Growing cannabis clones has both its advantages and disadvantages. The best method depends on your personal preferences, needs, and plant growing skills. The Florida Wildflower Foundation is researching how to control weed seeds in soil banks, hoping to discover methods that lead to greater planting success.
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!
Research tackles the issue of weed seeds in soil banks
The Florida Wildflower Foundation (FWF) has begun a four-year project to evaluate economical and practical site preparation methods to minimize weed competition in wildflower sites planted from seeds.
The project at Lake County’s Palatlakaha Environmental and Agricultural Reserve (PEAR) Park is being conducted in partnership with the county with cooperation from the Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute at Florida Polytechnic University. It is funded by the State Wildflower license plate and Florida Power & Light (NextEra Energy Foundation), with Lake County contributing in-kind.
Brightman Logan, FWF’s Research Committee chairman, elaborates on the project and its objectives.
Question: What is the overall goal of the project?
Answer: FWF has had problems for years with weeds taking over planting sites. As we looked into it more, it all came down to the seed bank. A soil seed bank contains seeds that have been dormant for 20 years, in some cases. When you till or otherwise disturb the soil and expose once-buried seeds to sunlight, they can germinate and outcompete wildflower seedlings.
In talking with researchers, we came up with the idea of inverting the soil with a deep plow that completely flips the seed layer – typically the top 4 to 5 inches of soil. We will flip 12 to 14 inches of soil using a moldboard plow. By flipping it, we’ll bring new soil to the top that doesn’t have as many, or any, weed seeds in it. A savannah harrow also will be used to flip the soil to a depth of up to 24 inches. We’re trying different methodologies to see what works best.
We’ll also try “overseeding” the wildflowers, which puts more seed on the ground than normal to see if dense wildflower seedlings can outcompete weed seeds that germinate. For example, if 1 pound of wildflower seed per acre is called for, we’ll use 1½ pounds. At that point, we’re creating our own seed bank.
Q: Why is it important to control weed germination in wildflower plantings?
A: It’s all about competition. In many cases, we’ve planted wildflowers, and two or three years later, the site is a mess. You can’t even tell where the wildflowers are. Whatever seed that is right underneath the soil will come up and outcompete the wildflowers for soil nutrition, water and sunlight. One of the main goals of the project is to develop methods to create wildflower sites that will exist perpetually.
Q: Is this the first time a demonstration project like this has been tried?
A: We picked up on the research of Dr. Steven Richardson, who works with Florida Polytechnic University and its Florida Industrial and Phosphate Institute. Dr. Richardson, who is now one of our advisers, has a small plot he’s working on that is surrounded by thousands of acres of cogongrass, an invasive species that secrets chemicals that suppresses the growth of plants around it. Dr. Richardson is experimenting with inverting that soil to deeply bury the cogongrass seed, but he’s using plant plugs, while our project uses direct seeding.
Q: Why have Blanketflower (Gaillardia pulchella) and Spotted beebalm (Monarda punctata) been selected for seeding?
A: The seeds are easy to get, germinate well, and will do well in PEAR Park’s soil.
Q: Why will the study take four years?
A: You need a large timespan to see what else pops up in these beds. We’re looking at both short-term and long-term control of any weeds that pop up.
We’re going to establish four different plots. One will be a control where nothing is done, and the others will have different things done to see which plowing method works best, which soil-prep methodology works best, etc.
Q: If the project yields clear results about soil prep and treatment, what are the possible benefits to agriculture producers, roadsides, solar farms, restoration projects and others who want to establish large wildflower plantings from seed?
A: Throughout North and Central Florida, there are many varieties of weeds coming up in agriculture that are resistant to herbicides. Farmers have to use hand labor to remove them. If farmers – whether conventional, organic or solar – can use this inversion technique and some of the methodologies we’re trying to perfect, it will save time and money.
In addition, a lot of farmers, both organic and commercial, are planting strips of wildflowers around their fields. The wildflowers bring in beneficial pollinators and insects that are predators to insects harmful to crops. If they can keep those areas weed-free using inversion and the other techniques we’re experimenting with, they can use them over successive plantings.
Solar farms, restoration projects, roadside plantings – all will benefit in terms of effort and money saved if this PEAR project works as well as we think it will.
The State Wildflower license plate works for native, natural Florida by making projects like this one possible. Get your tag today.