Tom’s facts on cloning marijuana !
- Introduction – Why Clone Marijuana ?
- Obtaining Clones !
- What to Look For When Obtaining Clones !
- Mother Plants For Clones!
- Cloning A Vegetating Plant !
- Cloning A Flowering Plant !
- Equipment Needed For Cloning !
- Taking The Clone !
- After Cutting The Clone !
- Water pH, Temperature and Humidity For Clones !
- Lighting For The Clones !
- How Long Until Roots Show ?
You Should Want To Clone Marijuana ! Why? The main reason to clone is, you will be creating an exact duplicate of the mother plant. Your cloned plant will have the identical genetics as the plant you cut it from, so you know exactly what you are getting. If you plan on growing organic marijuana from clones, you can be assured of a great crop.
Where Do You Get Your Clones ? If you are a first time grower you will need to obtain some clones from a friend or if you live in a state where marijuana is legal you can buy some at your local dispensary or pot shop. I live in one of those states, (Colorado) so it does make it easy for me to try different strains. Before you buy any clones, make sure to ask questions of the seller as to yield, length of flowering time and is it a sativa or an indica? I will not buy a clone unless I have smoked some of its predecessors. I suggest you do the same before you buy any clones. The more you can find out before hand, the happier you will be with the results of your growing.
Insects ! Make sure you inspect the clones extremely well for insects before you buy them and take them home, possibly contaminating your grow room. The insects to look for are spider mites, thrips, and aphids. Look with a magnifying glass of at least 35x power. If you are not familiar with these insects take someone with you who is. Spider mites and thrips are extremely hard to see and a person familiar with these insects knows what to look for. The clones should look dark green, sturdy and healthy, if not, do not buy them. If you are already growing organic marijuana you can grow marijuana from clones you take yourself.
Mother Plant ? Many small crop growers and large dispensary grows keep a mother plant or plants. I have three mother plants (different strains) for my personal organic medical marijuana grow and I keep 53 mothers (different strains) at the dispensary grow where I work. These have all been tested and are all good phenotypes. A marijuana plant that you consistently take cutting (clones) from is called a mother plant. Think of the clones as offspring of the mother plant. There are other growers that don’t have room to keep a mother plants but they still grow from clones without buying them. They do this by cloning their plants that are in the vegetating stage. When they top their vegetating plants and or trim them, they keep the cuttings and plant them, turning them into clones.
Clone A Vegetating Marijuana Plant ! You will want to take your clones (cuttings) from a marijuana plant while it is vegetating. Cloning from an established mother plant will have dozens of areas to clone from. The tips of all branches and secondary branches are a good choice for cloning. Younger tender green branches root faster than thick branches but they all make good clones. Although young tender branches root faster, I find the slower rooting thicker stemmed branches produce sturdier clones. You can take a cutting (clone) from very young plants of only 12″ tall, if you wish. You will be able to clone the top of this small plant, but branches are not developed enough at this stage for cloning. The larger your vegetating marijuana plant is, the more clones you will be able to take from that plant.
Clone A Flowering Marijuana Plant ? I don’t recommend cloning a flowering marijuana plant, and I would never attempt to clone a plant that has been in the flowering stage any longer than two weeks. Once a marijuana plant has changed its metabolism to flowering it is near impossible to change it back to a vegetating metabolism. A clone taken from a plant that has been in flower for two weeks can take 3 months or longer to root. I have done this only when I need to save the genetics of that plant. The reasons a person may have to do this: The mother plant died suddenly. You didn’t realize it was your last plant of that variety. These are the only reasons I can think of for attempting to clone a flowering plant. Don’t clone a flowering plant unless you think you have no other choice!
Equipment Needed ! You will need a new razor blade, a stem cutter (sharp shears), a pair of scissors, rooting gel or powder (optional but recommended) and a medium to put your cut clone in, to grow roots. A pot or tray to hold your fresh clones. Clones may be rooted in a “seed and cutting mix” of soil. This soil has less perlite and more vermiculite in it to hold more water. Clones have rooted in soil for hundreds of years before man invented other mediums. Other mediums good for rooting are “rock wool cubes”, “peat pellets” and “sphagnum peat moss cubes”(such as “Rapid Rooter”and “Root Riot). These are by far the best mediums for rooting marijuana clones. Other mediums that can work but are not recommended include, perlite, vermiculite, water, and clay pellets.
Making The Cut ! You want to take the plant cutting (clone) from the end of a branch or from a subbranch. (a branch coming from another branch) You may even clone the top of a plant. The top is my favorite and strongest clone, but there is only one top unless the plant has been cut back before. The clone you take should have a minimum of three nodes, I prefer five or more nodes on a cutting. Whats a node ? A node is the area of a plant’s stem from which the leaves grow. Roots will emerge faster from a node than from the bare stem. The cut should be made within a half an inch from the bottom of a node. Count down from the top of the branch three to five nodes and cut a 45 degree diagonal angle 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the bottom of the node with a new razor blade. Next , dip the cut end of the clone in rooting powder or a rooting gel and insert the cutting into your rooting medium just deep enough to cover the last node closest to the cut end. Some growers, before dipping the cutting into the rooting powder or gel like to scrape the stem below the last node very lightly with the razor blade. Some growers split the stem below the last node, in the middle of the bottom with a razor blade. While other growers will cut off a little sliver of the stem below the last node at the cut end. Growers do this to facilitate the growing of roots. I have tried these methods and they all work well enough that I can’t say any method is any better than another. The clones will root just fine without this cutting and scrapping with just the 45 degree cut and planting.
After The Cut ! After you have taken the clone and planted it in you choice of medium, I recommend misting the cutting with plain water and putting it under a clear Plastic Dome. You want to do this to prevent the fresh cutting from transpiring its internal water out its leaves. Although the misting and the dome are not critical in rooting the clone it will help the clone to root faster with less stress. I have rooted may clones without a dome and they do just fine, but I do continue to mist them. I recommend misting two to four times a day for three to four days. Lifting the dome from your plants to mist them will also give your plants a change of fresh air. This is good for your new clones. After the first three to four days of misting you will stop this practice but you still want to lift the dome 3 to 4 times a day for the fresh air change. After the first 7 days open the vents on top of the dome to allow for air changes without lifting the dome. I have also found that putting perlite in the bottom of the tray under the rooting cuttings to be very beneficial. This perlite should be so wet it almost floats. This helps in two ways. First it helps in humidifying the clones whether you use a dome or not. The extra surface area provided by the perlite allows for more evaporation creating more humidity. The second way it helps, is it gives the roots that emerge some substrate to hold on to and grow into without the roots sitting in water.
Provide Heat ! Your clones will root faster if they are exposed to heat coming from the bottom of the pot or tray. Bottom heat is provided by a “heat mat“ with the thermostat set at 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Clones will not grow if the temperature is above 90 F degrees.
Water PH ! The PH of the water for your clones to root should be between 5.5 and 6.5. Be sure to check your waters PH if the clones take a long time to root. When you water, use warm water. Cold water is detrimental slowing root development.
Lighting The Clones ! Fresh cut clones do not want bright light, in fact it will burn them. Without roots clones can’t grow so a lot of light is harmful to them. Clones want a cool light such as a regular fluorescent light. T5 lights are too bright as are MH lights and HPS lights. If you don’t have a cool light for your clones you can put a thin white cotton sheet or something similar over the clones dome to cut the light and to shade your clones. I have done this and it works very well. Keep your clones shaded for the first week or so. Some growers like to put their clones in complete darkness for the first 24 to 48 hours. They do this to stop the clones metabolism from producing chlorophyll and change the metabolism to producing roots. I don’t know if this promotes faster root growth or not but I do know it doesn’t hurt them, so it may be a good thing to do.
How Long Till Roots ! Roots will begin to show, usually, in 14 days. Some clones will show roots as fast as 7 days and some clones will take a month. Different strains of growing organic marijuana will take different times to root. Marijuana from clones should be ready to re-pot in about three weeks. Your rooted clones may now be re-potted into larger pots. I like to re-pot my marijuana from clones into 6″ pots and leave them there until they are 9 to 12 inches tall. Then I re-pot them into 7 gallon pots, where the growing organic marijuana stays for the rest of their life.
Author : Tom D.
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