It’s as simple as a old technique to replicate the plants, commonly known as taking cuttings. All cannabis seeds are different, each producing plants with their own distinct characteristics. However, by taking a cutting, a plant can be cloned, creating a second plant with the same genetic makeup as first. As such it will have the same physical tendencies too ( including gender, size and flowering time). Therefore, many growers select plants from their crops that exhibit desirable characteristics and use them to make genetically identical clones. This method also eliminates unwanted males and is usually faster then starting from seed . Cuttings should only ever be taken from a plant while it is in its vegetative stage (ie not while flowering) and cuttings taken from lower down are easier to root then those from high up. Also, nitrogen stored in the mother plant can inhibit rooting of the clones, so it’s advisable to flush it first for around a week prior to taking cuttings.
With our marijuana cloning guide, making clones from your favourite cannabis plants should be easy. Here is a list off how to do it properly to get the clones you need to for your new grow.
How to take cuttings
You will need:
- Small pot of soil and perlite or rockwool cube
- Sharp blade
- Sterilizing agent/rubbing alcohol
- Rooting hormone (ideally a gel variety, but powder can be used)
- Spray bottle filled with dechlorinated water
1) If growing in soil, fill a small pot with a 50/50 mixture of seedlings compost and perlite, and water thoroughly, if growing hydroponically, use a rockwool cube soles over night in pH 5.5- adjusted nutrient solution at a strength of around 350 ppm and shake off any excess water before use. Use a pencil or similar to make a hole in your growing medium about 1in (25mm) deep.
2) cut off a side shoot from the mother plant approximately 2-4 inch (5-10 cm) long with a new growth tip and at least one leaf internode is where (a leaf connect to the stem).
3) sterilize the blade and use it to carefully slice off the lower petioles (leaf stems) flush with a main stem. Now cleanly cut through the stem at a 45 degree angle, approximately 1/4 inch (6mm) below the previous cuts.
4) immediately dip the stem into the rooting hormone, making sure it covers the cut parts of the stem. Get the stem into the rooting hormone as quickly as possible to avoid air entering the cut. Put the cutting into water if there’s going to be a delay.
5) Now put the cutting into the soil or rockwool and gently pack down the medium around the stem, securing it in place. If the cutting has particularly large leaves you can trim them down slightly so the clone can focus its energy on rooting rather than supporting the extra vegetation.
6) Mist the inside of the propagator with water and place the cuttings inside. Place it under suitable lighting for around 18 hours per day (CFL lighting is recommended). Every few hours, lift up the cover to supply fresh air. Until the cuttings have grown roots it will still be obtaining all its moisture through its leaves, so keep it it humid and regularly mist with water.
7) After a week, remove the cuttings from the propagator for an hour. If the cutting does not wilt, leave it out for another hour and check again. If it is okay then it probably has sufficient roots to support itself. If it works, spray it with water and put it back under the cover for another day before checking again. Once out of the propagator, keep the cuttings under the CFL lighting for a few days before moving it to the more powerful HID lights.
How to care for your new clones
Once starting the cloning journey they should be placed in nice warm & wet conditions, I would highly suggest using a humidity dome to keep your humidity levels where they should be, if you aren’t using one mist your clones several times a day. Try and keep your humidity between 70-80% during this stage. The perfect temperature for this phase is 22-25°C. This is a temperature that has been tried and tested and i can re-assure you if you have your clones within this limit they will strive the most. If you are somewhere around the world that is cold or if the room you are working from isn’t the warmest you can use things like heating maps to keep temperature where it should be.
In terms off the lighting side for your clones, they won’t require light for the first few days. After that, you don’t want to go straight in with a huge watt light instead try and use a weak CFL bulb or even special grow lights for your clones. If you haven’t got these options and you need to use a normal grow light create more off a gap from your clones to your lights, as this will reduce the intensity the light is giving off. What’s important is that you don’t give your clones 24 hours off light with this but keep it on a 18-6 light cycle. When you allow your plants that little bit off darkness this is when most off the root growth happens.
Transplant your clones when the roots are coming out of the rock wool or starter cubes.
Choose a rooting medium and setup
The usual rooting mediums you will come across are rooting cubes, rock wool, or another non soil equivalent to foam or peat. Rockwool is melted rock that has a clear airflow and a moisture surface.
if using rooting cubes you will need to also get a tray and a dome. The clones should be placed in the cubes, the cubes in the tray cells, which will eventually sit in the tray that holds water. To keep the humidity where it should be make sure the dome is covering your tray. And possibly a heat map if your room/area isn’t the warmest.
Another alternative is to use an auto-cloner. These cut down on the amount of effort and care needed to feed your clones. If you use aeroponics they will spray the bottoms off your cuttings with nutrient/water at set intervals which you can control, because off how much nutrient comes out and at specific times this promotes root growth. I will be honest they are more expensive then the usual ways listed above and aren’t really targeted towards beginner growers, but they are becoming more and more popular so if its something you can pay for and use regularly i would highly suggest you invest in one as you will easily see the best results.
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.
Tips for your clones
After you have cloned your plant, it will always be at the same stage as the parent that it was took from. From my experience it is best to take clones just before you flip your plants into flowering.
It is the same as sprouting seeds not all clones will be successful, especially if it is your first time cloning. I would highly recommend cloning more then you need so if some do fall off you should still have your required amount.
Be patient with your clones, a lot off clones should be planting there roots within a couple days, but some can take a couple weeks on the other hand so just give them time.
Your mother plant that you have used for your clones you can keep in the vegetative stage for a long period off time. If you don’t allow them to flower by keeping them vegging with 18 hours off light and 6 hours off darkness. You can have a mother plant that will give you clones for a few years.