2019 Seed and Clone Acquisition

Click above to direct you to the 2019 Seed and Clone Acquisition Forms.

Read below for our post on Seeds vs Clones.

Seeds or Clones? 

When debating the so-called pros and cons of various aspects of hemp cultivation it is important to understand that these judgments are highly subjective to the context of each individual grower. For example, an experienced grower who is skilled at sexing hemp plants, (or not easily intimidated by the idea of learning this skill), and is devoted full time to his or her grow and has infrastructure in place such as an indoor grow space or a greenhouse but is operating on a tight budget, may make entirely different plans for cultivating their hemp crop compared to a grower who has many acres, deep pockets, little time to devote to their grow and is short on experience. 

As you can see from the previous examples, many variables in your hemp growing equation will inform your decisions regarding your master plan. These variables are unique to each grower and include, but are in no way limited to number of plants/acres under cultivation, indoor or outdoor grow, infrastructure in place, experience/skill set of grower(s), labor requirements, capital requirements, reason for growing hemp (what's your end game?), and lastly, seeds versus clones. 

The question of whether to use seeds ( feminized or natural) or clones is highly contentious in the hemp growing community at present. In hopes of helping you, as a potential or experienced hemp grower, evaluate which option best fits your context, consider the following “pros and cons” of seeds versus clones.


“Pros” for feminized seeds.

  • You don't have to plant right away. Seeds can remain viable, if stored correctly for years.

  • Plants grown from seeds are generally healthier with better root systems and stronger stems and branches leading to greater yields. 

  • Inexpensive (averaging a dollar a seed) compared to clones (averaging five to seven dollars each)

  • Virtually each seed will produce a female plant, thereby eliminating the need to “sex” the plants and pull the pollen producing males. (However, farmers are advised to walk their fields to make sure they are all females because there is a small chance of a male or hermaphrodite popping up, even when using feminized seeds.)

  • Each seed is still genetically unique which means potentially crop saving variation in susceptibility to pests, diseases and adverse growing conditions.

  • Easier for time-strapped or inexperienced growers.

  • Good choice for large grows that might have tight budgets.

  • Won't cause neighboring hemp growers to lose sleep over potentially ruined crops by missed pollen producing male plants in your grow.

  • With the proper infrastructure you could clone your “best” plants grown from your feminized seeds.


“Cons” of feminized seeds.

  • Will need to germinate indoors or in greenhouse for transplanting or direct seed in field as opposed to transplanting clones

  • Much more expensive than natural seeds.

  • Some plants grown from feminized seed could become hermaphrodites and produce male flowers and pollen sacs under stressful growing conditions, therefore, not 100% worry free with regards to issues relating to pollen. 

  • Plants grown from feminized seeds are genetically unique individuals and could exhibit significant variation with regard to cannabinoid and terpenoid expectations.

  • Highly desired genetics can be very limited in supply.

  • No seeds means no seed saving!


“Pros” of natural or non-feminized seeds, for professional growers only! 

  • You don't have to plant right away. Seeds can remain viable, if stored correctly for years.

  • Plants grown from seeds are generally healthier with better root systems and stronger stems and branches leading to greater yields. 

  • Extremely inexpensive compared to feminized seeds and clones.

  • Each seed is genetically unique which means potentially crop saving variation in susceptibility to pests, diseases and adverse growing conditions.

  • Allows for grower to selectively breed for highly desired traits ideal to local growing conditions.

  • Can be very suited for small, skilled growers who are committed to growing responsibly thru “sexing” and eliminating male plants from growing population in pre-flowering stage. 

  • Some studies have shown that female plants grown with male plants up to the pre-flowering stage produce more resin in anticipation of being pollinated by male plants who are able to chemically signal their presence to female plants.

“Cons” of natural or non-feminized seeds.

  • You can expect half your seeds to produce male plants.

  • Likely to generate ill will in the hemp community and cause neighboring hemp farmers to lose sleep over the possibility of having their crops “ruined” by inattentive or uncaring growers who allow male, pollen-producing plants to mature to the flowering stage.

  • Size of grow must reflect the time, skills and infrastructure available to grower.

  • Grower should possess excellent communication skills and ethics to put other growers at ease about their methods.

  • Plants grown from seeds are genetically unique individuals and could exhibit significant variation with regard to yields and cannabinoid and terpenoid expectations.

“Pros” of clones.

  • Clones provide 6 to 8 week head start over growing from seeds.

  • Genetic copy of mother plant guarantees all the desirable qualities of mother plant will be present in clones, also mother plants are females therefore clones will be females.

  • Good for growers who aren't on tight budgets, who aren't interested in, or capable of, germinating seeds for transplanting or direct seeding.

  • Great for farmers who need the psychological boost of seeing a thriving plant go directly into the ground.

  • Best for large growers with deep pockets who demand genetic consistency for their end products.

  • Although more expensive, by far, than natural seeds or feminized seeds, can still be a value compared to the worth of each plant's yield.

  • Won't cause neighboring hemp farmers to lose sleep.

“Cons” of clones.

  • Extremely expensive compared to seeds.

  • Usually much more limited in choice of strains, compared to seeds.

  • Must plant very shortly after receiving.

  • Generally weaker, less hardy plants with shallower root systems than plants grown from seeds.

  • If mother plants are diseased and/or pest ridden, clones will be diseased and/or pest ridden.

  • Expect lower yields from clones compared to plants grown from seeds.

  • Clones can be extra sensitive to water fluctuations.

  • Absolutely no variation in your grow. If one plant is susceptible to a particular pest, bacterial or fungal blight or other adverse growing condition......they are all susceptible.

Please remember that for you, the farmer, the only thing that distinguishes a “pro” from a “con” is a judgment made in light of your specific growing context. Hope you found this comparison and contrast helpful in deciding whether to start from seeds or clones. Happy Hemping!

Christie Craig