Can You Clone Auto-Flowering Cannabis Plants?

Yes. But they will grow shorter than the mother plant and produce less yield.

Can You Clone Auto-Flowering Cannabis Plants?

What Is Cloning?

Cloning is the process of propagating a mother plant to replicate its characteristics, yield, and THC profile. This process is labeled “asexual” as a cloned plant grows from rooted cuttings of the mother.

Why Clone Cannabis?

There are a lot of methods for growing cannabis. However, cloning is beneficial for growers who want security in what they’re planting.

The process of cloning ensures the gender of the plant. Clones will always be genetically identical to their parent. Male cannabis plants have other uses such as pollinating female plants for seed production. But growers and enthusiasts also grow weed to produce buds for smoking. Growers can use feminized seeds so they can be sure that the plant they’re growing turns out female. But through cloning, growers could save up on seeds. All you need to do is to spend once on seeds to start.

Cloning’s main goal is to produce an exact copy of a plant with the genetics you prefer. Through the process, a parent’s characteristics, yield, and even THC profile get reproduced to its clone. This ensures that the cannabis plant that you prefer the most get produced again without altering anything that you loved about it.

However, cloning has its downsides too. As clones copy their mother’s good genetics, they also copy the bad genetics. If a mother plant attracts many bugs, its clone would attract many bugs too. In some cases, if a mother plant has a disease when it got cloned, the clone will also have the same disease.

Cloning doesn’t work with some strains. Other strains, like auto-flowers, do not have the time needed for cloning to be done. To top it off, cloning doesn’t promote weed strain diversity. It is a continuous process of growing the same plant over and over again. Some growers argue that it inhibits the plant to develop other characteristics as it only copies from the parent.

Why Should You Clone The Plant In Its Vegetative Stage?

It is suggested to take cuttings from the mother plant during its vegetative stage. When plants go into their flowering stage, they start to grow slower. For auto-flowers, that’s estimated to be around the 4th to 5th week after germination.

However, it is good to remember that the vegetative stage in a photoperiod plant doesn’t last as long as an auto-flower plant’s vegetative stage. In an article we wrote about weed growth times, we discovered that auto-flowers grow flowers earlier compared to photoperiod strains because of their adaptation to the environment where they are found.

In the Northern and Southern hemispheres where auto-flowers are mostly found, there isn’t as much sunlight. This situation made the strain adapt into flowering without a 12:12 light cycle needed. But that also meant that their vegetative stage is cut short to a maximum of 4 weeks. That short amount of time is the main reason why it is hard to clone auto-flowers. They don’t have enough time to grow. Therefore, when they are cut for cloning, the clipped part proceeds to the flowering stage with not enough time to grow and further develop.

Photoperiods vs. Auto-Flowers

Cloning copies the characteristics of the mother plant. But we should also remember that cloning also copies the same age the plant is when it was cut to be cloned.

When a photoperiod plant was cut during its vegetative stage, it will still have a few months to grow into a bigger plant before it flowers. Meanwhile, in an auto-flower’s case, since they have a shorter span between the vegetative and flowering stage, the plant doesn’t have enough time to grow bigger. Hence, producing a stunted clone.

According to an article from Home and Garden, stunting in plants will cause inadequate foliage and yield. This means that the clone produced from auto-flowers will not reach its full potential in terms of the number of leaves and buds that it could produce in its lifetime. The goal of cloning is to produce the same amount of yield in a strain with the same genetics. It is possible to clone an auto-flower. However, it wouldn’t be as efficient as cloning a photoperiod strain.

What Is Monster Cropping?

Monster cropping is the process of cutting a clone from a mother plant during the early stages of flowering. Monster cropping interrupts the growth cycle of the plant which prompts it to grow more nodes, branches, and bud sites in exchange for the clipping that was taken. In return, this produces more yield.

Benefits

  1. There is no need to maintain a mother plant. This is beneficial if you’re an indoor grower who works in a small space. Growing plants indoors also need their space allowance. Overcrowding them in one room would result in overshadowing which could cause issues in growth and growth times.
  2. This process inflicts less stress on the donor plant. In fact, it even improves the plant’s current state. Although it sounds bad that monster cropping disturbs the plant’s growth cycle, it only means that more nodes and bud sites would grow in exchange for the clippings taken.
  3. Monster cropping promotes plant growth by sending a message to the plant that it needs to grow more branches, buds, and grow sites since one part was taken away from it. It’s as beneficial as cell regeneration in humans. It allows the plant to heal itself and grow from it.

Drawbacks

  1. Taking too many cuttings from the donor causes irreparable damage. It is okay for plants to be pruned or trimmed but anything in excess causes damage. This could result in stunted growth, inadequate foliage, and less yield.
  2. More clippings would be needed since the cloning success rate is lower. Since monster cropping is done during the flowering stage, it might be difficult for the plant to go back to its vegetative stage and grow its own roots. Therefore, to produce a higher success rate, more clippings are taken. But then again, anything in excess is bad for the plant.
  3. There are instances where clippings take time to root; producing less yield.

Should You Do Monster Cropping In Auto-Flowers?

Cloning is suggested to be done during the vegetative stage as it provides enough time for the plant to grow more before it crosses the flowering stage. But in auto-flowers, cloning in the vegetative stage doesn’t give enough time for growth before it flowers.

Doing monster cropping on an auto-flower doesn’t make much of a difference in growth and reproduction. The main disadvantage of cloning an auto-flower is its growth speed. There is not much time. Auto-flowers quickly grow and age but cloning consumes a lot of time.