Tom’s facts on mother plants !
- Introduction – First The Basics !
- Mother Plant From Seed !
- Mother Plant From Clone !
- Keeping Mother Marijuana Healthy !
- Flower Mother Plant ?
- Mother Plants Life Span ?
- Beyond The Basics !
- Unwanted Autoflowering !
- Clones Can Mutate Often !
- Mutant Mother = Mutant Offspring !
- Miniature Mother !
- Crested Mother !
- Pictures of Crested Plant !
What’s A Mother Plant ? When growing organic marijuana you will most likely want a mother plant or two. Marijuana mother plants are the plants that you have hand-picked to keep and to grow for the sole purpose of taking clones from. This is a plant that you will never put into flower. This is a plant you have picked because you like its’ genetics. You liked the way it grows, the way it branches, the way it smells, the amount and size of the buds and it has the properties you like in its’ potency. This is either a clone from a plant you have already taken to full term and flowered and harvested so you know what to expect, or it my be a plant grown from seed that you believe has great potential.
Marijuana mother plants that have come from a germinated seed instead of a clone has no track record. You may be aware of its’ potential but there is no way of telling if you have a good pheno type until you have taken the plant to full term. Using a plant from seed for a mother is a hit and miss situation. Of course it must be a female so using feminized seeds will save a lot of time and effort. To speed up the process of telling you if it’s a good pheno type and worthy of making a mother from this strain, I will take a clone from the plant grown from seed. As those clones are rooting and growing I will take the plant grown from seed and flower it. Even if you have faith in the seeds you are growing I would always take clones from those to make marijuana mother plants. Then flower the plants from seed. The down side to this is, it takes no less than 8 weeks to flower that plant to see if it has the qualities you want. For those weeks you have to hold and grow the clones you made from it. This takes a lot of space and time but I know of no better way to accomplish this.
Marijuana mother plants from clones make better mother plants than those from seed. The reason for this is, a plant grown from seed grows completely different from a plant grown from a clone. A mother plant grown from a seed will grow taller and faster but with less branching. You can control the mother from seed with pruning and trimming but it’s a lot more work keeping it that way. A marijuana plant grown from a seed grows symmetrically and a marijuana plant grown from a clone grows asymmetrically. A marijuana plant grown from seed will always grow “symmetrically”. Growing symmetrically means that as branches grow they will always grow directly across from one-another on the stem. On the other hand, marijuana plants grown from a clone will always grow ” asymmetrically”. Asymmetrically means the growing branches do not grow directly across from one-another but grow from different areas on the stem. A marijuana clone will never grow its branches equally or directly across from one-another. This is the reason a marijuana plant grown from a clone is a better candidate for a mother plant. Growing asymmetrically is what makes clones grow more compact with more branching and this is what we want from a mother plant. We want it to grow compact to save on space and we want a lot of branches so we can take a lot of clones.
Do not neglect your marijuana mother plants. Your marijuana mother plants are the life’s blood of your organic medical marijuana grow. Your marijuana mothers should be grown in a dedicated space with the best grow light you have. You should treat this mother just as you would any other vegetating plant in your grow. Timing the lighting for your marijuana mother plants should be the same as your other vegetating plants. Your grow lights should be on for 18 to 24 hours whichever you prefer. I always prefer 18 hours of light with 6 hours of darkness. I believe all plants need the darkness to rest and to perform different biological functions needed for optimal health. Fertilize your mother plant as needed. Follow the instructions that came with the fertilizer but cut the strength in half. Yes, that’s what I said. Fertilize your marijuana mother plants with half strength fertilizer. The reason for this, is to maintain the mothers plant health without stimulating fast growth. If you are growing in soil and you keep your mother plant for a long length of time, you will need to supplement with fertilizer because the mother plant will eventually use all the nutrients in the soil. As with all vegetating marijuana plants maintain the proper temperatures. They may go as low as 60 degrees at night and as high as 90 degrees during the day. Preferably keep the temperatures between 65* and 70* at night and between 75* and 82* during the day. Perfect humidity for growing is 60%, but not even remotely critical to growing good medical marijuana. Fresh air and constant air circulation is critical to proper growing. This is especially critical in high humid situations.
Never! Don’t waste your time or energy flowering your marijuana mother plants. You will be disappointed in the yield and size of your flowers.(buds) Why ? Marijuana mother plants have had many cuttings (clones) taken from them and have probably been trimmed in between the cloning. I generally take clones from my marijuana mother plants every 8 weeks, but I find I must trim my mother plant every 4 weeks. My schedule goes like this: Clone mother, 4 weeks later trim mother, 4 weeks after that clone mother again, after another 4 weeks, trim again, let another 4 weeks pass and clone again, so on and so on. Trimmings get thrown away. With all the trimming and cloning the mother plant gets quite bushy. The new growing branches are getting smaller in diameter all the time. Old growth is getting fatter but not the new growth, which is actually getting smaller. (skinnier) Always keep in mind ; The larger and fatter the branch the larger and fatter the flowers. So…. the smaller and skinnier the branch so go the flowers. Flowering a mother plant will give you a plethora of small flowers. The potency will still be the same but unless you like trimming an excessive amount of small buds, I would never flower marijuana mother plants. I’m talking about plants that have been mothers long-term, not plants that have been cloned once and then flowered. I realize there are some folks that may not agree with me and flower their mother plants. If you do, be prepared for disappointment and a lot of hard work trimming.
All plants have life spans. It’s possible to keep a marijuana plant alive and thriving for many years, but then we’re talking bonsai. To bonsai marijuana is possible and some folks do keep marijuana mother plants for many years. I don’t know who and I have never met anybody who has, however some on the web say they have done so. I have found that, there does seem to be a time in a mothers’ life when her productivity of strong branches for taking clones declines. This is what I consider to be the marijuana mother plants useful “lifetime” or “life span”. The time this takes is of course dependent on the strain of marijuana and the pheno type. For the best clones we want to retire our marijuana mother plants before her productivity declines. The length of time to keep a marijuana plant a mother, taking into account the “life span” of the average strain of marijuana, is about six months. Replacing you mother plant every six months or so will keep your clones strong and it also keeps your mother at a more manageable size. Some growers do keep their mothers longer but I have found 6 months to be a good average.
I have grown organic medical marijuana mother plants for a few years now. The medical marijuana dispensary where I work prefers to keep a large selection of medicine on hand. My boss also wants new strains regularly, which means I start a lot of seeds and make a lot of mothers. I am usually taking care of around 56 strains of mothers all the time. Below is what I have learned from this experience.
This is something to watch out for but easily noticeable. With all the mothers I have grown, I have seen many begin flowering under 18 hours of light. I must admit, I don’t know if this would have happened if the lights had been on for 24 hours, but I do believe they still would have. There are some varieties that will begin to flower after a certain length of time no matter what you do. Our OG Kush always started to auto-flower at about 6 months. Fortunately, it still cloned easy even after beginning to flower. Other auto-flowering mothers were useless for clones after we discovered them. Some other mother plants that began auto-flowering within 6 months time: Rock Lock, Cole Train, Sharks Breath, Somativa, Black Russian, Amsterdam Flame, Tropical Fruit, Heavy Duty Fruity, Mr. Nice G 13 X Hash Plant, Marlie’s Collie, Ganesha’s Dream, California Dream, Mr. Nice, G13 x Haze, Northern Lights #5 Haze, and Rock Lock. That’s over a three-year period and I’m not saying these plants will always auto-flower. The fact is I don’t believe they will. I have no idea why a plant would auto-flower when it shouldn’t other than the genetic pheno type of that plant. I don’t believe the auto-flowering is caused by any environmental conditions or anything related to nutrients. Flowering and making seeds is the reason a marijuana plant grows. That is their life’s reason. Keeping that in mind, it’s no wonder some marijuana plants auto-flower after 6 months. Sometimes you just can’t keep a good plant down. Marijuana mother plants auto-flowering is something to keep an eye out for, it is what they want to do.
This is one phenomena I will never understand. Some clones will grow up to become miniature plants and there is nothing you can do about it. I have taken thousand of clones and have seen this time and time again. I have seen this with every single variety I have grown. The age of the mother plant seems to make no difference. Where the clone was clipped from the mother plant seems not to make a difference. Even when all the clones rooted and grew up under the exact same conditions, some will miniaturize. I usually have 20 clones in a tray, two groups of 10 of different varieties. Even though all conditions were the same maybe three will miniaturize. There is no way to tell which ones if any will do this, but it will become obvious after vegetating the plants for about 6 weeks, sometimes sooner. The plant will not keep up with the other plants and its’ leaves will be noticeable smaller. If this plant is flowered out it will produce pitiful flowers with a pitiful yield. Only once did I get a decent harvest from a miniature mutant, but the buds were tiny and not worth the work of trimming, although potency was still fine. When I see a miniature mutant now, I cut it down to make room for a proper plant. Marijuana mother plants, no matter what variety, will at some time produce miniature mutant plants. This is something to watch out for and if it happens to you don’t be surprised and don’t fret about it because you did nothing wrong. This just seems to be a regular freak of “mother nature.” If you have ever experienced this please leave a comment and tell us about it.
This should come as no surprise to anyone. We all know the exact genetics are in the offspring of the marijuana mother plants, however will you, or can you tell when you have a mutant mother. Sometimes yes and sometimes no.
My first experience with this was with an Agent Orange clone my boss bought for the dispensary. I grew it into a mother plant . I took clones and vegged them but none of these plants ever grew over 2 1/2 feet tall, which is how tall the mother was when I cloned her. The end result of these plants after flowering was pitiful flowers and a pitiful yield. I cloned the mother a second time thinking maybe I did something wrong but the results were the same. Bottom line, we started with a miniature mutant clone, unbeknownst to us, and made it a mother plant. Nothing was going to change how that plant was going to grow and all of her clones were always going to produce miniature plants with no potential.
This is another oddity of nature that may be noticeable and may not. I had a mother plant that grew a flat branch. It was only one branch and I didn’t think much of it. I cloned that plant, but I didn’t take any clones from that particular branch. All of the clones grew fine and vegged fine. When they grew to about mid-chest height they were put into flower. It wasn’t until after the initial stretch, which was two weeks, that I noticed a flat stem or branch on all 9 of the flowering plants that came from that mother. I went ahead and let the plants flower full term but the plants turned out terrible. Strange flowers and a small yield. Marijuana mother plants sometimes hides secrets from us and we just might not discover them on our growing organic marijuana until we flower them.
The picture below is one of the nine crested plants from a mother with a flat stem. This picture is before fan leaves were plucked off.
This picture below is a close up of the center crest with fan leaves intact.
This next picture below is the same plant after fan leaves were removed. As you can see a very pitiful plant for yield. This was the worst one because the main stem mutated to form a crest. The other plants just one or two branches crested.
Below the same crested plant !
The below picture is the center crest after removing fan leaves.
Below a closeup of the crest!
When growing organic marijuana mother plants always keep an eye out for anomalies, for all will transfer to the clones taken from her !
Author Tom D.