Growing cannabis clones has both its advantages and disadvantages. The best method depends on your personal preferences, needs, and plant growing skills. Interest in growing marijuana is growing on P.E.I., say retailers, even though seed sales at P.E.I. Cannabis have not been strong.
Differences of Cannabis Clones versus Seeds
If you are planning to grow your own cannabis, whether it’s one plant or many, there are two main ways to start the plants. This can be done either by seed or by cloning. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
The technique you use to grow your marijuana can depend on several factors. One consideration is what your end goal is. Are you looking to produce an abundant crop to be harvested and sold or enough for you and your friends to enjoy? Your skill level at growing plants should also be considered, especially if you are going to be marketing your harvest.
The best way to decide which technique is right for you is by first knowing the differences in cannabis clones versus the seeds.
What are Plant Clones?
Clones are grown from a central plant and are genetically identical to their parent. They are created by taking a cutting from the parent plant. This is usually a piece about several inches long from a healthy branch. That piece of limb, or cutting, is then allowed to grow roots. This is often done by placing the cutting in water until sufficient roots are grown and the plant can be put into a pot with soil or placed in the ground.
The best clones are the ones created from a healthy mother plant. The plant should be fast growing with a strong, and robust root system. It should also generate abundant harvests that are known to produce high-quality buds.
Growing Cannabis from Clones
Growing cannabis from clones instead of seeds is done for several reasons. It’s a quicker method of cultivation. The cannabis clone is already germinated and just needs to take root. Growing a plant fast also means economical. Less time spent waiting for the plant to mature means a quicker harvest, and if you are a seller this equates to the faster a product can be marketed.
With a clone, you also have an excellent idea of what the mature plant will turn out like. They are predictable in the quality of the buds they will produce. This is a good thing when it comes time to harvest. You know what kind of cannabis product you will be getting. Another benefit of growing cannabis from clones is if the parent plant has pest resistant qualities so will the clone. A plant resistant to bugs makes for a stronger plant and a better marijuana harvest.
On the other hand, cloning a plant does have a few drawbacks. Plants grown from seeds have the ability to adapt to changes in their environment, and so does each future generation of the plant. This adaptability helps the lineage of the plant be strong enough to grow in different environmental conditions. A cloned plant is exactly the same genetically as its parent and can’t change its own genetics to adapt to a changing environment.
Also, coned plants generally produce a smaller harvest than one grown from a seedling. The clone tends to be a much weaker plant, with a root system that doesn’t grow as strong and deep as the seedling’s does. Another issue may be the parent of the clone may not have had bug and pest resistant qualities in its genetic makeup. This can make the cloned plant susceptible to damaging infestations.
Growing Cannabis from Seeds
There are two types of seed strains, stable and unstable. As the name states, a stable seed strain lineage always has the same qualities. The grower or breeder will start with both a male and female plant and breed them until the specific desired qualities are stabilized in the plant. The new plants in the breed’s lineage will have most of the same desired traits, along with a few genetic variations.
An unstable seed strain often produces plants more quickly, but there is no consistency in their traits and quality of their harvests. The plants that do grow are not a reputable strain. Most cannabis dispensaries won’t buy products from plants grown from unstable seed strains.
Cannabis plants grown from stable seed strains are a much healthier plant than ones grown from clones. The seedling has a much stronger root system, starting with a taproot. This is a root that grows vertically downward for a considerable distance away from the seed. It forms a strong anchor that is able to reach rich nutrients deep in the soil. A robust, healthy plant creates a more significant yield of the product. With cannabis seeds, you also have a much greater variety of plants to choose from.
The disadvantages of growing from a cannabis seed include not knowing the specific qualities of the plant until it reaches maturity. Growing a plant from seed takes more time to cultivate. Seeds are very delicate in their early stages of growth and need more skill to grow. When growing a plant from seed, you won’t know if it’s male or female until it’s fully grown.
A female plant grows the flowers or buds, and a male plant creates the seeds. The female is the plant you want for harvesting your marijuana product.
Which are better for Starters?
Whether starting a plant from a seed or a clone is the better method, depends on several factors. The skill of the grower is essential. Seeds take more time, patience, and a bit more know-how than growing from a clone. For a newbie to gardening, growing a cannabis plant from a clone is the better option. If you do have some advanced gardening skills but just started to learn how to grow cannabis, growing the plant from a clone may still be the way to go…at least until you understand the unique techniques needed in the marijuana plants growing process.
Growing cannabis either from a seed or a clone has both its advantages and disadvantages. The best method depends on your personal preferences, needs, and plant growing skills. Either way, with some time, patience, sun, and water you can have your own cannabis plant or rows of plants in no time at all!
Growing pot? Here are some common mistakes to avoid
Interest in growing marijuana is growing on P.E.I., say retailers, even though seed sales at P.E.I. Cannabis have not been strong.
Seeds are available at P.E.I. Cannabis but sales have been weak
‘We really encourage growers to take some time and do some homework,’ says Hunter Kerr at Grow Daddy in Stratford, P.E.I. (Associated Press)
With more than $7 million in legal pot purchased from P.E.I. Cannabis in the first six months of legalization, it’s clear Islanders are interested in consuming the product, and interest in growing marijuana is also, well, growing, say retailers.
Veseys Seeds in York, P.E.I., has devoted six pages in its catalogue to growing at home — grow lights have been a big seller — and many people have been coming to their store seeking equipment and advice.
Grow Daddy, which sells cannabis growing and smoking equipment online and from its storefront in Stratford, P.E.I., has two staffers who call themselves growing experts — Hunter Kerr and Shawn Harnden — and they’re busy selling equipment and giving advice to many new customers, they say.
Seed sales not ‘strong’
P.E.I. Cannabis began selling marijuana seeds in January but says interest in the legal seeds isn’t strong. It secured what it calls a limited supply from Ontario-based Canopy Growth for purchase in-store and online.
“Sales in the seeds sub-category have not been as strong as other formats,” said an emailed statement from P.E.I. Cannabis to CBC.
“In order to ensure customers have a legal source for cannabis seed, P.E.I. Cannabis intend to increase the variety of seeds in stock as supply becomes available.”
It can be a bit of an investment. But it’s certainly cheaper than purchasing it at the store. — Hunter Kerr
A visit to the agency’s site shows it has only two varieties of indica seeds for sale. A package of four seeds costs $52.99 — that’s more than $13 per seed, plus tax.
People are “definitely ordering [seeds] from other provinces,” said Kerr. “It tends to be better genetics and better service too.”
Needless to say, growers will want to handle those seeds with care — Kerr and Harnden described some of the pitfalls for those who are new to the process.
“We really encourage growers to take some time and do some homework on what it takes to grow and then you won’t let yourself down,” Kerr said.
“It can be a bit of an investment. But it’s certainly cheaper than purchasing it at the store — if you’re smoking or consuming in any quantity.”
1. Going hydroponic
Harnden said hydroponic growing is harder than it looks, mainly because controlling nutrients in water is more difficult than in soil.
Many rookies dive right in to hydroponic growing, he said, then discover just that and switch back to growing in soil.
“Soil is more forgiving,” said Harnden.
2. Growing outside
Growing outdoors is fun and can be cheaper, both said, but can lead to an inferior product for your investment of time and energy, especially if you don’t have a fast-maturing strain.
Shawn Harnden and Hunter Kerr at Grow Daddy in Stratford, P.E.I., both call themselves cannabis-growing experts. (Sara Fraser/CBC)
Because the plants are at the mercy of nature, they may get too much wind or not enough ventilation, pests, not enough moisture or sun, and an early frost can kill off all your season’s work before it is harvested.
“It’s not just something you can put outside and then in six months have bud,” Kerr said. “You’re going to want to tend to them almost as much as you tend to them indoors.”
If you are planning to grow outdoors this summer you should have already started growing your seedlings, Kerr said, because you’ll want to plant them outside as soon as the weather allows, to aim for an October harvest, when temperatures can dip below zero.
“A lot of first-time growers don’t understand the importance of proper environmental factors,” Kerr said.
3. Getting light cycles wrong
Once you have germinated the seeds and they begin to sprout you can plant them in soil and give them light 24/7 for the first few weeks.
Kerr said more expensive lights give higher wattage which will be needed for the plant’s vegetative growth stage and flowering stage.
In vegetative growth they need 18 hours of light and six hours of darkness, he said. In the flowering stage they need 12 hours light and 12 hours dark.
4. Improper sexing
You will want to get rid of the male plants Kerr said — only the females produce the buds you want. You do not need the male plants for this.
After six to eight weeks of growing, the difference between male and female plants becomes clear — at the node, where the plant’s branches extend from its stalk — male plants have small sacks that will release pollen, and female plants have white “hairs.”
There are lots of tutorials online to help you sex your plants if you are unsure, he said.
5. Poor PH levels
PH levels in the soil and water need to be well-controlled, both said.
Cannabis plants want water with the proper PH level and you can get a PH pen to test that. You can also test with strips or drops. (Sara Fraser/CBC)
Kerr said cannabis likes a PH range of 5.5 to 6.5. Because cannabis is fast-growing, anything outside that PH can hinder the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients.
He recommends growers PH balance everything that goes into the soil. Mix water with plant food then get a PH reading with a PH pen, and adjust the PH.
“To get good results it takes staying on top of these things,” Kerr said.
6. Improper pruning
Excess leaves need to be pruned from a marijuana plant, Kerr said.
Fan leaves need to be removed — those are larger leaves that don’t have a bud site at the node, he said, that are just used for the plant to provide photosynthesis. Once the plant begins to shadow those lower leaves, they can be removed.
“If you pluck them off the plant it is able to direct the energy toward the canopy,” Kerr said.
7. Not controlling moisture
Rookies will often grow a few plants in a big open basement with a light, Harnden said, but cannabis plants need different heat and humidity for different stages of growth — more for growing leaves, less for plumping up buds during flowering.
Pot plants require a certain amount of heat, humidity and ventilation, which can be a tricky combination. (Laurie Fagan/CBC )
Hanging reflective material or fabric or using a growing tent (they range from a few hundred dollars to more than $1,000) will help control this, Kerr and Harnden say.
The plants also require a certain amount of ventilation to keep mold, mildew and fungus at bay.
Growing indoors usually takes about four months until harvest, while outdoor plants take about six months. Depending on the strain of plant and the quality of your setup, Harnden says each plant can yield anywhere from one to eight ounces of product.
“That should take care of you for the whole year,” Harnden said with a smile.
A reminder that under P.E.I.’s Cannabis Act, a household is permitted to have four cannabis plants, and that cannabis grown outdoors cannot be visible from public spaces and must be in a locked enclosure at least 1.52 metres high.