Any cannabis gardener knows that being able to clone your plants is a core skill set that can help carry you as a grower. Cloning is technically asexual propagation. This process presents several benefits versus growing cannabis from seeds. This article is created to help you understand more about this useful skill, its benefits, as well as the best cannabis cloning method you can master.
What is cloning?
In the cannabis world, cloning is taking cuttings of a healthy, mature cannabis plant and growing genetically identical replicas of it. This practice is, however, not limited to the world of cannabis. This technique is used in all kinds of gardens – even grandmothers know how to clone their roses.
There are two ways to go about reproducing cannabis plants. First is the basic way that everyone knows – from seeds. You will need to get a hold of high-quality seeds, germinate them, sex them out, and wait for them to grow. This technique, of course, involves a male and female plant and breeding them to create a hybrid that displays the trait and characteristics of both parents.
Then, there is cloning. Unlike growing plants from seeds where you get a random cross of two parent plants, cloning is getting an exact duplicate of one mother plant. You remove the randomness from the equation. The quality of these clones cannot also be improved or worsened because, again, they get the same genetic code from their single parent. And because you get all the traits and characteristics from that single plant, it is important to clone healthy plants, of high potency and quality. Cloning not only saves you time, but it will also help you save up space and money as well.
What is the best cannabis cloning method?
Cloning is best considered when you have a successful season of high-quality buds. This method is as close as you can get to guarantee yourself the same successful harvest season after season. The theory behind this process is pretty simple – take a cutting from a plant you want, place it into the ground, and wait for it to grow roots. And while the idea sounds easy and straightforward, the actual process is not.
Here are some of the items required to do cloning successfully:
- Clean, sterilized pair of scissors
- Clean, sterilized razor
- Rooting setups, such as a Rockwool, root cubes, or any non-soil equivalent like peat or foam
- Rooting hormone
Choosing a parent plant. Selecting the right parent plant is the first and very important step of cloning. Choose a hardy plant, with large roots, strong buds, and great yield. If you are doing an outdoor grow, clone a plant that does well outdoors. If you are growing an indoor garden, select an indoor plant.
Many cannabis cloners prefer to get cuttings from the bottom branches as these branches are not as productive and would most likely struggle for survival anyway. Taking at least two of each of your plant’s lower branches would allow you to double your harvest.
While the technique of cloning is risk-free to the parent plant, clones often die before they can take root. It is reported that just one out of ten clones tend to survive. That being said, do not be discouraged easily when your first group of clones does not take root. To lower your plant’s mortality rate, experts say it is best to take cuttings from healthy parent plants into their vegetative phase. Make sure not to select plants that are less than two months old, otherwise, you run the risk of getting a cutting that is not mature enough to root. Instead, choose plants that have been in the vegetative stage for at least two to three months already.
Preparing your selected parent plant. The next step to cannabis cloning is to prepare the chosen parent plant. To do this, do not fertilize the mother plant for a week or two leading up to the cuttings. This will allow nitrogen levels to drop at least ten percent than normal. This will help increase the success rate of clones developing roots as an excess of nitrogen would have otherwise trick them into focusing on growing vegetation instead of rooting.
Planting and rooting your cuttings. For the next steps, make sure you have properly and thoroughly sanitized your tools to avoid infections on your mother plant and clone. Using a sharp pair of scissors, cut a clipping that is long enough from above the node of a branch where future roots will start growing. Then, using a razor, make a 45-degree angle cut at the bottom node of the fresh cutting. This encourages water absorption by increasing the area of the rooting surface.
Immediately place the new cutting under running water for a short time, then into your sterile rooting hormone, and then into your chosen rooting medium. As much as possible, avoid leaving your fresh cutting in the open air as this will make root growth difficult if too much air gets on the cut area. There are different rooting setups available at most grow stores or online and each has its advantages over the others. Once you have placed your new cutting on the medium, clip off any unnecessary fan leaves at the bottom. This will help support the photosynthesis of your newly planted clippings.
Once planted, it is important to keep them happy and healthy to increase their chances of surviving. Check on the clones daily and spray water on the leaves using a spray bottle every so often to increase humidity levels. Expose them to light for at least 12 hours each day. Roots will develop in 10 to 14 days, sometimes longer, and your clones should be ready for transplanting. If, unfortunately, a clone dies, make sure to discard them immediately to avoid mold from growing and affecting the rest of your crops.
Transplanting your clone. To transplant, prepare the soil on your pots first and water the soil. Make a small hole that is around one to two inches deep and plant the cutting carefully in the hole. Gently cover in soil.
Cloning is a skill that every gardener should know. It can do wonders in the garden and will help you save on time and money. It will also ensure you with a genetically consistent harvest of top-quality buds. Knowing the best cannabis cloning method is not that easy and simple but with practice and experience, you will be able to enjoy its many benefits season after season.