Pathogen-free Cultivation: Generation Zero Cannabis Tissue Culture Clones Versus Traditional Nursery Clones

Pathogen-free Cultivation: Generation Zero Cannabis Tissue Culture Clones Versus Traditional Nursery Clones

Choosing your plant stock can be one of the most important steps in mitigating risk in your cultivation operation. Tissue culture for nursery production was commercialized over four decades ago and is widely used across agricultural and horticultural sectors.  For cannabis, tissue culture provides true-to-type cultivars that are pest and pathogen-free. Utilizing tissue culture stock to populate your cannabis cultivation operations will allow you to get a step ahead of the competition and enable you to hit your goals faster. 


Let’s explore the differences between and benefits of generation zero tissue culture clones over traditional clones:

Generation Zero Clones  A GenZero tissue culture clone is not grown from a seed or a cutting off of a mother plant.  It is propagated from the culture of the plant’s tissue that has been cleaned and restored to its original state.  While some companies may use tissue culture to grow out a mother plant, then take cuttings from that mother and use traditional planting techniques, that is not a true GenZero clone, that would be considered a generation one cutting, which cannot be guaranteed to be pest and pathogen-free.

Traditional Clones  Traditional clones are typically taken from mother plants in the vegetative stage. A cutting from a cannabis plant is taken and placed into a plug with rooting gel to encourage it to grow its own roots and become a copy of the original mother plant. Over time as the mother plant ages, the quality of your genetics can deteriorate due to diseases and poor health. 

Top reasons generation zero clones are the smart start for your cultivation:

  1. Guaranteed pest and pathogen-free: Many traditional nurseries operating in the market grow with perpetual mothers in greenhouse settings, opening them up to pests and pathogens in the surrounding area. Even clones taken from mothers sourced from tissue culture are susceptible to the same risks in the greenhouse setting. Pests such as spider mites, foliar and root aphids, thrips, fungus gnats, powdery mildew, botrytis, and fusarium all can have huge impacts on your operation. In addition, viroids including HLVd are spreading to farms through traditional cutting methods and having a huge impact on the quality of the final product along with potential crop loss. We can ensure that pest and pathogen-free plants are delivered to our customers through tissue culture, setting commercial cannabis operators up for success from the start.
  2. Verified genetics: With Conception Nurseries’ true-to-type TrueClones™, you can rest assured that all of our genetics have been vetted through a rigorous initiation process. There are countless cultivars in the traditional market that are renamed –  and aren’t always what they are labeled.  All cultivars Conception intakes go through genotype testing to verify the genetics against the name. This ensures that our customers get not only what they are paying for, but the best version of those genetics.
  3. The optimized potential of genetics: A plant’s yield, chemotype, and overall performance are a result of its genes and the environment it is in. The scientific expression for this is Phenotype = Genotype x Environment. The plants in your grow operation are a result of their genes interacting with the environment they’re growing in. Having pest and pathogen-free clones means that the plant can live up to its true genetic potential. No endogenous bacteria or fungus pulling down the performance of the plant means it can produce the amazing flower it was bred for.
  4. Robust growth + uniformity: Many of our customers report increased vigor growing generation zero clones. Cultivars that have been run for countless years may have viruses and can not perform as well as when they were first popped as seeds. Using generation zero versions of these cultivars means that the genetics have been restored to their juvenile state similar to their seed start quality without the unknown genetic diversity that may come from seeds. Our clients have noted that our clones catch up to traditional-sized clones planted around the same time by the end of the veg period.
  5. Save time: Cloning plants traditionally can be a time-consuming endeavor that also takes up valuable space. The mother rooms necessary for traditional clone cutting can also open your cultivation site up to diseases or other pests/pathogens in the veg or flower rooms. Generation zero clones can eliminate the hours it takes to propagate traditionally and give you the opportunity to focus on the high-value tasks that take your flower to the next level.

Here are five things to consider when deciding what size plant to purchase from a nursery:

  1. How many harvests are you currently pulling; could you add in one more if you saved eight-ten weeks of veg time annually?
  2. How much real estate are you currently dedicating to vegetative space; could that real estate be converted to a more profitable grow space?
  3. How is staff time being utilized? Are they able to transplant and care for plants during their initial veg phase?
  4. Climate; can you plant smaller clones, or do you need plants with more vigorous structure?
  5. Is the added cost of teens offset by the increased revenue of more harvests per year?

Tissue Culture TrueClones, Tweens or Teens: Which Should You Choose?

Up-potted Tweens: Pathogen-free tweens are a particularly good option for indoor and greenhouse cultivators who are high-throughput and need clones that are 6-8 inches in height (cultivar-dependent).  Tweens are all grown from our TrueClone™ plant packs and can save cultivators about two weeks of veg time.


Up-potted Teens:
Pathogen-free teens are a particularly good option for outdoor cultivators that need more mature plants 10-16 inches in height (cultivar-dependent), or who don’t have dedicated space for the initial veg phase, as well as indoor and greenhouse cultivators who are seeking the quickest turnaround time for harvesting. Teens are all grown from our TrueClone plant packs and can save cultivators about three weeks of veg time.


TrueClone Plant Pack: The best value for your money; 48 TrueClones come in every sealed plant pack.  With a uniform height, our generation zero plantlets will catch up to our tweens in about two weeks’ time.  If you have the time and space to use Conception’s TrueClone plant packs, this is the most economical choice for pest and pathogen-free cannabis tissue culture clones.



Conception’s dedicated team of customer success managers will work closely with you as you transition to our best-in-class generation zero clones. Please reach out so we can answer any questions specific to your operation or to request our full menu; we are the exclusive tissue culture provider of Cookies® certified genetics in California and Oregon.

We invite you to get 10% off your first order of plant packs, tweens, or teens – just mention ‘TEEN’ when placing your order.

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