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By - bsbadmin

Should I Grow my own Cannabis Plants from Seeds or Clones?

Ordering dried flowers or even pre-rolled joints is certainly convenient, but nothing beats the feeling of satisfaction that comes from growing your own cannabis plants.  Cultivating plants until they are ready takes no little care and patience, yet it could all be worth it when you sample your first home-grown harvest. 

Ordering dried flowers or even pre-rolled joints is certainly convenient, but nothing beats the feeling of satisfaction that comes from growing your own cannabis plants.  Cultivating plants until they are ready takes no little care and patience, yet it could all be worth it when you sample your first home-grown harvest. 

For the first time farmer cultivating your own cannabis plants may seem a little daunting.  However, following a series of tried and tested growing techniques should see you through to becoming a successful grower.

Before you get started there is one essential choice every grower must make – seeds or clones?  It’s an important choice and getting it right may go a long way to deciding how plentiful your cannabis crop will be.  There are many advantages to growing your cannabis plants from seed and just as many reasons to raise them from clones.   This article takes you through the pros and cons of each and helps you decide which route is best for you.

Growing from Clones 

Cannabis cultivation uses the term clone to refer to a plant that is an exact reproduction of an original parent plant (referred to as the mother plant). Using clones is a process of asexually propagating cannabis plants to create genetic copies.  The term ‘cutting’ is also often used, although, properly cuttings refers specifically to clones that have been cut from the mother plant but not yet planted.  

There are a number of clear advantages to using clones.  In general terms, with clones, you know exactly what you are getting.  While each seed (depending on the choice of regular or feminized seedd and breeder) may produce such variations between plants and flowers that they barely appear to be the same strain, clones are predictable and consistent.  This is particularly important when considering the canopy. An inconsistent, unpredictable canopy makes growing and harvesting difficult. For any large growing operation the advantages of a uniform canopy are substantial. Similar issues of consistency also apply to the spacing between plants. Making clones is a better choice for predicting your canopy height and spacing  

Being sure about the size of your plants is one advantage, knowing their genetics is another.   It is not unusual for cannabis plants to develop both male and female flowers. Although an entirely natural occurrence it is not a desirable trait if you hope to cultivate cannabis for consumption, as you will get plants with all or some seeded flowers.  When using clones you can be certain you do not have hermaphrodite plants, for those using seeds this is a possibility. 

Taking a cutting from an existing cannabis plant and planting it in a pot may seem an attractively straightforward way to begin your cultivation process. In addition to the advantages outlined above, it has the clear benefit of beginning the growing process with an identifiable plant which  may give novice growers more confidence.  

However, using a clone only puts you at the most a month further into the growing process and with this small advantage there are a number of points of caution that need to be considered.  Firstly, all plants are highly susceptible to disease and infestation. As a clone is an exact genetic copy of the original plant it will suffer the same weaknesses. You would need to be sure the mother plant has a clean bill of health.   

Unfortunately, the cloning process is not as simple as sticking the cutting in a pot and giving it a little water.  Taking a clone from the mother plant or rooting the cutting involves inevitable stress on the plants. Clones, therefore, require a few days ‘hardening off’ period to get used to natural light and soil.  Recently cut clones are very fragile and require a great deal of attention to ensure the planting is successful. This involves giving the newly transplanted clone exactly the right quantities of light and nutrients to ensure its survival.  Again, this can be a difficult phase to manage and it is not always easy to keep clones healthy without the right experience.     

One specific problem linked to the use of clones is known as “genetic drift.” This is caused by cultivators continuing a plant line through the use of a mother plant and cuttings – after successive rounds of replacing mothers with their own clones the decline in health and vitality is noticeable.

Linked to this is the issue of locating good quality clones.  Naturally, taking a cutting requires both the existence of a good-quality cannabis plant and the permission of its owner.  For the first part you will need accurate information about the plant. What exactly is the strain? Is the plant healthy? Has it been treated with any pesticides or fungicides?  Without this information you could find yourself wasting a lot of your time and effort.  

Once you begin cultivating cannabis you will have the possibility of cloning your own plants.  This gives you certainty over the origins of the plant. However, it does raise questions over time and space.  Mother plants require pruning every two weeks whether clones are being taken or not. This also means an increased canopy size taking up to 70% of the potential flower canopy. The space required for mothers and clones will vary depending on your cultivating techniques used.

Growing from Seeds

Perhaps counterintuitively, many new cannabis growers find that growing directly from seeds is an easier proposition.  Commercial outlets offer seed banks giving you access to guaranteed strains. Having certainty over what you are growing is a substantial advantage.   

Another important point to consider is that cannabis is an annual plant.  In other words, the life cycle of the plant – from seed to flower to seed naturally occurs over one growing season. The flowers, leaves and stems of your plants die off and only the seeds survive to germinate in the next growing season.  By using seeds you are ‘plugging into’ this life-span. In contrast, using clones means using already mature plants and trying to extend the lifespan in quite an unnatural way. Growing from seeds, therefore, eliminates the issue of “genetic drift” outlined above.

In contrast to growing from clones, planting seeds requires no ‘hardening off’ period and so will likely demand less time and effort.  Another significant benefit of growing from seeds is that plants exhibit much more vigorous growth, leading to dramatically higher yields (+15-30%).   Growing from seeds can also save time and space as you don’t need to worry about using your own mother plants to produce new clones. Higher yields are also more likely as seed grown plants are not affected by inherent systemic disease and are, therefore, less dependent on pesticides and disease control.

A further benefit is that seeds give you an opportunity to cross-breed varieties, whereas plants grown from clones are unable to produce pollen. One important point to remember is that as it is only the female cannabis plants that produce buds it is crucial not to waste time and money on plants that will not produce a usable yield.  Quality distributors will offer feminized cannabis seeds. don’t require sexing before bringing them to flower.

Which way you may choose, at Back Side Buds, we have over sixty cannabis seeds for you to choose from!

At a Glance

More vigorous growth
More space required for mother plants/clones
No hardening-off period
Do not carry inherent systemic disease
Less/minimal pesticides and disease control required
Easier for cross breeding
Suffer from genetic drift
Increase canopy size with decreased space for mothers/clones
Less labour required
Does not require testing for sex (Fem seeds only)
More predictable canopy
Quality may vary from plant to plant
Less spacing issues to work with
End result more predictable

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