The Easiest Way to Clone a Cannabis Plant and Grow Mother Plants
GreenBox Grown's Dylan Osborn walks you through the steps for easily taking healthy clones from your cannabis plants and use them to grow a mother plant.
For those who aren’t familiar with cloning cannabis, it’s a great way to save money as it eliminates the need for buying more seeds or other clones from the dispensary. Cloning also opens up the opportunity of re-growing the best genetics from your garden and can make it so you can really expand the amount of plants you’re growing.
A mother plant is another great way to save money and the best genetics, as it can provide you with new clones whenever you need them and pretty much as many as you need.
While a mother plant does limit you to that one strain, it is well worth it if you are smart and only grow the best genetics. That way it will continually give you exact replicas of plants that will provide amazing results!
Now lets dive into more detail on how to properly take a cannabis clone, and how to maintain a mother plant.
How to Take a Clone
Before I start with the exact steps on how to cut your clone, let me explain what a clone is. A clone, sometimes referred to as a cutting, is an exact genetic replica of its parent plant. What that means is if you clone a plant that grew some of the most outstanding bud you’ve ever smoked, the clone will grow that exact same quality and type of bud.
Another cool thing about cloning cannabis plants is you are essentially cutting off one of the main plants branches and then turning that into its own unique plant that grows separately from the parent.
At first it looks like you just cut a branch off and planted it into the ground, but over time that branch will begin to sprout roots. And eventually it will grow new branches and leaves and will thrive just like the plant it was taken from.
Alright, so now that you know what a clone is, lets go over how to properly take one from a plant. First you’ll need your supplies, which won't be much. You’ll need a razor blade for taking the clone, tall glass of water, rooting hormone, a pair of scissors, a humidity dome, and the medium you’ll be planting the clones into.
The reason for the razor blade is because it is much gentler and easy on the branch when cutting it. Scissors can crush it, causing the clone to be not likely not take.
For the medium to plant your freshly taken clones into, I recommend either rapid rooters or rock wool cubes. Both work just as well and increase uses rates when cloning. You can get either of those right here as well!
For the humidity dome, it is important to have it set up and acclimated in your grow tent before taking your clones so when you put the clones in there the conditions are already correct. It is important for a young clone to be in an extremely humid environment with temperatures around 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
They should also be receiving 18 hours of light each day so they continue to grow. You should also mist the inside of the dome before putting the clones in to help increase humidity.
Before taking a clone from a plant, there are two steps you must take to prepare the plant. First the plant should be around 2-3 months into veg as that is the best time to start taking clones from her. Second, be sure to hold off on nutrients for an entire seven days before taking the cuttings.
After cloning is complete, you can resume nutrients. The reason for this is if you take a clone that has lots of nutrients in it at that time, it will cause the clone to focus on leaf growth instead of root growth which will cause it to die.
Holding off on nutrients for a week allows the plant to flush everything out so when the cutting is taken, it focuses mainly on root growth!
Read also: The Benefits of Adding CO2 During the Cloning Stage
Take Your Clones
Once your plant is ready and you have all of your supplies prepped, it is time to take your clones. When taking a clone you need to be swift and there can’t be any delays, so that’s why it is important to have everything ready in advanced.
Now you are ready to begin, and the first step in this process is choosing the plant you’ll be cloning. Be sure to choose the absolute best plant in your garden as those are the genetics you want to replicate. Look for a mother plant that is healthy, growing big and strong, and has no health issues.
Once you have found that plant, it’s time to choose which branch to cut. Again just as you selected which plant to clone, the branch you want to cut should be big and healthy and showing no signs of health issues. It should also have several nodes and be towards the bottom of the plant as that is where the most developed growth is.
Now that you are ready and have chosen the branch, take your razor blade and make a cut at a 45 degree angle as close to the main branch as possible. You should be gentle but quick with making the cut and then immediately place the cutting into the glass of water so no air bubbles can get into the stem of the plant.
Prep Your Cuttings
Once you have taken a handful of cuttings, take your pair of scissors and trim off about 90% of the fan leaves and on the leaves that are left, trim their fingers in half. This will again help the plant focus on root growth early on opposed to leaf growth.
Once that step is complete you can take each cutting and dip the end of the stem into your rooting hormone, as this will help with root growth as well. Then all you have to do is plant the stem into your rooting medium, place it into the humidity dome, and you’re all done!
Read also: Foolproof Hemp Cloning
If using rapid rooters as your rooting medium, you should pre-soak them in water before planting the clones. Ring them out so they are only damp and you’re good to go.
Now that you have all your clones planted in rooters and they are in the humidity dome, it is important to keep humidity high and the temperature right around 75 degrees F. This will help with getting the clone off to a strong and healthy start.
Also, you don’t want to water until there is a sign of roots growing in or out of the rooter. Without roots, the clone can drown extremely easily. You’ll also want the lights on for at least 18 hours each day and you can expect to see roots within 6-12 days so be patient!
Growing and Maintaining a Mother Plant
When taking a clone, you can either take it from a plant that you are simply growing in your vegetation room or you can take it from a mother plant. A mother plant is a cannabis plant that is constantly kept in the vegetative state and is solely used for taking clones from.
Now you might think, why can’t I just keep cloning the new plant after it grows large enough? The reason it isn’t a good idea to do this is because after a few times of cloning down the line of the same genetics, the genetics begin to weaken and the plants start developing issues and harmful mutations. With a mother plant, you wont have this issue as you’ll always be taking from the original genetics.
Just like when you select a plant for taking a clone from, you’ll want to grow a mother plant from a plant with the same characteristics. That is, the plant that is the healthiest and growing the strongest in your growroom.
Read also: Mother Plants and Cloning: Love Your Mothers
Once you’ve selected your mother plant, it is important to keep it under 18+ hours of light each day so it does not begin the flowering cycle. Most people do this by keeping it in their room dedicated to vegetative growth or they just have a completely separate tent for mother plants.
It is important to take good care of your mother plant as you want it to stay in good health, and be sure to maintain it so it is always ready to produce a healthy batch of clones. That means providing it with a routine watering and nutrient schedule, and trimming away any dead or unhealthy growth.
It’s also a good idea to trim the mother plant branches back so it grows bushy opposed to tall and lanky. As with taking clones from a regular plant, you want to stop feeding nutrients to the mother plant for an entire week before taking clones from her. This allows the cuttings to focus on root growth early on instead of vegetative growth.
With this information, you are now able to be completely self reliant when it comes to growing cannabis plants and maintaining quality genetics.
Remember to work in a clean and sterile environment when taking clones and to be gentle but quick when doing so as this will greatly increase your success rate.
Once you have taken your clones and they have rooted, they are ready for transplant into soil. Depending on the size of the clone, I’ll generally start it in a 1 or 2 gallon fabric pot. If it’s a smaller clone, I sometimes will start it in a plastic cup (pictured above).
Read next: The Art of Re-Vegging Cannabis Plants to Save Space
Written by Dylan Osborn | Greenhouse Grower, Owner of GreenBox Grown
Dylan Osborn is a greenhouse grower with more than five years of experience. He has a passion for teaching others how they can grow cannabis from the comfort of their home. Dylan is the founder of GreenBox Grown, creator of the most Affordable Cannabis Growing Starter Kits.