Do you think you could clone a cannabis plant? It may sound like an insane scientist’s idea, but there are advantages to cloning a plant vs. growing seed, and it’s easier to clone a weed than you expect.
Why clone cannabis plants?
There are two ways you can do cannabis reproduction. You will grow from the seed in which you have to get the seeds, germinate them, sort them out, and then keep growing them. Seeds are produced through sexual reproduction, which entails the cross-breeding of a male plant with a female through pollination, during which the female produces seeds. Breeding male and female plants will allow the creation of a hybrid of the two parent plants.
Cloning is known as asexual reproduction. A clone is a cutting that is genetically similar to the plant from which it was derived — known as the “mother.”
By cloning, you will produce a new crop from the exact replicas of your best plants. Since the chromosomes are the same, a clone should give you a plant with the same characteristics as a mother, such as taste, cannabinoid profile, yield, growth time, etc. If you come in contact with a specific phenotype or a particular strain that you enjoy, you will want to take a cutting so that you can reproduce the exact genetic for more buds of the same quality.
For cloning, you don’t have to get fresh seeds any time you want to produce another plant — you have to cut the old plant — and you don’t have to germinate or date the seeds to get rid of the males.
Not having to do so will save you time and space, all of which will help you save money.
How to clone a cannabis plant
Cloning cannabis is relatively simple and requires only a few main items:
- Scissors (for cutting branches off the mother plant)
- Razor (for trimming up cuttings)
- Rooting setup (tray/dome/root cubes, or an auto-cloner)
- Rooting hormone
Choosing a setup and picking the correct rooting medium
Popular rooting mediums include rock cloth, rooting blocks, or other non-soil alternatives such as peat or foam. Rockwool is a melted rock that has been spun into a fine thread and has amazing moisture retention and excellent airflow. You can purchase these cubes at many different online stores and retail locations.
If you use cells, you’ll need to invest in a plate, a plate cell insert, and a dome. The clones are going in the tubes, the tubes in the tray-cells, and they’re going to sit in a tray that contains water. To keep in humidity, make sure you use a dome over your tray, and you might even want to use a heat mat. For more information on this system, check out our Cannabis Cloning Equipment Guide.
Another method is the use of an auto-cloner. We that the amount of labour required to feed and care for clones. Aeroponics device sprays nutrient water on the bottoms of your cuttings at fixed intervals to facilitate root growth. They’re more expensive than the conventional tray/dome/root cube system, but they’re becoming more and more popular.
Try to see which setup works best for you. Whatever system you choose, make sure your new clones get enough of light — preferably 18 hours — and moisture.
How to properly cut a clone
When cutting a clone, you should select a mother plant that is very healthy and robust and has been in a vegetative cycle for at least 2 months. You’re not supposed to take a clone off a plant once it starts to flower.
Here is how to properly take a marijuana cutting:
- Don’t fertilize the mother plant for a few days before cuttings are taken; this will make it possible for nitrogen to work out of the leaves. When you take cuttings, excess nitrogen in the leaves and stems will trick your clones into trying to grow vegetation instead of diverting energy to rooting.
- Working in a sterile environment. Using your gloves and clean your razors and scissors.
- Check for divisions that are solid and stable. You will want at least two nodes on the final cutting, so pick a branch that’s healthy and long enough. A robust clone is going to lead to a robust field.
- Cut off the clone of the mother, chopping through the node of the mother vine. It’s easy to use a scissor here; it may be hard to get a scissor in the middle of the mother plant.
- Instead, using a knife, cut the fresh-cut below the bottom node at an angle of 45 ° to the tip. This will ult increase the surface area of the rooting surface and encourage faster growth.
- Place the fresh cutting into the rooting hormone immediately and place it directly in the root cube. When you’re using an auto-cloner, you’ll put the rooting hormone in the cloner after you’ve taken all the cuttings.
- After cutting, drop unwanted leaves to the bottom and clip off the tips of the remaining fan leaves on the cutting. This supports photosynthesis, helping your clones uptake nutrients and water.
Rooting your Transplant
Check your clones every day to make sure they have enough water by checking the bottom of the tray or the auto-cloner. You can spray water on the leaves with a spray bottle to increase the humidity. If any clones die, dispose of them so that they do not create mold in the rest of the clones and give more room to the remaining clones.
Most clones should be ready for soil transplantation in 10-14 days, although some can take longer. You’ll know that they’re ready when the white roots reach an inch or two in circumference.
When you’re about to implant, make careful to keep the air sterile. Transplant shock can occur, so be sure to use gloves when handling clones.
- Put soil in your pots first.
- Water the soil before you put in the clone, so the soil doesn’t move around once the clone is in its new home.
- Once the water has drained, with two fingers, dig out a hole 1-2 inches deep, or just enough to bury all the roots.
- Put the clone in and gently cover with soil.
Cloning will do magic for your cannabis garden by saving you time and energy and maintaining a genetically compatible harvest. You don’t need anything to get going, and if you do it right, you can have a constant crop of your favourite strains all year round.