When starting a cannabis garden, you have two options: start with seeds or start with clones. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so ultimately… What are the major differences between cannabis grown from clones and weed grown from seeds and more importantly: which yields more? Cannabis seeds are reliable and easy to source, but clones offer genetically identical copies of the mother. Which is best for you?
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.
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.
Do cannabis seeds grow better than clones?
Cannabis growers have two choices to start their grow, cannabis seeds or clones (cuttings). Cannabis seeds are easy to buy online and get delivered to your home. The seeds will remain stable in a cool place for years and are often perfectly legal to buy, own and collect even if germination and cultivation of them remains illegal in your country.
Clones are miniature plants, genetically identical to the parent. This gives absolute certainty in terms of the harvest type/quality. But clones can be difficult to get hold of, they may have variable quality and could carry pests/disease. Both clones and cannabis seeds have their pros and cons – which approach best suits you? Read on to find out more.
|●||The basics of cannabis grown from clones vs seeds|
|●||Advantages of cannabis plants grown from seeds|
|●||Drawbacks of cannabis plants grown from seeds|
|●||Cannabis seeds or clones for indoor vs outdoor|
|●||Buy cannabis seeds with a proven track-record!|
The basics of cannabis grown from clones vs seeds
Cannabis seeds are widely available in many countries and can be bought in a shop or online. You can buy them directly from the seed bank or from a distributor/reseller.
Many home growers around the world keep a collection of their favourite cannabis seeds in their fridge. When they want to start a grow, they simply select their preferred strain and germinate the seeds. Cannabis seeds offer great convenience to the home grower.
Growing cannabis from clones offers certain advantages. You can have a grow room full of genetically identical plants with the same nutritional needs, growth characteristics and harvest date. But not everyone knows people that supply clones from elite mother plants. In contrast, buying cannabis seeds online is easy enough for anyone to do.
Advantages of cannabis plants grown from seeds
For many growers, cannabis seeds seem like a more fundamentally natural way to start your grow. Cannabis seed germination is the first step in an exciting and ultimately hugely rewarding journey. You can enjoy watching your seed produce a seedling which then grows into a mature plant. Many growers find the process of cannabis cultivation therapeutic, rewarding and satisfying, that’s before they get to sample the buds!
Stronger plants and natural phenotype variations
If you use cannabis seeds from a single strain the results will be genetically similar (but not identical) from plant to plant. Many growers feel that seed-grown cannabis plants carry added robustness compared to clones.
The spread of phenotypes seen when growing from cannabis seed should be fairly tightly clustered around the parent genetics. But you will subtle variations in taste, effect and aroma from plant to plant. For some growers this extra diversity is welcome, indica-leaning photos and sativa-leaning phenotypes may be both equally inviting and offer the grower a rewarding selection/variety of buds. Many growers comment on the tremendous satisfaction they feel after watching their cannabis seed grow into a complete harvest-ready plant.
For some growers, it may seem slightly more interesting to grow a room of plants which exhibit a certain degree of genetic diversity. If that sounds like you, then cannabis seeds may be a better choice than clones.
|Understanding cannabis phenotypes, genotypes and chemotypes|
Better resistance to pests and diseases
Cannabis seeds are incredible packages of genetic information that grow into complete plants thanks to the DNA within the genetics. These pure genetic building blocks are free from any exposure or contamination to external pests and disease.
Clones, unfortunately, may carry pests and disease if they came from an unreliable source. The genetics may also be disappointing if the clone source wasn’t reliable. Even healthy-looking clones can carry pests/diseases which can have devastating results on your entire grow room. Bad news if you’re a licensed grower with several thousand plants. Cannabis seeds, on the other hand, are sterile and free of such problems.
Dutch Passion supply cannabis seeds to many of the world’s top licensed, legal cannabis growers. These seeds are supplied with phytosanitary certificates stating that the cannabis seeds are free from pests/disease. The process of seed production and phytosanitary certificates are approved by the Dutch Ministry Of Economic Affairs. When you buy seeds from Dutch Passion you can be sure you are getting the best genetics produced to the finest professional standards!
|Dutch Passion legal seed documentation supplied to licensed cannabis producers|
Outdoor growers in particular will argue that cannabis seeds, rather than clones, are the best way to grow monster plants with harvest levels of a Kg (or two) of dry buds.
Rivalry between cannabis seed suppliers makes for a competitive marketplace for seed buyers. The top seed companies take their profession very seriously and compete hard to win cannabis cups. But as always, buyer beware. There are still some notoriously unreliable seed suppliers out there. A few cannabis cups is always a sign that your seed supplier takes their work seriously.
|Dutch Passion 70+ cannabis cups|
Wide array of choice
Cannabis seeds come in a range of options. Old school growers and breeders may want to use regular cannabis seeds which produce roughly equal numbers of male and female plants. Many prefer to grow photoperiod feminised seeds or autoflower seeds, which have a reputation for speed and convenience. THC levels on the best autoflowers reach 25-30%, that’s right up there with the world’s best feminised strains.
|Auto Skywalker Haze just under 28% THC, independently measured by Delta Analytics|
Drawbacks of cannabis plants grown from seeds
Cannabis seeds offer many great benefits to the grower, but there are some slight disadvantages which are often not discussed.
Uncertainty whether your plant is male or female
Clones offer an identical copy of the parent plant, typically this is a stable heavy yielding female with high THC and a special terpene profile. Seeds are feminised and 95% of the time produce females, but there is always a small possibility of a hermie or male plant.
However, if you buy your feminised seeds/autoflower cannabis seeds from a reputable source your chances of success are maximised and you can grow with a high degree of certainty that the seeds will grow into healthy females.
|How to tell if your plant is male or female?|
Clones deliver predictable cannabis genetics
Clones are genetically identical copies of their parent plant. Many professional, licensed growers prefer the crop uniformity that comes from filling their grow room with identical plants. Plant nutritional needs are identical all the way through the grow cycle, so are plant heights.
All the plants can be harvested at the same time – it’s an attractive combo of benefits for the pro-grower. What’s more, licensed legal growers are rarely worried about producing a crop of plants with identical taste, flavour and effects since professional growers typically sell all their produce to wholesale corporate buyers. Such buyers often prefer homogenous crops of identical buds.
Cannabis seeds can mean a slow start to your grow
Cannabis seeds can take a few days to germinate and then another week or two to become established seedlings. Contrast that to rooted cuttings which, if you can get them from a solid source, are like miniature plants with a developmental edge.
|Top 5 fastest growing cannabis seeds|
Germinating seeds is a very delicate process
If you buy cannabis seeds from an established seed supplier then you should get 90-95%+ germination rates which have been checked and verified in quality control testing. But there are numerous low-quality seed companies that have no idea where the seeds or genetics came from – they simply buy and sell seeds on the wholesale market with little idea what they are buying/selling.
You probably don’t buy that many cannabis seeds each year, so it makes sense to buy them from a seed company you can trust with an established track record for reliable customer service and perhaps a few cannabis cups behind them.
If you’re lucky enough to know someone who can supply established clones from a top quality mother plant then your grow is off to a quick start. No need to wait for cannabis seeds to germinate and for the seedling to develop.
|Best cannabis seed germination technique, the moist cotton pad method|
Cannabis seeds produce a range of results, not identical results
With a range of phenotypes, cannabis seeds deliver broadly similar genetic results but not identical copies. These phenotypes may exhibit slightly different responses to your environmental conditions, producing a range of sizes, varying yields and different tastes/effects. For many growers, this gives acceptable variety so long as the breeding was reasonably well controlled and doesn’t produce massive plant-to-plant variations.
But if you really need a grow room full of genetically identical plants (e.g. to simplify feeding and to produce similar plant sizes) then clones would perhaps be a better choice.
Cannabis seeds or clones for indoor vs outdoor
Cannabis seeds are, in many countries, easy to order and cold-store (in your fridge) once they arrive. Nothing beats the convenience of germinating seeds on-demand. But clones can be very tricky to get unless you have a well-connected network of growers. Due to cannabis illegality in many countries, home growers keep a low profile and for that reason may not have such a network.
Buy cannabis seeds with a proven track-record!
Not that many growers are fortunate enough to have reliable contacts who offer an on-demand supply of genuinely elite clones that are always 100% free of pests/disease.
That’s why most growers cold-store a collection of their favourite cannabis seeds in their fridge for future grows. Most growers only tend to buy a few packs of cannabis seeds each year, so do your research carefully and buy the best seeds from a supplier you can trust.
If you’re not sure which cannabis seeds to start with, check out the Dutch Passion High THC cannabis seed collection. These are the very strongest strains in the Dutch Passion collection, you can rely on them to deliver the highest quality results.