If you have any experience with plants, you know that cloning is one of the most common processes. It is especially popular among cannabis growers. By relying on marijuana cloning, you can get a massive harvest consisting of plants with specific properties. This is especially important if you’re selling weed.
Although cloning is an exciting concept, there is a lot to know about it. Some people take years and years to master it, so its best if you start early.
In order to uncover all the mysteries of the process, we’ve created this step-by-step guide that should teach you how to make marijuana clones.
What is marijuana cloning?
The best way to start this post is by explaining what cannabis cloning is.
Plant cloning is a process that should help you grow plants with exactly the same properties. As the name implies, they should be the same in terms of their properties, from appearance, to smell, to marijuana potency, and chemical composition.
When we use the term “cloning,” most people have sci-fi references in their heads. However, this concept is pretty simple and straightforward. You will simply have to take a cutting from a particular plant, put it in the ground, and wait for the root to appear. Unfortunately, while the basic process is simple, there are lots of things that can go awry. Furthermore, it is a bit more complicated when you’re growing cannabis.
There will also be some additional considerations based on whether you’re growing marijuana indoors or outdoors. For example, if you’re an outdoor cannabis grower, you will get much better results in a region with a long growing season.
The common practice is to take the bottom branches for cloning. This is because bottom branches get way less sunlight, contrary to the upper branches. Although there are other ways to utilize the bottom branches, it is probably the best if you simply cut them and use them for cloning. To demonstrate how efficient cloning is, keep in mind that you need just 2 to 4 branches to create a whole new plant. In other words, you can double your harvest with this method (as long as you have the necessary space, that is).
It is much better to choose younger plants. The expert growers will recommend those that are between 2 and 3 months old. But, you can use any type of plant as long as it reached maturity. There is also an option of cloning older plants, but they will need some additional work. So, even if you decide to start cloning a bit later, there is always the option.
As previously said, cloning might be a simple concept, but there are several issues with it. The most annoying thing is when your marijuana clones die prematurely. This will happen quite frequently, and it might leave a bad taste in your mouth. It is especially problematic if you depend on your clones to reach a certain quota, but you can’t get there are a large part of them died out before the harvest.
Benefits of cloning marijuana
While the process has its challenges, there aren’t many risks involved, and it is pretty simple. The lack of space is perhaps the most significant factor you need to consider.
Of course, you are not obliged to clone your marijuana; it is something you can choose to do. It all depends on your preferences. As already mentioned, it is a good way to utilize the remaining space in your backyard as well as the branches that are not providing any yield.
Whether we’re talking about marijuana or any other plants, there are a lot of different genetic possibilities ahead. Each plant is unique and has specific traits (the same way humans do). When you choose to clone your plants, you’re effectively eliminating genetic variance, which will provide your plants with exactly the same genetic characteristics.
Clones will grow in the same way their predecessors did. The end result is marijuana leaves with the same taste and potency. Another thing worth noting is that clones allow you a genetic progression without a change. In other words, you will be able to get the same marijuana plant throughout numerous harvests. This will provide a lot of consistency in terms of the product’s quality. According to some of the growers, you are able to get the same individual for more than 10 years. It is even more interesting when you realize that one plant can give you 50 clones every week.
Why should you consider cannabis cloning?
- you had a good harvest
- you don’t want to utilize lower branches
- there is a specific strain that you really like and feel can become a commercial success
- you don’t want to waste seeds
- you have additional reasons to clone a specific plant.
Perhaps the best reason to clone marijuana is after a successful season. You see, the plants who managed to survive and thrive (especially during harsh conditions) are really resilient. If you clone them, you will be able to increase the odds of having a successful harvest in the future.
Lastly, we need to mention the impact on THC. Each time your seed your favorite plant, you will get less THC in the leaves. Clones don’t suffer from this issue, and instead, they will have the same levels of THC as their parent.
How to select the right parent?
When choosing what to clone, you shouldn’t pick random marijuana plants. Instead, you will have to select individuals with supreme characteristics. This step is essential, and the experienced growers recommend that you take your time making the decision (this is especially true if you lack experience).
Here are the 6 main characteristics you need to pay attention to:
- Rapid growth
- Higher yields
- Strong buds
- Big roots
You can utilize either indoor or outdoor plants. But, you should try to use the same type of plant for the same type of environment (if you’re cloning an indoor plant, make sure to put it in a closed environment).
Ideally, you should take cutting during the vegetative stage. It is also possible to take it during flowering, but it will be riskier. The cuttings that are taken during the flowering stage have much higher mortality rates, so we suggest strongly against it.
The experience is the primary factor during this step. Choosing the right clone will play a significant role later on. If you’re able, you should seek the advice of an experienced marijuana grower. Generally speaking, you should try to find a female plant that looks healthy and is still in its vegetative state. You should also find a plant that is at least 2 months old, but not older than 3. Younger plants will not be able to take root. There is also an option of topping the mother plants in order to get more side branches and, thus, the clones.
When you choose the right individual, you will have to start with the preparations. From this point onward, the plant should receive 10% less nitrogen. This needs to be done 1 or 2 weeks before you cut the branches. If you do so, the cannabis clones will have a higher chance of survivability. You should also close plants from regular seeds instead of feminized seeds while also avoiding auto-flowering seeds. That way, you’re reducing chances of getting hermaphrodites.
Although clones will take the characteristics of their parents, there is a rare chance they might differ from the parent plant. During the first generation, this might seem like a minor issue. Unfortunately, as we continue cloning the same plant, the problem will accelerate, becoming more obvious and troublesome.
So, why would this happen? Because of a viral outbreak. Basically, the first generation plant had a virus when we were cutting its branches, and as it was planted into the ground, we started growing an individual that isn’t as resilient as its mother.
Plants such as marijuana last for one season. When they’re affected by a virus, the disease won’t continue since viruses don’t affect the seeds. In other words, each time to start a new germination process, your plants will have a fresh start, disease-free.
But, there is a difference when it comes to cloning. When a mother plant has a virus, it starts spreading throughout the plant. The branches will be infected as well, so when you take these infected branches and put them into the ground, a virus will be transferred as well. Needless to say, marijuana plants can also receive the virus from other sources such as water or air (or it can be transmitted by touch). Susceptibility to viruses is another reason why you should start cloning as soon as possible. Older plants are more susceptible to diseases, and there is a chance you’re cloning a plant that is already infected without knowing.
Another issue is that this virus can ruin the immune system of a plant. Although this isn’t a big deal for one harvest, it becomes a bigger problem when cloning. This is precisely why future cannabis plants become less and less resistant. The plants cannot be cured, nor can you get rid of a virus. Instead, it is much better if you simply get rid of them and sterilize the area.
Still, there are some exceptions to this rule. While the odds increase against the plants, there is a chance to have healthy clones that lasted for several years. Sometimes, changes to marijuana will occur due to the mutation factor. But, this is a rarer case.
How to properly cut your stems
Now that you’ve chosen the mother plant, it is time to cut the stems. Although this part isn’t hard, you will still have to do it right. You will have to find the right place where you will put stems and make sure to consider the roots. The branches need to be cut from the bottoms up. They aren’t getting enough sunlight as it is, and although there is a way to make them viable, it would prolong the entire season.
Given that there will be a lot of branches at your disposal, we suggest that you go with branches that have bigger leaves. This would help the rooting. Each branch should be approximately 7 inches long; don’t stray too much from this length. It is also imperative that you leave at least a few leaves on the stem to allow sprouting. Branches need to be cut in an angle, instead of cutting them under straight. If this cut out is wider, it will help the plant get more water as its growing.
Here is an interesting trick: when you make the cut, you will have to wrap it and keep it in the dark. By doing so, you’re encouraging rooting. You can use your regular garden kit for this one; no need to be fancy about it. Make sure that the tools are sharp, as it will be hard to stick a dull side to the ground. Another important thing to note is that the stems will have to be sterilized once you cut them. There is always a chance of infection, so you will have to be careful about that.
You will always have to remember that it takes a lot of air for roots to take place. But, this is a bit of balancing act as you shouldn’t overdo it as well. The best way to approach this issue is by cutting the stem and putting it into the water afterward.
How to root your cuttings?
There are several ways to approach this step. The best way to prepare for it is by getting a proper gel or a powder. This will help with root growth. Again, like with everything else, it is imperative that your rooting solution is completely sterile. That way, you can prevent any unwanted problems. You can easily check this by seeing whether or not the packaging is sealed. Check whether there are some materials inside of it. Even if these are natural materials such as dirt, you shouldn’t use the solution. After you’ve finished the process, make sure to store it in a dry, cool place.
Now that you’ve done that, it is time to place the stems into the ground. Your ideal place will depend on whether you’re an inside or an outside marijuana grower. If you’re growing cannabis in a closed environment, you will have to buy pots in advance. There is also an option of using soilless mixtures.
The cuttings have lots of issues getting the air. Instead, you will have to find an air medium. This can be done by creating a plastic vessel around the marijuana plant. That way, the transpiration levels will be reduced while providing enough perspiration during growing. You can ask around big depots for similar vessels or domes; certain companies are making products for this precise situation. Some expert marijuana growers suggest that you create a tent-like structure that can be opened and closed on a whim. That way, you can manipulate the air intake while also controlling the access to water.
Each part of the process is important in its own way. However, during this step, you will have to be extra attentive to your plants. The marijuana growers will have to take a proactive role checking on the clones’ progress every day. This is especially important if you’re an inexperienced grower. By monitoring the situation, you will be able to see whether or not you did well when choosing the mother, cutting the plant, and so on. Also, you will have to spray your plants with water, giving them enough moisture. Make sure to monitor the airflow as well as the light intake (they require approximately 12 hours of sunlight/light per day). In a few weeks, the plants should be fully uprooted.
How to clone for sex?
Cloning can be awesome in so many ways.
Another incredible function of cloning is cloning for sex. So, what do we mean by that? Well, you can do the process in order to attain female clones. There are a lot of experienced growers who are purposely doing the cloning as they require more female marijuana plants.
You will have to take a cutting from those cannabis plants that already grew for 3 to 4 weeks. They also need to be mature enough to bear flowers. Always remember that the light (or lack thereof) is crucial for this step of the process. You will have to limit the light for 2 weeks. A lot of growers make a mistake during this step. This is especially true if you’re growing cannabis in a relatively closed environment. If you make any mistakes, you will not be able to get the female sex.
The first results will start appearing after 2 weeks. You will start noticing small flowers. But you cannot stop now. It is necessary to continue with the same process until you can securely say that you have female plants.
When this period has passed, your marijuana can return to vegetation. They will have to return to their regular “light schedule” with more than 13 hours of sunlight each day. If it seems that the vegetative state simply isn’t starting, you can increase the amount of light they’re receiving.
How to hasten to root?
Most of the steps during cloning are regulated; you cannot hasten them, nor you can slow them.
One of the rare things you can control is rooting. The cuttings are able to root quicker if you create optimal conditions. So, it is best to start with trimming. A lot of growers are relying on a rooting machine for this. However, experienced growers are able to do it by hand. You can do the right thing by choosing oasis cubes, Rockwool, or some other type of sterile soil.
Sterile conditions are paramount for success. You can improve them by increasing the amount of oxygen in the water. You also boost rooting by creating a solution that contains 1-part 3% hydrogen peroxide and 5-parts of water. The ideal humidity for your cannabis clones will be 65%. Of course, many of you will use a makeshift tent in order to control the humidity. You will have to remove it every 5 to 6 days to hasten the rooting.
One the first 5 days of rooting have passed, you can give your plants a flowering fertilizer at a quarter of its strength. Another great trick is increasing the light 20 Watts per square foot and increasing the nutrient intake.
If you followed all these suggestions, you would be able to hasten the rooting process to 2 weeks.
Marijuana cloning is a really awesome process, and most serious growers will do it at least once during their career. There are numerous benefits to doing it, and we hope you will try it at least one time.
Keep in mind that the results may vary from case to case. It is not uncommon for people to make mistakes, especially if they’re generally inexperienced with marijuana growing. In fact, we can say that cannabis cloning is a type of advanced technique.
Anyway, this ultimate guide will hopefully help during your first cloning process. If you have any questions, make sure to contact us directly!