Cloning is an awesome strategy to propagate plants in a cheaper way and to maintain good genetics! If you want to save time and space when growing marijuana, clones can be a great option for starting a marijuana garden. Learn how to clone weed plants from the experts at Leafly. What are cannabis clones? Clones are just cuttings from established cannabis plants, which are called "mother plants." For beginners and experienced growers alike, growing from clones offers a variety of benefits. You have total control…
How To Clone Weed Seeds
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STEP BY STEP: HOW TO CLONE YOUR CANNABIS PLANT
Cloning is an awesome strategy to propagate plants in a cheaper way and to maintain good genetics! Come and learn this incredible method of propagating your favorite strains without needing seeds.
When we talk about clones, we already start thinking about science and how to make two equal humans or animals. But the truth is, cloning your plants is already possible, and it is not difficult at all. Cannabis cloning is one of the cheapest ways to propagate this plant species, because you don’t need seeds for that, just a living, healthy plant. Something interesting about clones is that its genetic identity will be exactly the same as the mother plant. This means that cloning is also a strategy to propagate the plants you have selected, according to the characteristics that you like best.
Want to know more about this incredible method of propagation? Here, we tell you everything about it – and even teach you how to make it at home, with your own cannabis plants.
What are clones
Here on the blog, we already talked a little bit about clones, but let’s make a recap! Cloning is the main method of asexual reproduction of plants. While seeds, which are the sexed method, are grown to find specific phenotypic characteristics (tastes, smells, etc.) , cloning will allow you to perpetuate those characteristics you enjoy – while the mother plant is alive.
It is important to remember that, even genetically equal, it is not possible to guarantee that these plants will be identical to the mother throughout life. This depends a lot on the culture medium and the conditions you will give during its life cycle! Different environments, climatic conditions, sources of energy and nutrition may accentuate or attenuate certain characteristics throughout the growth of your cannabis.
Important points to remember
There are some curiosities that can help you find the perfect mother plant for your clones.
A clone, in addition to the genetic profile, carries the emotional load of its mother plant. So it is essential to select a healthy, well-nourished and trouble-free cannabis as it grows, to ensure a clone with the same characteristics.
Promoting a pheno hunt is a great way to select genetics. Cloning is the way that you can perpetuate the good genetics you find. Our grower Alice is bringing some of these experiences that are happening through our Instagram account @girlsingreen710. It goes something like this: first /some seeds of the same strain are germinated. After the plants are sexed,, numbered clones are taken from each plant with tags. Once these plants have grown and are in bloom, you will be able to select the phenotypes that you like best to select the clones of the genetics you want to keep!
Cloning is a process that may stress the plants depending on how and when it is done. But it may be a good idea to combine cloning with cleaning! Thus, you can defoliate, select branches to clone, and give time for the plant to recover without being stressed again. Remember that pruning is mega important, so that your cannabis is always well ventilated, healthy and free from mold or pests.
Positive aspects of cloning
Cloning saves you money, as you can propagate plants without having to spend a lot on seeds.
It allows you to replicate a genetic variety. By skipping the germination time, this process is even faster. Saves you time, work and money!
If you make a good clone, following all the steps correctly, within two weeks it will be rooted and ready to plant.
Step by step
Now that we know all of this, let’s get our hands on the dirt?
A well-developed cannabis plant. Ideally, the plant you are going to cut has to have at least ten nodes or branches;
The means of choice for placing the clone. It can be water, rockwool, peat, foam, or a cloning tray;
A tray or container;
Rooting hormones. They are growth hormones that help the plant take root. It can be aloe vera, a very natural medium, or purchased hormones, made with auxins, which are plant growth regulators and have an essential role for the plant to develop. It can be used both in powder and in liquid formsl.
Step one: separate your tools and put some rooting gel in a clean container. It is important not to take it straight from the original pot, as it can be a receptacle for fungi and bacteria – and we need a very clean environment for your clone to grow healthy.
Step two: fill your container with half an inch of water. Moisture is a key factor in the development of the clones’ roots and in the healing process of the cut made.
Step three: from the top of the branch of the chosen parent plant, count four branches or nodes. At the top of the fourth node, you must make your incision.
Step four: make a cut at a 45° angle at the top of this fifth node. Do not leave any additional branches or stems between the fifth and sixth knots, as it will rot and can become a focus for fungi and pests. The 45° cut is ideal because it covers the area of exchange of the plant, phloem and xylem, and leaves it exposed to the rooting hormones of your choice.
Step five: hold your branch gently, and cut the lower branches to have a larger area to insert in the chosen medium. These cuts must be made in the same way as explained above, in a very clean way. This will also promote the vertical growth of your clone.
Step six: take your recipient with the chosen rooting gel and dip the 45° cut into the substance. Make sure that this gel has taken over the entire area of the cut, plus an additional piece of about ¼ inch.
Step seven: place your clone in the chosen medium, from ⅔ to 4/3 depth. This ensures that your cut will not lose all of the rooting gel, and will not be so shallow that it can dry out.
Repeat the process with other desired branches!
How to take care of the clones
During the time of rooting, which can take one to two weeks, there are specific climatic conditions that will help you to recover and grow faster. Low temperatures increase the rooting time and the lack of air circulation contributes to the appearance of mold.
For this reason, after being collected, your clones need to stay at a constant and pleasant temperature – root zone and environment ideally at 24°C (75F). Your clones will also depend heavily on moisture, and will even suck it out of the air. Make sure they are in an environment with 80-85% relative humidity in the air for the first few days.
It is important that you do not feed them until the roots are quite strong. Nutrient solutions are usually strong, and can damage the recovering area, which is really sensible. Once the roots are visible, you can put them through one cycle with a solution with half the nutrients you usually use. In the next cycle, you can already nourish them normally.
Making clones can be a very interesting way to propagate your favorite plants, maintaining a desirable phenotypic pattern for you. In addition, t his process also allows you to have plants in different cycles : if you have a plant at the beginning of the flora, you can take a clone to have one in the vega and do a closed cycle – then, you never run out of harvest if you have space!
But be very careful: pruning and cloning are stressful processes, as we have already mentioned, so they should not be done in more advanced stages of flora. Do it before you put your plants to flower, or right at the beginning of flowering. If they are already in full bud production, wait for the next cycle. You don’t want the plant to take the energy from flower growth to heal itself, do you? She may not be able to resist.
Hey guys, did you like this post? Because we loved making it for you. Always remembering that if you have more tips or doubts about cloning, you can just leave it here in the comments for us!
How to clone cannabis plants
A clone is a cutting, such as a branch, that is cut off of a living marijuana plant, which will then grow into a plant itself. A clone has the same genetic makeup as the plant it was taken from, which is called the mother plant.
A typical clone is about 6 inches in length, give or take, and after cutting it off the mother plant, the clone is put into a medium such as a root cube and given a hormone to encourage root growth.
After roots develop, it is then transplanted into a pot or the ground, and it will grow like any weed plant.
Why clone cannabis plants?
If you don’t want to mess with seeds, clones can be a great option for starting a marijuana plant. Growing weed from a clone will save you time—even though they need time to root out, you don’t have to germinate seeds, which will shave off a month or so of the growing process.
Clones will also save space in your garden—with seeds, you have to grow many and sex them out to identify and get rid of the males. Also, usually some seeds don’t germinate. You’ll need extra space for all those seeds, and they might not even turn into full plants.
If you take a clone from a plant you already have, they’re free! You just need to invest in some supplies. Although, you can buy clones from a dispensary if you want.
One of the best things about clones is they are exact genetic replicas of the mother plant from which they were taken. If you have a particular marijuana plant you like, whether for its appearance, smell, effects, or something else, you can take clones of it and grow it again, ad infinitum.
There is some speculation that clones can degrade over time based on environment stressors and other factors, but that is open to debate.
What is a cannabis mother plant?
A mother plant is any cannabis plant you take a clone from. Mothers should be healthy and sturdy, as their genetics will pass on to the clones—if you have a sickly mother plant, its clones will also be sickly.
Mother plants always stay in the vegetative stage as clones are clipped off. It’s important to not take cuttings off a flowering weed plant—this can cause the clone to turn into a hermaphrodite and may also damage the flowering plant.
Some growers have dedicated mother plants only for taking cuttings, but this setup takes up a lot of space and materials—you’ll need to keep the mother plant alive, but you won’t get any buds off it because it’ll always stay in the vegetative stage. Some growers find it hard to justify devoting time, energy, and space to plants that won’t produce buds. If your grow space is tight, this might not be the best setup.
Another method growers employ is to take cuttings off a set of mother plants before they flower, then flip the mothers into the flowering stage. The next generation of clones is grown, and when those get big enough, cuttings will be taken from those before getting flipped into flower. Because clones are genetically identical, each generation will be an exact copy of the first-generation mother and all subsequent mothers.
Cannabis mother plants guarantee genetic consistency, so each new generation of clones taken will have the same taste, flavor, effects, and other characteristics. Clones will also generally grow at the same rate as the mother, produce a similar quality product, and grow with the same vigor, allowing you to dial in your process and really get to know how to grow that particular weed plant.
Clones also guarantee that all of your weed plants are females, so you don’t have to spend time growing from seed, sexing plants, and discarding males.
What to look for in a mother plant
As genetics are identical between a mother and a clone, it’s important to choose a good plant as a mother. A wilty plant, or one that doesn’t produce good buds, won’t make a good mother.
Growers usually look for these qualities in a mother plant:
- Sturdy, vibrant growth
- Great aromas and flavors
- Big yields
- Dense trichomes
- Resistent to pests and mold
How to clone a cannabis plant
What do you need to clone cannabis?
Cloning cannabis is relatively easy and requires just a few key items:
- Scissors (for taking cuttings off the mother plant)
- Razor (for trimming up cuttings)
- Rooting setup (tray/tray-cell insert/dome/root cubes/heat mat, or an auto-cloner)
- Rooting hormone
Choose a rooting medium and setup
Common rooting mediums include rooting cubes, rockwool, or other non-soil equivalents like peat or foam. Rockwool is melted rock that has been spun into a fine thread, and it has terrific airflow and moisture retention. You can find any of these cubes at most grow stores or online.
If you’re using cubes of any kind, you’ll need to invest in a tray, a tray-cell insert, and a dome. The clones will go in the cubes, the cubes into the tray-cells, and all of that sits in a tray which will hold water. To keep in humidity, make sure to use a dome over your tray, and you may even want to use a heat mat.
Another method is to use an auto-cloner. There is an initial cost for buying an auto-cloner, but if you plan on cloning a lot, they are worth it. Auto-cloners cut down on the amount of labor needed to care for clones. Using aeroponics, these machines spray the bottoms of your cuttings with nutrient water at set intervals to promote root growth.
Experiment to see which setup works best for you. Whichever method you choose, make sure your new clones get plenty of light—preferably 18 hours—and humidity.
For more info on cloning setups, check out our Guide to cannabis cloning equipment.
How to take a cutting from a cannabis plant
When selecting a mother plant to clone from, look for plants that are healthy, sturdy, and at least two months into the vegetative cycle. Don’t take a clone off a plant once it starts flowering.
Don’t fertilize mother plants for a few days leading up to taking cuttings. This will allow nitrogen to work its way out of the leaves. When you take cuttings, an excess of nitrogen in the leaves and stems will trick your clones into attempting to grow vegetation instead of diverting energy to rooting.
Be sure to work in a sterile environment. Use gloves and disinfect razors and scissors.
The beginning of a cannabis clone. (David Downs for Leafly)
To take a cutting:
- Look for branches that are sturdy and healthy. You want at least two nodes on the final cutting, so pick a branch that is healthy and long enough. A sturdy clone will lead to a sturdy plant.
- Cut the clone off the mother, cutting above the node on the mother plant. It’s OK to use scissors here; it may be hard to get a razor in the middle of the mother plant.
- Then, using a razor, cut below the bottom node on the fresh cutting at a 45° angle to the branch. This will increase the surface area of the rooting surface, promoting faster growth.
- Place your fresh cutting immediately into a rooting hormone. Then, put it directly into a root cube. If using an auto-cloner, put a collar around it and place it in the auto-cloner; you’ll put rooting hormone in the cloner after all cuttings have been taken.
- Once done taking the cutting, remove unnecessary leaves toward 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.
Transplanting your weed clones
Check your clones daily to make sure they have enough water by checking the bottom of the tray or auto-cloner. To increase humidity, you can spray water on the leaves with a spray bottle. If any clones die, discard them so they don’t cause mold in the rest of the clones and also to give the remaining clones more space.
Most clones will be ready to transplant into soil in 10-14 days, but some root out quicker, and some longer. You’ll know they’re ready when the white roots are an inch or two in length.
When getting ready to transplant, be sure to keep the environment sterile. Transplant shock can occur, so be sure to use gloves when handling clones.
- Put soil in your pots first.
- Water the soil before transplanting so soil doesn’t move around once the clone is in its new home.
- Once the water has drained, dig out a hole 1-2 inches deep with two fingers, or just enough to bury all the roots.
- Put the clone in and gently cover with soil.
What to look for when buying a marijuana clone
If you live in a medical or adult-use state, you’ll be able to get clones from some local weed shops, but make sure it’s a reputable shop.
Most of the time, these clones come from growers who focus solely on producing clones, but sometimes cuttings will come from a third-party source. When purchasing clones for your home garden, always ask your shop where they came from. If you can’t get a legitimate answer, find another source.
It’s important to know the origin of your clones because that’s where problems originate—diseases, pests, incorrectly labeled genetics, and unknown pesticide residues can come with a mystery clone.
Never hesitate to research a dispensary or grow facility before buying clones.
Inspect the cannabis clones
Not all pests, diseases, pesticide residues, or genetic markers will be easy to spot with the naked eye, but give your clones a good look before introducing them to your garden. If they look sickly or weak, they likely won’t grow well.
A clone’s stem width is a great way to get a sense of its overall health and vigor. Thin and narrow stems typically mean the clone was taken from a weak or less viable branch. These cuttings may be more prone to disease or death and their root systems may take longer to develop.
Be sure to inspect all areas of your clone for the presence of pests. Large pests such as fungus gnats and spider mites can be spotted relatively easily.
Check under each leaf and also check the soil medium, as some pests live there. Certain pests can also leave markers—spider mites leave spots and webbing, and other insects can leave trace bite marks.
Many diseases can be difficult to detect in cuttings, but there are a few visual cues that can be seen early on. A lack of vigor is a major cue—check for limping leaves, irregular or mutated growth, and discoloration.
Powdery mildew (PM) is a very common disease found on clones, and mold spores can transfer to other plants. Keep an eye out for white powder on stems and leaves.
It’s almost impossible to detect harmful pesticides or fungicides on a clone. Often, these applications leave zero residue and can stay on a plant for the rest of the plant’s life. If you see any suspicious residue on a clone, ask the grower about their in-house integrated pest management (IPM) and always err on the side of caution.
Clean and quarantine your cannabis clones
If some clones look OK at the shop and you decide to take them home, make sure to take a few last precautionary steps before introducing them to the rest of your garden.
First, transplant your new weed clones into a more permanent container and medium. Often the grow medium used to house fresh cuttings at the shop will be different than what you use. Also, pests may be present in its medium when you bought it—transplanting your clone to a cleaner space will help mitigate any potential root damage.
Take this time to properly clean your clone with whatever IPM solution you deem fit. A popular method for cleaning new clones involves dipping them into a light solution of whatever safe and approved pesticide you choose.
After your clones have been properly cleaned and transplanted into their new medium, make sure to keep them quarantined for a few days to a week. Doing this will protect the rest of your garden if they do develop problems, and you’ll be able to pull them out easily.
If they look good after a week or so, go ahead and introduce them to the rest of your garden.
Patrick Bennett and Trevor Hennings contributed to this article.
How to Clone Cannabis
This article was co-authored by Jamie Corroon, ND, MPH. Dr. Jamie Corroon, ND, MPH is the founder and Medical Director of the Center for Medical Cannabis Education. Dr. Corroon is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor and clinical researcher. In addition to clinical practice, Dr. Corroon advises dietary supplement and cannabis companies regarding science, regulation, and product development. He is well published in the peer-review literature, with recent publications that investigate the clinical and public health implications of the broadening acceptance of cannabis in society. He earned a Masters in Public Health (MPH) in Epidemiology from San Diego State University. He also earned a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree from Bastyr University, subsequently completed two years of residency at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health, and is a former adjunct professor at Bastyr University California.
There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
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What are cannabis clones? Clones are just cuttings from established cannabis plants, which are called “mother plants.” For beginners and experienced growers alike, growing from clones offers a variety of benefits. You have total control over the plant genetics you pick, and you don’t have to deal with the delicate seedling stage. In other words, it’s easier, faster, and more precise. Roll up your sleeves and let’s get started by taking your cuttings, rooting them, and finally transplanting your cannabis clones.