idea of just popping them in soil does seem attractive (so does the dark side…) But clones can pose far more problems than growing cannabis from seed.
First up, cannabis plants can be susceptible to disease, mold and pests. If the mother plant experienced any health problems, it’s likely these will be present in the cutting. Any genetic issues will also be passed down as clones contain the exact genetic profile as their mothers. Expert cannabis growers may be able to deal with some of these complications, but if the problems are genetic or if the grower is inexperienced, these complications will send up in disaster.
Keeping clones healthy can be difficult enough without inherited problems. They need a lot of care and many do not recover from the initial shock of transplant. These sensitive young plants require precise amounts of light and nutrients through the early phase, and newbie growers are especially vulnerable to failure.
“Clones are the path to the dark side. Clones lead to weak plants. Weak plants lead to small yields. Small yields lead to suffering.” Yoda, maybe.
The force is strong with this one.
A plant grown from seed is far hardier. Seeds sprout a taproot that, once in soil, tunnels directly down as far as it can go, forming the basis of a strong, healthy root system and a more robust plant. Clones don’t have taproots. They have a weaker root structure and are more sensitive to pests, pathogens and common gardening mistakes.
Having a stronger plant doesn’t only mean it’s more disease, pest and mold resistant, it also means a better harvest. Cannabis plants grown from seed produce on average 20 to 30% heavier yields. Let’s do some math here… with clones, you might be averaging 10 ounces per plant over six plants (60 ounces), a 30% increase equates to 78 ounces. Switching to seed could give you an extra pound of marijuana with every six-plant crop. When you consider the cost of shop-bought marijuana these days, that’s one hell of a saving.
Size matters not.
Growers who insist on using clones deny themselves the opportunity to use autoflowering cannabis seeds. These are smaller, faster plants bred with the ruderalis gene. They do not rely on a photoperiod to start flowering and their entire cycle is complete in around three months. That means multiple yearly harvests with plants that, thanks to expert Homegrown Cannabis Co. breeders, are delivering bigger and bigger yields. These autos are more resilient than their photoperiod cousins and are unbelievably easy to grow. As an added bonus, a tent full of autos, especially in a Sea of Green (SOG), looks a lot like a field of baby Yodas… or Yodi… did they speak Greek or Latin in a galaxy far, far away?
Of course, autos are not as big and bulky as photos, but they’re hardy, independent, powerful little beasts. The quality and potency of their bud is amazing. They have all the flavor and aroma of photoperiod cannabis plants and you simply cannot tell them apart in the jar. They require less effort, less electricity, fewer nutrients and, more importantly, less time and MONEY. Is It possible to clone autoflowering cannabis? In every single meaningful and practical way, no. You cannot grow autos from clones.
Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.
It can be difficult to break a habit, to learn a new skill or even make small changes to our lives. Those used to growing from clones will often be happy with their lot, content with the self-imposed limitations they’ve placed on their life as a cannabis grower. It’s like looking round a room with a flashlight when you could just as easily fling the curtains wide, shouting let there be light! Okay, that might be a wee bit dramatic, but the point is sound.
What type of plant do you wish to grow? Do you want a high-THC strain? High-CBD? High CBG? Do you want a powerful indica? Do you want a soaring sativa? A hybrid? Do you want to try a Gelato? A Wedding Cake? A Cookies? A Widow? A Zombie Death F*ck? An old-school Neville’s Haze? Something Blue? Something Purple? A Grapefruit? A Lemon? An Orange? The sheer range, variety and choice available when you grow from seed is staggering. Homegrown Cannabis Co. currently has 450 cultivars, set to increase to more than 500 over the coming months.
With that in mind, think about that little collection of clones huddled on a shelf in the dispensary. Think about all the growers and smokers coming in and out of the store… think about the tiny fungal spores, the little fluffs of pollen and airborne pathogens having a party in the air above. You still think buying clones is a good idea? Maybe you could get them delivered, nice and sealed and protected? Some of the modern packaging is brilliant, to be fair, but the journey will still be traumatic. The clone will still be something of a mystery. Is it what they said it is? Have they used any chemical fertilizer or pesticides? Is it clean? Will it introduce pathogens into my grow? You really do not know.
The force will be with you. Always.
Grow from seed and the only thing that goes into your grow is what YOU put in. You’re in control. You decide. You get to marvel at the seed. Rest it in your hand. Wonder that all of the genetic information needed to grow a plant is contained inside that tiny space. You get to soak it in a paper towel and trigger its growth. You get to see the taproot wriggle its way out of the shell. You get to put it in soil and watch as the first sprig of green nudges upwards, spreading tiny sails, absorbing the light it needs to live long and prosper (oops, that’s Star Trek). You get so, so much more when you grow from seed. Seeds are natural, clones are not. Seeds are the way of things, the way of the force. They are your destiny.
May the force be with you.