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Cannabis Clones vs Seeds: The Pros and Cons for Beginning Growers

Updated on September 22, 2019
Cannabis Seedlings
Cannabis Seedlings

The big question...

Clones or seeds? That is the question every person must ask themselves if they want to grow their own cannabis. For a beginner this can be a very tough question. If not answered correctly, could cost you a lot of time and money. In this article I am going to break down some of the major differences between starting from seed vs. a clone.

Before I get into the pros and cons of each, we must first understand what a clone is and, the types of seeds that are available to you.

What is a clone?

A clone is a cutting (usually about 6”) that was taken from a mother plant and treated to make roots of its own. The cuttings taken are an exact genetic copy of the mother plant. Depending on the genetics cuttings can develop their own roots between 7-15 days.

What kind of seeds can I buy?

Buying seeds can be quite intimidating at first, there are hundreds of websites and thousands of strains. There are 3 main types of cannabis seeds available to you. Regular, feminized, or auto-flower...

1.Regular Seeds

  • Regular seeds are just that. Regular. There is nothing special about them and you never know what you are going to get, male or female.

2. Feminized Seeds

  • These seeds are guaranteed to be female.


  • These seeds will automatically flower regardless of the time of year and light cycle. Some auto flowers grow and yield much more than others, it pays to do your research on these.

So why do some growers prefer clones and others seeds?

Start up Time…

Clones come fully rooted and, in most cases, several weeks old. For new growers germinating seeds can be tricky. Starting from a clone allows you to skip the germination stage.

Seeds must be germinated before planting. Once germinated the seedling is fragile and must be handled with the utmost care. For an inexperienced grower, there is a high risk of loss during the germination and seedling phase. For the experienced grower, it can take 4 weeks for a seed to become the size of a clone. Starting with a clone will shorten your veg time by at least 4 weeks.


There is not much difference in the cost of a clone vs, the cost of a seed that I have seen. A clone will cost between $5-$25 depending on size and strain. A seed will cost the same depending on type and strain.

Phenotype Variation…

This is why I chose clones when I was first starting out. Well, that and I have no patience. Lol.

Clones are cut from one plant and are exact genetic copies of the donor. Therefore there is no phenotype variation from one plant to another. In other words, you know exactly what you are getting. For the beginner there are a lot of advantages to this. Just like humans every plant or phenotype is different. Some are more resistant to pests, some have much longer flower times, some will not grow very tall. Knowing exactly what genetics you are dealing with can save you a lot of time and money as it will eliminate most of the guessing game on light cycles, nutrients, and pest protocol.

Seeds however will have minimal to extreme variations in phenotypes. There are many reasons for this and, it can have its advantages. More on that later. Automatic seeds can carry some of the same features as a clone. As it automatically flowers you should have a good idea of when it will flip to flower and expected plant size/yield.

So why would I want a lot of variation between one plant to the other? To pheno hunt of course! If you have the ability to germinate and grow many seeds, you can pheno hunt your own genetics. We do this once a year and it is so fun! No one know what kind of cannabis you like better than you. Pheno hunting gives you more options and puts you in more control of the kind of cannabis you are growing. Once you find that one phenotype you love, you can keep a mother plant and clone your own. There is nothing more rewarding than building your own sustainable cannabis garden.

Get started!

Regardless of how you start. Clone or seed. The best cannabis in the world, is the stuff you grew yourself. Follow me if you want to learn more about cannabis cultivation and building your own sustainable garden.

Mendo Breath roots from GEN9Three Gardens
Mendo Breath roots from GEN9Three Gardens | Source

Have you grown from Clone or Seed?

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© 2019 Joshua Heller


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