Seeds versus clones? Does it matter? Buyers don’t much worry. But legalization specifically permits individuals’ rights to grow cannabis. State-to-state, the regs differ on the number of plants and volume home growers can raise.
If the metric is “easier to grow,” you must adjust for the number of plants, their access to light and air circulation, and your ability to monitor the “garden.” One way to think of this asks you to be a bit of a hobbyist and specialist at the same time.
You must imagine what it takes to raise African violets or orchids. You receive one as a gift and wonder why it dies so soon. If you don’t throw it away, you might want to figure out how to make the plants work.
You must decide if you are going to raise the few plants authorized in your state or invest in growing more. You must understand from the start that growing cannabis takes more than putting a few flower pots on your window sill.
You will need space, time, and equipment to maximize your output. But you may wonder whether to start with seeds or clones. As with everything, there are pros and cons of using either.
Pros of using seeds:
- Buying seeds from a recognized seed bank gives you a good idea of the look, size, growth pattern, time to harvest, expected yield, seed genetics, chemical content, and more.
- Seed banks mail seeds anywhere in discreet packaging to protect your interest. The packaging is also constructed to protect the seeds in their delivery.
- Seed banks sell feminized seeds which produce a larger yield sooner. You’ll have no worries about identifying and segregating the male plants.
- With enough experience, you will be able to breed your own feminized seeds to save money and assure yourself the seeds are not tainted by chemicals or pesticides.
Cons of using seeds:
- Some seeds may be old or may not germinate.
- Even feminized seeds will produce male plants.
- While clones are already growing, seeds take some time to grow.
- Seeds for some strains are quite expensive.
- If the seeds are unlabeled or from an unreliable source, you waste time trying to grow them.
Clones are small plants that have been started for you. It’s not much different than buying tomato or pepper plants in the spring. Cannabis clones come like starter parsley, thyme, or other herbs. A trusted dispensary will sell clones from a variety of strains bred and cloned at the most reliable suppliers. So, you should read the labeling carefully.
If you want to put the time in, you can create your own clones from a favorite strain or from a strain grown by a friend. This does take time and some expertise. It’s meant for those with a stronger interest in breeding and farming. Cloning is not for those who just think they have a “green thumb.”
Cross-cloning for breeding purposes requires considerable education in genetics and plant engineering. Some plants clone better than others; many don’t take to cloning, and still others won’t produce the flavor, aroma, and medical effects you’re after.
Pros of using clones:
- Clones are the genetic duplicate of the parent plant, so the gender of the plant is assured.
- Clones have been growing and may be mature when you buy. That saves you time waiting for the plants to flower and harvest.
- With some education, you can clone the clone to keep your garden growing and expanding.
- Because clones are genetic duplicates of their parents, you always know what you are getting in terms of gender, potency, and strain.
Cons of using clones:
- It’s easier to buy seeds online. Your dispensary may or may not sell them, and you may not be near a cannabis farm.
- Young clones and new breeds required more care than more established ones. You may have to fuss with lights and nutrients. You don’t want to scorch or overfeed young sprouts.
- Because the clone duplicates the parent, it may also inherit any weaknesses including being prone to mold and pests.
- Clones, like vegetable and herb starter plants, are subject to shock in transplanting.
- At the start, clones require moisture but not too much watering and daily monitoring.
What to grow at home?
Choosing between seeds and clones depends on your purpose. If you only need or want a small supply of your favorite strains, you should go for a clone. You can grow a few in a small or portable grow room. You can shop for robust clones requiring little care. You might also select clones with the genetic strength and energy to grow outdoors.
If you want to take farming and breeding more seriously, you will likely start with a selection of seeds favoring a small variety of strains you prefer for recreational and/or medicinal benefits. With care, the seeds become seedlings you can pot for indoors or plant outdoors. Experts prefer to start with seeds because they know what they are getting and will learn to create their own seeds in time.
Whichever planting path you follow, you will be investing money and time. It makes even more sense to learn all you can about cannabis’ botany, genetics, growth cycle, nutrition, and watering. You must shop for lighting and circulation equipment that serves your plans now with potential for future growth.
In any case, growing your own requires more time, effort, and money than a hobby. If you treat it like a hobby, you will become disinterested and careless. Doing it right and beneficially takes more dedication and commitment than a mere pastime. So, you must be all in or not at all.