How to Clone Cannabis Plants
Published on 1/8/23
For beginners and experienced cannabis growers alike, learning how to clone some cannabis plants of your own should be an essential skill.
At its most basic core, cloning cannabis plants is a simple yet effective way to increase your overall yield without too much effort! In fact, learning how to clone cannabis plants will save you headaches and risks of acquiring seeds of your own, money, and a lot of time spent planting, germinating, and getting the soil ready to produce top-notch cannabis plants.
With all that in mind, we here at Where's Weed wanted to provide a go-to guide for anything and everything cannabis cloning-related. With that in mind, we'll deep-dive into how and when to clone a mother plant, how to take care of a clone once you have one planted, and the different harvesting methods you can utilize to get the job done!
Covering the Basics: What's Cloning?
Before we touch on more complicated topics like knowing exactly how to cut clones from a mother plant or sorting out how old should a mother plant be before cloning, it would be valuable to break down the basics. So with that in mind, what exactly is cloning when it comes to cannabis?
Essentially, you're taking a bit of your already living plant, removing it, and then allowing the removed piece to grow into a fully functioning separate cannabis plant of its own. That plant is genetically identical to the "mother" plant it came from and will produce the same quality cannabis, effectively doubling your yield without ever needing to harvest, germinate, or plant seeds.
At its core, "vegetative propagation," or cloning for short, is a fast and cheap way for growers to rapidly increase the number of plants they're working with without the hassle of planting more seeds. And plant cloning isn't exactly exclusive to cannabis plants either. If you've ever picked up some garlic, apples, tomatoes, blueberries, carrots, or mint from the grocery store, you've likely already enjoyed the results of cloned plants! The bottom line is that cloning is safe, simple, and effective, a core reason why it's been a staple for increasing crop yield for well over 1,000 years now!
Here's a breakdown of some benefits of cloning your cannabis plants:
- The plant's best traits can be replicated.
- Clones already have a root system, allowing them to reproduce much faster than starting with seeds.
- You know exactly what you're getting with clones. A clone is an exact genetic match to its mother plant; it will grow the same way as its mother in the same environmental conditions.
- Clones are the same sex as the parent plant. There's no need to wait for plants to show their sex to know if it's female and will produce flowers.
- Invaluable resistance to pests can be reproduced. A vigorous mother plant that has shown resistance to disease and infection passes that trait on to its clones.
- Favorite strains can be reproduced almost indefinitely.
So now that we've laid out the basics for what cloning is and why it's an excellent resource for home growers everywhere, the question remains: how do you exactly clone plants? After all, testing out whether you've got a green thumb of your own can save you a ton of time, money, and trips to the dispensary to stock up. Thankfully, we've got your back there as well!
How to Clone Your Cannabis Plants: A Step-By-Step Guide
When it comes to the intricate ins and outs of learning exactly how to clone a plant in soil, you'll need to gather the necessary supplies first! After all, starting this process unprepared will lead to total disaster for you, your plants, and the overall yield of high-quality, homegrown cannabis you'll end up with. No sense in risking that too much, right?
With that in mind, here's a quick breakdown of the supplies and tools you'll need to clone your cannabis plants successfully:
- A mature mother plant that's strong, healthy, and in the growth phase
- Razor, scissors, or scalpel
- Starter cubes like Rockwool cubes (available at hardware stores, gardening centers, or online)
- Cloning gel and powder
- Reliable soft light source (low-wattage grow light or specialized clone light)
- Disinfecting alcohol
- Plastic dome or other covering devices
- Spray bottle with water to maintain moisture levels
Once you've gathered your supplies and readied your plants, you're ready to start the cloning process! Here's how to do so successfully step-by-step!
Step 1: Ensure Your Plants Are Ready
For cloning to work, you'll need to do more than chop a chunk off your plant and stick it somewhere else to grow. Cloning your plants will only work if they're in the vegetative growth stage and are female. Plants in their vegetative state only have stems and leaves, no buds, which means they're prime candidates to be cloned! The vegetative state can last between 3 to 16 weeks, meaning you'll have a decent window to clone your plants before the growing season starts. Trying to clone plants outside of the vegetative state will lead to worse overall health for both plants, which reduces the quality of your homegrown yield.
Step 2: Prep Your Tools and Ready Your Cube
When it comes to cloning, time is a factor. After all, you can't only chop a section of your mother plant off with dirty tools, leave that piece lying around with no prepared destination, and expect things to go perfectly. That's why a little bit of prep work will go a long way to helping you successfully clone and keep your mother plant healthy and producing. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
With that in mind, take the time to sterilize your cutting tools and workspace before cutting, and prepare your Rockwool cubes for action. Just a few wipes of your cutting tool and surface area with an alcohol wipe will be enough to do the job before cutting, and soaking your cubes for a few hours will help ensure the pH is suitable for your newly harvested clone plant. Make sure to do both beforehand so you're not caught scrambling after cutting your mother plant!
Step 3: Cutting and Planting Your Clone Plant
There's an art to knowing and identifying which pieces of the mother plant you're supposed to harvest. After all, while cloning is easy, there's more to it than just chopping off a random chunk and sticking it into some potting soil.
Before making that cut, inspect your plant stems to ensure you're picking the right one. You'll want a stem with healthy, vibrant leaves and few obvious cosmetic flaws. After all, this stem will be the core foundation for a new plant, so you'll want it to be healthy to start. Once you choose the right stem, you'll use your sterilized cutting tool to separate it from the rest of the mother plant.
Once that stem is removed, immediately dip the cut end of that stem into your cloning gem or powder, which will promote root growth once your new stem is planted into your potting soil. Then stick the end of your stem with the gel or powder into the Rockwool cube before planting it in some top-notch potting soil.
Step 4: Maintaining and Growing Your Cloned Plant
Now that you've trimmed that section off the mother plant and promoted its root growth with the gel, powder, and cube, it's time to isolate your plant further so that it has the best chance to survive long-term. Try to make sure the newly planted clone stays at a comfortable temperature to promote growth, somewhere in the ballpark of 70 to 78 degrees, with around 90 percent humidity. Also, use your spray bottle to wet the soil frequently, giving your new clone the water and nutrients from the soil it needs to root effectively. Use your grow lights to provide your new clone with lots of sunlight! And when you can't pay close attention to the plant, don't be afraid to use the covering to protect it from any necessary risks while it's hard at work rooting.