Seeds or Cuttings? Which is Best?

One of the first decisions to make before setting up

One of the first things you'll need to decide on when starting out is where to get your plants from. You can either start off from seed or you can obtain cuttings. Here we'll explore the pros and cons to each method.

Starting off with seeds

Buying seeds gives you a wide choice of plant varieties. You can browse through the different characteristics and pick the one that suits you the best. They are easier to transport than cuttings and can travel through the mailing system.

There are some disadvantages to seeds. Firstly, they must be nursed through their seedling stage and it can take a while before they are mature enough to bear fruit or flowers. Also, no two plants are identical, even if they have the same parents. You might have to grow out several plants to find the right one.

If you don't take cuttings, then annual plants will need to be started off from seed at the beginning of each growing season, and you will have to go through the selection process all over again.

Read more about How to Start Growing from Seeds.

Starting off with cuttings

So you know someone who has an exceptional plant. You like the shape, size and growth-speed; you like the taste and quantity of the fruits or flowers that it delivers... The good news is that you can take cuttings and grow your own versions, called clones, that are exactly like it.

Barring a disaster, you will be able to keep the genetics going pretty much indefinitely. This can be done by maintaining a separate mother plant. The mother is kept in a permanent vegetative state, and cuttings can be taken from it when needed.

Another option is to take cuttings from plants before moving them into flower. This method removes the need to keep a mother plant, and thus saves space, as well as time and effort. But it does, however, mean that the plant genetics can slowly deteriorate with each generation. This issue is made much worse if plants encounter lots of stress.

Getting started