Clones Vs Seeds: What Grows The Best Cannabis?

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Growing cannabis clones
August 12, 2022
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The clones vs. seeds debate is raging among growers. Do you have a preference? Or are you unaware of the differences? Any cannabis garden can start from two sources—seeds and clones. The former is accessible, simple, and reliable. The latter is efficient and dependable when it comes to phenotypes. How do you choose?

Read on to learn about marijuana clones and seeds. We discuss the particulars of cultivating either option, delve into the benefits and drawbacks, and add our two cents to the argument.

Clones vs seeds: growing cannabis clones

Looking at cannabis clones vs. seeds, the former is much more predictable. Depending on who you ask, their no-surprises nature is the most significant benefit and the biggest drawback.

A weed clone is a genetic copy of an existing plant, developing to exhibit similar growth traits, THC and CBD levels, and yield potential. The offspring is also exclusively female.

Cloning cannabis removes the guesswork from the cultivation equation. Breeders use it to replicate a strain, preserving particularly desirable phenotypes. You can do the same if your garden has a stunning specimen.

Growing clones starts with acquiring a cutting from a crop in the vegetative stage and making it produce new roots. 

You’ll have to quickly dip the cutting in a gel substance and place it into a rooting medium, like Rockwool, foam, or peat. Clones go into the cubes, a tray, and inside a humidity dome—or a DIY clone box.

Cuttings need insulation to remain hydrated. They should stay under an 18/6 light schedule for two weeks to develop a healthy base. Wait for the roots to reach at least an inch in length before transplantation.

Rooting is the hardest part of caring for clones vs. seeds. Now’s the time to treat them like any other plant, leaving them in a hydro setup or soil for marijuana to veg and flower.

Let’s zero in on the advantages of this process.

Clones vs Seeds

Pros of growing cannabis from clones

Clones vs. seeds is a no-brainer for cultivators chasing absolute reliability. Cuttings deliver exact copies of the mother crop—female, productive, and healthy.

Here are other reasons people go for clones:

  • Faster cultivation—once you root the cutting, the plant is already in the vegetative stage. You shave weeks off the cultivation journey!
  • All-female output—feminized seeds might develop a male here and there. Cuttings naturally have no male chromosome.
  • Zero investment for new plants—if you already have a vegging lady, you can use its branch to start another.

Now that you know the positives let’s check out the downsides of marijuana clones.

Cons of growing cannabis from clones

Seeds vs. clones raises the issue of accessibility. If you don’t already have a mother plant, you might struggle to find a viable cutting and start growing. They’re illegal to sell, and licensed dispensaries are unlikely to stock them.

Once you get your hands on a clone, these issues might pop up:

  • Cutting and transplantation shock—it’s easy to harm a cutting during, before, and after rooting. Tackling these babies takes skill.
  • Less resilient crops—the lack of taproot makes clone-grown plants prone to environmental stress.
  • Lower yields—clones develop into small crops and yield fewer flowers.

So, if you have what it takes to provide proper care, you may opt for growing weed from clones. What about the alternative?

Seeds vs clones: growing cannabis seeds

Next, we’ll explore the natural side of growing cannabis from seed vs. clone comparison. Cannabis seeds carry all the genetic information to produce a bud-bearing crop.

Seeds follow a predetermined biological seed-to-harvest period. Their genetics enable them to withstand rookie errors and unfavorable environments and remain happy and healthy.

You start by germinating marijuana seeds. This process corresponds to the clone box step but is shorter and more straightforward. Most seeds pop in 1–5 days with ample heat and moisture, becoming viable for sowing.

You then plant taproot-side first and maintain high temperature and humidity levels. Once the seedling displays its first true leaves, cultivation is pretty much identical for marijuana clones and seeds.

Growing cannabis seeds

Pros of growing cannabis from seeds

This option has a leg up in the seeds vs. clones comparison for availability reasons. Unlike clones, weed seeds are legal and easy to purchase in local dispensaries and online shops.

Besides easy purchases, this option delivers the following advantages:

  • Variety—the American cannabis market is brimming with seeds of various strains and variants. The choice is more limited with clones.
  • New genetics—poor environments might’ve harmed a clone, which shows in the offspring. Seeds let you start from scratch and keep everything conducive to sticky buds.
  • Taproots—the predecessor to true cannabis roots makes the ensuing system larger and more robust. Strong roots lead to high-yielding plants.
  • Pheno-hunting—seeds are a source of unique genetics with the potential to produce jaw-dropping phenotypes.
  • Hybrid production—seeds let you cross different cultivars and create unique hybrids. Clones are always female, so that’s impossible.

The growing weed from seed vs. clone discussion seems to have a favorite! Let’s look at the flip side.

Cons of growing cannabis from seeds

Clones are predictable, giving you greater confidence in future output. They’re also always female, eradicating the need to check plant sex. Feminized weed seeds mostly eliminate this issue, but not 100%.

Besides the sex, here are some hurdles for seed cultivators:

  • Pricey purchase—some cannabis seeds aren’t cheap. Each batch entails a startup investment unless you plan on fertilizing females or know how to spot bargains.
  • Genotype variation—seeds carry the basic blueprint for a strain, but the environment ultimately determines the expression. You run a small risk of poor phenotypes.
  • Longer seed-to-harvest period—seeds require the germination and seedling stages, adding several weeks to the wait for fresh buds.

Now that we have the marijuana clones vs. seeds overview, it’s time for a tentative verdict.

Seeds or clones: how to choose the best option

Ultimately, we cannot give you a clear answer on choosing clones vs. seeds. It boils down to personal preferences and your skill levels. We can sum up the comparison, though:

  • Seeds are easier to acquire, give you more variety, and let you experience the life cycle anew each time.
  • Clones are exact expressions of a mother plant, perfect for reliable results and mass production.

If you ask us—seeds win the seeds vs. clones contest. Growing them is easy, natural, and full of incredible surprises. Experienced cultivators can pick this option to breed new cultivars, so they also have the upper hand in terms of versatility.

As with everything else surrounding marijuana, decision-making means trial and error. Hop to our shop to buy seeds, grow plants, and try both—you need a perfect mother for clones, after all. Stay tuned to our blog for more guides on all things cannabis.

Clones vs Seeds

Frequently asked questions about clones vs. seeds

Have additional inquiries about growing from clones vs. seeds? Here are the common questions we hear in the community.

Are seeds better than clones?

The weed clones vs. seeds question has no definitive answers—every grower’s individual experience determines the best option for them.

Seeds seem superior in several categories, though. They win points for availability, ease of cultivation, and the scope of genetic expression you can achieve. They’re generally better for newbies and veterans looking to play with fertilization.

Are seeds or clones better for beginners?

Beginners should choose seeds for their first cultivation attempt and only transition to clones after several successful harvests.

Newbies growing cannabis from seed vs. clone see different success rates because cuttings are much fussier. It takes a skilled hand to control the environment and raise them into healthy adult plants.

Do clones yield as much as seeds?

Seeds get points in the clone vs. seed yield category. Crops grown from natural sources produce heftier harvests than their cutting-based counterparts.

Seed-grown cannabis has a more robust root system and a more resilient structure. As such, it’s less susceptible to environmental issues that can harm bud quantity and quality.

Are seeds stronger than clones?

Comparing clones vs. seed-grown plants, we see a clear difference in strength. Crops from clones are weaker and more vulnerable to external stressors than their seed-based cousins.

This distinction is once again a matter of taproots. These original roots anchor the plant in the soil, allowing it to acquire nutrients, stretch, and flourish. Clone root systems do the same but with less vigor.

Do clones grow faster than seeds?

The life cycle length is another critical distinction between marijuana clones and seeds. Clones become harvest-ready plants in less time than seeds.

Germination and the seedling stage take up to four weeks for seed growers. Rooting ends after around ten days, shaving weeks off the seed-to-harvest period.