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The Pros and Cons of Clones vs. Seeds

Feb 01, 2018 10:52AM

SPECIAL ADVISORY BOARD: The decision to go with plants grown either from seed or from clones taken off a proven female cultivar is likely to be one of the earliest decisions you will make when planning your next grow project, but which one is best for your situation? Both have pros and cons, and understanding these is critical in making the right call.

Plants grown from seed tend to be far more vigorous, and thus higher yielding, than their clone-grown counter- parts. Much of this increased vigor is due to differences in the root structure of plants grown from seed vs. those grown from clones. Plants grown from seed have a taproot, a large carrot-like protrusion that helps anchor the plants to their grow media, makes them much more resistant to damage from high winds, and helps them self-support once they have a bountiful harvest of heavy flowers on them. It also improves drought resistance as this taproot can reach water and nutrients far deeper in the soil than the less-developed ancillary/fibrous root system of plants grown from clone. Plants grown from seed will have some phenotypic variation, so not every plant will produce identical flowers, and they may not all reach maturation at the same time. Generally, the closer the traits of the two parent strains are to each other, the less phenotypic variation will be seen in their offspring, and vice-versa. Plants grown from seed also have the added benefit of not potentially introducing various unwanted pests and diseases to your grow that might hitch a ride on a clone taken from another grower’s plants.

Clones are all genetically identical to the mother plant from which they were taken, so their traits are well known, they will mature at the same rate, and produce a nice uniform crop. Plants grown from clone do not tend to do as well in outdoor grow environments due to their generally less-developed root system and lack of a taproot, but in a well-controlled indoor environment these considerations are not nearly as important as they are outdoors. Taking plant material out of another grow into your own also carries the risk of bringing along various pests and diseases, so if going the clone route be sure to treat all new plants for common maladies before introducing them to your grow room, to reduce the likelihood of unwanted contaminations.

Another big consideration when making the decision between seeds and clones is availability. In states or countries with robust cannabis industries, this isn’t likely a concern, but if you’re somewhere with limited availability to these things, acquisition and/or transport of these items to your grow can be a massive factor in determining which route to choose.

Generally, if you’re growing outdoors or struggling to find high-quality proven clones, you’re better off going with seeds. If you’re growing indoors and have access to high-end genetics via cuttings, then you’re likely best off going with clones.

 by Jay Price - The Bank Genetics

Features, Advisory Board