What is a cannabis "clone?" What are the advantages of taking marijuana clones? Well, first of all, cloning is one of the easiest and fastest ways for cannabis growers to make many new (and free) weed plants at once!
Cannabis clones are cuttings from a marijuana plant - these cuttings make roots of their own and grow into an identical plant as the "mother!"
Each cannabis clone has the same genes and is a genetic copy of its parent. That means if the parent of the clone is a female, you are guaranteed that all the clones taken from that cannabis plant will be female, too.
Growers can take many clones of a single marijuana plant, and this is an easy way to get many plants that will grow the same way as the mother plant and produce buds with similar characteristics (smell, taste, potency, etc).
Like just about every important marijuana growing technique, there is controversy about the best way to clone cannabis plants. There are many effective techniques to clone plants and this tutorial will teach you how to clone today, but no matter what, cloning should only be used with the healthiest, most desirable plants you have. Although technically you can take a clone from any plant at almost any point in its life, you want to take clones of your best plants that have proven to be winners!
Clones like warm, wet conditions.
Your clones need to get their water through their leaves right now, because their roots haven't formed.
That's why a nice humid cloner works great, or you can mist your plants a few times a day until they start forming roots.
Some growers will use a heating pad under their clones to help keep things warm.
A little warmer than room temperature 72-77 °F (22-25 °C ) is perfect. Many automatic cloners come with a heat setting.
Some growers don't use any grow lights at all for the first 1-2 days while clones get settled. Other growers do give light right from the beginning. It's common to leave new clones in a warm, bright area for the first day or two, for example with a relatively weak grow light like a CFL bulb.
Leave your grow lights on an 18/6 (Light/Dark) for your new clones. Don't give new clones 24 hours of light, without any dark periods. This can slow down the rooting process.Rooting seems to happen best when there's some amount of darkness each day.
The most important thing is to keep a close eye on your new clones until they've become well-established
beautiful cannabis cloning pics by B. Clement
Cloning Grow Lights
For the first 10 days and especially for the first 3-4 days, you don't want to use full-strength light on your new clones
Clones want light from the beginning, but as they are focusing on making roots they don't want a whole lot since they aren't as strong as rooted plants!
Cheap CFLs or other fluorescent grow lights like T5s are great cloning lights, as they're not too intense. If you have just a small tent or cupboard to keep your clones, you can find CFLs at the grocery store, home improvement stores, even your local mini-mart! FLuorescent grow lights can be kept about 8-9" above your clones.
HID grow lights like Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium bulbs can work well for clones but need to be kept 2-3+ feet away from new clones so they don't get scorched.
If you do start with intense lights, treat your cuttings like seedlings until your clones have formed strong roots. For example a 400W HPS grow light is good about 30 inches away from the top of your clones while they're rooting.
If you're growing in rockwool cubes or other starter cubes like Rapid Rooters, then you know your clones are ready to to be transplanted and receive regular light when you actually see the roots coming out the bottom of the cubes.
Remember, new clones are weak, and they should be treated gently like seedlings until they start growing vigorously. But within just a week or so, you will have fast-growing plants that are much bigger than any week-old seedling!
And remember to be patient if it's your first time. Almost every cutting will take root if you just wait long enough, and keep providing the right conditions. Some plants will root in just a few days, 7 days is average, but some clones can take 2 weeks (or even more) to start showing roots!
Cannabis Cloning Tips
1.) Keep leaves of new clones moist because clones loves misty conditions (especially the first week after taking a cutting)
This is why many growers buy cloners, or a tray with a humidity dome (a clear plastic top to put over their plants), since they will keep your cuttings nice and moist for you and practically automate the whole process. However, with a humidity dome it's extra important to keep an eye out for mold.
If you don't have a humidity dome (or even if you do) it can be a good idea to mist your clones with water after you're done to keep them moist.If you can mist your clones a couple of times a day so they don't dry out, you may be able to skip the clear top altogether. Another option is put the clear top over your plants while you're away from your grow area(like when you're at work), then take it off while you're around to check on your clones and mist them regularly with water.
Most domes have vents to let them expell extra air, and you will want to open them if it starts looking too misty in there!
2.) Give clones a little something extra to help make roots
In addition to cloning gel or powder, some growers recommend to spray the leaves with a very mild nutrient solution, as the clones can absorb a tiny bit of nutrients through their leaves.
Cannabis growers may also add a small amount of ...
>>> Vitamin B-1 ("Western States B-1" found at Home Depot or " Advanced Nutrients B-52")
>>> Potassium silicate protectant ("Dyna-Gro Pro-tekt " or "Advanced Nutrients Rhino Skin" are great sources that have been time-tested for cloning marijuana)
To promote root growth, try to give new clones a minimum level of nitrogen and possibly increased levels of phosphorus. Basically, any sort of flowering nutrients would be well suited to give to new clones. However, make sure if you're feeding them nutes to give them only 1/4 to 1/2 the recommended amounts for seedlings!
3.) Use rooting powder or gel (that has been properly stored)
When creating clones, many people prefer to use some sort of cloning solution or powder, which contain hormones that help the clone root and can be purchased from a grow shop, garden store, or off the internet. Rootech Cloning Gel is a great choice. Gels tend to evenly coat the plant much better than powders, but if you're not sure you can use both!
Store your rooting powder or gel in a cool, dark, dry place and never use "contaminated" rooting powder or gel.
If the package was unsealed when you got it, or if you've dropped anything into the rooting hormone, discard and get a fresh package. Foreign materials like leaves, dirt, dust, etc can cause bad stuff to grow in your gel or powder, and will negatively affect your cloning results.
- Some cloning gels come with a handy applicator tip, which makes it easier to use and reduces waste and the chance of contamination.
4.) Take cuttings from a well-established and healthy plant
You will tend to get better results if you use clones from a well-established plant (at least two months old). Younger plants may not be totally mature, and their clones can take a lot longer to root, or may not root at all.
If you grow a plant in the vegetative stage for about 2-3 months, you will be able to get dozens of clones off a single plant.
It's completely fine if you plan on just taking a couple of clones from a plant then letting it continue growing. In fact, it's best to take the clones off the bottom of the plant since these clones tend to take root in much less time than clones taken from the top of the plant.
5.) Take clones off the bottom of the plant for faster rooting, off the top of the plant for faster flowering
If getting plants to root as fast as possible, it's best to take the clones off the bottom of the plant since these clones tend have more root hormones and tend to take root in less time as clones taken from the top of the plant.
If you want to flower the plant right away to determine the gender, then you'll often have better luck taking a clone from the top of the plant, which tends to be more primed to flowering.
6.) Prepare the mother plant for cloning if you can
If possible, give a potential mother less nitrogen then usual when feeding for a week or two before cloning as this will promote better rooting in her clones. Regular flowering nutrients work well.
7.) Take more clones than you need
Save yourself a boatload of frustration by always taking more cuttings than you need. You will lose a few clones in the beginning, but I promise it will get easier.
Some clones take longer to root. I've had a clone that didn't really do anything for almost a month (it didn't wilt or grow) and I was just about to throw it away, before it suddenly exploded with new growth and became a healthy adult plant. However, it's usually a lot easier to take many extra marijuana clones, and throw away any that are taking longer than the others to make roots.
8.) Don't forget to label every cannabis clone, or you will regret it!
You might be be amazed at how much you can forget in the week it takes for roots to form :)
9.) A cannabis clone from a flowering plant will grow differently at first, this is normal!
You want to take clones off a cannabis plant when it's in the vegetative stage if possible because cuttings will root faster, but you can also take clones from a flowering plant if you have a prize plant you want to save. When taking clones from a flowering cannabis plant, choose clones from the bottom of the plant and immediately pinch away any buds you see. Other than that you can treat new clones exactly the same as any other.
Clones from flowering plants may grow more "bushy" than their parent plant, and will often show other strange growing patterns especially in the first few weeks after being cloned (for example rounded leaves). It's completely normal for clones taken during the flowering stage to have weird leaves and growth patterns for the first few weeks.
Marijuana clones taken from a flowering plant will display strange growth for the first few weeks, but leaves will soon start growing normally again.
10.) Choosing and taking care of "mother" plants
Pictured to the left is an example of a "mother" plant. This plant is known to be female, so all her clones will be female too.
All clones are genetically identical to the plant you took them from. So if you have an incredible specimen of a plant, you can make more plants that will have all very similar characteristics as the mother cannabis plant. You can take dozens of clones from a single plant. In fact anywhere there's a "growth tip" will yield a clone!
Cloning Cannabis: How to pick a valuable female plant to clone
As the grower, you're looking for hardy female plants with fast growth, big roots, huge yields, and potent buds.
Now it is generally recommended to take clones during the vegetative stage of marijuana because clones taken during the flowering stage can have a much harder time taking root. However if you take clones from the bottom of a cannabis plant in the flowering stage, you can usually get it to clone by pinching off any buds and following the normal steps. This can be a great way to save a plant that is performing really well in the flowering stage!
Note: Some growers take clones during the flowering stage on purpose, with a technique known as Monster Cropping. Clones taking during the flowering stage can sometimes display unusual growth patterns and can become crazy branching monsters. Depending on the grow setup, this can be taken advantage of.
Ok, so you want to take clones during the vegetative stage if possible, yet how do you choose the best mother plants that will give you the most potent buds and greatest yields? You don't know how the plant is going to turn out yet since she's still in the vegetative stage.
You could just choose to clone any plant, and maybe that's what you want to do if this is your first time cloning. Yet if you want to get the best results, you should choose to grow clones from only the best plants.
But how do you know which plants are going to be good when you have to clone in the vegetative stage?
How do you even know if the plant is a boy or a girl?
This is where things get a little bit tricky...
There are two major ways to identify male and female plants in the vegetative stage. Looking at pre-flowers or taking an early clone and flowering it.
Although you can identify the gender of a cannabis plant when it's just 3-6 weeks old from seed, you may choose to flower your plant earlier, and therefore won't know the gender. To get around this, you can always take clones of all your plants right before you put them into the flowering stage. This will give you a "copy" just in case any of your plants end up blowing you away with quality.
Keep these clones in the vegetative stage and allow them to start growing. I have a vegetative tent and flowering tent, and I just stick new, healthy clones in the vegetative tent until I'm ready to flower them.
Continue to nurture these new clones and allow them to start growing into full-size plants. Meanwhile, as your main garden starts flowering, the "parent" plants will start revealing their true characteristics.
At this point, throw away any clones that came from a male plant, or from a plant which grows slowly. You'll be glad you labeled them!
After harvest, you will know which plants had the best yields, growth, etc. Keep the clones you took from these best plant(s). These clones will become your "mother" plants which you can take further clones from whenever you need new babies.
How do you keep a mother plant from getting too big?
You can easily keep a mother plant in the vegetative stage for two years or more as long as you keep the plant under a vegetative light schedule. Any clones can be kept in the same place until you're ready to move them into your main growing area. Make sure the mother plant is well-fed and happy, so that any clones you take off her are healthy and strong.
However, if you keep light and nutrient levels low, the plant will tend to grow slower, so you can keep the genetics without growing a huge plant. You can take clones off the top of the plant to help control height, and plant training can be used to train a plant to grow into almost any size and shape.
Enjoy the power of marijuana cloning!
Cloning gives you the power to take one plant and get unlimited new cannabis plants for practically forever! You can clone clones without a problem. Each new clone is a genetic copy of the original plant.
Take your newfound power and let's help overgrow the world :)