Having the ability to clone cannabis plants should be considered a bonus if you wish to become a successful grower. In gardening and agriculture, plant cloning involves taking a sample from an existing plant. Next, you expose it to a stimulating environment and ample nutrients to ensure you grow a ‘copy’ of the original.
Marijuana growers choose this technique because of the array of benefits of cloning a plant versus growing from a seed. Cloning is a reliable method of improving your harvest and yield without compromising potency.
However, you can only clone once you know which plants are the healthiest and most successful. You must also be able to differentiate between ‘male’ and ‘female’ plants. For the record, a single mother plant is capable of producing over 50 clones a week!
While the marijuana growing process has no guarantees, cloning is about as close as you’ll get. Plus, it is easier to do than you think! So, without further ado, let’s discuss marijuana plant cloning.
Ultimate Answers to the Questions: “What Is Cloning?” and “Why Do You Need to Clone Cannabis Plants?”
Cloning your cannabis involves using a clipping of a mature plant and moving it somewhere else to grow by itself. Cloning sounds exceptionally sophisticated, but you just identify a productive marijuana plant, take a sample, and grow it elsewhere! The cloning process is also known as ‘asexual reproduction.’ The clones you grow are rooted cuttings that are genetically identical to the marijuana plant you took them from.
It is one of two ways to breed cannabis. The other method involves sexual reproduction, which involves crossing a male plant with a female one via pollination. This process creates new seeds that are then planted to produce a genetic hybrid of the two ‘parent’ plants.
Benefits of Cloning
- Consistent Growing: As clones are copies of a specific marijuana plant, they will share the same genetics. They grow similarly to one another, and also to the mother plant. You will know how to take care of them as it’s the same process as growing the mother plant. Therefore, you know the yields you can expect, the scent, taste, and bud potency.
- Inexpensive: Cloning supplies are not expensive, and it is almost ‘free’ otherwise.
- Convenient: While some clones root quicker during the vegetative stage, you can take clones up until a fortnight before harvest. You may see some unusual growth for the first couple of weeks on clones you take from flowering plants.
- Speed: Clones have an automatic head-start when compared to their seedling counterparts. Every clone begins at the same age as the parent plant. This means it is mature when you start the process. Naturally, cloned plants grow extremely fast during the first few weeks.
Experienced cloners claim that it is best practice to take the bottom branches of a parent plant. The reason for this is they usually receive less light and are more likely to wither if left alone. Let’s say you take four of each of a parent plant’s bottom branches and use them to create clones. Theoretically, this simple tactic quadruples your harvest!
Downsides of Cloning
It would be remiss of us to suggest that cloning was a ‘perfect’ solution. While it is effortless in theory, the practice of cloning doesn’t always end up as it should. If you are an outdoor grower, you’ll get the best out of cloning in regions with longer growing seasons. Regardless, it is unlikely that your clones will ever reach their potential in terms of height.
They grow faster than seedlings in the first few weeks. However, they will only begin growing around three months into the growing season when the parent plant is mature. On the plus side, you can still benefit from a fantastic yield from short clones.
The cloning process is considered to be effectively risk-free because you are not harming the health of the parent plant. However, it is essential to know that clones have a low survival rate. Don’t be surprised if 90% of your clones die.
How to Clone Cannabis Plants from Your Garden
The most challenging step is arguably selecting mothers to clone. It is the cornerstone of the entire process, so don’t rush it and pick the first healthy plant you see!
Analyze your plants, and choose the one that is tough, fast-growing, offers excellent yields, and has healthy buds and large roots.
Before making the first cutting, please ensure that your plant is in a vegetative state. Although you can take a plant during the flowering stage, it is harder for it to take root. This increases the mortality rate. If you are a first-time cloner, you won’t have enough knowledge or extensive growing experience to determine your best options.
In this case, just pick a female in its vegetative state, which appears to be in good health. We also recommend cloning plants from regular seeds rather than using feminized seeds. Remember, a cannabis plant only produces feminized seeds when it is stressed. If you pick plants from such seeds and stress them again, there is a chance that they will become hermaphrodites.
Your choice of mother plant must be at least two months old. Your best chance of success comes by picking a plant that has been in its vegetative state for three months. By exercising this level of patience, you can get several clones from a single plant. Make sure the plant you choose receives around 10% less nitrogen than usual in the fortnight before taking the clipping. This tactic increases the chances of successful rooting.
You will also need a few select pieces of equipment for the cloning process, including:
- A rooting medium
- A razor (This is a better option for taking cuttings than scissors because the latter is capable of crushing branches. A blade should help you get a clean cut)
- A rooting hormone
You will also require the following during the cloning process:
- Paper towels
- Duct tape
- Sterile gloves
- Several 16-ounce plastic cups, preferably in clear and red colors
- 99% isopropyl alcohol
- pH meter
- Grow journal
- Permanent marker to create clear labels
- Bleach wipes
Transplanting of Roots
Once you see vegetative growth on your clones, it is essential to transplant them into bigger containers. There is a danger of ‘transplant shock.’ This may kill your clones, so make sure you use a high degree of care and sanitation during this process. If you have ever transplanted seedlings during the growing season, you have the knowledge needed for clones rooted in soil.
Things are a little different if you rooted the clones via the water method. The first step is to dig a hole around 12” wide and 12” deep. Move the container holding the clone and its water to the site. Never expose roots to the air! Put your plant in the freshly dug hole. Fill the gap with potting soil combined with the dirt you dug up. Pat the soil down and use two liters of water combined with plant food to water the area. Hopefully, your clone will reach the flowering stage within three months. Don’t be shocked or dismayed if the clone is of different sex to the parent plant. This is a common occurrence.