Member Blog: Quality Buds, Quality Source. Which Is Better, Seeds or Clones?

Member Blog: Quality Buds, Quality Source. Which Is Better, Seeds or Clones?

Ask 10 cultivators the best way to grow quality cannabis and you will get ten different answers. From growing medium to nutrients to watering schedule, every cultivator thinks they have dialed in the magic recipe for premium buds. One area where the debate rages is whether it is better to grow from seed or clone. To be fair, both have their pros and cons.

Some prefer to grow from seed because they feel seeds yield a hardier plant, whereas clones are more of a carbon copy of the original; exactly the same but not as vibrant. Thinking about the copy machines of yore, after a few copies, the ink would get lighter and the background less crisp. Some claim that clones provide the same experience. Another benefit to growing from seed is breeding. Since clone mothers are female, all their cuttings are female. If a cultivator wants to cross two cultivars, some males need to be added to the mix. For others, the assured female offspring of the mother plant reduces waste and time, as well as the chance that a rogue male will pollinate the garden. Another benefit of growing from clone is that, because it is a carbon copy of the mother, growers can replicate desired strains for the consumer. And while you can procure seeds from a prize-winning cultivar to grow, there is a chance that, like siblings, the final product will be a bit different than the one before. 

For home growers, clones may be preferable because the seedling stage is a very vulnerable one for the little plant. I know that I tried to grow from seed unsuccessfully for a year when I first started until I was gifted an adolescent female. On the other side, since seeds have been deemed a hemp product by the DEA due to containing less than .3% THC, they are easier and safer to ship from place to place, which is a bonus for someone in NY who is excited about a strain from CA. And since clones require a mother room if you want to use the same source plant repeatedly, there is a larger space requirement for growing from clone. In the end, the decision to grow from seed or clone will vary from farm to farm, with some farms, commercial or home grow, choosing to do both. According to the 2023 Home Grow Report from New Frontier Data, 44% report growing from seed, 13% from clone, and 40% use both. 

How about you? Are you a licensed cultivator who has opinions on whether it’s best to grow from seed or clone? New Frontier Data is conducting a survey of licensed cultivators in the US and Canada, and we want to hear from you! We are especially interested in cultivators from AZ, CA, CO, FL, MI, OH, OK, British Columbia and Ontario, but all licensed cultivators are welcome to complete it!  The survey takes about 10 minutes, is confidential, and if you complete it, you will receive a summary of the results in your state AND be entered to win a $100 Amazon gift card! You can take the survey at:

Author & Company Information

Amanda Reiman

Amanda Reiman PhD MSW is the Chief Knowledge Officer at New Frontier Data.

Northern California-based social ethnobotanist. Amanda has been studying the relationship between people, cannabis and greater society for over 20 years. As a pioneer in the field of cannabis and social science, she was one of the first to explore the use of cannabis as a substitute for alcohol and other drugs. Amanda earned her PhD from UC Berkeley and was a professor there for 10 years teaching Substance Abuse Treatment, Drug Policy, Sexuality and Social Work and Research Methods. She was also the Head of Research and Patient Services at Berkeley Patients Group, The Manager of Marijuana Law and Policy at the Drug Policy Alliance, and the VP of Community Development for Flow Cannabis Company.

Member Blog: Securing Your Cannabis Venture – Mastering Inspections with Comprehensive Cannabis Insurance

Join the movement

NCIA is leading the cannabis industry's unified and coordinated campaign to ensure our business sector is treated fairly and has the opportunity to reach its full potential. Now - more than ever - is the time to invest in your business and the future of the industry by becoming a member.

This site uses cookies. By using this site or closing this notice, you agree to the use of cookies and our privacy policy.