SEEDS & CLONES
If you are eager to grow your own cannabis plants, there are two ways you can go: by using either seeds or clones. Learn more about the benefits of each method and get ready for cultivation.
How do marijuana flowers reproduce? First, a flower of female cannabis plant needs to be pollinated by the male plant. After the pollination happens, the female flower starts producing seeds. When the seed production is finished, the mother plant gets old and dies. Seeds fall down to the ground or are intentionally taken to create the new plant.
Feminized seeds — why choose them?
There are cases when one cannabis plant begins to produce male flowers along with female ones. If it happens, the plant might pollinate itself. It is called a hermaphrodite, or the self-pollinated plants.
Market feminized seeds are popular because they are bred to produce only female marijuana plants that are rich on cannabinoids and terpenes. Though, feminized seeds have their limitations and should not be used for breeding purposes.
What are auto-flowering seeds?
All cannabis plants are very sensitive to weather conditions: temperature, moisture, amount of light. One parameter that influences the start of the flowering stage is length of the photoperiod (period during which a plant is exposed to light). Almost all marijuana plants begin to flower only if this period is long enough. That is not too convenient, especially for the northern countries with severe climate conditions and short summers.
The solution was found by breeders. They have detected that a plant Cannabis ruderalis began to flower when it got mature enough, not depending on the amount of light. This plant is weak in potency so it was crossed with the other, more potent strains to create the new kind of strain, which was not sensitive to photoperiod length and potent enough to suit the needs of consumers. Using auto-flowering seeds is now a popular way to get independent from environmental changes.
Storing marijuana seeds
Proper storing is the necessary condition of maintaining high quality of marijuana seeds. Mold or other pathogenic flora can damage seeds or make them unable to germinate. Considering that seeds frequently require a long-term storage, there are specific rules regarding their environment:
- dark place (no direct sunlight);
- low temperature;
- low humidity.
In these conditions, seeds might be stored up to 16 months. If there is a need in longer storing, it is recommended to freeze the seeds.
Meet cannabis clones
Another way to reproduce cannabis plants is using clones. Clones are rooted cuttings that are genetically equivalent to the mother plant. This way of growing is more economical, easier and quicker than using seeds.
The aim of cloning is always preserving the qualities of the mother plant. With a clone, you can definitely know that your plant will be a male / female with the exact flavor and potency you have found attractive in the initial plant. In the other words, what you are getting are the replicas of your best plants.
How to spot a bad clone?
Almost all problems growers have with cloning marijuana have one origin — taking bad clones. How to spot them and not make mistakes?
Go to a reputable supplier and do not hesitate to ask questions about the available clones, you need to know everything about the mother plant: strain, male/female, flavor, potency etc.
Measure the size.
Pay attention to the stem. It does not have to be thin because that means that this clone was taken from a weak branch, which might result in further diseases or longer cultivation period.
Avoid yellow coloring
Marijuana clones that are healthy can be either bright green or dark green. If you notice yellow-colored clones or yellow spots on them, that might be the signal that the plant suffers from unfavorable conditions or stress.
Inspect clones for the presence of pests.
Look under every leaf. You might accidentally find pests or their traces — bite marks, grubs, etc.
Check for disease signs.
While plant diseases are often hard to detect, there still might be some signs: slackness, irregular growth, spotted coloring, white powdering on leaves.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to alleviate all factors. You cannot visibly determine presence of pesticides or some diseases, so it is where the grower`s reputation matters.
How to take a clone?
If you already have a good cannabis plant, making a clone of it would be an excellent alternative to buying commercial clones. To do it correctly, perform the following steps:
- Make sure that a mother plant is a healthy female plant older than 1 month. You can see that it is ready for cloning if different branches of it do not come from the same place.
- Get the razor, clean and sterilize it. That is necessary because a fresh cut is oversensitive to dirt and bacteria.
- Choose the place for cutting. Look for branches with the new top. Make preference to lower branches since they will grow faster.
- Make a cutting at a 45-degree angle to the branch.
- Put the clone into a glass with water immediately. This way you protect the stem from excess of oxygen.
- Inspect the clone. If there are wide fan leaves, cut them too, because the plant will waste energy on them.
- Optional: use rooting hormones to help the clone develop roots faster.
- Place clones into a medium, ensure enough moisture and keep there for 1-2 weeks before planting.
How to arrange long-term storing of clones?
If there is a need to arrange the long-term storing of clones, the best way to keep them is in the fridge. The desirable temperature is about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure not to use a freezer because extra low temperatures might harm the plant cells.
To ensure the longest shelf life of your clones, perform the following actions before actual storing:
- immerse clones into the cold water to make them cool and moistened;
- place clones into a zip bag;
- let some air into the bag;
- put it into the fridge;
- open every 7 days to let the new air come in.
Seeds VS clones
Which way of growing is the most beneficial for you?
It depends on the purpose. Read more about advantages and disadvantages of each method and draw your conclusions.
+ Plants cultivated from seeds are recognized to grow healthier and more energetic than the ones from clones.
+ Marijuana grown from seeds is basically a clean start — it cannot have any diseases borrowed from a mother plant.
+ They can be bought in any dispensary and easily stored, even for the long period.
+ Using seeds is a non-trouble way of growing.
+ Growing from seeds is more natural for cannabis so it frequently results in better buds.
— You cannot determine the plant sex (if you are not using feminized seeds). Actually, it is possible but only with the help of a microscope and certain skill.
— You cannot grow two plants identical in potency and flavor even if you are using a pack of similar seeds. That is possible only with clones.
— Not all seeds can germinate. Fortunately, you can distinguish that parameter by paying attention to the seed coloring. Mature seeds are never yellow or white.
+ Growing from clone is a reliable method of preserving the mother plant characteristics and creating the genetic copy. Though, there already is the anecdotal evidence that there still can be differences between different clones of the same mother plant.
+ It is quicker to use clones. Growing time gets about a month shorter than it is with seeds.
— A clone is more amenable to diseases since this way of growing is not natural to the plant. Moreover, you can take clones with existing diseases or pests without knowing about that.
— Unlike seeds, access to clones is more limited in many U.S. states.
— A clone is weaker and more sensitive than a plant germinated from seeds, so it requires more sophisticated care with using special nutrients and controlled environmental conditions.