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Start with clones or seeds?

Both growing options have advantages and disadvantages. Read about them here.

Contributed by: snoofer
Submitted: 11-10-2003

Growers face the decision to start a grow from either seeds or rooted clones. The decision is not obvious, as both growing options have their respective advantages and disadvantages. Growers may have to weigh cost, growing space, crop risk and turn around time.



  • Clones are female! No need to pre-sex or worry about males

  • Clones are much faster to veg up and flower than starting from seed, resulting in a quick harvest and a much shorter turnaround time.

  • Clones can be quickly grown into moms and re-cloned, for an (almost) instant vegetative and flowering crop

  • Clones are genetically identical, but some differences will still be evident in the phenotype. In general, clones will exhibit even growth and growing characteristics.

  • Rooted clones can be flowered immediately if space or time is a problem.

  • Clones can quickly indicate a strain’s characteristics (smell, vigor, branching pattern, sativa/indica dominance, rooting quality, etc).


  • Clones can be difficult to find, as opposed to available seed banks. Clones from unknown sources are of suspect quality and genetics.

  • Growers run a high risk of inheriting problems from the last grower: Root rot, spider mites, powdery mildew, etc. If these problems are not identified and treated, they can quickly spread to an entire crop.

  • Unhealthy clones may die or remain in shock for an extended period

  • Shipped clones may be in shock and take weeks of TLC to recover. There are many stories of medical clones shipped without any protection and arriving flat!

  • Clones are more light-sensitive than seeds. Unrooted clones take time to become established, and are easily burned by light (and nutrients)

  • As clones are almost always female, breeding options are limited. Hermies are possible with unstable clone crosses.



  • Seeds obtained from reputable seed banks are of known lineage and genetics. You should have a reasonable idea of what the strain will do in terms of yield, quality and flowering time.

  • Breeding and crossing options are possible with male seeds. (Feminized seeds produce a higher % of female seeds, but 100% female is never guaranteed, and hermaphrodites are more possible).

  • Hybrid vigor. Females grown from seed are often higher yielding than clones. Strains can lose their vigor over time; growers may want to 'rejuvinate' their grow with the same successful strain.

  • Your seeds should produce healthy plants, free of disease and pests.


  • Seeds take a long time (and there is more labor, money and time involved) before a harvest can occur.

  • Cost. Seeds can be expensive, not only per seed pack, but in the time they take to produce a flowered crop.

  • Problems with shipping/customs seizing seed bank deliveries, switched seeds, etc.

  • Unstable hybrid strains (See faqs on strain breeding )

  • Not all seeds will be viable (germinate) and only 50% of the unfeminized seeds will be female (feminized seeds may produce up to 90% females). Only female seeds will produce female mothers, from which productive clones can be taken and flowered.

  • It may take several seed packs to discover an excellent mother.

    The procedure to sex seeds enmasse:

    -grown into mothers
    -clones taken from each mother, labeled, then sexed to tell which mother is female or male
    -the best mothers are selected (males may be optionally discarded).

    -mothers are mass cloned
    -clones are vegetatively grown and then flowered
  • Royal Queen Seeds Cannabis Seeds
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