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Growing Cannabis Plants from Seed vs. Growing Them From Clones

When you decide that you are going to dabble in cannabis cultivation, you have many different decisions to make. You’ll have to decide whether you’re growing indoors or outdoors, as well as in soil, or the route of hydroponics. You’ll also have to pick what type of planters to use, what grow medium to use, lights, and more. One of the biggest decisions you will need to make is whether you are growing from seed or clone. Both will produce beautiful buds, but there are some major differences. If you’ve ever thought about cultivating cannabis but weren’t quite sure about where to start, you’re in luck. We’re going to look at quite possibly one of the most important decisions you will need to make about cannabis cultivation being whether to grow from seed or clone in the ever-evolving cannabis industry.

Growing cannabis plants from seed is a tried and true method that continues to allow this plant to flourish. With the increasing legality of cannabis legalization, allowing more people to grow at home, cannabis seed sales have soared. When growing from cannabis seed, you will have to select the type of seed you want to grow. You read that right! There’s more than one type of cannabis seed to choose from.

Choosing the Right Seed for Growing Cannabis

You have the choice of indica, sativa, or hybrid, but you will have to choose whether it will be a regular, feminized, or autoflowering cannabis seed. The difference between these seeds will determine many things about your cannabis grow, including the development of the taproot. The number of supplies needed, the space needed, and the potential yield are all affected by the type of seed you grow. It’s also worth mentioning that seed banks offer a wide variety of options, so you can explore different strains and genetics for your cannabis cultivation journey. Choosing regular cannabis seeds will give you both male and female cannabis plants. This means that after germination, you will have to sex your plants, removing all males from your grow, most likely preventing the development of hermaphrodite plants. Many home growers believe that regular seeds produce larger yields and more potent genetics than feminized or autoflowering marijuana seeds. Additionally, they offer the opportunity for natural pollination, allowing you to create your own cannabis seeds if desired, and introducing genetic variations,

  • Feminized cannabis seeds: They allow you to plan out your grow more precisely. This is because 99% of feminized seeds produce female plants, eliminating the need to worry about male plants. You may also opt for autoflowering cannabis seeds.
  • Autoflowering cannabis seeds: These have been created crossing ruderalis cannabis with them. This means they are pretty much born in the flowering stage. They typically mature in 2 months from seed to harvest but have less of a yield than feminized or regular seeds.

As you can see, the choice between regular, feminized, and autoflowering seeds is only a start. Next, you must determine what strain or variety of cannabis you will be growing. It is best to grow strains that are very similar in genetic profiles to one another and to ensure you achieve the best results, it’s crucial to start with quality seeds. It is not advisable to grow an Indica dominant strain with a sativa dominant strain as they require different conditions for optimal growth. Once you have your strain picked out and the type of seed picked out, it is time to begin the process of germinating seeds. The process from germination to sprout to seedling takes about 2 to 3 weeks. Some growers believe this is time they could have spent growing clones. Phenotype or pheno considerations should also play a role in your strain selection to achieve the desired traits in your cannabis plants.

Growing Cannabis from Clones

Cultivating cannabis from a clone is becoming a popular option for those cultivating at home, as well as those growing for dispensaries. Clones provide a jump start to growing. Once the root system is established, a cannabis clone can be grown for a short amount of time in the vegetative stage before being flowered. This is because a cannabis clone is technically a clipping from an older plant (known as the mother plant or parent plant), meaning that it has the genetic profile ready to flower at any time. You can grow your cloned plants to as short as 12 inches tall and then switch them over to flower if you want, or you can grow them to several feet before making the switch. Growing from a clone also offers many beginner growers the option of planning a grow out precisely, taking into consideration the breeder and its reputation for producing high-quality genetics. Space, plant count, and the growing environment are all issues that not only cost money but take time, effort, and energy to produce results. Wasting time, effort, energy, and money is not a high priority in almost anybody’s book.

Cannabis clones are not only grown indoors, but they can also be hardened to grow outdoors. This process involves placing cannabis clones in the proper outdoor environment and putting them in the shade to start. After a couple of days of shade, you start moving them in and out of the sun before planting them in full sunlight. After you plant them, you will know whether they are happier or not within a day. I planted a few clones outside this year, and they grew remarkably. The only problem that I ran into was I didn’t put them outside until August 1st, so they didn’t produce as big of yield as I would have liked, but the flower was on point.

Final Takeaway

Cannabis clones are a representation of the genetics they were pulled from. As any good cannabis grower will tell you, you need to start with good genetics in order to achieve great results, including the desired cannabinoid profiles and potential THC levels. This means that you need to be sure to inspect your clones for any issues they may have during the veg stage, especially if you’re a new grower. Look for yellowing or bleaching of leaves, nodes, light burn, fan burn, and any signs of pests or stress that the marijuana plant may display. If the clone that you’re considering purchasing seems to be free from all of these factors, chances are you will have great success in growing your little lady at home, producing exact copies of the desired plant with a consistent genotype, resulting in stronger plants and possibly, higher THC levels. 

This article was first published in October 2020. Content was most recently updated September 2023. 

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