How To Clone Cannabis Plants?

How To Clone Cannabis Plants?

What Is Cloning?

Cloning is a horticultural technique that allows growers to replicate a mother plant. Cloning allows a grower to get the exact copy of the plant characteristics they prefer such as flavor, cannabinoid profile, yield, and grow time. Also known as an asexual reproduction method, you don’t have to get new seeds every time you want to cultivate another plant. It saves the grower time, space, and money. We also wrote about cloning clones and how it affects yield and bud quality.

How To Clone Cannabis Plants?

Before cloning, remember to prep the tools you’ll be needing in the process. This includes your scissors, razors, the rooting setup, and rooting hormone. It is also best to keep your tools sterile to avoid cross-contamination between plants and avoid the spread of molds and fungus among plants.

1. Take clippings from a strong stem.

It is possible to clone any part of the mother plant. But it is best to take clippings from the part of the plant which has stronger stems as this allows more room for root development. After cutting, place the clippings in dechlorinated water to keep them hydrated until the next step.

2. Trim off the leaves from the clippings.

This step allows proper photosynthesis to occur and creates a sanitary environment for the plants to grow in. Remove the bottom leaves and keep the top leaves as foliage. Also, remember to scrape off the outer membrane of the stems to promote quicker root growth.

3. Soak clippings in rooting hormone.

Afterward, you can dip the clippings in rooting hormone before transplanting them in their rooting medium. The use of rooting hormone acts as a support for the cloned plant to grow healthy and provide it with the nutrients it will need until it roots and grows. Although this step is not required, it can sure help shorten the rooting period the cloned plant will go through.

4. Transfer the clippings into the rooting medium.

Transfer the clippings to their rooting medium and hydrate them with water. Using domes at this stage of the cloning process will keep the humidity around the plants high enough to support further root growth. Ventilation will also play a huge role in the clones’ development. Making sure that the plants get aerated slowly over some time will make their stems and branches grow tough and invulnerable to breakage. This step also prepares the clones for transplant to their final growing pots.

5. Transplant the clippings into the final pot.

In transplanting the rooted clones, make sure that the transplant pot is prepared beforehand. After putting soil in the pots, make sure to water it before putting it in the clone. This ensures that the soil won’t move around after the clone gets transplanted. After the soil absorbs the water, dig out a 1-2"/ 2.5-5 cm hole enough to bury in the roots. Transplant the clone in that hole and gently cover it with soil.

Why Should You Clone Cannabis Plants?

Growers prefer to clone their plants because it saves them time, money, and space. Aside from that, they get to pick out which traits they prefer from the plants that they have and further reproduce them. This allows them to control and protect the phenotype from the plant that they prefer the most. So if you’re a grower who has found which things they would like to keep in a cannabis plant, cloning is the best approach to keep those preferences at hand.

Producing new plants from cloning takes less time than starting from starch. Cloning would take at least a few weeks off from the growth time as clones take their mother plant’s age. On average, parent plants are cloned around their 8th week. Cloning bypasses the entire seedling-to-sapling process and would save you two months. If growers are in a rush against time, cloning is their best option to propagate a large sum of plants in a short amount of time.

Cannabis plants are annual plants. This means that they take a full season to grow and produce buds and die at the end of the season. Through cloning, the plant cheats its natural cycle. Instead of buying seeds for the next season, clones can be used to replicate the plants from the last season. This creates a self-sufficient garden for the grower which saves money, time, and energy.

How To Select The Mother Plant?

Since cloning aims to replicate a plant with desired characteristics, choosing the mother plant is the first thing you need to tick off your list. A great mother plant for cloning, aside from having the characteristics that you like about it, should be hardy, grow rapidly, produce great yield, have large roots, and strong buds.

Both indoor and outdoor-grown marijuana plants could be good candidates for mother plants. But it is best if a grower could replicate the growing environment that the mother plant used to have. This means that it is suggested for indoor plants to be cloned indoors while outdoor plants to be cloned outdoors, too.

A mother plant should also be in its vegetative stage before cloning. In an article we wrote about cloning auto-flowers, cloning plants early on in its vegetative stage allows the plant to further grow. Once the plant crosses over to its flowering stage, the plant will grow slower as it prepares to flower. Keep in mind that clones also copy the mother plant’s age. This means that timing between the vegetative and flowering stage is needed to ensure the successful production of a clone. On average, this is estimated at 8 weeks.

In preparation for cloning, the chosen mother plant should be relieved of nutrient intake for a few days before its cloning day. This step would lessen the Nitrogen absorption in the mother plant which would give it a better chance of growing roots later on. Nitrogen in plants promotes vegetation. Therefore, if there is a continuous source of it would result in the plant staying in its vegetative stage instead of crossing over to the flowering stage.

Can You Clone A Clone?

Yes, you can clone a clone. Since the main point of cloning, plants is to reproduce the exact kind with the same traits, it is possible to clone a clone. Commercial growers clone the clones from their past harvest to ensure consistency generation after generation. In theory, the best plants to clone are those with thick stems like cannabis plants.

Does Cloning Ruin Cannabis Strains Over Time?

There is no scientific evidence that cloning cannabis generation after generation ruins cannabis strains over time. Although some growers think that the old myth of cloning cannabis causes potency loss, cloning is still one of the best ways to reproduce a cannabis strain along with its best traits.

They say that clonal degradation, or the notion of a clone steering away from its mother plant’s genes, is the cause. There is no definite proof for clonal degradation in the cannabis industry yet. However, other growers insist that this is a real phenomenon that is currently happening. The genetic variation comes from sexual reproduction. When the male plant pollinates the female plant, the process produces seeds. But that doesn’t mean that cloning generations after generations develops changes the same way that occurs in the seeds produced.

One of the key factors that affect a cannabis plant’s potency is environmental stressors. Things such as the level of light, humidity, soil nutrients, and water all contribute to how potent marijuana becomes. Other stressors like underwatering, over or underfeeding, incorrect soil pH, and inconsistencies with light cycles also impacts the potency upon harvest.

Another factor that contributes to a marijuana’s potency is the lack of a taproot in a clone. Plants grown from seeds are equipped with taproots that stretch down to the soil where subsidiary roots grow from. Of course, clippings from a mother plant grown from seeds do not have the same taproot that its parent had during growth. In effect, plants without taproots are more prone to drought. Taproots are a plant’s way to dig deeper into the soil to find its water source. However, in a clone’s case, that isn’t an option as it doesn’t come with its taproot. According to Leafly, a seed plant will always grow faster and grow robustly than a cloned plant.

Regardless of the different factors that affect a cannabis plant’s potency, there isn’t a 100% certainty that the continuous cloning process ruins the plant’s strain. Until proven, it is safe to clone plants without thinking that their strains get damaged through time.

How To Take Care Of A Clone?

The process of cloning could subject a clipping to environmental factors that could damage and later on kill it. Knowing how to take care of clones during their rooting and transplanting stages is a piece of great information to keep in mind that would help you increase the success rate of your clones.

Low temperatures elongate the time it takes for roots to grow. It is suggested to keep the temperatures in the environment to 75F (24C). In terms of humidity, the ideal environment should be at 80-85% relative humidity in the air for a few days. Before you provide the usual nutrients, the roots should be quite strong because nutrient solutions could damage the roots in the rooting medium it is in. The roots should be visible before you can give out a cycle of the solution with only half of the nutrient dosage you normally use. In the next cycle, you can nourish the clippings with the nutrient solution you’d normally give to grown cannabis plants.

What Are The Benefits Of Cloning?

Cloning is a fast and economical way to get the most desirable traits from a harvest.

Its benefits include guaranteed female plants. As growers seek female plants more than male plants because of their high THC content, cloning helps eliminate the chances of getting a male plant in your garden. Having more female plants also means a higher chance to yield more buds than having a garden with both male and female plants. Through cloning, a grower could exclude the chances of a male plant pollinating female plants which would produce seeds instead of buds.

Aside from that, cloning is less expensive. Seeds could be expensive, much more if you’ll purchase feminized seeds. If you end up buying regular seeds, you could have half a garden full of male plants. Taking out the male plants to avoid pollination would further add to your expenses and it will also contribute to wasted time.

As clones are exact copies, they also have the exact quality that their mother plant has. This means that if their mother plant is robust and of high-quality strain, their clones will be the same.

What Are The Downsides Of Cloning?

Although cloning is a good method for reproducing plants, it also has its downsides. Clones are sensitive. After clipping them from their mother plant, they are more vulnerable to environmental stressors. New clones lack their roots which is what they use to gather nutrients from their environment. It is suggested that cloning is left to more experienced growers as it could be a risky method of propagation.

Added to that, as clones will grow their roots after some time, cloned plants tend to have fewer roots than cannabis plants grown from seeds. Plants that start from seeds have a head start in root growth. Clones don’t have much time to establish their root system which could result in a smaller plant with fewer flowers to harvest.

The Best Practices For Cloning A Cannabis Plant

  • Avoid Cloning Sick Plants
  • After waiting for a mother plant to be mature enough for clipping, it is easy to overlook a plant’s health due to excitement. However, a better chance of survival comes with the mother plant’s health. It is best to choose a mother plant that is free from diseases that could potentially be acquired by the clones later on. Although it is not 100% sure that the cloned plant would succumb to the disease, it is sure that it will have a hard time curing itself. This would further elevate the chances of failure.
  • Use Sterile Instruments To Take Your Cuttings
  • Make sure that the tools that you’re using to cut the clippings from the mother plant are clean and sterile. It is suggested to use alcohol to sterilize and clean the tools beforehand. Dirty and unsterile tools could cause cross-contamination between plants. This could result in mold and fungal infection.
  • Relieve A Plant From Nutrients Until It Gets Transplanted
  • It is a grower’s instinct to support their plants with nutrients. But nutrients, given during the cloning process, could cause shock to the plants. Nutrients overwhelm plants that have not properly rooted. Wait until the clone has fully grown its root system before nourishing it with nutrients.
  • Avoid Using LEDs and HIDS On Young Clones
  • High-powered grow lights are often helpful for plants. But that is not the case with clones. It is mentioned that in the article we wrote about marijuana grow yields that temperatures should be balanced for it to be beneficial for the cannabis plant. It should not be too warm or too cold. Otherwise, it would cause irreparable damage to the plants. For clones, using high-powered lights will cause them to dry out because of the heat. Clones, especially those that were newly-cut and transplanted, cannot withstand high-powered lights yet. Using CFL and T5 lighting are not the best lights to grow cannabis but they will provide the needed dosage of light without overheating the plants. Once the plants grow in size and are mature enough to handle warmer light setups, then it is best to switch to LEDs and HIDS.

    What Are The Best Mediums For Cannabis Cloning?

  • How To Clone Weed In Rockwool
  • Rockwool is a horticultural growing media made out of Basalt rock and Chalk. It is a material that makes an ideal growing medium for hydroponics. Rockwool provides a favorable result which is why it is one of the popular methods for rooting. To clone plants using Rockwool, soak the material in water with a pH balance of 5.5 for 2 hours. Insert the prepped clippings in the Rockwool cube after dipping them in the preferred rooting hormone. It is suggested that clones be exposed to light for 18 hours a day. In this setup, a temperature between 72-75F (22-24C) and a humidity of 90% should be kept for roots to sprout within 7-12 days.
  • How To Clone Weed In Water
  • If Rockwool is the easiest rooting method, then rooting in water is the simplest. The cuttings should be cut at a 45-degree angle with their leaves removed before sticking them in a cup of tap water. This method should make your cuttings root within 2-3 weeks. Maintenance is also easy as it only requires the water to be changed every day. The water should stay at a 5.5 pH level to increase the chances of cloning in water. Although it isn’t required, root hormones could speed up the rooting process in water.
  • How To Clone In Soil
  • Rooting in the soil is as easy as cloning in water. Clip the clippings at a 45-degree angle and remove any mature leaves attached to its stalk. Hydrate the stalk in water and dip it into your cloning gel or powder. Before inserting the clipping in soil, make sure that the soil used should be free from added nutrients. Remember that nutrients like Nitrogen supports the plant in its vegetative stage. Nutrients in the rooting period could cause the clippings to not root at all. If everything is done correctly, roots will sprout within 2 weeks.

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