It’s important to know the origin of your clones because that’s where problems originate—diseases, pests, incorrectly labeled genetics, and unknown pesticide residues can come with a mystery clone.
After roots develop, it is then transplanted into a pot or the ground, and it will grow like any weed plant.
Be sure to work in a sterile environment. Use gloves and disinfect razors and scissors.
If they look good after a week or so, go ahead and introduce them to the rest of your garden.
The beginning of a cannabis clone. (David Downs for Leafly)
Inspect the cannabis clones.
When selecting a mother plant to clone from, look for plants that are healthy, sturdy, and at least two months into the vegetative cycle. Don’t take a clone off a plant once it starts flowering.
Check under each leaf and also check the soil medium, as some pests live there. Certain pests can also leave markers—spider mites leave spots and webbing, and other insects can leave trace bite marks.
Most clones will be ready to transplant into soil in 10-14 days, but some root out quicker, and some longer. You’ll know they’re ready when the white roots are an inch or two in length.
If some clones look OK at the shop and you decide to take them home, make sure to take a few last precautionary steps before introducing them to the rest of your garden.
Take this time to properly clean your clone with whatever IPM solution you deem fit. A popular method for cleaning new clones involves dipping them into a light solution of whatever safe and approved pesticide you choose.
It’s almost impossible to detect harmful pesticides or fungicides on a clone. Often, these applications leave zero residue and can stay on a plant for the rest of the plant’s life. If you see any suspicious residue on a clone, ask the grower about their in-house integrated pest management (IPM) and always err on the side of caution.
Some growers have dedicated mother plants only for taking cuttings, but this setup takes up a lot of space and materials—you’ll need to keep the mother plant alive, but you won’t get any buds off it because it’ll always stay in the vegetative stage. Some growers find it hard to justify devoting time, energy, and space to plants that won’t produce buds. If your grow space is tight, this might not be the best setup.
Common rooting mediums include rooting cubes, rockwool, or other non-soil equivalents like peat or foam. Rockwool is melted rock that has been spun into a fine thread, and it has terrific airflow and moisture retention. You can find any of these cubes at most grow stores or online.
If you’re using cubes of any kind, you’ll need to invest in a tray, a tray-cell insert, and a dome. The clones will go in the cubes, the cubes into the tray-cells, and all of that sits in a tray which will hold water. To keep in humidity, make sure to use a dome over your tray, and you may even want to use a heat mat.
First, transplant your new weed clones into a more permanent container and medium. Often the grow medium used to house fresh cuttings at the shop will be different than what you use. Also, pests may be present in its medium when you bought it—transplanting your clone to a cleaner space will help mitigate any potential root damage.
Why clone cannabis plants?
Never hesitate to research a dispensary or grow facility before buying clones.
One of the best things about clones is they are exact genetic replicas of the mother plant from which they were taken. If you have a particular marijuana plant you like, whether for its appearance, smell, effects, or something else, you can take clones of it and grow it again, ad infinitum.
A clone’s stem width is a great way to get a sense of its overall health and vigor. Thin and narrow stems typically mean the clone was taken from a weak or less viable branch. These cuttings may be more prone to disease or death and their root systems may take longer to develop.
Check your clones daily to make sure they have enough water by checking the bottom of the tray or auto-cloner. To increase humidity, you can spray water on the leaves with a spray bottle. If any clones die, discard them so they don’t cause mold in the rest of the clones and also to give the remaining clones more space.
A clone is a cutting, such as a branch, that is cut off of a living marijuana plant, which will then grow into a plant itself. A clone has the same genetic makeup as the plant it was taken from, which is called the mother plant.
Another method growers employ is to take cuttings off a set of mother plants before they flower, then flip the mothers into the flowering stage. The next generation of clones is grown, and when those get big enough, cuttings will be taken from those before getting flipped into flower. Because clones are genetically identical, each generation will be an exact copy of the first-generation mother and all subsequent mothers.
Many diseases can be difficult to detect in cuttings, but there are a few visual cues that can be seen early on. A lack of vigor is a major cue—check for limping leaves, irregular or mutated growth, and discoloration.
How to take a cutting from a cannabis plant.
If you take a clone from a plant you already have, they’re free! You just need to invest in some supplies. Although, you can buy clones from a dispensary if you want.
If you live in a medical or adult-use state, you’ll be able to get clones from some local weed shops, but make sure it’s a reputable shop.
Another method is to use an auto-cloner. There is an initial cost for buying an auto-cloner, but if you plan on cloning a lot, they are worth it. Auto-cloners cut down on the amount of labor needed to care for clones. Using aeroponics , these machines spray the bottoms of your cuttings with nutrient water at set intervals to promote root growth.
Not all pests, diseases, pesticide residues, or genetic markers will be easy to spot with the naked eye, but give your clones a good look before introducing them to your garden. If they look sickly or weak, they likely won’t grow well.
Cloning cannabis is relatively easy and requires just a few key items:
A mother plant is any cannabis plant you take a clone from. Mothers should be healthy and sturdy, as their genetics will pass on to the clones—if you have a sickly mother plant, its clones will also be sickly.
Most of the time, these clones come from growers who focus solely on producing clones, but sometimes cuttings will come from a third-party source. When purchasing clones for your home garden, always ask your shop where they came from. If you can’t get a legitimate answer, find another source.
Be sure to inspect all areas of your clone for the presence of pests. Large pests such as fungus gnats and spider mites can be spotted relatively easily.
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There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
This article was co-authored by Maggie Moran. Maggie Moran is a Professional Gardener in Pennsylvania.
If you live in a place where it is legal to grow marijuana, you can expand your crop by planting clones. Planting clones of marijuana plants is a simple process that only requires a few steps. Choose clean pots with new soil and provide a warm, moist environment with weak light to ensure that the clones thrive.
All you’ll need to plant clones is a pot with large drainage holes, soil, and a warm place for them to grow. Your pot needs to have good drainage because clones don’t do well if the soil gets waterlogged. Choose a soil high in nitrogen, which helps clones thrive. Give your clones about 18 hours of weak light, like compact fluorescent light, each day for best results. Clones do best in environments between 70 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit, so make sure you place them in a hot room if necessary. You should also water your clones every day to keep the soil moist, but not too damp. For tips from our Gardening co-author on how to transplant cloves, read on!
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5. Close the greenhouse properly and don’t forget to open it and spray the marijuana plants with water once a day .
3. Apply rooting hormones on the lower part of the cuttings and gently plant it in the substrate you are going to use.
Marijuana or Cannabis Sativa is a perfect species for asexual propagation (i.e. propagation via cuttings). To clone your favourite cannabis plant you need the following basic material:
Clones develop nicely in all types of substrate (Picture: Brett Levin)
4. Place the cuttings in the greenhouse and spray them with water. Once covered, place them under a fluorescent light with a 18/6 photoperiod.
How to make cannabis cuttings.
7. After 8-10 days , if the substrate begins to dry, fill the greenhouse with one or two centimetres of water and leave it for 10-20 minutes so that the substrate gets moist again.
6. After 3-4 days continue to open and spray the plants every day, but this time leaving the greenhouse’s vents open .
The temperature must be between 18°C and 22°C and the relative humidity must be above 90% for the cuttings to root, what can be easily achieved if heated mini-greenhouses are used.
Clone showing the first roots.
2. Prepare the substrate. If you are using Jiffy pellets, soak them in warm water (pH around 6) for 10 minutes; if you are using rockwool, you should soak them during 24 hours in water (pH=4.5) and add rooting fertiliser until reaching an EC value of 0.60. If you are using soil, just fill the pots or cells with your substrate.
9. 15 days – or before – after the start of the process, you should see how the first roots begin to appear. Some strains may be more precocious and start rooting after 8 or 10 days, while others can take up to 20 days. Over 25 day-old cuttings that have not rooted and remain green will hardly end up rooting.
8. After 12-14 days , remove the greenhouse cover. If after one hour the marijuana cuttings remain upright, leave them uncovered and continue spraying a few times a day. On the other hand, if after an hour the cuttings lose strength, spray them and put the greenhouse cover back. Try again a few days later.
1. Cut the cuttings from the mother plant, preferably using only the apical tips, and cut the lower leaves and the tips of the upper shoot to prevent it from dehydration. Then place them in a container with tap water.
10. Transplant the cuttings to their growing pot and apply rooting fertiliser for marijuana during the following weeks.