Although not a necessary step in growing marijuana, cloning is an incredibly useful skill for any horticulturalist. Once mastered, cloning will allow you to increase your yield without having to compromise potency or risk reproductive issues. Lets face it, at this point you know which plants in your garden are male and female. You know which are sickly and which have thrived.
You may have even sampled a few buds from your garden as you’ve gone along and recognized a superior buzz from a more mundane producer. Chances are at this point there is at least one ”favorite” plant you just wish would grow infinitely in your backyard (who said pot growing had to be egalitarian?).
Through there are no guarantees when growing marijuana, there is a tried-and-true method for reproducing your most successful plants without having to go through the process of fertilization and seed reproduction. “Cloning” is a simple method that allows you to grow any plant by taking a clipping from a mature plant and basically allowing it to grow into its own. As you continue to perfect your gardening technique, cloning is a skill that will come up often and serve you infinitely well over the course of your growing career.
The Cloning Concept
Probably everyone with a grandma or aunt has seen cloning performed when one of them snipped a shoot from someone’s potted plant and dropped the cut end into a water glass half filled with water. Both were then left sitting on a windowsill until the submerged, cut end sprouted new roots and could be transplanted into soil. Grandma made it look effortless.
The advantage of cloning for those who have the knack for it is that it theoretically permits a grower to expand his crop geometrically—especially in places with long growing seasons—because lower branches that often die from being shaded can be sliced off and nurtured into becoming a whole new plant. Being taken from plants that are already three months into the growing season, clones that take another month to grow roots cannot be expected to achieve maximum growth. But each female can grow a 10-inch, half-ounce, all-bud top, even if the plant itself is only a foot tall. If you have ten plants, and can clone just four lower branches from each plant, you’ve probably at least doubled your bud harvest.
The downside is that in most cases with most growers, most clones die before they grow roots and become new plants. I’ve tried using rooting compounds, not using them, different soil combinations, etcetera. My personal success rate with clones runs about 7 percent, so if I start twenty clones, it’s with the expectation that only one or two will survive, and if I’m lucky one of those will be female.
For the clone masters, the procedure consists of cutting the last 10 inches from the end of a lower branch, leaving at least one pair of leaves from which to sprout a pair of new branches. Cutting clones from the parent plant requires a very sharp knife and a steeply angled cut diagonally across the stem to expose the broadest area possible to the growing medium and maximize the potential for root growth from the slice area. Remove all developed leaves from the clone’s stalk to enable it to focus its entire energy on growing new roots, but take care not to harm the delicate and critical top.
The experts simply dip the wetted sliced end into rooting compound powder—available at most garden supply centers—and shove the cut stem down into saturated potting soil, where it takes root. Most of my own clones die before taking root with this method, and those that take root take so long to do it that the growing season is nearly over by the time they start to grow.
My best luck at cloning has come from following Grandma’s example with cuttings half immersed in water treated with plant food. Except that where she used a water tumbler, I prefer to use a plastic 16-ounce soda bottle; the container is rugged and cheap, and the bottle’s narrow neck helps to keep clones standing upright while also inhibiting the evaporation of water from inside the bottle. Agitate the submerged stems every few days to dislodge algae, and change the water if algae becomes prevalent. Again, remove all leaves from the stalk, but be careful to not harm its top. Subdued sunlight is best for clones until they noticeably begin to grow new leaves from their tops, which will also usually coincide with the development of a healthy root ball that is ready to transplant.
Clones that have rooted in soils can be transplanted using the same procedure for transplanting seedlings that was described earlier. Transplanting water-rooted clones means transporting the containers that hold them, water and all, to the transplant site. This can be a giant inconvenience if you have lots of clones and the transplant location is far away, but it’s imperative that the clones’ delicate new roots are not exposed to air, which could kill them.
First, ready a site with a hole about 1 foot wide by 1 foot deep to receive the clone, but fill in the hole around the plant with a blend of potting soil and excavated dirt. Press soil around the plant downward with firm but not hard pressure to help secure its root system. Finally, water soil around the plant base thoroughly with at least a half gallon of water treated with plant food. Having been hardened adults when they were taken from their parent plant, clones are very tough once they take root; barring natural disasters or foul play, a clone transplanted in July will begin to flower in late August or September. A word of caution: Don’t be surprised if the sex of a clone is different than the sex of the plant it was cut from.
How to Clone Like a Pro
The following cloning instructions were provided by a cloning pro who prefers to be identified by the pseudonym Hick. Based on his results, and the results of other growers who’ve used the advice given below, following these instructions will result in healthy clones that develop roots quickly and hit the ground running after transplanting.
1-Supplies -”KISS” (Keep It Simple, Stupid). I don’t use a lot of extras or specialties. Equal parts vermiculite/perlite/quality potting soil, I prefer Black Gold, but everyone has a preference.
I advise NOT to use anything with added/time release fertilizers. Any quality rooting hormone, I happen to be using Green Light, but Rootone, Olivias, or another brand should work as well. I use 8-ounce plastic cups with eight to ten drainage holes in their bottoms. A new, sterilized razor knife. Sharp scissors for various trimming operations.
2-Medium preparation put the pots or cups to set in a pan of pH-adjusted water. Letting them absorb from the bottom up ensures full, equal saturation. Vermiculite and peat tend to float and allow water to run straight through without good saturation when the medium is this light, so watering potted clones from the top is not recommended.
3-Donor mothers should be prepped a few hours prior to pruning with a soaking watering of Age Old Bloom 5-10-5. High Phosphate promotes rooting, as well as flowering. I believe the donor’s health is possibly the single most important factor in growing successful clones.
4-Take likely clone candidates from branches that are midway up the donor plant; I like to start with shoots at least 4 inches long.
5-Cut stem cleanly at 45 degrees with a sharp knife-not scissors.
6-Trim lower leaves from clone cutting; the nubs where leaves have been taken provide growth spots for roots to start, so scraping or scarification of the stem is not needed.
7-Hydrate cuttings in a weak kelp solution to relax them prior to planting; I like to let them soak for fifteen to thirty minutes.
8-A final cut is made at a 45-degree angle while the stem is submerged; cutting the stem underwater helps to prevent an air bubble from forming over and blocking nutrients from entering the stem’s arteries.
9-Rooting hormone-make sure the cut is well coated. I remove excess by tapping the cutting briskly with a flick of the finger.
10-Cups filled with potting soil and vermiculite/perlite, presaturated and ready, with finger-size holes pressed into holes large enough to accommodate the cutting without scraping off the rooting hormone.
11-Planting-holes should be large enough that the stem slips easily in without scraping off the rooting hormone.
12-Planted-press the medium firmly around the stem; contact with the stem is vital for rooting.
Final step- I use Plexiglas on top of the Tupperware container as a humidity dome. Remove it twice a day, for an hour or so, every day extending the time off, until at the end of seven days it can be removed completely. I only mist sparingly if I see wilting during dome-off. Clones need warm temperatures to root. Seventy to 75 degrees Fahrenheit is about ideal, in my experience. Roots should be visible in seven to ten days. Seven to ten days after that, they’re ready for big pots (or transplanting to outdoor plots).
I hope you learned something from this article and if you have any questions please go to the forum or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t make mother plants from feminized marijuana seeds. For high quality marijuana seeds please visit my webshop. Please like or share this article
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