There are two ways to grow a cannabis plant. One, you can grow almost all strains of cannabis from seeds. Second, you can grow some cannabis plants using clones or cuttings. Growing from seeds is the most traditional but some strains are not available in seed form anymore. This is why some cannabis growers resort to using cuttings to grow plants. But not all plants may be cloned so consider this information when choosing the strain you want to clone.
Why use clones
Clones take the short cut to grow healthy cannabis. You no longer have to deal with germinating your seeds and going through the tough yet very crucial seedling phase. Many experienced growers agree that this is the most important part of every cannabis grows. If you fail during the germination and the seedling phase, your yields will greatly reduce and your plants won’t be as healthy as they are.
Remember the strain you love to consume over and over again? With cloning, you will be able to preserve the flavor, taste, and aroma that you love about this strain. With cloning, you can get the same plant, its appearance, the recreational effects and the medicinal effects that you crave for.
But a word of warning, cloning can only go as far as a number of generations. The genetics of a parent plant will eventually change due to an overproduction of hormones. This is why you need to make sure that the parent plant is in good health and is ready to provide you with good clones.
Things you will need for cloning
You need the following to clone cannabis plants
- A healthy parent plant
You need a healthy parent to grow healthy clones. Healthy plants are essentially plants that don’t have any growth issues. These plants grow new leaves and stem almost daily during the growing phase. These plants are also free from pests and molds.
Parent plants are also still in their growing phase or vegetative phase. These should be actively growing so these could be at around three or four weeks into the growing phase.
- A sharp or preferably new razor blade
You need a sharp blade or preferably a new blade so this will cut well. Avoid using scissors to cut your clone plants because these can crush the stem and cause more damage. Remember that cutting clones is stressful for any plant and you should give your plants as little stress as possible.
- Growing medium, we prefer you use peat cubes at this stage
Although you can use a variety of growing mediums for your plant, it would be a good idea to start peat cubes. Why peat cubes?
Peat cubes are easy to use and you can easily transfer your peat cube-grown plants to a long-term, permanent growing medium after it has matured. Peat cubes are very cheap and are so easy to use. This will be discussed more in the cloning instructions below.
Another popular growing medium is Rockwool. This is similar to peat cubes but the cubes start out as very hard cubes. These should be immersed in water overnight to increase in size before use.
- Cloning powder or gel (optional)
You may or may not use cloning gels or powders. This is actually made of hormones that will stimulate the growth of the clones. This is available from online gardening stores or you can purchase this from a local garden shop.
- A clean and sterile area for cutting
You need a clean and tidy working area. As much as possible, the area should be sterilized because you will be cutting your plants and exposing it to bacteria that cause plant diseases. Use soap and water to clean the area and dry with a soft, clean cloth afterwards. Use 70% isopropyl alcohol to disinfect the area. This will be enough to clean and sanitize your working area for cloning.
- A humidity dome
This is available from gardening shops and online cannabis growing shops. This is basically a large dome where you will place your cannabis clones. Inside, the temperature and humidity inside the humidity dome are strictly controlled with an electronic system.
State of the art humidity domes are now available, with the ability to hold more clones and will be able to fine-tune temperature and humidity. You can also use this to grow all kinds of plants even herbs, vegetables, and fruits.
- Intense grow lights
When it comes to grow lights, there are a few types that you can use. The most common are LED and CFL lamps. There are different advantages and disadvantages of each type of lamp.
LEDs are known to be the most efficient. These are brighter, will last longer and are cost-effective since it costs less to use LED lamps than other forms of lighting. The downside of using LED lamps is that it is very expensive. But the cost can be easily augmented since it will take a long time before you replace your bulbs.
CFL lamps are also very popular because these are available in different wattages and tints. These are inexpensive but are not as bright as LEDs.
- Protective gear
As you create a clean and sterile environment where you will cut clones, you also need to protect your plants from microorganisms that you may give to your plants. Wash your hands thoroughly and use isopropyl alcohol to sterilize your plants. You may also use gloves when handling your plants.
You need clean and safe water for your plants. As much as possible use distilled water or bottled water at this time. This will avoid any problems with pH as well as any nutrient imbalance.
The Steps to Clone Cannabis Plants
There are a number of ways you can clone your cannabis plants. You can do this in water, soil and in Rockwool. These are time-tested methods that you can actually do yourself. These can be done at home using the materials indicated above.
No matter what method you choose, work in a sterile environment because dirt and dust will ruin the quality of your work. Treat our cannabis clones with TLC. These need the best care to grow into healthy, well-adjusted and high-yielding cannabis plants that will grow lovely resinous flowers.
Cloning Cannabis in Rockwool
Cloning in Rockwool is a very popular one of the most popular methods. It’s quick and easy and gives very favorable results.
- Soak Rockwool cubes in water for about two hours
This will make the Rockwool fatter and will expand many times its size. Use water that is pH balance at 5.5.
A word of warning for Rockwool users: Rockwool cubes are very popular but this material starts out as very dry and can irritate your respiratory system and your eyes if the tiny bits reach your eyes and nose. Be sure to wear a face mask and gloves when working with Rockwool.
- Prepare your clones
After soaking the Rockwool in water for two hours, remove these and let these drain. Take a cutting and remove almost all its leaves except for the ones that are found at the top. This is done to stimulate the plant to start growing roots.
- Dip the tips of t the clones in cloning gel or cloning powder
Take one clone cutting and hold it gently along its body and then dip the bottom tip in cloning gel or powder. Some growers even double dip: they dip the tip in cloning gel and then dip this again in cloning powder.
- Place the clone in a Rockwool cube
Take a Rockwool cube and locate the small hole or section for the clone. Place the clone inside, carefully place the tip (the section that was dipped in cloning gel) inside the cube.
- Place your cubes under bright grow lights
When your cubes are ready, place these under intense growing lamps. Your clones should receive at least 18 hours of light in a day. A CFL bulb is recommended for cloning using Rockwool pellets. Clones should be kept at a temperature between 72-75 degrees. When you maintain this growing condition, your clones will finally grow roots in just 7 to12 days.
- Use a humidity dome
To ensure success, you might want to consider placing your plants inside a humidity dome that provides the best growing environment that is conducive to root development. Your clones will stay in this dome till the time it grows roots.
- Transfer in a growing medium
After growing more roots or complex root systems and you can see more new leaves, it’s time to transfer your plants in a growing medium. You may use soil, coco coir or grow your plants in hydroponics.
Cloning Weed in Soil
Cloning in soil is the most common way of growing cannabis clones. With this method, there is no time wasted because you will already cultivate your plants in its final growing container. But if you still want to grow in a smaller container like a party cup, you may still can; although you may risk stressing your plant when you transfer to a larger growing container.
Small young plants especially clones can be prone to stress, therefore, you must handle these carefully. There are many reasons why your plants can become stressed and one of these is transplanting from one growing container to another. This is why most growers that cultivate in soil start growing their young plants in soil in their final containers.
- Take the cutting from the mother plant.
Cut the clone from the mother plant. Use a sharp blade and cut the clone at a 45-degree angle.
- Remove any mature leaves from the stalk of your clone.
Removing mature leaves should be done to stimulate the cutting to grow roots. Leave only the leaves at the tips of the cutting.
- Dip the end of the cutting in water and then in cloning gel or powder.
You must move quickly after removing mature leaves. Dip the tip in water and then in cloning gel. You may triple dip to ensure early growth of the clone roots; dip once in water then in cloning gel and finally in cloning powder.
- Place growing soil in growing containers.
Use the best soil for growing cannabis plants: sandy-clayey soil. This type of soil is porous but will absorb water and nutrients better. It will remove excess water and nutrients too. Make sure that your container has adequate drainage from the bottom. Water the soil until you see water runoff from the hole at the bottom of the container. Wait till the soil is moist before placing the clone.
- Stick the clone in the soil.
As soon as the soil is moist you may now stick the clone into the soil. For soils that come with nutrients flush this with pHed water to prevent any nutrient imbalance. Clones don’t need to be fed at this early stage so just water your plants twice or three times a week. When all the growing conditions are met, your clones will grow roots at around 7 days.
Cloning cannabis in water
Aside from Rockwool and soil, you can cultivate clones in water until these grow roots. This is very easy to do and most growers that use this technique agree that it is very effective and will support root growth in clones faster than most methods. You will use clean, pHed water for this method. This will ensure that your plants grow without suffering from nutrient imbalances.
- Take cuttings from the parent plant.
Cut the clones in a 45-degree angle using a sharp blade. Doing so improves the surface area of the stem to efficiently take in water and nutrients.
Remove the mature leaves at the lower part of the cutting. Just leave the leaves that are located at the tip.
- Place water in a tall container.
Use clean pHed water for your clones. Use a tall and large container that will fit all the clones or cuttings you have taken from the parent plant.
- Replace water that has evaporated from the container.
It may take up to 7 days for your plants to develop roots and during this time, water from the plants will have evaporated. Replace this and never let the container be without water. Roots will soon appear on the 7th day onwards. When this happens, it’s time to transfer your plants to a better growing medium, soil, coco coir or grow this in hydro.
Growing and maintaining your mother plant
Thanks to a healthy and well-developed mother plant, you have clones that will grow into young cannabis plants soon. It is therefore very important to ensure the health of your parent plant so you can harvest more clones in the future.
A mother plant is simply a cannabis plant that has been cultivated to remain in the vegetative phase. How is this so? This is done by constant trimming of the large fan leaves and pretty much most of the plant’s parts. This way, the plant still thinks that it is in the vegetative phase and it still needs to grow more leaves and stems.
To maintain the health of the mother plant you must have at least three or more plants. This way, a plant can rest and recuperate while you still have other plants to harvest from.
Having a collection of healthy mother plants is essential because you cannot clone the same plant over and over again. Doing so can hurt the genetics of your mother plant leading to the growth of weak plants with many different health issues. Your plants can also develop mutations as a result of tireless cloning.
The mother plant deserves a good area in your growing space where it can relax and recuperate after harvest of clones. Keep it under 18 or more hours of light every day to initiate the growing cycle. You may use a separate tent or growing cabinet for your plants if possible.
Stop feeding nutrients to the mother plant for at least a few days before harvesting clones. This reduces nutrient overload in clones as they are transferred to a new growing environment like peat cubes, Rockwool cubes, and soil.
Is it Better to Grow Plants from Seeds or from Clones?
The taproot in plants grown in seeds is a huge advantage. Growers will be able to cultivate strong, resilient and healthier plants when they grow these from seeds rather than from clones. The taproot makes a lot of difference to keep a plant healthy and able to take in nutrients for growth and development.
The taproot also helps plants adjust to weather extremes which are mostly true for plants grown outdoors. Cloning is faster and cost-efficient when it comes to leapfrogging the seedling phase of the plant. Growers don’t need to spend much on growing supplies to grow more plants and there is no need to bother with germination as well.