Clones vs Seeds for Growing Cannabis | Growers Choice Seeds

Choosing Cannabis Seeds or Cannabis Clones

When it comes to growing weed, you have several important decisions to make depending on your preferences. One of those choices is whether you’re going to start your marijuana garden with cannabis seeds or clones.

If you don’t know the difference between seeds and clones, or if one happens to be better than the other, Growers Choice has you covered. Below, we’re talking about the differences between weed seeds and cannabis clones to help you determine which options are best for your cultivation journey.

Growing cannabis clones within grow space
Cloning cannabis plants may be easier than you think; here’s our go-to guide on clones.
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Cannabis Genotype and Phenotype

The decision to choose cannabis seeds over cannabis clones (or vice versa) can be influenced by various factors, including genotype and phenotype considerations. But, if you aren’t sure of what cannabis genotypes and phenotypes are, we’ll tell you.

Genotype refers to the genetic makeup of an organism, in this case, the cannabis plant. It encompasses all the genes that an individual inherits from its parent plants. These genes determine various traits, such as growth patterns, cannabinoid content (like THC and CBD levels), terpene profile, and resistance to diseases or pests. It’s important to note that genotype is not directly observable; instead, it’s the genetic blueprint that influences the plant’s development and characteristics.

Phenotype, on the other hand, refers to the observable traits of a strain resulting from its genotype and the environment. In cannabis, phenotype includes characteristics like plant height, leaf shape, flower color, aroma, taste, and overall growth pattern. This is influenced not only by genetics, but also by factors like light, temperature, humidity, soil composition, and nutrient availability. Different cannabis strains may have the same genotype but exhibit different phenotypes due to environmental influences or other factors.

Clones vs. Seeds: Pros and Cons

Now that you know about cannabis phenotypes and genotypes, let’s look closer into the difference between clones and seeds. Specifically, we’re covering the pros and cons of each to help you better understand what’s best for you.

Let’s start with cannabis clones.

Clones

A cannabis clone is a cutting taken from a mature cannabis plant—often referred to as the “mother plant”—that is then rooted and grown into a separate, genetically identical plant. Essentially, a clone is an exact genetic replica of the parent plant from which it was taken: smell, potencies, growth characteristics, and all. The mother plant stays in the vegetative stage indefinitely to allow this.

In terms of pros, many people choose to grow clones because of their genetic consistency, the ability to skip the germination stage, and their faster growth periods. No matter what, your clone is going to produce the exact same plant as the mother it came from, and you don’t have to worry about the complications that may come from germination. You know exactly what you’re getting with clones, and the whole growth process time is cut significantly shorter. However, clones also have their cons.

While clones ensure genetic consistency, they also perpetuate any genetic weaknesses or vulnerabilities present in the parent plant; this can lead to diseases, pests, or genetic disorders if the parent plant carries any such issues. Along with this, clones offer no genetic diversity since they are exact replicas of the parent plant: this lack of diversity can limit the adaptability and resilience of the cannabis plant to environmental stressors. Thus, successfully cloning healthy plants requires specific skills, equipment, and attention to detail, and improper cloning techniques can result in low success rates, failed clones, or weak plants.

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Seeds

On the flip side, cannabis seeds are the foundation of every cannabis plant. They are what you’ll germinate and then plant in your chosen grow medium to cultivate the marijuana plants you want. You can find these seeds in various types, including feminized (to help produce female cannabis plants only) photoperiod and autoflowering. People choose to grow cannabis from seeds for various reasons, though they also have their cons just like cultivating cannabis from clones.

One of the biggest pros of growing plants from seeds is that they offer a wide range of genetic diversity, allowing growers to select from numerous strains with varying characteristics such as potency, flavor, aroma, and growth traits. Along with this, cannabis seeds provide opportunities for breeding programs aimed at developing new strains with desired traits—great for experienced growers looking to try something new. Finally, in regions where cannabis cultivation is legal, seeds may be more readily available for purchase; plus, ungerminated marijuana seeds are federally legal, while cannabis clones are not.

While genetic diversity is a pro, it can also result in variation among seedlings grown from the same batch of seeds. This variability means that not all plants will exhibit the same traits, leading to inconsistencies in terms of potency, flavor, and growth characteristics. If you don’t choose feminized options, cannabis plants grown from regular seeds have a roughly 50/50 chance of being male or female, and male plants do not produce the desired flower buds; however, Growers Choice Seeds only offers feminized seeds for this reason. Finally, it takes longer to cultivate mature plants with seeds compared to clones since they need to go through the germination stage and establish a root system before entering the vegetative phase.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Cloning and Seeing

As a cannabis cultivator, it’s important to take ample time to consider which option—seeds or clones—is best for your marijuana garden. Here are some essential components to consider before choosing weed seeds or clones.

Environmental Considerations

First, you want to consider the environment where you’re growing your plants before deciding whether you want to start with cannabis clones or seeds. Certain strains may thrive better in specific climates, so it’s important to research the ideal growing conditions for the strains you’re interested in cultivating and assess whether your climate aligns with those requirements. With this, clones may offer a head start in adapting to local conditions since they are already acclimated to the environment in which they were initially grown.

You also want to consider the prevalent pests and diseases in your area. Some auto-flowering strains may be more resistant to certain pests or diseases than others, and clones carry over any pests or diseases present in the parent plant. Thus, weed seeds may offer a clean starting point, reducing the risk of pest and disease transmission.

Finally, you want to evaluate the size of your grow space and the resources you have available, such as lighting, ventilation, and nutrient supply. Clones may be more suitable for beginner growers with limited space or resources since they bypass the seedling stage and require less time to establish. However, cannabis seeds offer flexibility in terms of germination and can be started in various growing mediums, allowing growers to tailor their cultivation methods to available space and resources.

Time and Patience

In general, it’s important to note that cannabis cultivation requires a significant investment of time—regardless of whether you choose seeds or clones.

In general, seeds typically take longer to reach maturity compared to clones since they need to germinate and establish a root system before entering the vegetative growth phase. On the flip side, clones offer a time-saving advantage as they are already established plants with developed root systems, allowing for a faster transition to the vegetative growth stage.

However, the time difference between seeds and clones may vary depending on factors such as strain genetics, growing conditions, and cultivation practices. For example, there are various autoflower strains you can grow that have short flowering times which lead to the quick harvests you’re seeking. These strains include Gelato 33, and Bruce Banner #3—even feminized strains like Purple Punch can offer short flowering phases!

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Desired Traits

Many growers have specific desired traits they look for in cannabis plants that may be easier to achieve in seeds than clones or vice versa. If genetic diversity is important to you, for example, seeds offer a wide range, allowing growers to select strains with specific desired traits such as potency, flavor, aroma, cannabinoid profile, and growth characteristics. With seeds, growers have the opportunity to explore and experiment with different genetics, selecting strains that align with their preferences and cultivation goals.

Clones, however, being genetic replicas of the mother plant, offer consistency in terms of desired traits if the parent plant exhibits the characteristics you seek. They can also be used in breeding programs to preserve and propagate specific genetic traits that you like best.

Legal Considerations

Finally, you need to consider the legality of cannabis where you live. Cannabis clones are only going to be available for cultivators who live in places where marijuana has been legalized to some degree. In areas where home cultivation is permitted, growers may legally possess and cultivate a certain number of cannabis plants, which may include clones. But, this is only allowed in legal states.

Ungerminated cannabis seeds, on the other hand, are federally legal in the United States. It doesn’t matter where you live: you can purchase these weed seeds online and then ship them right to your home. However, you cannot plant your cannabis seeds unless the area you live in allows at-home cannabis cultivation.

This makes cannabis seeds a bit more accessible for those living in restricted states. But, no matter what, you need to understand the marijuana laws in your area before purchasing seeds or clones.

Getting the Best Weed Seeds for Growing With Growers Choice

While Growers Choice Seeds only offers cannabis seeds—not clones—we have a huge selection of premium options for you to choose from that we can ship to you all throughout the US. As we mentioned, all of our seed options at Growers Choice come feminized, which all but ensures the growth of female plants. You can find feminized photoperiod classics like Pineapple Express or up-and-coming autoflowering seeds like Glass Slipper depending on what you’re looking to add to your cannabis garden.

No matter what, we’re here to provide you with the resources you need to grow the best, healthiest marijuana plants possible—whether you choose seeds or clones.

FAQ

Are there specific nutrient requirements for cannabis plants grown from seeds versus clones?

Generally, cannabis plants have similar nutrient requirements regardless of whether they are grown from seeds or clones. Both seeds and clones need essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and micronutrients like iron, zinc, and manganese.

However, there may be slight differences in nutrient uptake rates or requirements based on the growth stage of the plant. For example, seedlings and young clones may require lower concentrations of nutrients initially, gradually increasing as they mature. It’s essential to monitor the nutrient levels in the growing medium and adjust nutrient solutions accordingly to meet the specific needs of your plants, whether they are grown from seeds or clones.

Can I clone a plant multiple times, or does the genetic quality degrade with each clone?

Cloning a weed plant multiple times is possible, but the genetic quality of clones may degrade with each generation, especially depending on how long the cannabis mother plant has been in the vegetative stage. This phenomenon, known as “genetic drift,” can occur due to mutations or changes that may happen during cloning. 

Over time, these variations can lead to changes in plant characteristics, including growth patterns, cannabinoid profiles, and resistance to pests and diseases. Stronger plants may become few and far between. To mitigate this, we’d suggest periodically refreshing the stock by introducing new mother plants or just starting from seeds derived from reputable seed banks—like us here at Growers Choice Seeds.

How do I determine whether clones or seeds are the best choice for my cannabis crop?

When determining whether clones or seeds are the best choice for your cannabis crop, you need to consider factors such as your cultivation goals, available resources, growing experience, and environmental conditions. If you prioritize genetic consistency, faster growth, and the ability to select plants with known traits, clones may be the preferred option.

On the other hand, if you value genetic diversity, breeding potential, and the opportunity to explore different strains and phenotypes, seeds offer greater flexibility and innovation. Understanding your specific needs and preferences, as well as considering factors such as time, space, and legal considerations, can help guide your decision-making process when choosing between clones and seeds for your cannabis plants.

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