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Purple City Genetics: Seeds vs Clones

PCG Seed Collection

Purple City Genetics is an Oakland-based collective breeding and cultivating California’s best cannabis phenotypes. Their genetics program is shaped by a deep connection to the plant and a knowledge base that is informed by California’s best growers and producers. They’ve been growing their plants for optimal health, potency, yield, and terpene production since 2008.

Their Seed Program is created from an extensive archive of genetics that range from rare and emerging exotics to the canonical standards. Their seed line is a true expression of California’s diverse cannabis heritage—it is shaped with both farmers and tastemakers in mind. They offer a broad range of feminized, autoflower, and standard photoperiod seeds. Compared to clones, seeds offer increased yields at lower cost, stronger taproots and immune systems, elevated THC and terpene levels, and more pest/viroid resistance.

Why Seeds vs Clones?

“With seeds you will yield more flower with less problems, and have stronger plants that grow faster.”

Greater Yield: Clones simply don’t have as much time to establish their root system. This results in an overall smaller plant with less flower to harvest.

Pests and Disease: Clones can carry pest and diseases if the mother plant was infected. Growing from seed means you won’t inherit pests or diseases
from a cutting (clone) and your plants will be healthier and easier to care for.

Growth Rate: Plants from seeds have a ‘tap root’, which is an anchor that provides better support and water/nutrient uptake. Plants with taproots are more robust and grow faster than plants started from clones.

Seed Preferences

Feminized seeds are great for backyard or indoor growers that don’t want to deal with culling (finding and killing) males. These types of customers are usually the ones who buy higher end flower and are looking for genetics in seed form that will produce the quality of herb they purchase to consume.

Autoflowering seeds are great impulse buys because of the price point and also good for a first time grower who is never going to notice that the quality of the flowers aren’t quite as high as feminized or regular seeds. They are also highly popular with tourists to take home presents to friends and family. Autos are also feminized so there’s no worry about males with them either. For people that want to grow during the winter or ‘off season’ where the weather permits (colder temperatures lead to slower growth rates and less yield), Autoflowering seeds are best choice as they don’t rely on the photoperiod (ie amount of light vs dark per day) to trigger flowering, they start flowering based on time alone.

Regular/Standard seeds are great for pheno hunters (growers who are willing to put in the effort to pop 100 seeds to find the 1 or 2 truly standout females to make moms out of), seed collectors and breeders (b/c regs have both male and female seeds).

Germination Tips

Cannabis seeds require three things to germinate: water, heat, and air. There are many methods to germinate seeds, but for the most common and simplest method, you will need:

  • Two clean plates
  • Four paper towels
  • Seeds
  • Distilled water

Recommended Steps

  • Step 1: Take four sheets of paper towels and soak them with distilled water. The towels should be soaked but shouldn’t have excess water running off.
  • Step 2: Take two of the paper towels and place them on a plate. Then, place the marijuana seeds at least an inch apart from each other and cover them with the remaining two water-soaked paper towels.
  • Step 3: To create a dark, protected space, take another plate and flip it over to cover the seeds, like a dome.
  • Step 4: Make sure the area the seeds are in is warm, somewhere between 70-85°F.

After completing these steps, it’s time to wait. Check the paper towels once a day to make sure they’re still saturated, and if they are losing moisture, apply more water to keep the seeds happy.

Some seeds germinate very rapidly while others can take a while, but generally, seeds should germinate in 3-10 days. If it’s been two weeks and a seed hasn’t sprouted, it’s probably a dud and won’t sprout.
A seed has germinated once the seed splits and a single sprout appears. The sprout is the taproot, which will become the main stem of the plant, and seeing it is a sign of successful germination.

It’s important to keep the delicate seed sterile, so don’t touch the seed or taproot as it begins to split.

Transplanting germinated cannabis seeds

Once you see the taproot, it’s time to transfer your germinated seed into its growing medium, such as soil.

  • Fill a 4-inch or one-gallon pot with loose, airy potting soil
  • Water the soil before you put the seed in; it should be wet but not drenched
  • Poke a hole in the soil with a pen or pencil—the rule of thumb is: make the hole twice as deep as the seed is wide
  • Using a pair of tweezers, gently place the seed in the hole with the taproot facing down
  • Lightly cover it with soil

Keep a close eye on the temperature and moisture level of the soil to keep the seed happy. It’s very delicate at this stage. Use a spray bottle to water it—over-watering can suffocate and kill the delicate sprout.

Within a week or so you should see a seedling begin to grow from the soil


While THC% is largely dependent on the skill of the grower, our strains usually clock in around the mid to upper 20% range and often well exceed the 30% range.

Cultivation Education and Support

If you are a first time grower and need some help sprouting your seeds, check out our cannabis growing resources.

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