Seedlings v/s Clones

Why grow from Seedlings instead of Clones

Seedlings or Clones

As a Hemp grower, there is one basic decision you need to make before starting your growing season. Do you plan to use seedling plants or cloned plants? You may not have even realized that there are two methods for growing Hemp plants. Each one has its pros and cons, and choosing the right option can mean the difference between success and failure. This information about each technique should help you decide which is right for you.

Growing from Clones 

A clone is a cutting from a mature cannabis plant which can be replanted and raised to produce buds. It might seem simple to raise a plant from a clone that has already partially developed, but it can actually be much more difficult than growing a seed from scratch. For one thing, all plants are highly susceptible to diseases such as fungus or infestation by bugs. A clone is the exact genetic image of the mother plant it came from, so if the mother had any health issues, the cutting will also suffer. As a first time grower, or even a seasoned grower you may not have the experience or know-how to deal with these problems, and the plant may die.  The condition of the clone can pose other obstacles. A freshly cut clone needs a lot of tender loving care, and when it’s first replanted it will be extremely sensitive. An initial period of transplant shock is to be expected, and it will need very specific amounts of light and nutrients to nurse it through this phase. Transplant failure is all too common, and a grower may struggle to keep young clones healthy.  Another major problem with using clones is that they can be hard to find.  In this event, how can you guarantee what strain of cannabis you’re getting? Will it be any good? This will be a mystery until you’re finally ready to test it. Some clones are available for purchase online, but this is an extremely risky way to buy plants. Shipping clones can be traumatic for them, and you’re likely to receive a clone in poor health. Commercially sold plants are sometimes treated with pesticides or fungicides, and a clone from these plants will contain these elements as well.  The only tangible benefit of using a clone for a grower is that the plant is already farther along in development than a freshly planted seed would be, and you can hope for an actual yield sooner. If time is not an issue, this may not matter to you at all. It usually only shortens the entire growing cycle by about a month. If you use seedlings from a grower, the seedling plants will be at the same stage of growth as a clone and in most cases actually further along.  


Growing from Seed  

Starting new plants from seeds is probably a more hassle-free, guaranteed method for growers. If growing a plant from a tiny seed sounds intimidating, you can rest easy that it actually poses far less difficulties than using clones.  Firstly, there are great seed banks that offer a tried and true product that you can count on. There’s no guesswork with seeds from a seed bank. By having control over what variety you purchase, you’ll already know what you’re getting as far as the strain of the Hemp. This means you won’t waste any time on a low-quality plant. Most seed banks offer feminized Hemp seeds. Feminized seeds yield female plants exclusively, and since only the female plants produce buds, you can be assured that your money isn’t being thrown away on plants you can’t use.  Another reason that starting plants from seeds is optimal is because it’s simply what is natural to the Hemp plant itself. Hemp is an annual plant, meaning that its life in its natural environment is only around a year long. Hemp plants are simply not genetically engineered to remain active and flowering for longer periods of time, so a clone from a mature plant may already be getting old and could yield less buds than a seedling.  If you think that clones will offer buds sooner than a seedling, consider the fact that Feminized auto-flowering seed varieties are also available. Auto Flowering Seeds have been carefully cross-bred and conditioned in an area of the world with extended daylight hours. This means that these seeds have been exposed to more of the light that they need to bloom, and therefore will bloom in as little as two to four weeks.  Finally, a plant grown from seed will have a hearty root structure. For those of you completely unfamiliar with gardening of any kind, a tap root is the central part of a plant’s entire root system, extending deep into the surrounding soil and absorbing large amounts of nutrients. A clone is incapable of growing a tap root and may never be as strong and healthy as a plant grown from seed, which will develop its own tap root.  Though growing from clones might have at one time been popular, growers concerned with the singular quality of their plants are moving back to a method of growing from seeds. One look at the extensive selection of premium seeds available online may convince you that the seed method is the best route to success as a new grower.


Field Trials 2018/2019 

In 2018 our goal was to study and gather information and knowledge about CBD Hemp Plants.  Countless hours were spent germinating seedlings and rooting clones to determine the best results for our state.  We've studied numerous different strains to come up with the best High CBD producing strains for NC.  During the 2019 growing season we done both field and greenhouse trials with seedlings and clones to determine their tolerance to our states ever changing climate, diseases and pest.  The conclusion of these trials was that CBD Hemp Plants grown from seed performed much better both in the field and in the greenhouse.  Plants grown from seed had faster growth from transplant, more vigor during vegetative stage and produced larger plants with more flower weight than the same strains grown from clones.  They also showed a higher stability during extreme drought and heat conditions as well as a stronger ability to withstand high winds.  As a result of our field and greenhouse trials we have discontinued growing clones and now focus all of our attention to growing top quality high CBD Hemp Seedlings. 

The information below is the results of a two year in house study performed at our farm by our staff in central North Carolina. I know that results may differ depending on location and climate but our results have shown that seed grown plants surpass clones in overall performance.   

Seedlings Pro's

Stronger Start after transplant

Healthier overall plant condition 

Stronger root system 

Less likely to drown   

Ability to pull more nutrients & moisture from the soil 

Ability to withstand high winds 

Better growth during vegetative stage   Bigger overall plant size 

More flower weight per plant   

Less expensive 


Seedling Con's   

Varying Phenotypes due to seed coming from several different mother plants   Varying CBD results (one may be 14% and the other 17%) due to different mother plants  

Clone Pro's  

Guaranteed genetics of the mother plant    Similar Phenotype to the Mother plant     CBD/THC results very near that of the mother plant    

Good growth during Vegetative stage 

Clone Con's  

Slow start after transplant  

Weaker Plant condition overall  

Weaker Root System    

More Likely to drown 

Less ability to pull nutrients and moisture from the ground during heat and drought conditions 

Blows over during high winds    

Smaller overall plant size    

Less flower weight    

More Expensive 

Hemp plant root system Clone verses Seedling