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Clones or Seeds: What’s The Best For Growers?

It’s a question that almost every grower runs into at some point: should I grow from seeds or clones?

Of course, if you have no access to any other mother plants, then your decision is already made for you — you’re growing from seeds.

But if you have a functioning garden, should you continue with seeds or should you start from clones?

What are the benefits and drawbacks to each?

When might you want to use one over the other?

That’s what we’ll cover today …

Let’s Start With Growing From Seeds

Plants come from seeds right? It’s an easy, logical thing to start growing your high-value plants from seeds.

So let’s talk about the Pros & Cons here:

PROS:

  • Seeds are easy to buy legally at many places online and can be delivered discreetly to almost anywhere in the world.
  • You can pick the gender of the plant you want to grow. That means you can easily purchase feminine-only high value plant seeds.
  • By shopping for specific seeds, from an established seed bank, you can have a very accurate idea of what your plant will look like and its characteristics as far as yield, quality, and flowering time.
  • You don’t inherit any potential problems from the “mother plant”. That means if you grow from seed, your plant won’t start with any disease or pest problem.

CONS:

  • Not all seeds will germinate, so you have to account for some failures right off the bat.
  • It’s a little bit harder than growing from a clone, because you have to get the seed to germinate first, before it can start into the grow phase.
  • It can take a little bit more time, again, because you have to wait for the seed to germinate, etc
  • The costs can certainly add up, if you are purchasing seeds for every single grow cycle. (And also if you are choosing famous strains to grow)

What About Growing From Clones?

A clone is a cutting from a mature plant that you can replant that will grow into a new plant.

Let’s talk about the Pros & Cons here too:

PROS:

  • You can guarantee the gender of your new plant simply by choosing the correct gender mother plant.
  • Because you are starting with a plant, and you don’t have to wait for the seed to germinate, you are saving a little bit of time.
  • If you have a plant you really like, then you can almost exactly duplicate it by “cloning” it. In fact, that’s the reason it’s called “cloning” in the first place.
  • Once the clones root, you can save a lot of time.

CONS:

  • Compared to seeds, which you can buy many places online, you need to have access to a source of mother plants in real life. Either from your own grows or from someone that you trust who can provide them.
  • If the mother plants had any problems, like pests or disease, you could be starting your clones with these problems.
  • While you could save time compared to seeds, if you don’t clone properly, your plants could be in “shock” and take extra time to root and grow or may even die.
  • You generally have to “baby” the new clone so that it can get established and start growing strong in the beginning. Again, you have to account for this in your grow schedule.

Here Is When You Might Want To Consider Growing From Seeds…

Many growers start with growing from seed because it’s so easily accessible. You simply jump on the internet and search for the exact type of plant that you want to grow and order the seeds. It’s that easy.

Because of this, it makes it easy for first-time growers to start this way, when they may not know anyone in real life who has a garden they can access for mother plants.

Another thing that you can do with seeds, that’s not possible with clones, is that you can “bank” them for later use. Say if you’re preparing to start your grow at a later date, but you have the money to buy your supplies now. You can simply order your seeds now and store them in a cool, dry place and they will last a long time (years even!) until you are ready.

Finally, if you want to see exactly how to grow your specific plants — from seed to harvest — then it may be very educational to start with seeds to learn the entire process of growing.

Here Are The Times When Growing From Clones May Be a Better Option…

If you have already done at least one successful harvest, or if you know someone that grows the types of plants that you would like to grow, then you have easy access to mother plants for cloning.

For some beginners, this may seem like the easiest way to get started because it almost feels like a few weeks worth of “work” is already done for you because you’re starting with a plant and not seeds.

Also, if you come across a plant in your own grows or a friend’s grows, and when you want to — literally clone it — then obviously cloning is the best choice because you can get almost an identical plant this way.

Finally, if you are in a real time crunch and want to save as much time as humanly possible, then it may be wise to consider growing from clones because then you can save yourself a few weeks worth of time (in general) and assuming you clone correctly.

Where Can You Acquire Seeds?

There are a few ways to acquire the seeds for the specific, high-value plants that you want to grow.

First, you can simply go online and start searching for seeds. The benefits to this are you can be as specific as possible and even search for specific strains.

Second, you could potentially find seeds in the harvests of other grows. Either yours or friends. You have to be a little careful in this instance, because you may not know what types of plants you’re going to get if you use these seeds.

Finally, you can breed your own seeds by mating two different plants, which means you can “make” a virtually unlimited supply of seeds if you so desire. The downside to this is that, yes, it can take some time and, yes, you have to know what you’re doing.

Once you acquire your seeds, then it’s a pretty simple process to get your rooting medium, get them wet and wait for them to germinate. Even so, because even the best growers might not achieve a 100% success rate with seeds — we wrote this article called Treating Seeds for Plant Propagation to show you our best tips to get your seeds to germinate.

How To Clone Plants?

To clone plants, you first need access to a mother plant. This is the plant that you will cut parts off of to make your clones.

It’s actually pretty simple, but as always, the devil is in the details. You will take a razor blade and cut off a good, sturdy stem — somewhat large — from the mother plant.

Then you need to use either a cloning gel or powder to cover the cut area of the clone. Next, you place this new clone into what growers call a “cloning tray” which is usually small peat pellets or rockwool containers for your clones.

For more information on cloning gels, click here to read our keys to success when creating clones with cloning gel. And if you want to know about cloning powders, then click here to read how to make a clone using cloning powder.

Again, the process seems simple, because it is. But that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easy to get it right! The fact is that new clones need the right care to grow fast and strong. That’s why we also wrote an article with multiple tips to make sure your clones take root and grow: click here to read how to make certain your clones have the maximum success.

In The End, It’s a Personal Choice…

We firmly believe that in the end, this is a personal choice and growing from clones vs growing from seed is simply up to the grower.

Some growers may find it less stressful to grow from seeds, while others think it’s easier to grow from a clone. It’s up to you. And as you increase in skill as a grower, you might find that one suites you better because of its particular strengths and/or advantages.

On the other hand, it may depend on your life circumstances at the time which one is a better strategy for you. You may not have ready access to mother plants for example, so you can’t clone but you can easily order seeds online.

Again, it all comes down to individual preference and circumstance. Just be sure to be aware of the pros and cons of each method and account for them in your overall growing strategy.

Still Have Questions? Want More Answers? We Are Here To Help!

We understand that at times you might need a helping hand when you’re getting started in growing (heck, even if you’ve been growing for a while!)

That’s why we are here to help.

Click here to go to our Grower Support page where you can get 100% secure & confidential garden and growing advice from Advanced Nutrient growing experts.

Even better, you can get the best help from us — and even more valuable content like this — by subscribing to our newsletter. Simply enter you email into the form on this page and you can receive our very best growing information absolutely FREE!

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The Advanced Nutrients Team

Since 1999, Advanced Nutrients has been committed to educating the community and bringing the most up-to-date knowledge to the forefront of grows across the globe. Every article you read here has been curated by Advanced Nutrients’ industry experts, so you can continue raising your bud weight… and your reputation.

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Over time, components within the nutrients settle on the bottom of the bottle. When you pour a bottle without shaking it, you can potentially be pouring out an unbalanced solution. Shaking up the nutrient bottle ensures you are pouring the right blend into your reservoir, giving your crops the nutrition they need.

Usually, it’s not a problem. But some products are incompatible with each other and can damage your plants when they’re used together. For example, bloom boosters with high PK numbers or low-grade silica products can destabilize your nutrient mix and cause nutrient lockout.

Nutrient manufacturers design their products to be used with each other. In doing so, they include specific portions of each nutrient in each product, so crops receive the right nutrition through each stage of the grow cycle. When you stick with one manufacturer, you don’t have to worry about inadvertently destabilizing your nutrient mixture. One example of why you need to stick with only one manufacturer’s products is Advanced Nutrients’ pH Perfect line. These products are designed to keep your crops’ root zone within a specific pH range. When you use them alongside products from another manufacturer, we can’t guarantee your root zone will maintain its optimal pH level.

Yes! If you’re growing with Advanced Nutrients products, you can use our easy nutrient calculator to generate the correct nutrient chart for your crops in seconds. Check out Advanced Nutrients’ nutrient calculator here. Another great resource is our library of free custom-growing recipes. Try our expert grower-tested nutrient schedules here.

You can also download our official BudLabs app to generate nutrient schedules and receive real-time notifications for specific tasks, including feeding your crops. Upgrade to BudLabs Pro to maintain profiles on an unlimited number of crops.

If you are a grower, visit this link to find the closest Advanced Nutrients Authorized Retailer. If you are a retailer, visit this link to identify our official distributors.

Our greatest passion is growing great cannabis—and helping other growers do the same. That’s why we offer complimentary cultivation support 24/7 from Monday to Friday and from 9 AM until 7 PM PST on Saturday… With the same level of advice licensed producers would pay consultants tens of thousands of dollars to unlock.
Just call 1-800-640-9605 or email support@advancednutrients.com. For Spanish-speaking growers, email spanishsupport@advancednutrients.com.

Yes! If for any reason you are not absolutely thrilled with the results you achieve when you use our products, just bring the unused portion, along with your original sales receipt, back to the place of purchase within six months, and ask for your money back. Find out more about our Grower Guarantee here.

Advanced Nutrients has spent many thousands of man-hours developing a technology that automatically balances your pH for you — putting it in the “sweet spot” and holding it there for one week.

And the technology is so “smart” that it can account for many of the aforementioned variables in your grow room. Our proprietary pH buffering agents and stabilizing mechanisms became the foundation of a new system aptly called pH Perfect® Technology. Learn all about it here.