How To Clone Your Cannabis Plant Like a Pro

Cloning plants is a fast and economic way to get the most desirable traits from a harvest.

Cannabis plant roots in a cloning machine Source: iStock

Cloning is a quick and simple way to make new cannabis plants and optimize their traits. The process involves making a copy of a plant by chopping off a section of it and allowing it to grow its own roots. It can then grow into a plant with nearly identical characteristics to the original. 

Cloned marijuana will have the same genetic makeup as the original “parent” plant. This means your plant will also take on the same gender as its parent. 

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Benefits of cloning marijuana 

Cloning plants is a fast and economic way to get the most desirable traits from a harvest. Growers can make several clones from a single plant which allows them to get the most out of their harvest with little effort. 

Clones can be made at most points in a plant’s life, until a few weeks prior to harvest. One major advantage is that clones begin at the same stage in growth as their parent plant. You don’t have to wait for growth in the same way you would with a seed-grown plant, instead, clones take off from where they started as part of the parent plant. 

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Rather than germinating seeds and growing plants from the beginning stages, growers can turn to clones for their best plants. The strongest plants with the best traits can be cloned to create a large selection of genetically-preferred plants. 

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With so many benefits to cloning, why do growers do anything other than cloning their best plants? Well, not every situation would benefit from cloning plants. If you want a diverse selection of strains in a small harvest, seeds would make more sense because the plants will have different traits. 

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Some also argue that cloning plants will cause them to lose potency over time due to clonal degradation. That’s an argument for another day, though.

How to Clone Weed

You don’t have to be a master grower to clone cannabis plants, but some expertise is required in order to get an ideal parent plant. If you’re particularly satisfied with a specific plant you’ve grown, it may be a good candidate for cloning. 

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Supplies:

  • A solid mother plant (female)
  • Scissors or plant clippers for cutting your clone
  • Starter cubes 
  • Cloning gels/Rooting hormones

Choose a healthy, hardy, and strong plant to replicate. If you’re growing weed indoors, it’s best to grow your clone indoors as well. If you’re growing outdoors, the clone should be grown outside. 

Starter cubes are used to maximize root growth. They’re fortified with micronutrients to encourage healthy growth and are an important part of cloning marijuana. 

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Rooting hormones are meant to expedite root growth, as well. They’re typically available as gel or powder and should be used according to their specific instructions. 

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Steps:

  1. Once you’re sure you’ve got the perfect mother plant, clean off your scissors or clippers and prepare to chop. 
  2. Take your cut. Choose a part of the plant with new growths branching out. Cut a piece off below the new growth at a 45-degree angle. The new clipping should be anywhere between 4-8 inches, as a general rule. 
  3. Read the instructions on your rooting hormones to see how/where you should apply the gel or powder. Some growers have success growing without any assistance from rooting hormones, but using it will help establish roots faster. 
  4. Apply the rooting hormone and then place the clipping into your starter cube. Be sure to read the starter cube directions to see if you need to make any preparations beforehand. 
  5. Clones should be ready to transplant in about two weeks. It may take longer, though. You’ll know it’s time when the roots start protruding from the starter cubes.

How to Select a Mother Plant

You’ll need to choose what plant you want the “mother” to be. Select a healthy female in its vegetative state. The plant you clone from should be at least 8 weeks old and will need a little prep work before clones are taken.

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To prepare your plants for cloning make sure that you stop giving your plant nutrients for a few days before you plan on cloning it. This helps remove some of the nitrogen in the leaves of your plants which can significantly increase the chance of your cuttings taking root. Too much nitrogen will make your plants think they need to continue with vegetative growth rather than grow new roots.

How to Clone Weed in Rockwool

Seed germinating in rockwool

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Using rockwool for clones is one of the most popular methods. It’s quick and easy and typically offers very favorable results. First, soak your rockwool cube in water with a pH balance of 5.5 for about 2 hours.

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Then, take your healthy cutting and trim most of the leaves off, save for the few at the top. Next, dip the bottom of your cutting in your cloning gel or powder and insert the stem into the rockwool cube.

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You’ll want to place your cut clones under at least 18 hours of light a day. A CFL bulb will work fine for giving cutting the light they need to begin to root.

For best results, clones in rockwool should be kept at a temperature between 72-75 degrees Fahrenheit (22-24 degrees Celsius). Humidity level should be over 90%. Using this method should ensure roots begin to sprout in 7-12 days.

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How to Clone Weed in Water

Cloning weed in water is possibly the simplest method of cloning there is. You can literally take your cutting (making sure it was cut at a 45-degree angle), remove all the mature leaves, and stick the stalk in a cup of tap water. Keep the cutting in indirect light and you should see roots begin to develop in 2-3 weeks.

Adding cloning gel or root hormones can significantly increase your chances of root development in water.  However, this isn’t necessarily required. Keeping water fresh (change it daily) and making sure its pH balanced at 5.5 can also increase your success in cloning weed in water.

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How to Clone Weed in Soil

Rooting your clones in soil is another very simple cloning technique. Simply take your cutting from your mother plant at that 45-degree angle and remove any mature leaves that remain on the stalk. Dip the stalk in water and then dip it into your cloning gel or powder.

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Immediately stick the stalk into soil that has been saturated with water. If you’re using soil with nutrients already added to it, you’ll want to flush it to ensure your cuttings aren’t getting too many nutrients (which could hinder root development). Roots should begin to sprout in around 2 weeks.

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Final Thoughts on How to Clone Weed

A great time to capture clones is just before you start to flower the mother plant. Once cloned, they can stay in the vegetating state for a long time.  

Be sure to keep your new plants moist by frequently misting them. Keep an eye out for mold, though. 

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If you’re new to the cloning world, patience is going to be key. It’s a good idea to make multiple clones because they may not all survive if the conditions are not perfect. Be sure to be gentle and patient as you learn. Check out our tips for cloning cannabis for more information to master the cloning process.

How To Clone Your Cannabis Plant Like a Pro was last modified: by