If you’ve made the decision to set up your very first cannabis grow…well, first of all congratulations on heading one step closer to becoming a real connoisseur! That being said, there is one decision of extraordinary importance you need to make before even thinking about getting started.
Find any cannabis grower with an opinion on the whole clones versus seeds debate and chances are their opinion will be rather vigorous. It’s rare to come across anyone who sits on the fence with this particular argument – most having hardcore views on one side or the other. All of which can make it rather difficult for those new to the idea of cannabis cultivation to work out which method they themselves should go for
How is cloning different than growing directly from cannabis seeds? Well, it’s basically a process whereby cuttings of existing mother plants are used to grow entirely separate plants – largely identical in every way to their parent. Some will tell you right off the bat that this represents nothing short of cheating, while others will say it’s nothing more than a fantastic common sense approach to growing the best buds.
What’s the truth? Assuming you are a first time grower and you haven’t yet decided which strategies to adopt, would you be better off buying seeds or scoring yourself a few clones?
The truth is that both methods have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages, which must be considered before making a final decision. Realistically, there’s no reason why you cannot produce simply fantastic results with either approach – it’s all about your own personal preferences, circumstances and beliefs.
Growing from Clones
As already mentioned, clones differ from seed-grown cannabis plants as they are produced by taking cuttings from mature plants and subsequently re-planted. The point of appeal being that not only do you not have to go through the seed germination process at all, but you are to some extent given the promise of a plant near identical to its mother.
Contrary to popular belief however, growing strong and healthy marijuana plants from clones isn’t necessarily any easier than growing from seed. In fact, given the way in which clones will inherently be affected by any health issues their mother plants had, it absolutely isn’t an approach that guarantees success.
The Advantages of Growing Clones
So as far as outspoken advocates are concerned, what are the primary benefits of growing marijuana from clones?
- First of all, the clone growing method has the potential to be considerably faster and more convenient than growing from seed. The fact that you already have a small plant to start with means that much of the critical early work can be avoided.
- If the clone has been taken from a particularly healthy mother plant, it will naturally possess the same resistance, resilience and general positive qualities.
- Technically speaking, it would be possible to grow a marijuana plantation of unlimited size using the cuttings of healthy plants already in your possession. Meaning in turn you would never have to buy seeds again.
- It is often argued that cloning marijuana plants generally results in much larger, stronger and more potent adult plants.
- The prospect of making a mistake during the seedling stage and wiping out your plants is eliminated entirely.
The Disadvantages of Growing Clones
As for those on the more critical side of the fence, they certainly have more than a few disadvantages to point out when it comes to cloning, which include:
- If you take cuttings from a mother plant that is anything other than exceptional in quality, absolutely nothing you do can save your own plants from an unfortunate future. If the mother plant had any inherent problems with immunity, disease or general weakness, these will inevitably be passed on to every clone.
- If you are interested in growing an auto-flowering cannabis strain, such plants cannot be cloned. As such, you may find that you are relatively limited in terms of choice, if you decide to go for the cloning method.
- It may be absolutely impossible to tell at first sight whether the plants from which your cuttings are taken are suitably strong and healthy for the job.
- It is also recommended that cloning be stopped entirely after five to seven generations of cloning from the ‘bloodline’, in order to prevent abnormalities and unpleasant qualities.
- Many experts insist that growing from seeds represents the only true way of cultivating cannabis – cloning being something of an easy way out for amateurs.
- Plants grown from seeds generally develop a more robust and extensive root structure than those grown from cuttings. This can in turn lead to much stronger and more resilient plants with a potentially superior final yield.
Making the Most of Cuttings
So as it can clearly be seen, it’s definitely a tale of two halves and one where there’s truth on both sides of the argument. But assuming you’ve made the decision to go ahead with cuttings, what should you be doing to maximise your chances of getting everything right?
Well, as already touched upon multiple times, the singe most important consideration is that of the mother’s plant’s health. If you take cuttings from a mother plant of the utmost quality, strength and resilience, it is largely guaranteed by your own plants will exhibit similarly positive qualities.
Generally speaking, the very best results when growing from cuttings can be expected from the third generation. This is usually the generation that promises the strongest and fastest-growing plants with the most impressive yields to follow.
It’s important to be wary of cuttings sourced from elsewhere and to remember to ask as many questions as necessary to verify what it is you are buying. More often than not, growing from cuttings comes more highly recommended for those who have already had their own outstanding plants from which to take cuttings.