The conversation about whether local growers should grow from seed or clones is starting to heat up. While the legalities of purchasing clones are a grey area, there are pros and cons to both methods.
Let’s explore the first route of purchasing cannabis seeds.
Buying cannabis seeds
We’ve recommended that most of our clientele head over to our friends at President-Seeds. But what are the advantages of going with seeds over clones – well:
Established seed banks
South African seed banks have been around for a while and are well established. This means they’ve had time to source stock from the best breeders locally and internationally.
This means you can be certain of the look of the plant, what yield it produces, the quality of the high, as well as flowering times.
And because these strains have been bred for a while you can do research on them to troubleshoot any issues that might pop up.
As with everything cannabis, you want to be discreet. Getting a delivery of seeds can be done on the down low. While transporting clones requires them to be in the open.
In the cannabis world, sex matters. The sex of the plant that is. While breeding has come on leaps and bounds, you can be sure when you plant a feminized seed it’ll grow into the most beautiful female plant.
With clones you’re most likely to get cuttings from the same plant and strain. But when you’re buying seeds you can try your own hand at breeding the exact strain you want.
While this does take years to accomplish, and will certainly require you to master cloning to increase the size of your crop, your easiest first step is to purchase some seeds.
Cloning can leave you with a plant suffering from disease and pests. With seeds there are no such issues as you’re starting from scratch.
So, now what at the downsides? Well:
Most seed banks pour hours into ensuring your seeds will germinate. But sometimes it’s out of their control. Which is something you don’t need to worry about with clones.
If you’ve been storing your seeds for an extended period they might take longer to grow.
For those not purchasing their seeds from a bank, you run the risk of growing a male plant. Which can be a costly exercise.
Growing from seed will take longer than nurturing a clone. This is due to the fact it is already a mature plant and is already busy with the first stages of growing.
Conclusion for buying seeds
Purchasing seeds is a rewarding experience for any cannabis grower. Also, it is easier to source seeds. We’d argue that it’s simpler than sourcing clones.
For those looking to take a more budget route and grow the seeds from the baggie, you can encounter issues with gender of the seeds and having to deal with a male.
If you’re looking for pointers on how to identify a healthy seed, it should be dark brown or light grey. Seeds that are green, smaller, and white are most likely immature and won’t germinate properly.
Keep your seeds in a dark and cold environment. Make sure that they don’t come into contact with water and they shouldn’t be frozen.
Now that we’ve gone through the seeds, let’s focus on clones.
Buying marijuana clones
As mentioned before, the legalities around buying clones are a fine line to tread. We’d recommend exercising caution as it is illegal. But, as we get closer to a day when it won’t be, what are the pros of using cuttings?
When cloning a plant you can be 100% sure that you’re getting an exact copy of the mother plant. This means if your donor plant is female your clone will be as well.
As mentioned, clones have a head start when compared to seeds. Also, clones have a shorter grow cycle when compared to seeds. And clones can form into new donor plants and new cuttings can be taken.
The exact same
When cloning you’re making a genetically identical copy to the mother plant. This means you know exactly what you’re growing. There are no surprises when growing a clone.
A rooted clone can be coaxed into flowering almost immediately. This is, however, dependant on space and timing.
Now that we’ve tackled the positives, let’s look at the cons:
Harder to locate
Currently, not many companies in South Africa are offering clones. Also, when you purchase a clone from a third party you’re not 100% sure of the history of the mother plant.
Making a clone means you’re genetically copying their problems. If the mother plant has issues with pests or viruses you could be inheriting those problems. Make sure to inspect the donor plant.
If the clone isn’t properly taken care of you could be stuck with a plant that dies. The shock of being transformed into a clone can be overwhelming and kill the plant before it has established itself. And if it is done poorly, you can lose your head start investing time in reviving it.
New clones are rather picky when it comes to lighting, nutrients, and growing conditions. This is only a factor when you compare them to plants grown from seed.
Conclusion about buying clones
If you’re looking for clones, you will need to know a grower with a healthy donor plant. And as mentioned there’s no guess work when creating a clone about whether it’s female or not. This is always a bonus.
And if you’re creating your own, be sure to take the advice from a professional.