What are the major differences between cannabis grown from clones and weed grown from seeds and more importantly: which yields more? Should I start my cannabis plant with seeds or clones? Should you start growing your cannabis plant with seeds or clones? Each method has pros and cons, so check out the comparison below to find When starting a cannabis garden, you have two options: start with seeds or start with clones. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so ultimately…
Clones vs. Seeds: What Grows The Best Cannabis?
Anyone interested in growing their own cannabis has two options: growing from seeds or using clones. Although some people claim clones are the better choice, we prefer to compare the pros and cons of cannabis clones and the prime seeds from the AG strains catalogue. That way, anyone can decide for themselves whether to search for clones or grow cannabis from the best seeds we can offer.
Cannabis Clones And Seeds
Before we compare clones and seeds, let’s make one thing perfectly clear. We can’t overstate the importance of using good genetics. As we say so often, any good grow starts with great genetics. In our AG online seeds catalogue, you’ll find some of the best seeds in the world carrying all those great genes inside. Nonetheless, growing cannabis can also be done using clones.
Cannabis clones are cuttings taken off a ‘mother plant’ and then carefully coaxed to grow into new plants. Clones are exact copies of their mother plant; cloning copies the genetic code present in plant DNA. This is very different from the natural reproductive strategy of cannabis plants, and that means clones differ fundamentally from plants raised from seed. So which is the better choice? As you will find out below, that depends – although we have good reasons to sell only top quality seeds online.
We Trade Seeds For Good Reason…
Genotype And Phenotype
Clones are literally an identical copy of their mother. Because they are made by carefully cutting off a branch of a plant that has proven itself (through amazing flavor, mold resistance or potency for example), and letting that branch develop its own root system. If it works out, you end up with a cloned cannabis plant: a new organism with the exact same genetic code as its mother plant. In biology, the totality of an individual’s genetic makeup, encoded in its genes, is called ‘genotype‘.
Of course, you can’t see a plant’s genes from the outside; DNA is a code written in proteins, carried deep inside every cell of an organism. The genetic code represents traits expressed on the outside, be they broad or small leaves, big versus small buds, or any other property inherited from its parent(s). The totality of these traits make up the individual’s outward appearance. It is the sum total of all genetic traits included in its genotype. This expression of an individual plant’s genetics is known as its ‘phenotype‘.
Seeds are unique individuals, with unique phenotypes.
Growers and connoisseurs often refer to phenotype simply as ‘pheno’. Interestingly, cannabis seeds from the same strain, and even produced by the same female plant (single genotype), can turn into plants with different phenotypes. This pheno variance is due to natural reproduction: when pollen from a male plant touches the pistil of a female plant, the resulting seeds carry various combinations of both parent’s DNA (genotype). That explains why natural reproduction creates varied offspring with varying phenotypes. It keeps the species evolving, producing random new phenotypes that may be even better than the parent’s phenos combined.
Natural Cannabis Seeds Versus Artificial Clones
Downsides Of Cloning
By taking clones you know your crop will consistently have the exact same grow characteristics, flavour profile, and overall phenotype as its mother. Unfortunately, clones also carry any flaws their mother’s DNA may contain. Clones can carry hidden genetic defects that may only express themselves months later while flowering. They can also carry diseases and vulnerabilities to pests and fungi inherited from the mother plant.
Moreover, mother plants are often treated with high quantities of pesticides. If carefully managed, one single mother plant can survive for years, providing growers with a stable harvest and new clones time and again. Pesticides are often used keep mother plants protected, and that can be a real drawback. Pesticides accumulate in the tissue of the mother plant; as a result, any clone cuttings will contain the same pesticides from the start.
Finding Good Clones Is Hard
On top of these drawbacks, finding good quality clones can be exceedingly difficult. Even if you do find a breeder willing to sell you some, they will be expensive. And that’s even before you start to try and keep the clones alive in your own grow setup! All in all, finding top quality genetics is much easier, cheaper, and safer when you order cannabis seeds online. Seeds are designed by nature to carry all the precious genes safely to the spot where the seed can germinate and grow into a new cannabis plant. That makes the case for choosing good seeds over clones pretty clear, but there is more to consider.
Root And Branch Development In Cannabis Clones vs. Seeds
As noted, clones are simply rootless branches cut off a mother plant. Obviously, the first thing they need to develop after you plant them is a root system. And that takes energy; a whole lot of it, in fact. Meanwhile, the existing leaves of the clones demand energy to grow and continue THEIR work: photosynthesis.
This means cloned cannabis plants will probably not develop optimal root systems. And that’s a shame, considering that root volume equals yield volume. In contrast to seeds, clones need a shorter vegetation period. During that time they’ll also grow faster than plants from seeds, because the clone is not an infant, but has the same age as its mother. Again, this may seem advantageous at first, but such unnatural growth comes with drawbacks, too.
Healthy roots, healthy harvest!
Healthy Roots = Healthy Harvests
Clones will not grow as sturdy as cannabis plants from seeds, though. After germination, cannabis seeds develop a fat taproot, which travels as far down into the soil as it can. The taproot serves like an anchor, increasing the stability of the plant. This vertical root will go on to develop lateral roots horizontally, ensuring a deep-rooted cannabis plant. And as we stated before, root volume equals yield volume. So a healthy and substantial seed-grown root system is all set to produce a healthy and substantial yield.
More Branches = More Buds
Apart from developing their roots differently, clones and seeds also develop differently above ground. On one of our latest strain hunting expeditions, we discovered that clones develop one sided nodes. Each time the stem of a clone splits into branches, it only develops one single branch per node. Cannabis plants from seeds on the other hand, develop two-sided nodes. Considering they develop double the amount of branches per plant and have a bigger and more stable root systems, weed from seeds potentially yields much more than clones.
Natural Cannabis Variants: Seeds Offer More Than Clones
Using clones means having an exact copy of a mother plant’s genotype to work with. That can be a big plus if you know exactly which phenotype you want to grow. If you manage to raise a clone the right way, you could theoretically produce more clones for your next grows. We will admit this is a benefit for some growers, but the extra effort involved convinces the majority of growers to work with seeds in the natural way.
Natural Seeds = Natural Variation
Some may find the genetic consistency of clones a good thing, but we know that most growers find the idea of clones unnatural and boring. After all, with all the wonderful variety available today, why stick to the same identical genetics when there’s so much more to explore? In contrast to clones, cannabis seeds from the same parents can each still have different tastes and grow characteristics. Perhaps that makes growing cannabis from seeds less predictable, but it does add to the excitement. Just like human siblings are not identical, neither is the natural offspring from cannabis plants. Let’s face it: if all your brothers and sisters were your exact identical copies, things would soon get boring at home, right?
As you can see in the pictures @JOHE420 took of our Lemon Ice (above), two seeds from one strain can give different looking and tasting buds. Since you can never tell which ones will taste better, grow larger, or produce more effects, there is an exciting element of natural surprise in every grow that uses cannabis seeds. That excitement is an important reason why most growers around the world prefer the natural pheno variation that cannabis seeds can offer.
Creating New Strains (For Cloning?)
Some growers with an experimental mindset like to develop new strains of their own. If they succeed, they can proceed in two ways: clone the new plant, or pollinate it to grow new seeds naturally? They’ll need to cross two existing strains first, though, and to do that they need cannabis seeds, not clones. Crossbreeding two clones with the same genotype is pointless. Moreover, clones are usually female plants, and attempting to two females is obviously problematic… Anyone interested in creating new variants using natural reproduction (between plants, that is!) is going to need male and female specimens. Our regular seeds are the best choice for doing so. These seeds, such as Critical Mass Regular for instance, become male plants in 50% of all cases; in contrast to feminized seeds that yield nearly 100% female plants.
Conclusion: Cannabis Clones vs. Seeds
Summing up, we can conclude that while clones are intriguing in certain ways, growing cannabis from seeds is more interesting, more natural, and generally easier for most growers. Of course, that still means truly great grows start with epic quality seeds… So what are you waiting for? The entire Amsterdam Genetics seeds range is waiting for you!
Packed with great genetics….
The germination of cannabis seeds is illegal in most countries. Amsterdam Genetics cannabis seeds are exclusively sold as collectable souvenirs to customers living in countries where the cultivation of cannabis is illegal. All information on this website is intended for educational purposes only and is not meant to incentivize people to engage in illegal activities.
Should I start my cannabis plant with seeds or clones?
Should you start growing your cannabis plant with seeds or clones? Each method has pros and cons, so check out the comparison below to find out what’s right for you!
Starting With Cannabis Seeds
If you buy your seeds from an established seed bank, than you have a great idea on how your plant will be like in terms of looks, yield, quality, and flowering time.
Cannabis seeds can be discreetly delivered to almost anywhere in the world – you don’t need to know a cannabis grower in person or collect bagseed in order to start growing with seeds
You can purchase feminized seeds from a seed bank which means you will get 100% females and don’t have to worry about male marijuana plants. Only female cannabis plants produce bud. Learn more about male and female cannabis plants.
You can breed your own seeds by mating two cannabis plants, which gives you a basically unlimited supply of seeds
Seeds give you the best chance of a ‘clean slate’ which means you plants won’t come with any sort of disease or pests
Not all seeds will germinate
Old seeds or improperly stored seeds may be slow growing
If using non-feminized seeds, about half of the plants will end up being male, which do not produce buds. Learn how to identify male plants right away.
Seeds can take a little more time than clones to get started growing and be ready for harvest, since clones are usually already “mature” and established when you start growing
Costs can add up if purchasing seeds for every grow, and famous strains can cost quite a bit of money per seed
Creating your own seeds will save you monetary cost, but there is still a cost in time (and effort) to cross together two plants to make seeds
Seeds are a good way for many people to start growing because they can be easily purchased off the internet. Where can I safely purchase cannabis seeds?
Sometimes you will find good seeds (bagseed) in marijuana that you have purchased which can definitely be used to start growing. The downside of using seeds that you find is you will have no idea what to expect as far as growth, yields, or size. The bud quality of bagseed is often different from the buds it came from, since it is not a stablized strain. It could be like the bud it was found it, or it could be completely different.
When using unknown seeds, you will need to determine the gender your plants as they are growing to prevent any males from pollinating your females.
Healthy seeds should be dark brown or light grey. If you find seeds which are small and white, they are likely immature and won’t germinate properly.
Healthy seeds can be stored in a cool dark place, or your fridge until you’re ready to use them(don’t freeze them).
Seeds which are kept in a cool, dark place remain viable for years, though after a few years you will notice that they take a bit longer to germinate and you may get a few more duds than with fresh seeds. Seedlings from older seeds can also be really slow growing even if you’re giving them perfect conditions.
Starting With Cannabis Clones
Guaranteed gender – if the mother plant was female, the clone will be female too
Clones usually have a head start compared to starting with a seed, since clones are usually already mature and established when you start growing with them. Compared to seeds, clones usually have an overall shorter grow period and therefore will be ready to harvest a bit more quickly.
Clones can be quickly grown into a ‘mom’ and recloned, for a constant source of new plants. You can clone any plant to create an unlimited amount of plants
Since clones are genetically identical to their mother plant, you know almost exactly what you’re getting. Although there is some variance even between clones, they tend to grow much more alike than two random plants.
Rooted clones can be coaxed to flower almost immediately if time or space is an issue
Clones can be harder to find compared to seeds – many people don’t know a cannabis grower in real life, and seeds are really easy for almost anyone to get due to the availability of online seed banks
If the original grower had any problems with the mother plant (like pests or viruses) then it’s possible that the new grower (you) can inherit the same problems from the clone
If you start with a clone that hasn’t been well established, it’s possible it might unexpectedly die on you, or remain in shock for a long time. When cloning is done incorrectly, it may take weeks of extra care in order for the plant to recover
Newly created clones are more sensitive/picky about lights and nutrients compared to young plants from seed
In order to get clones, you will need to know someone who already has marijuana plants, or you may be able to buy some from your local medical marijuana dispensary if you’re in a suitable location and have a recommendation for marijuana from your doctor.
Starting with a clone can save you a couple of weeks compared to starting with seeds because they have a head-start on growth. Using clones also guarantees the gender of your plant because the clones have the exact same genetics as their parent plant including gender.
If you have a female plant that you like, you can just clone her indefinitely to make more plants without ever again having to worry about sexing your plants or creating seeds. Yet you will also end up with the same strain/genetics for every clone you take off the same plant.
If you’re starting out with a clone, you want to treat it gently for the first day or two that you have it. If your clone hasn’t established roots yet, then you want to make sure that it stays moist and gets gentle light (like from florescent tubes) until it develops some roots. A humidity dome will help the plant get moisture until she’s established her roots.
If your clone has already established its roots, then put it in its new home with your lights a bit further away than normal until she’s settled in and showing new growth.
Only give your clone just a little bit of water at first with a highly diluted cannabis-friendly “grow” nutrient solution.
It’s tempting to want to put your lights close to the new baby and give it full-strength nutrients because you want to do everything you can to make sure it does okay.
However, in the very beginning, less is more for your clone. Your clone is more sensitive to heat and light than an established plant, and you’re putting it in a completely new environment.
It’s important to check on your clone frequently during it’s first 24 hours to make sure there isn’t any unforeseen problems such as it tipping over. Once the clone has started really growing (usually after a couple of days) then you can put your lights closer and start feeding it with full-strength nutrients.
Cost can be high to continue using seeds, whether in time or money. You can spend a lot of time cross-breeding plants and controlling the number of males to produce your own seeds. If making your own feminized seeds, you have to worry about creatingmasculinized female plants which also won’t give you any bud. If you choose to purchase your seeds for every crop, than the cost can really start to add up.
Growing with Seeds vs. Clones
When starting a cannabis garden, you have two options: start with seeds or start with clones. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so ultimately, it comes down to a grower’s personal preference, experience, and confidence to know which is the right choice.
Let’s talk the pros and cons of growing cannabis from seeds versus clones.
The pros and cons of growing cannabis from seeds
Like everything in life, there’s some pros and cons of starting cannabis from seeds.
The pros of growing cannabis from seeds:
- Seeds are always uncontaminated
- Seeds grow taproots
- Seeds allow you to phenohunt
The biggest advantage of using seeds is that you can obtain them from an infinite number of online sources. Additionally, fresh seeds haven’t been introduced to the environment, so they are completely free of pests and disease.
A tap root is the plant’s main root that grows straight down from a germinated seed. Essentially, they’re the backbone of the plant. Seeds grow sturdier taproots than clones that do not grow taproots at all. This allows for a greater yield in the long run.
Each seed produces a different representation of its genetics. These are called phenotypes. Growing from seeds allows the grower’s choice of which variation is the best. This is called “pheno hunting.”
The cons of growing cannabis from seeds:
- Seeds cost money
- Your seeds might not germinate
- Seeds require a longer growth period
On the flip side, seeds cost money to keep buying versus clones that start free from a live plant. Additional limits of seeds is that they don’t always germinate or produce female plants. That means if you buy 10 seeds, probably half will be male, and you’ll have to grow and watch the plants carefully to get the males out of your garden ASAP. Lastly, growing has a longer growth period because you must go through both the germination and seedling stages.
The pros and cons of growing cannabis from clones
Growing cannabis from clones has its pros and cons too.
The pros of growing cannabis from clones:
- The plants are always female
- Faster growth process
- You don’t have to pheno hunt
- Clones are less expensive
The main advantage of growing cannabis from clones is that they are guaranteed to be females. You don’t have to watch for males sprouting, and additionally, you don’t have to go through the seedling stages, which makes for a much faster harvest timeline. Another advantage of clones is that you don’t have to pheno hunt. With a perfect mother, you can keep producing that exact expression of the strain without variation. Lastly, clones are less expensive because you just need a cutting of the mother plant versus needing to buy seeds from a dispensary or seed bank.
The cons of growing cannabis from clones:
- Illegal to buy online
- Vulnerable to environmental stressors
- Lower yields
Conversely, there are some disadvantages to growing from clones. For one, it’s illegal to buy clones online so that limits you to whatever genetics the dispensary or a friend has. Additionally, the lack of a taproot makes clones weaker and more vulnerable to environmental pests and sickness. This is why clones are best left to experienced growers that know how to manage their volatility. If your cuttings are sick, so will be the flowers your plant’s grow (or don’t grow). Lastly, clones lacking a taproot also leads to a smaller plant with lower yields.
How to select healthy cannabis clones
If you go the clones route, it’s imperative that you select healthy clones to work with. This mostly comes down to an eye test. A few things to look for are strong, white roots in the bottom of them. Brown roots signify a weak plant that may be on its way to the afterlife. Additionally, take a close look at the plant’s coloring. If it’s yellow, the clone may be sick and frail; or if it has white spots that signify pests like spider mites, this is a clone you shouldn’t introduce to your garden.
Tips of germinating cannabis seeds
If you choose the seeds route, the paper towel method is your best best for getting those seeds to pop. Fold a paper towel in half, then put the seeds between it. Spray the top with water and then put them in a freezer bag, or between two plates. Then sit the bag/plates in a dark cabinet for a couple of days, and after a while, those seeds should pop out with a baby taproot.
Tips for getting seedlings transplanted into soil
Seedlings are extremely fragile and prone to damage, so handle them with care when transplanting into soil. The most important part of transplanting seedlings into soil is to space them out so the plants’ roots can have enough room to stretch. This avoids them becoming tangled up, otherwise known as rootbound.
When transplanting seedlings into soil, make sure to wash your hands and wear gloves so your dirty mitts don’t stress the plant, otherwise known as transplant shock. Spraying the seedlings with a sprinkle of water during the process, or watering them one or two days before, will also minimize transplant shock. Once you move those seedlings into the ground or containers, lightly pack the soil, fully water the plant, and pat yourself on the back.