5 Advantages of growing marijuana from cuttings (clones) vs seeds
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There are two ways to grow cannabis; from seeds or from cuttings. While most beginner growers will use cannabis seeds to get started, working with cuttings has some great advantages, which we’ll explore in more detail below.
1. WORKING WITH CUTTINGS IS FASTER
Using cannabis cuttings is much faster than using seeds because it lets you skip the germination stage.
When planting a cannabis seed, you’ll need it germinate and sprout, allowing it to break out of its shell until it eventually grows roots and leaves.
While some seeds germinate in around 24 hours, others can take between 2-7 days to start showing the first signs of germination. Once cracked and showing its first taproot, a seed will grow its first leaves, known as “sucker leaves.”
From start to finish, the entire seedling stage can take about 2-3 weeks indoors and up to 6 weeks outdoors.
When you use a cutting, however, you bypass this entire process. All you have to do is give your cutting some time to develop roots. Once that’s done, it’ll essentially enter its vegetative phase full force.
Also, remember that some seeds may not germinate at all. While some germination methods are better than others, none can guarantee a 100% success rate.
That’s because seeds are fragile, and mistakes in handling, temperature, or moisture can affect their chances of germinating.
2. USING CUTTINGS IS CHEAPER
Another advantage of using cuttings instead of seeds is that it drives down costs. Whenever working with seeds, it’s best to buy them from a reputable breeder/seedbank to ensure you’re getting proper genetics.
However, buying seeds from seedbanks can be quite expensive. Packs of 3 seeds can be obtained for 10 euros, but also come as costly as €50 or more.
If you plan to grow more than just a few plants and this for a longer period of time, it might be wise to think about growing and keeping a mother plant. By working with cuttings, you’re able to avoid these costs. A good, strong, and stable mother plant can potentially produce countless cuttings.
Hence, most dedicated growers will buy seeds to get started and have a variety of genetics to work with. From there, they’ll usually turn to working with cuttings from a handful of strong mother plants.
And while growing/maintaining healthy mother plants also comes with its own set of costs, these are usually much lower than buying new seeds at the beginning of every season.
3. CUTTINGS ARE ALWAYS FEMALE
A single male cannabis plant can pollinate hundreds of female plants and jeopardize entire harvests. Unless you’re trying to breed your own plants, you’ll usually want to avoid male plants like the plague.
When working with seeds, most growers will opt to use feminized seeds to minimize their chances of getting males. Of course, feminized seeds tend to be more expensive than regular seeds, and once again spike the cost of your entire grow.
Cuttings taken from a female plant, on the other hand, are guaranteed to be female. As such, they make for a great way to avoid having male plants pollinate your females and turn your hard-earned flowers into packs of seeds.
Just keep in mind that over-cloning or other hard stress induced to a mother plant can increase your chances of ending up with hermaphrodite plants with male characteristics. To be on the safe side, we recommend only cloning your mothers a maximum of 4 times before you recreate her from one of the cuttings.
4. YOU GET EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT
A pack of seeds is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’ll get inside. Sure, if you buy your seeds from a trusted seedbank, you can rest assured that you’re getting the strain you paid for. However, you have no real guarantee about the kinds of phenotypes that’ll sprout in your garden.
If you plant seeds of the same strain, you’ll likely end up with plants with slight differences, affecting everything from their size to the effects/potency of their fruit. Of course for some this is what growing is all about; finding that hidden gem in all those different phenotypes. But sometimes you just want a garden with strong, uniform plants. By keeping the perfect motherplant and taking clones from her, you will always have a guarantee for those strong and uniform plants.
Using cuttings is a guaranteed way of growing exact replicas of an existing plant in your garden. Hence, cuttings can preserve a particularly strong phenotype. So make sure to experiment with a few varieties, and once you find your dream plant, clone it.
From there, with a little bit of love and attention, you’ll be able to grow multiple generations of your mother. This is a great way to have a steady, reliable supply of the same weed.
5. CUTTINGS ALLOW FOR MORE HARVESTS
One final benefit of using cannabis cuttings is that they allow for multiple harvests. Because cuttings allow you to skip the entire germination and seedling stage of a plant’s life, they actually allow you to produce more harvests per year.
When growing outdoors, using cuttings will usually let you get in an extra harvests per year before winter comes around. If you’re growing indoors, you can grow all year round and have a constant cycle of mothers, babies, and growing plants. Using cuttings in an efficient way may get you an extra harvest in a year. That translates to some serious bud.
CUTTINGS: TAKE THE GUESSWORK OUT OF GROWING
As you can see, there are plenty of benefits to using cannabis cuttings instead of seeds. So it's no wonder so many dedicated growers prefer this practice.
While it can take some time to learn and understand the cloning process, it’ll definitely pay off in the end once you start reaping the benefits we listed above.