Cannabis feminized seeds can yield excellent results, but because they are by their nature unregular, seeds are inherently unreliable. There’s no way to know for sure what kind of plant a seed will produce regardless of how good a seed bank’s reputation is. Cannabis clones, on the other hand, offer an easy solution to this problem:
No, this isn’t something out of a sci-fi novel. Cloning is an important component of commercial cannabis production, to say the least. Although learning how to clone cannabis might take some time, no cultivator will be sorry when they learn how to do so.
What is a cannabis clone?
A cannabis clone is a genetic replica of a currently existing cannabis plant. To grow a clone, the grower will snip off a branch (also known as a “cutting”) from a female plant that has shown to be an excellent mother plant and then place it in growth media to encourage root development.
The clone’s roots will grow stronger over time, similar to those of a plant. When the clone’s roots are sturdy enough, it can be transplanted into soil and develop just like the mother marijuana plant. You’ll soon discover that this clone has the same characteristics as its mother plant.
Why would anyone want to clone cannabis?
Why would anyone go to all of the trouble of clipping and cloning a cannabis plant, you might be wondering. After all, isn’t it more “natural” to begin with high-quality seeds?
Cloning a mother plant has several benefits. Most significantly, clones are more dependable than seeds. Because these are genetic copies of the original mother plant, growers know what to anticipate in terms of strength, appearance, sex, and developmental pattern. Taking advantage of healthy mother plants’ clone is a big help with growing.
Clones are less expensive than seeds, and they’re more dependable. You may clip clones for free instead of buying a whole batch of seeds that may or may not germinate. Clones don’t have to go through a germination or seedling phase, which saves time during growth.
What should growers look for in a mother plant?
The cannabis plant from which you will take a cutting is the mother plant. Because your clones will inherit the genome of your mother plant, you must get the finest quality cannabis available in your garden. If you pick a sickly strain, it will be extremely difficult to eliminate those negative attributes from your clones.
Let’s go over a few ground rules to make sure your clones develop into strong and healthy plants.
Make sure your mother plant is indeed a mother.
It’s common for beginners to clone a plant too soon, only to discover that they’ve cloned a male plant. The easiest way to determine the gender of your plants is to examine the nodes between your plant’s stalk and its branches. Female plants will always have long hair-like structures known as “stigmas.” Unsurprisingly, male plants will have balls of pollen. Male hermaphrodites will have both stigma and pollen sacs.
Never utilize a mother plant developed from feminized seeds.
Clones grown from feminized seeds are in danger of becoming hermaphrodites when stressed, which is something you don’t want to happen. When plants that were created from feminized seeds are under tension, they have a higher chance of developing into hermaphrodites. The continual trimming and lengthy vegetative cycle (more on that later) puts a lot of stress on the mother plant, so you’ll want to select a plant as stress-resistant as possible.
Make certain that the mother plant you’re selecting is a sturdy and healthy variety.
A healthy, robust appearance is characteristic of high-quality mother plants in comparison to other plants. A healthy, robust appearance should also be exhibited by a mother plant. Keep in mind that you will be creating hundreds if not thousands of genetic copies of this one individual and any negative or beneficial features will be inherited by those descendants.
Know what you’re growing
Before deciding which plant to clone, be sure you know the quality of the bud your mother plant can produce. If you’re not confident your mother plant is a champion, make certain it has gone through a flowering cycle and that you were able to evaluate the quality and potency of the buds it generated. You may get an approximate sense of how good your strain smells by sniffing it. Plants with a strong aroma are more likely to generate resin-rich buds.
Consider the height of your chosen strain before selecting a mother plant.
If you’re growing in a limited area, make sure your clones will consistently fit your grow space.
When should you take cuttings?
Typically, the first cuts are taken from the mother plant after it has been in the vegetative state for about two to three months. You may technically cut a clone during the flowering phase, but most marijuana cultivators suggest working with vegetative plants. Mother plants are frequently trimmed and kept in the vegetative stage by exposing them to at least 18 hours of light each day.
A cutting taken from your mother plant will be in the same growth phase as it. So, if you take a clone from a flowering plant, you’ll have to bring it back into the vegetative stage by changing the lighting schedule, which puts the plant under stress. A clone taken from a flowering strain will take longer to form robust roots than one taken from a vegetative strain. Cloning copies of cannabis plants that are already mature might also cause problems for the parent plant’s bud development.
Taking clones from a vegetative plant will increase your chances of success considerably, especially if this is your first time cloning a cannabis plant.
What equipment do you need to cut clones?
It’s time to gather your cloning tools now that you know the fundamentals of selecting a mother plant. The following are the most important items you’ll need in your kit before beginning clonning:
- A sharp razor, scalpel, or pair of scissors
- Starter cubes (preferably Rockwool)
- T5 or CFL fluorescent lights
- Rooting hormones
- Disinfectant wipes (e.g., isopropyl alcohol swabs)
- Sterile glass cup(s)
- pH scanner
- 5.5 – 6.5 pH filtered or spring water
- Spray bottle
- Humidity dome
- Heat mat (optional)
This might be a little more challenging than the preceding way, but if you follow these steps carefully, it will produce similar results. Before any of this can happen, though, you’ll need to gather some supplies.
What’s the best rooting medium for clones?
Rockwool cubes, water, and soil are the three most common mediums in which you may grow your plants. Although roots should develop in any of these containers, many cultivators advocate using Rockwool.
Rockwool doesn’t contain any nutrients, so you don’t have to be concerned about your delicate clonrs getting overwhelmed. Rockwool cubes provide excellent aeration and water retention in addition to being an inert medium. Plus, checking on the margins of Rockwool cubes allows you to easily monitor your clone’s root development.
The only significant disadvantage of Rockwool cubes is that they need more preparation. Before utilizing them, remember to soak your Rockwool cubes in a pH of 5.5 water for at least two hours.
So, what exactly is the problem with using water or dirt? There’s nothing “wrong” about utilizing these substances, but they aren’t as user-friendly as Rockwool.
Although it’s simple to put your clones in water, there’s a danger of algae contamination if you’re not careful. If you don’t utilize high-quality filtered or spring water, the water may also contain hazardous chemicals like chlorine. Finally, many growers dislike that roots take longer to develop in water than they do in Rockwool.
It’s more difficult to assess your clone’s root development in the case of soil. You must also make sure you’re using a non-fertilized, low-nutrient-dense dirt. If you use a fertilized soil, there’s a good chance your clones won’t survive.
How do you choose the best clone cutting?
After you’ve decided on the mother plant to use, it’s time to select the finest branch for your cutting. Focuses on branches near the bottom of the plant that exhibit indications of new growth for the greatest outcomes.
Although there is no “perfect length” for a cannabis cutting, most cultivators recommend that yours should be at least 3 inches long. It’s also vital to chop a twig with three or more nodes.
What’s the best way to take a clone?
Check to see whether all of your tools have been properly cleaned before you start hacking away at your clone. It would also be beneficial if you had everything you needed for the cloning process handy so that you’re not searching for anything.
There are various ways to take a clone, although the most frequent is to slice your choice branch at a 45° angle just below the lowest node. To improve the surface area of the cutting, growers favor cutting at this angle so that roots may develop more easily.
If you want to go all out, cut a tiny hole in the middle of your stem with an Exacto knife. While it isn’t essential, this extra step might increase the surface area of your clone, allowing for faster root development.
When you cut a limb, air pockets may form in the cuttings. To decrease this danger, keep a few glasses of pH-corrected water on hand to place your cuts in.
Chopping off the lowest leaves and cutting the tips off of the topmost leaves is necessary after applying rooting hormones to your cutting and planting the clones in your choice of media. It’s critical to chop off the bottommost leaves and cut the tops off of the highest ones.
Taking care of baby clones
Clones thrive in warm, humid conditions, which is why growers recommend using a humidity dome and a heating pad. Clones thrive in an environment with 90–95% humidity during the first 48 hours. After two days, you may lower the humidity to 80%. It’s ideal to keep your room at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit when it comes to temperature.
Humidity domes are also helpful in monitoring how much water your plants require. Spray a little of non-chlorinated water every time the humidity drops below the advised levels.
If you don’t have a humidity dome, mist your clones every few hours. However, if you’ll be away for an extended period of time, it’s ideal to put up a “DIY dome” over your plants. If you do have any transparent plastic containers on hand when you’re at work, keep them handy — and remember to clean and sterilize them before use carefully.
In terms of illumination, low-intensity fluorescent bulbs such as CFL or T5s are ideal. While HIDs should never be used, 400W models may be experimented with as long as they’re kept at a safe distance from your clones. Growers generally keep their lights on for 18-19 hours each day.
How long does it take for clones to grow roots?
The time it takes for clones to develop roots is not precisely known, but most strains require around 1-2 weeks. Even if you do not utilize methods like the humidity dome or rooting hormones, you should see roots at some point, albeit slowly.
How do you transplant clones?
It’s time to transplant your clone as soon as you notice roots projecting at least 3 cm out of the growing medium. But, before you get too carried away, keep in mind that everything must be sanitized first. You must make sure your working area is completely sterile like when you were taking your initial cut.
For the finest outcomes, wear gloves during the entire transplanting procedure. Also, treat your clone just as you would a seedling, taking great care to prevent it from harm.
To start, water the soil ahead of time and allow any excess water to drain. Next, make a hole in the ground that is large enough to completely cover your clone’s roots (typically 1 inch). Remove your clone from its container and carefully bury the roots in your soil.
Final tip: Don’t fear moldy mistakes
If a few clones die during the process, don’t beat yourself up. Experienced growers do lose some of their mother plants’ clones from time to time. Take as many cuttings as you can comfortably fit in your grow area for the best results. The more copies you take, the higher the chance that at least one will survive.
It’s also critical to look for mold or disease in your clones throughout the root-growing process. Because clones thrive in an environment with a high humidity, mold is frequently discovered in these locations. Remove any diseased plants as soon as possible if you detect a sign of mold infestation.
With practice and perseverance, you should be able to clone like a pro in no time.