Cloning cannabis is a common method among cannabis growers or enthusiasts made especially to preserve the quality of a given particular strain. It may be often a hard and tiring job to produce a high quality strain of cannabis, and may entail going through several generations and combinations until the desired result has been arrived at. Once at that point, however, the grower will be smart to clone the produced plants in order to maximize return from that lengthy process of creating them. Cloning is done almost exclusively with female cannabis plants, as they are the ones used in the end to produce the crops. When a grower knows that the plant is female and wants to continue growing it for several cycles, the option of cloning offers them to recreate it several times with minimal to no loss of potency, and the children plants have all the qualities of the original plant. Cloning a cannabis plant should not be confused with breeding (or creating new strains), which are completely different processes. The first recreates a female plant, while the second combines female with male plants with different trains in order to create a better child plant.
Cloning in itself has quite a few advantages. To begin with, the process of germination can be skipped over, saving time. Then, through direct one-to-one copying, the precious genetic properties of the original plant can be preserved exactly as they are, and third, this process spares growers having to buy new seeds all the time. In addition, cloning ensures that only females will be grown and no space will be wasted on male plants. Nonetheless, there are also risks to cloning. Generally, the same genes can only be cloned around 3 to 4 times before the plant quality starts to slowly decrease, and utmost care must be applied to the process.
How It’s Done
One of the most important aspects involving cloning cannabis is cleanness, including the person themselves. Surgical gloves must be used, with the hands best washed in alcohol before. The environment must also be sterile.
To begin cloning, a so-called ‘mother plant’ is needed, a plant from which all the cuttings will be extracted. In such a plant, there are several qualities which may be of advantage later when the siblings are produced — such as fast growth and high potency.
Setting up involves picking a separate place from other cannabis plants like a closet or a basement. A tray should be filled with water, boiled for half an hour to ensure sterility, and mixed in with liquid rooting hormones. The water should be oxygenated using an air pump whose size should be corresponding to the tray’s size. Then, fluorescent lights should be hanged around 12 inches from the tray’s top, ensuring enough space from the plant.
Next, the grower should be ready to prepare the cuttings from the mother plant. This is similar to pruning a plant, except that the cuttings are made into clones. The first cut should be made with sharp scissors or a razor blade, best sterilized with alcohol. The length of the cutting should be around 7 inches, and afterwards the bottom leaves should be trimmed, leaving around three sets of leaves on the cutting. This product should be brought to the tray. Next, a few Styrofoam plates are needed, and the grower (or cloner) should make a hole in the middle for the cutting’s stem to fit through. The cutting should be secured in place with its bottom submerged. Then, another diagonal cut should be made, exposing more stem surface to the water and allowing the cutting to absorb more nutrients – very importantly this second cut should be made under water to prevent bubbling.
Once the cuttings are inside their growing medium and in the tray, a clear humidity dome should be misted and placed over the tray. The cuttings still need some ventilation, so a couple of holes in the dome should do the job well.
Once in the the dome has been set, it should be removed around 2-3 times a day and the cuttings misted, in order to keep them from drying out and also to replace the air under the dome. Since the cuttings have no way to replenish lost moisture, this step is necessary. The humidity under the dome should be around 90% until roots show on the cuttings. As far as temperature goes, the cuttings should be kept between 72 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s too cold or too warm, the root growth may be hindered or even jeopardized.
In addition, once the cuttings are in the tray, the water should be changed every other day. Plain distilled water should be used, and while changing it, the grower should be careful to never drain it completely out and expose the stem bottoms – it may kill the clone. After around ten days, the stem bottom will start coming out a bit, and soon the tiny roots will be visible. When they reach around one inch in length, they can be planted in soil or hydroponics, producing an exact copy of the mother plant.
After the clones have healthy roots growing, it’s their time to be transplanted into vegetative growth. The rooted clone should be removed from the tray. After that, the clone should be exposed to no less than 18 hours a day of light. Once tall enough, it can be either further grown to the flowering stage or used as the basis for another mother plant for further cloning.
There are several keys to successful cloning. Once a person gets the hang of it, it’s relatively straightforward. Every step should be done properly, as steps not done well will produce suboptimal results. The first time you take cuttings, assess how much you need and then take twice as that as a precaution.
In addition, always using distilled water and generally keeping the growth area sterile will greatly heighten success ratio.