Plants at the Progressive Plant Research research facility.

The new generation of cannabis

Historically, growers have opted to use clonal varieties in commercial cannabis and hemp operations. However, thanks to advances in breeding innovation, the tides have turned for growers focused on uniformity, input reduction, and risk mitigation. Many growers are shocked to discover that these improvements in some of the most trouble-laden areas of cultivation are the result of switching from clones to seed-grown cannabis, but not just any seed, the new generation of Phylos Production-Ready™ Seeds. 

How genetic innovation is changing the way growers view seed-grown cannabis and hemp

Seed-grown hasn’t always been the go-to method of cultivation for cannabis growers. Until recently, the state of cannabis genetics did not allow growers to be able to sow seeds in mass and produce consistent, uniform plants. With the exception of some CBD lines, true F1 hybrids have not been commercially available. Nearly all commercially grown agricultural crops are produced from F1 hybrid seed, resulting in incredibly uniform plants. Historically, F1 hybrid seeds were not available to cannabis growers, leading to inconsistencies in growth. A grower could pop ten seeds that result in ten different phenotypes, forcing them to pheno-hunt to find a plant that expresses the desired traits. This process is not only slow but resource-intensive as well. Once an individual plant has been selected, additional time and resources are required to propagate and scale the production of the selection. 

In addition to the time and resources that were once required of seed-grown cannabis, growers also faced the risk that pheno-hunted seeds may have hermaphroditic tendencies. This means that growers must stress test the selection to determine if it is stable, which requires additional space, time, and resources. On the other hand, growers who choose not to stress test take the riskier approach, opening themselves up to the chance of having hermaphroditic plants in their production grow. Regardless of the route taken, most growers agree that neither approach is optimal. 

Of course, this is only one example of why growers of the past and even some current growers have continued to utilize clones in their operations, but as companies like Phylos continue to optimize cannabis and hemp genetics, many commercial growers are recognizing how quickly the preference for seed-grown cannabis is changing. 

With the development of true, uniform F1 hybrids, Phylos’ seed genetics eliminate both the need to maintain mother stock and the task of pheno-hunting. Growers can now direct sow seeds with the utmost confidence that the resulting plants will be uniform and consistent. The seedlings are not kept as motherstock, but sown, vegged, flowered, and harvested — just like growing a tomato or any other vegetable we’ve become accustomed to buying each season. 

The old benefits of growing your cannabis from seeds

Before plant breeders and data scientists were optimizing cannabis seed genetics, there existed numerous benefits for growers who opted to grow seeds over clones. Even with the game-changing advantages of new seed genetics, the perks of simply growing from any seed are worthy of mention.

Reduced pest and disease risk - No grower wants to battle a disease outbreak in their operation, but for many, this has become an accepted risk. Although some diseases can burden cannabis plants regardless of if they’re grown from seeds or clones, other diseases, like Hop Latent Viroid (HLVd) is predominately spread through fomite transmission, like contaminated tools. Although producing cannabis from seed doesn’t eliminate the risk of HLVd entirely, research suggests that the transmission rate via seed is reduced to approximately 8% in hops and appears to have a similar transmission rate in cannabis. Additionally, pathogens like Powdery Mildew tend to culminate in mother plants, eventually carrying over to production rooms, but crops started from seed begin free of pests and pathogens.  

Taproot presence - Roots serve multiple purposes, one being the delivery of nutrients from the soil to the plant. Like most dicots, cannabis grown from seed will produce a taproot, from which secondary roots emerge. When growing from seed in outdoor productions, the taproot drives into the earth to accelerate stabilization of the plant.

Cost reductions - Another advantage of seed-grown cannabis is the reduction it can have on operating expenses. Growers utilizing seeds don’t have the burden of creating mother rooms or budgeting for extra labor to help manage and transport fragile clones. 

The new benefits of seed grown cannabis

Seed-grown cannabis, even with its advantages, wasn’t met without some criticism during the early days of cannabis. With advances that have been made in the world of genetics and data science, many of the old qualms surrounding cannabis grown from seed are finding their final resting place in history books as we enter the era of cannabis 3.0. 

Genetic uniformity - Sophisticated breeding programs utilize finished, elite inbred lines to deliver stable and reliable genetics. With seeds from Phylos, growers now have a clear picture of what to expect from their plants.

Plant robustness - True F1 hybrid seeds, like those commercially available by Phylos, are now capable of producing more robust plants than clonal varieties. 

Feminization rates - Unintentional pollination has long been a concern of growers, especially those taking the seed route. Data-backed breeding and seed production ensures a 99%+ feminization rate, practically eliminating the risk of a true male plant sneaking into your grow. 

Increased profitability - Based on the findings of Phylos’ density trial — which is available to download at no charge — a strategic density treatment of seed-grown cannabis can positively impact your harvest yield as well as input costs, labor costs, and management considerations. Seed-grown cannabis also means a more efficient use of production space, like eliminating the need for mother rooms and growing at scale more efficiently, all of which can boost your bottom line. 

Plant performance - Seed varieties offered by Phylos are now capable of matching or exceeding the desirable traits of clonal varieties like cannabinoid content, terpene composition, uniformity, and yield consistency — without the production overhead of maintaining clones.  

Overall optimization - Modern crop science has given growers access to the most advanced seed genetics to date. By improving vigor, uniformity, and being able to support longer seasons through staggered harvests, Phylos Production-Ready™ Seed can be adapted to geographical regions and are more pest and pathogen-resistant than ever before. 

Seeds are the future

Advanced seed genetics of today are a far cry from commercial seed offerings of the past. For more information on making your large-scale production more profitable and more sustainable, reach out to Phylos and learn how you can begin producing cannabis with more uniform agronomic traits and improved production efficiency. 


1. The scientific reason for “dud” Plants — Hop Latent Viroid (HLVd) Discovery in Cannabis (Phylos)

2. Occurrence of Hop Latent Viroid in Cannabis sativa with Symptoms of Cannabis Stunting Disease in California (A. Bektaş, K. M. Hardwick, K. Waterman, and J. Kristof)

3. A low transmissibility of hop latent viroid through a generative phase of Humulus lupulus L. (Biologia Plantarum 43 (1): 145-148, 2000)