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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 Seeds
- If you buy your seeds from an established seed bank, than you can pretty much guarantee what your plant will be like in terms of looks, yield, quality, and flowering time.
- 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
- You can make your own feminized seeds (which produce all-female plants, so every plant makes buds) at home by breeding together two known female marijuana plants. This technique allows you to create your own strains without having to worry about male plants. Why are male marijuana plants bad?
- Hybrid vigor: there is evidence that the first generation of hybrid plants will grow about 25% faster and have higher yields than plants from clones. This is especially pronounced when the cross is between two different strains. You can purchase F1 (first generation) hybrid cross seeds from seed banks, which will give you plants with pronounced hybrid vigor.
- 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
- If using non-feminized seeds, about 50% of the plants will end up being male, which do not produce buds. Why are male marijuana plants bad?
- Seeds often take more time than clones to grow and be ready for harvest, which means they will ultimately take more time, electricity, nutrients, etc.
- Costs can add up if purchasing seeds for every grow
- 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 in marijuana that you have purchased which can definitely be used to start growing. The downside of using seeds that you find is about half will be male, half will be female, and you won't be able to tell which is which initially.
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 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.
Starting With Clones
- Clones start out much further developed than a seed. Compared to seeds, clones will have an overall shorter grow period and therefore will be ready to harvest more quickly.
- Can be quickly grown into a 'mom' and be recloned, for a constant source of new plants
- Since clones are genetically identical to their mother plant, you know almost exactly what you're getting
- 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 due to the availability of online seed banks
- If the original grower had any problems with the plant (pests, fungus, root rot, etc) then it's likely that the new grower (you) will inherit the same problems from the clone
- Unhealthy clones may die or remain in shock for a long time after being transplanted
- Shipped clones may take weeks of extra care in order to recover
- Newly transplanted 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 to a month 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.