Growing 101: Clones vs. Seeds

Cannabis is a plant that naturally reproduces sexually. That means that there are male plants, which pollinate female flowers to produce new seeds.

Pot farmers and home growers generally don’t want their female plants to become pollinated by males though. They want female flowers that never get pollinated by a male plant. No seeds, no pollen, just cannabinoid-rich flowers.

However, marijuana producers have found a way around the process of sexual reproduction, dealing with pollination, and growing from seed.

The process is called cloning and our cannabis industry depends on this method to consistently meet the demand for the strains we know and love today.

Read this article to understand more about the differences in these two marijuana-growing methods, and learn why growers use one, the other, or often both approaches to produce cannabis.

About Cannabis Clones

Clones, also called cuttings, are exact genetic copies of the plant from which they are taken. To make clones, cannabis cultivators grow out a healthy female cannabis plant and carefully take cuttings from them.

The cuttings will be female and an exact copy of the original mother plant. The main benefits and reasons growers start from clones include –

  • Consistent phenotypes and cannabinoid profiles
  • Stabilized, strong genetics
  • Quicker to maturity than seeds
  • No wasted resources cultivating unwanted males

Cloning favorite cannabis strains is the only way marijuana producers are able to meet the ever-increasing demand for top strains like Blue Dream, Skywalker OG, Girl Scout Cookies, and others.

There is one big drawback to growing a crop of clones though. Since they are all genetically identical, a crop of clones is more susceptible to pest infestations, viruses, and other plant problems than a seed crop.

About Cannabis Seeds

Growing cannabis from seed is a completely different approach than cultivating from a clone.

Growing from seed is harder and longer than starting with clones, but for growers hoping to craft a new strain of cannabis, it’s the only way.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of growing from seeds.

  • Potential for new phenotypes
  • Can produce male plants for breeding new strains
  • More affordable than clones
  • Feminized, auto-flower and other types of seeds available make growing cannabis super easy

Most home growers and DIY’s typically purchase seeds that are feminized, meaning they are guaranteed to produce female plants. For them, this takes the guesswork out of sexing and separating the boys and the girls in the garden, making growing weed easier.

Another common type of cannabis seed is called, Auto-flower seed. These types of seeds are typically feminized and will automatically switch to the flowering phase based on age rather than a light schedule.

Auto-flower seeds are great for growers in northern regions with short outdoor growing seasons, or for indoor growers who want a quick, no-fuss solution to growing great ganja.

Feminized seeds are leading the market for home growers, but they can be very expensive. Auto-flower seeds are becoming more and more popular also, and regular seeds are becoming increasingly more affordable.

Many major cannabis producers even have entire sectors of their business dedicated to producing seeds for the market.

What are the cons of growing marijuana from seed?

  • Potential unwanted male plants
  • Unstable genetics and inconsistent cannabinoid profiles
  • Takes longer than starting from clones

Learn More About Cannabis Seeds & Clones

To recap and briefly sum up what we’ve covered in this article on seeds and clones, here are a few meta points to take home.

Clones allow growers to produce flower with consistent cannabinoid profiles. That way your favorite strain always has the same effects, flavor, and aroma.  

Yet, clones can easily succumb to crop failures and pest problems.

Seeds, on the other hand, store genetic information such as phenotypes, pest resistance, hardiness, and other valuable characteristics and traits. 

Yet, growing from seed is unpredictable takes significantly more resources, and is an inefficient method for producing consistent cannabinoid-profiles and strains.

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