Growing marijuana plants can be a lot of work, and taking cuttings and clones can make your crop more uniform, saving you time and increasing standard quality.
The best way is to begin with a female cutting.
You don’t get the same variation, but you’ll save yourself a lot of time, and it can be nice to deal with uniform plants when you’re cultivating.
Using marijuana seeds will take a lot longer, and there’s a lot more trial and error involved in finding plants with the genetics you want to develop. Unless you buy high quality seeds for every new grow.
Sexual reproduction naturally creates a lot of variation between plants, and while this can be an evolutionary advantage, it’s not always ideal for the grower. If you’re interested in quickly and efficiently growing plants of uniform quality, start your growing operation with female cuttings. We’ll talk more about marijuana seeds or clones in this chapter.
Growing from clones
Different strains and plants will grow, mature, and flower at different rates. If you’re growing marijuana indoors, this can cause a lot of issues for you. You really need all of your plants to be maturing at the same rate, or it becomes difficult if not impossible to effectively optimize the environment for your plants.
If all of your plants come from the same female cutting, you can make sure that they mature and grow at the same rate. This means they’ll flower together, and you can harvest them all at the same time. Another bonus is that they will all have the same qualities, and you’ll be able to better manage larger groups of plants.
There are downsides to taking cuttings, of course. Sometimes cuttings can be of lower quality than the original plant they are taken from. Also, because the chemical make-up of the plants will be the same, medicinal users will develop a tolerance to the active ingredients in the plant, which will require more of it to be used to achieve the same effect.
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If you want to make clones you should start with regular marijuana seeds that produce both male and female marijuana plants. If you take clones from feminized marijuana seeds there’s an increased chance to get hermaphrodites.
It’s not very difficult to make your own marijuana clones. All you have to do is trim healthy cuttings (usually between 4 and 6 inches) from healthy plants. Make sure to clip off most of the leaves, but leave the top ones intact.
Dip each cutting in rooting gel or powder and then place it in planting mix, sterile soil, rock wool, or Oasis cubes. The ideal temperature is around 72-75*F (22-24*C). The roots should start showing up in 8-12 days. If you aren’t rooting that many clones, you could try rooting them in water.
Clones pros and cons
- No gender confusion – if the mother plant was female, the clone will be female as well
- Clones usually have a running start in comparison to beginning with seeds, because clones are generally matured and settled when you start using them. In comparison to seeds, clones generally have a shorter period of growth which leads to them being ready for harvest much faster
- Clones can be easily grown into a ‘mother’ and cloned again, for a nonstop source of brand new plants. You have the ability to clone any plant to start a limitless supply of plants
- Since clones are genetically indistinguishable to their mother plant, you will be quite sure of what you are getting. Even though there are some deviations between clones, they usually grow more comparable than two arbitrary plants.
- Established clones can be enticed to flower almost instantly if you ever find that time or space is a concern
- Clones are not always as easy to come across as seeds. Most people find that a cannabis grower is not easy to come by therefore it is easier for most people to get seeds considering the fact that seed banks are easily accessible on the internet
- If the initial grower had any issues with the mother plant such as pests or viruses, then most likely you can end up with similar issues from the clone
- Starting with a clone that hasn’t been deeply rooted could potentially lead to it suddenly dying on you, or it being in a state of shock for quite some time. When cloning is done improperly, it may take weeks of additional care before the plant recoups
- Freshly produced clones are more delicate when it comes to light and nutrients in comparison to new plants grown from seeds
Growing from seeds
If you aren’t taking cuttings of an existing plant, your cultivation will begin with seed selection. If you’re choosing seeds, you’ll want to make sure you get marijuana seeds that have the right genetic material.
The single most important factor in the success of your grow operation is making sure your plants have the highest potential possible. You want to be growing a variety that has good flavor and potency, as well as something that grows quickly and thrives in a small indoor space.
Check my marijuana seed shop for high quality seeds. You can select them by type, yield, height and much more. All seeds have the genetics to produce strong and healthy plants that produce the best weed possible.
Seeds pros and cons
- Buying your seeds from a traditional seed bank will give you a better idea of what to expect in terms of the quality, yields, look and time it will take to bloom
- Cannabis seeds can be carefully shipped to just about anywhere in the world without personally knowing a cannabis producer or having to collect bag seed for you to begin growing with seeds
- You will want to ensure you end up with female cannabis plants since they are the only ones that produce a bud. You can buy feminized seeds through a seed bank which guarantees you will get 100% females and never have to be concerned about male marijuana plants.
- You can create your own seeds and at the same time get a limitless quantity of seeds by crossbreeding two cannabis plants.
- Seeds give you the best possibility of a fresh start which ensures your plants won’t have any diseases or pests
- Some seeds simply will not sprout
- Seeds that are old and inappropriately stored may grow sluggish
- If using non-feminized seeds, about half of the plants will come out being male, which do not create buds
- Seeds may take longer than clones to begin growing and be available for harvest since clones are usually already developed and settled when you start growing
- If you are buying seeds for each grow, charges can add up quickly, and popular strains can get expensive per seed
- Developing your own seeds saves you money, but it still takes a considerable amount of time to crossbreed two plants to make seeds
Size of the grow room
You’ll have two primary factors which limit your options for indoor growing. The first issue is a ceiling. If you’re indoors, you need to make sure that the plant doesn’t reach up too high. The ceiling should be at least 6 or 7 feet. The second factor is also related to space. You need to make sure you have enough space for everything your plants need. Irrigation systems, lights, and plenty of room for the roots.
The first step towards dealing with the limited space is to grow small plants or at least relatively short ones. Most growers do this by utilizing Indica-based varieties since they don’t grow as tall as Sativa does. Alternatively, if you force flowering on small cuttings, you can control the size of your plants fairly effectively.
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Another advantage to using Indica type plants is that they have shorter flowering phases, and that means more annual harvests for growers. Indica plants are small, dense and solid. They usually flower for about 50 days. If you’re using a compact grow room, using a variety with Indica genetics is highly recommended.
Also read the article How to build a grow room for more information
Even if you aren’t going to use a pure Indica strain, there are a lot of hybrid options which still manage to remain small. The most well-known hybrid is probably skunk, which combines the short flower and compact nature of Cannabis Indica with the potent effect and aroma of Cannabis Sativa. You can get great results out of these hybrids, taking advantage of the many years of breeding and experimentation that have gone into them.
Cannabis Sativa has the most noticeable and exotic active effects, but the plant itself is not particularly well-suited to indoor growing. It has a very long flowering period, and a very long period of growth before it reaches the level of development necessary to flower at all.
Thankfully, most available stock comes in the form of hybrids because of this. However, there are some steps you can take if you are absolutely dead set on cultivating a pure strain of Sativa.
Once you’ve selected a plant that has the right genetics, take a cutting and root it. Once they’ve developed a stable root system, let them grow an additional 5 inches. When they’ve reached a proper height, switch over to a flowering light cycle of twelve hours light/twelve hours darkness.
You’ll need to expose the plants to this cycle for about 3-6 months. The plant will continue to grow throughout this period since the cutting started flowering while it was still very small. At the end of your flowering cycle, you’ll end up with a medium-sized plant full of heavy flowers. This is a good way to take advantage of the properties of the Sativa strain within a constrained space. This is for pure sativa’s only!
Finding healthy marijuana seeds
Marijuana seeds are the vehicle for genetics. They are the foundation for any successful grow operation, and unfortunately for growers, they are extremely difficult to analyze. They all tend to be hard, and compact, with a smooth surface. Seeds will have some variation in appearance between species, so it’s hard to know what you’ve got except based on contextual information. Don’t waste your time investing in a group of seeds that you know nothing about, or whose origins you don’t trust.
Unfortunately, the bottom line is that it can be difficult to find good seeds. This is one of the reasons so many growers take cuttings. An excellent plant doesn’t always produce viable seeds, and even if it does, there’s no guarantee that those seeds will produce a healthy plant.
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Commercially available cannabis seeds are usually hybrids of the first generation of plants, and the seeds should be stable. When first-generation hybrid plants are cross-fertilized, the original genetics are more likely to surface. Hybrids between Sativas and Indicas will produce roughly equal ratios of male/female seeds. If the plants from those seeds are cross-fertilized, only about 10% of the next generation’s seeds will be hybrids while the rest will belong to a pure strain on either side.
Single or separated grow rooms
Sometimes new growers question whether they can get by with just a single collective space in their grow room. After all, it’s more work to monitor and keep multiple different environments stable. Is it better to have a room for growth and a room for flowering? As usual, the choice is up to you.
If you choose to use a single room, then that room will be in use for about 3-6 months straight, from germination to harvest. After you’ve harvested, you can clean the room and begin the process again. This will net a careful grower about two or three full harvests annually. The primary issue with using a single room is that you can’t take advantage of cuttings, because there is no extra room to root and develop them.
If you use multiple grow rooms or isolated partitions, you can keep seeds for germination in your grow room. Then you can select the plants you want to use and take those cuttings, and finally move your original plants into a flowering room. While the original mother plants are in the flowering room, you can begin to root and grow the cuttings in the grow room. Once you harvest the originals, you can take cuttings again. This method allows you better control over the Cannabis that you’re cultivating and will net you more harvests every year.
Growing small or large plants
Obviously we’ve touched briefly on some of the advantages of growing large plants and small plants. Mostly it comes down to the strain, but forced flowering also gives you a shorter period between harvests. Some growers will take these small plants and grow them in bulk, up to 100 plants for one harvest. Of course, the yield per plant is lower this way, but the net yield can be absolutely huge. That’s one of the nice things about growing small uniform plants.
Indoor cultivation generally benefits from a larger number of small plants than cultivating big plants. The smaller plants grow more quickly, and it makes more sense in an enclosed area with low ceilings to use smaller plants. Chances are good your indoor cultivation will be taking place in a small space, since it gets harder and harder to control the environment when the environment gets bigger. Plus, if all of your plants are smaller, it’s much easier for you to take care of them and keep an eye on each one.
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