Is It Better to Use Cannabis Seed or Clones?

07 Oct 2023

There is no set way to grow Cannabis plants, with everyone starting off with either seed or clones. There are many reasons why a grower may choose to work with seeds over clones and vice versa, ranging from practicality to local laws, so in this article we explain the benefits of using seeds and clones, and provide our top tips to consider.

The benefits of feminized cannabis seeds

I think it is safe to say almost every single grower who starts off in their bedroom with a grow guide type of book will use Cannabis seeds. It was in early 2000, when feminized seeds were first introduced to the marketplace, and changed the way we grew indoors.

There was no more need to wait until the second or third week of the flowering period to see if you had male or female plants, saving growers so much time, space, nutrients and overall labor. Feminized seeds became the only way to grow and quickly dominated the already busy and thriving marketplace. 

  • Plants are guaranteed to be female, meaning a grower can maximize their space.
  • There is no need to use regular seeds and the process of removing potential males.
  • Ordering feminized seeds online or buying them at a local seed shop is easy to do.
  • Growing many different feminized strains at once is possible with feminized seeds. 
  • Many seed banks will offer promotional seed packets when buying female seeds.
  • The choice of strains and seed banks now available is extremely dynamic. 

The benefits of feminized cannabis clones

Working with female Cannabis clones can be a lifesaver, and help shave weeks off the growing period. Clones with a well established root ball can be transplanted into a hydroponic system or large container of soil or coco, and flowered immediately if need be. Not everyone can get their hands on clones, and many first time growers probably don’t know where to get clones from, even if they wanted to.

In Canada and the U.S. the cloning culture out there has existed for decades, and it was only in recent years the demand for regular and feminized seeds and genetic diversity came to light. Other parts of the world and Europe may be left with the option of starting with seeds and the ability to drive home with a tray of healthy clones is not only illegal but not possible to source for many home growers. 

  • Well rooted clones will save up to 3–4 weeks of growing time compared to seedlings.
  • In some countries, buying clones for recreational or medicinal reasons is allowed.
  • Clones are not expensive to buy and may cost between 5-10 euro per genetic in Europe.
  • Healthy clones taken off mature mothers will often produce the best results indoors.
  • Keeping a mother plant under 18 hours of light allows a grower to source clones for free.
  • Taking clones is simple and requires jiffy plugs, a propagator, hormone, and soft lighting.
  • Clones can be a great back-up alternative if you have problems with seedlings.

The downside of using feminized cannabis clones

Now before you get all excited and start ordering trays of clones from your neighbor, it is important to consider the downside of using feminized clones. Unfortunately, we are not in legal states like the US that allow a grower to walk around and choose which clones they want to take back home and what the dispensary or shop recommends. Sourcing clones locally can be a risky game thanks to the high volume of contaminated clones that are passed from grower to grower, and eventually country to country. 

  1. Clones can contain spider mites and, once planted in your garden, will cause mayhem in a short amount of time. Not only will a clone infected with spider mites set you back significantly time wise, you will have to give your grow room a deep clean afterward and do your best to remove any chance of more mites or eggs.
  2. Pathogens such as powdery mildew can attack clones and before a grower is even aware, has contaminated their rooms with airborne powdery mildew spores. There are ways to check if a clone is infected with a pathogen using a U.V clean light during the propagation phase. 
  3. Hop latent viroid is the most recent plant disease to come out of nowhere and seriously disrupt the industry on a massive scale. Plants infected with HLVd will have problems growing and become stunted and seem sick and tired. What is worse is the fact you cannot see or detect this issue until the plants begin to struggle to grow and flower.
  4. Clones taken off hermaphrodite plants will always display the same undesirable traits, even when clones are growing in a perfect environment and given plenty of tender loving care and nutrients. You will not know this is the cause until week 5 or 6 of the flowering period, and by then you may be encouraged to pull the room and start all over again!

Can I take clones off autoflowering plants?

The short answer here is no, and that is due to the fact that autoflowering plants are not able to stay in a vegetative state, despite receiving 18–24 hours as done with a photoperiod plant. Taking clones off autos will only stress the plants are they are transitioning to flower and may cause the plants to become stunted and produce small yields. 

Top tips to consider when using clones

Top Tip #1 - Always try and check that the clones you are sourcing are clean and free of spider mites. The best way to do so is to check for leaf damage and notice any tiny yellow dots on the surface of the leaf. 

Top Tip #2 - Using a U.V clean light will allow a grower to easily see any leaf damage from insects, and will also kill the mildew virus. U.V clean lights are not too expensive and can also be bought for water.

Top Tip #3 - Rooted clones planted into hydroponic systems will begin to grow quickly and will not take long before they are ready to flower. Working with seed is fine, however using clones in hydro systems can be highly rewarding for an indoor grower.


All clones come from a seed, so why not take the opportunity to take clones from your best plants, and think about keeping a mother plant alive. One of the best things about growing Cannabis is the never ending choice of terpene rich, high THC, large yielding and cup winning genetics available. We suggest starting with feminized seeds, working your way up to clones and later on taking on a mother plant from your best stock.