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Growing Cannabis from Seeds or Clones: What’s the Difference?

Growing Cannabis from Seeds or Clones: What’s the Difference?

By Zelda Flowers

If you’re thinking of growing cannabis at home, you have two options: clones or seeds. There are benefits and drawbacks of each. Here’s what you need to know when choosing which method to start your new cannabis crop.

What are Clones?

A clone is a clipping taken from a mother plant that’s grown into a new, separate plant with identical genetics to its parent. Clones are easy to come by; you can purchase them at dispensaries or clip them from someone else’s plant, with permission of course. It’s important to make sure that your clone comes from a healthy mother plant, free from mites and mildew. 

Cannabis Seeds

Seeds can be purchased online or at local dispensaries and come in two forms – feminized and non-feminized. By purchasing feminized seeds, you are guaranteed to grow female, flower-producing plants. Non-feminized seeds must be sexed once they’re old enough and the males separated out. Cannabis seeds, like clones, range in price depending on their genetics and brand.

What are Phenotypes?

When it comes to genetics, clones and seeds are different. Clones are identical to its parents. Seeds are more like siblings. They share genetic markers but have differences that may include size, shape, yield, flavor – just as siblings who share both parents may have different skin tones, height, hair and eye colors. A clone is just that – an identical twin. For people who want total control over their strains including appearance, growth cycle and potency, clones would be a good choice.

Growth Conditions

While clones give you a known outcome, you must be sure that the mother plant is healthy and pest free. Growing cannabis from seeds gives you complete control of your plant from its very inception.


Both seeds and clones are easy to come by if you live in California or other legalized states like Oregon, Washington and Colorado. If you’re outside of these areas, then seeds may be the best way to go. You can purchase seeds online and stored for many years if keep in a cool, dark place.

Health and Vigor

Cannabis plants grown from seeds develop a strong, supportive taproot. Plants grown from clones lack a taproot and instead develop a fibrous network of roots. While the end result in terms of potency and yield may be the same, it’s generally accepted that plants grown from seeds tend to be more vigorous and grow faster than clones, especially clones from older mother plants. 



Easy to procure

Lifecycle control

Increased vigor

Requires less initial set-up costs and space

Variations mean staggered harvesting times

Can be stored long-term


Plant sexing (unless purchasing feminized seeds)

Longer to yield

Variation in plant structure, potency, appearance and yield



Shorter time to yield

Consistency in terms of appearance, potency and yield

Identical growth cycles


Soil may be contaminated, cuttings could contain pesticides, chemicals or pests

Susceptible to transplant shock

Can be hard to procure

Requires more space to start

Unknown origin – possible diminished genetics

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