Seeds Vs. Clones: A Buyer’s Guide To Good Genetics

A good grow, regardless of scale, starts with one of two things: a clone or a seed. Cloning is the act of taking a cutting from a mature plant (preferably while in a vegetated state) then rooting said cutting with the use of water or a growth hormone. As the name suggests, you’re making a genetic copy. This process is highly popular among commercial growers due to its convenience and genetic consistency.


Cannabis is the most diverse species of plant on this planet, and you can thank our prohibition-era basement-grow pioneers for that. Unfortunately, these folks didn’t make an effort to stabilize the breeds with true breeding practices. As a result, there aren’t many cannabis breeders who have true breeding lines.

Lack of formality made the cannabis seed more unstable, compared to your typical cucumber or tomato seed. Simply put: there’s just no telling what you might get from a seed in terms of phenotype or genotype. A clone, at least, gives you a better idea of what to expect.

No other industry in agriculture relies on cloning practices so heavily. When it comes to true breeding, cannabis is a good 80 years behind. Seeds grown using true breeding techniques offer the same level of consistency from parent to progeny as cloning does. For example, buying a cucumber seed will produce a near perfect progeny, because they are more genetically stable than the typical cannabis seed.

Cannabis seeds are the unique children of two different parents, offspring with variations from two genetically different parents. OG Kush and Trainwreck are two genotypically different varieties. Crossing them only results in something with a completely different genetic makeup, giving you an entirely different variety! See Mendel’s Law for a high school biology blast from the past.

Offspring you see from cannabis seeds are diverse; no two will be alike. Biology necessitates diversity. What follows is a healthier, happier plant. Breeders will typically spend months and years cultivating a new plant from seed into a generational line, all in an attempt to nail down the perfect variety to clone.

These clones, taken from their mother, will be planted—over and over—until the mother dies and is replaced using a cutting from its copy. Eventually these generational lines begin to decay, resulting in poorer general health and smaller yields. This is when farms will start selling clones, just to try and maintain a profit. If your budtender isn’t sure where along the generational spectrum a clone sits, then you should seriously consider buying seeds.

Cloning offers you a nice head start, without a doubt. Growing from seed takes time and a little more money, depending on where you get your seedlings. Typical prices range from $12 to $30 for a clone while nitrogen sealed cans filled with 8 or 10 seeds run up to $70-$100 each. For some people, this might seem a little steep. But maybe putting another five on it for the sake of assurance is such a bad thing?

We cannot deny the convenience cloning offers. If you’re short on money and time, we recommend using a clone. Just make sure you ask your budtender if the clone was taken from a mother that was the original offspring of an initial cross. Otherwise, your clone might become susceptible to health problems caused by a generational mutation known as telomere-shortening.  

Below is an overview of how you can germinate your own seeds. Take a look and see if this route seems right for you.

Popping Pot Properly

Popping is simply a term that describes the act of germination. Below are some brief and easy instructions on how to awaken a dormant seedling.

Things you need
  1. Two plates
  2. Paper towels
  3. Water
  4. Seeds
  5. That’s it!
Doing the thing
  • Tear off a single piece off your roll of paper towels
  • Soak it thoroughly with water then squeeze out any excess
  • Place the towel flat on on of your plates.
  • Take your seeds out from their packaging and put them on the wetted paper towel
  • Make sure you do not put the seeds too close together, give them room to push out their root
  • Take another moist paper towel and place it on top of the seeds but make sure you squeeze out any excess water before doing so
  • Place the second plate over the first so it resembles a space saucer
  • Maintain a temperature of 69 degrees when storing your space saucer so that your aliens inside don’t get too cold
  • Water after the first day
  • Continue watering on a staggered schedule until you begin
  • If nothing happens to your seeds after 15 days then they are probably bogus
    • Note: It is more common to see germination after 72 hours. Very rarely will you wait longer.

Transferring & Planting Seeds

After you’ve spotted some roots. Go ahead and carefully transport your popped pot babies into a growing medium of your choice. We recommend either rockwool, Happy Frog soil from Fox Farm, or the ever popular coco-fiber.

  • Note: Make sure the coco-fiber you buy has been washed of any salt build up as some coco-fiber contains excess salts. Plants don’t like salt. Actually, they hate it. So yeah, just don’t.   

Before planting, make a cavity two times bigger than the seedling is long. About 2 to 5 millimeters below the surface should do. The key here is to make sure you block any light while also ensuring the youngling has a fair chance to push through.

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