One of the most difficult things about growing marijuana plants is ensuring that every plant is a female. Male plants produce pollen that fertilizes the female plants, triggering the production of seeds. Once a female plant starts to produce seeds, it shifts energy away from producing THC, which decreases the potency of the buds. When growing marijuana from seeds, there is a 50% chance that the plant will be male. Identifying male plants before they produce pollen can be tricky, and even the smallest amount of pollen can ruin a grow.
To avoid this problem altogether, growers have begun cloning their marijuana plants. Cloning has been something gardeners have practiced for ages, but cannabis growers have found it to be a reliable way to get a large harvest of a specific strain. After all the research and trial and error that goes into finding the perfect cannabis strain, cloning it makes perfect sense.
There are a variety of benefits to cloning, including:
To grow a marijuana plant from seed, growers need to germinate it and wait weeks for the plant to establish itself. When growing plants from clones, the growers bypass a large part of the early germination and seedling cultivation process, giving them a jumpstart on their grow.
Growers may spend a lot of money finding the perfect marijuana plant by growing different types of seeds. Once they have their favorite plant, they save themselves a lot of money by cloning that plant rather than purchasing more seeds of that strain. However, it is important to note that cloning a marijuana plant does not produce as strong of genetics as growing one from seed. It is advised for growers to start over with seeds periodically for the best, most consistent results.
Once a grower finds a healthy plant in a strain of marijuana that they like, they can create several more plants with the exact same genetics by cloning it. This allows them to take what would be one plant worth of cannabis flower and turn it into several plants without having to grow anything else from seed.
One of the most important reasons for growers to clone their plants is that they will not have to deal with determining the sex of their plants after germination. It is not possible to determine the sex of a cannabis plant before it grows and having even one male plant produce pollen can have devastating results. When growers clone a strong female plant, they never have to worry about accidentally pollinating their crop.
Cloning is the reproduction of a plant, with the cloned plant having the exact genetics of the original, or “mother,” plant. This is fairly simple to do. Growers take a cutting off a plant, plant it, and wait for roots to develop. However, as uncomplicated as the method is, it does not always work that way with marijuana plants. There are a few extra steps involved to ensure the clones take root and thrive.
Clones start off having already been through a couple of months of their growth cycle. This jump start is because growers need to cultivate the mother plant for a while before it can be cloned safely. As a result, clones that are grown outdoors do best in a place with a long growing season. Still, it is possible that the grower may end up with smaller plants. However, clones that are grown indoors can grow as large as any other plant, so long as the grower keeps it in its vegetative stage for a while.
Another thing to note is that while the mother plant is not harmed by the cloning process, it is common for clones to die before they take root. Growers should take as many clones as they can safely from the mother plant to ensure they have as many clones as they need.
Before starting the cloning process, growers should make sure they have all the tools they need. These tools include scissors for taking cuttings from the mother plant, a razor for trimming the cutting, a rooting setup or place to plant the clones, and a rooting hormone.
To clone a marijuana plant, follow these steps:
The most common rooting mediums include rooting cubes, Rockwool, peat moss, or foam. Rockwool is a human-made rooting medium, comprising limestone, basalt, and other natural materials. It has finely spun threads that are perfect for aeration and water absorption.
Rooting cubes need a special housing setup, like a tray with an insert and a dome. Growers will place their clones in the cubes, then put the cubes in the tray, add water to the tray, and put the dome on top.
Peat moss and foam are non-soil alternatives to rockwool and rooting cubes. While these are the most common non-soil options, there are many more available. The most important thing is that the clones are allowed to form roots in a well-aerated growing medium before being transferred to soil or any other growing medium.
One final option for a cloning setup is using an auto-cloner. Auto-cloners are a more expensive choice, but they greatly reduce the amount of labor involved in feeding and watering clones. These machines spray the bottoms of the clones automatically with a specially formulated nutrient water. They go off in specific intervals, taking the guesswork out of when to water and therefore increase the chances of successful cloning.
Growers can clone any plant, but the hardiest plants will produce the most viable clones. Growers must take extra care when choosing the mother from which they will take cuttings. A key factor in successful cloning is choosing a mother that has been grown in the same environment in which the clones will grow. This limits the chances of the clones experiencing shock after being planted. Clones should not be taken off of plants that are in the flowering stage.
Once a grower has decided on what plant they want to clone, they can move onto the cutting process by following the steps listed below.
Before taking the cutting, growers should stop fertilizing their plant four to five days ahead of time. This will reduce the amount of nitrogen in the plant, which improves the chances of the cutting taking root. Nitrogen triggers the growth of leaves, so the less the plant has the more likely it will focus on growing roots.
Growers must be sure their work space and equipment are sterile before taking a cutting off of the mother. They will need to use gloves and disinfect their scissors and work surfaces. This limits the chances of damaging viruses or bacteria infecting the clones or mother plant during the process.
Clones that are made from the healthiest, most sturdy branches are much more likely to survive. Growers should look for no less than two nodes on a strong branch. They should try to take a cutting off of a branch as close to the roots as possible, as those clones are more likely to produce roots.
Growers will first use sterilized scissors to cut above the node on the mother plant. Then, using a razor, they will need to cut below the bottom node at a 45-degree angle. Cutting at an angle increases the surface area from which roots can grow, improving its chances of survival.
Once the cutting has been taken from the mother plant, it needs to be planted immediately into the rooting medium. Growers will first dip the angled end of the clone into a rooting hormone, then place it in the grower’s chosen medium.
Once the clone is safely set inside its growing medium, it will need to be trimmed. Growers should remove any leaves that are unnecessary from the plant and use scissors to snip the tips of each remaining leaf. Doing this enables photosynthesis, which encourages the clone to absorb water and nutrients.
Young clones need special attention to maximize their chances of survival. Growers may need to adjust their setup to ensure the clones take root, like increasing the grow room temperature to between 72 – 76° F. Other recommendations for caring for new clones include the following:
Since new clones do not have any roots, they will not be able to absorb water through rooting medium. Instead, growers should spray their clones with water several times a day, preferably keeping them in a humid environment until the roots are established. Growers can still use a mild nutrient solution mixed with water to spray on the leaves of their clones.
Lighting is especially important when caring for young clones. Clones should not be placed in direct light that provides heat, such as the sun, as it could overheat the clones, causing them to die. Fluorescent lights are the best option for clones, as they produce the least amount of heat.
Some growers may choose to keep their clones in the dark for one to two days while they adjust to the growing medium. Others blast them with bright light and gradually reduce it to a dimmer grow light after a few days. Regardless of the way a grower does lighting, they will need to leave their clones in the dark for some time each day for roots to form.
Growers will need to check their marijuana clones daily, preferably several times a day, to ensure the environment is stable and the clones are safe. If one clone dies, it needs to be discarded immediately to prevent mold from growing and damaging the other plants.
Most clones are ready to transplant into soil in ten to fourteen days, though it can take longer than that. To be sure the clones are ready for transplanting, growers can check to see how long their roots have grown. Clones are ready once the roots are one to two inches long.
When transplanting, it is essential to keep the environment sterile, just like what was done during cloning. Growers should use gloves to avoid damaging the sensitive new roots, as the clones could go into transplant shock if disturbed too much.
To transplant the clones, start by putting soil in the pots. Water the soil before the clone is planted in the pot. This keeps the clone from moving around once it is transplanted, which could damage the roots. Once the soil is sufficiently wet and excess water has drained out, push a hole into the soil that is one to two inches deep, or just deep enough to cover the roots of the clone. Place the clone in the hole and gently cover it with soil. Do not pack the soil down, as it could damage the root system.
Growing marijuana is a labor of love, and growers pour their time, money, and hearts into their plants. They may spend years trying strains and perfecting their growing process. Once they have found their ideal marijuana plant, it is crushing to lose it because they missed the presence of a male plant in their grow room.
This tragic circumstance is all too familiar to growers, but many have successfully eliminated that problem for themselves by cloning their healthiest plants. Over the years, growers have found that marijuana clones not only ensure their plants are female, but it gives them more of their favorite strain with the same robust genetics as the mother, without having to fumble through the seed germination process.
The amount of time and effort that goes into cloning a marijuana plant is minimal compared to germinating seeds, identifying and discarding male plants, and providing perfect growing conditions to get the best result. Instead, clones will typically produce the same results across the board. When cloning marijuana plants, it may be wise to keep a few seeds on hand. For high-quality marijuana seeds, go to i49.net.