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Cloning Your Cannabis Plants

Clone Army: The Fight to Clone Your Cannabis

Cannabis plants have incredible diversity aside from the simple distinction between indica and sativa. There are vast differences in their patterns of growth, their levels of active compounds, and their physical characteristics.

For anyone who’s had personal experience with growing plants from seeds however, you’ll know that the outcome is not always what you see on the box.

If you’re lucky enough to cultivate a plant that’s worthy of preserving, you’ll need to know how to clone cannabis plants.

Why You Want to Clone Cannabis Plants

As mentioned above, seeds are mixed bags of genetics, in the same way that a child is a combination of the parents. When it comes to plants, inbreeding has been leveraged as a viable tactic that allows breeders to remove some of that variability from their seeds. However, like purebred cats and dogs, this approach increases consistency but may eventually cause problems from a lack of genetic diversity.

Unlike mammals, plants have another method of continuing their line. Under the right conditions, a piece of the ‘mother plant’ can be coaxed into forming roots and growing into an exact genetic copy of the parent. This process produces a ‘clone’ of the ‘mother plant’, effectively expanding growth potential while avoiding seeds altogether.

Many small- and large-scale producers of cannabis use this method to maintain consistency through different growth cycles. Impressive ‘mother plants’ can be maintained in a vegetative state for years, providing shoots for cloning hundreds of offspring without producing a single seed.

The Easiest and Cheapest Way to Clone Cannabis Plants

Obviously, to clone cannabis plants, you’ll need a healthy mother plant in vegetative growth that can stand to lose a few branches without hindering her vitality. A very sharp blade, like a razor, is best for taking cuttings; dull tools or scissors may damage the base of the young clones.

Fundamentally, clones only need moisture and the correct conditions to form roots; specialized powders, gels, and substrates that promote cloning or rooting only increase the speed or chance of success.

medical marijuana clones in a red plastic solo cup
cloning medical marijuana plants in a grow medium

Tips for Cloning Cannabis Plants

Really, cloning is just taking cuttings and putting them in water or some other substrate (rockwool, soil, synthetic substrates, etc.) until they form roots and grow. What separates the amateurs from the professionals is their adherence to some helpful tips:

  • Limit fertilizer, mainly nitrogen, in the days before taking cuttings

  • Work with clean tools and hands, be quick but careful

  • Cuttings from the lower half of the mother plant have a higher chance of success

  • Take cuttings that are at least 8-10” with at least 2 nodes (the place where new leaves or branches grow from)

  • Cut as close to the main stem as possible, to reduce strain on the mother plant

  • Make cuts at a 45° angle to the stem, to increase surface area for water absorption

  • Have a cup of water ready to submerge the new cuttings, this prevents air-bubbles from forming in the exposed vessels

A simple process for cloning cannabis plants

Once you have your cuttings, you can apply rooting powder or gel by following the instructions they provide.

Otherwise, place the cuttings in water or moistened substrate, cover them with plastic or a seedling dome to keep humidity high around the young plants.

Do your best to keep them in a warm place. Change the water once a day to prevent bacterial growth, but do it quickly to prevent air-bubble formation.

After 7-21 days - mainly varied by plant genetics and rooting temperature - you should see small roots coming out of the base of most of your cuttings. They can now be gently planted, the same as any other seedling.

Download a FREE Grow Guide to Learn More

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