How To Clone A Weed Plant

How To Clone A Weed Plant (The Right Way)

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So, you have heard about cloning weed plants, but what exactly is this? What is cloning? What are the benefits? and how do you actually clone a weed plant?

Yeah, there is a lot of material to cover here, and no, cloning a weed plant is not particularly easy and it takes some practice to get right, not to mention patience and the proper tools too.

Let’s cover everything you need to know about how to clone a weed plant right now.

What Is Cloning A Weed Plant?

Cloning a weed plant involves cutting branches or offshoots from a mother plant, which are then treated and placed in a rooting medium.

Roots will grow out of the cut branches, form a root system, and provide you with a pot plant in its vegetative state.

It’s an easy way to create new weed plants out of old plants, all without having to deal with seeds and the germination process.


Benefits Of Cloning A Weed Plant

There are a few different benefits associated with cloning weed plants, as opposed to starting them fresh from seeds.

  • You never have to germinate seeds again.
  • You can continuously grow and use a mother plant for new clones.
  • If you have a female mother plant in its vegetative state, all clones will be 100% female.
  • For continuous weed growth, cloning plants is much more cost effective than continuously buying seeds.

What You Will Need To Clone Weed Plants

There are a number of items you will need in order to successful clone a marijuana plant. These include the following;

  • A mother plant
  • Sterile scissors or razor blade
  • pH treated water – 5.5 to 6.5 pH
  • Rockwool or other rooting medium
  • Cloning gel/rooting gel
  • Trays for the rockwool cubes
  • Tray for water
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Weak fluorescent lights
  • A humidity dome
  • Some light nutrients – 100 ppm
  • Soil
  • pH meter

How To Clone A Weed Plant – Step By Step Guide

Alright, so cloning a weed plant is a pretty lengthy and somewhat complicated process, but it is doable if you have the right tools and knowledge.

Here is a step by step rundown on how to clone;

1. Selecting The Mother Plant

The first step here you need to follow is to select the mother plant which you will cut the clones from. These are usually referred to Bonsai plants, and they are kept in a permanent vegetative state.

In other words, you never let them flower, as this can cause issues when cloning. If you have a female weed plant in its vegetative state, and you cut your clones from this, all clones will always be 100% female, which is what you need.

When selecting a mother plant, it is ideal to use a new one each year. Each mother plant can be used for several years to cut clones, although it is recommend to start with a new mother clone on a yearly basis.

Keep in mind that the mother plant should be as healthy as possible and free of disease, as the health of the mother plant will directly affect the viability and health of the clones.

In terms of cutting clones from a flowering plant, this can be done up until 2 weeks into the flowering stage, but it is not recommended.

Clones cut from a cannabis plant that is in its flowering state are often hard to root, and it will take 2 or more weeks until they begin their vegetative state, which is not the case if you have a mother plant in the vegetative state.

On a side note, a healthy mother plant that is ideal for cloning should be receiving healthy amounts of fertilizer, especially nitrogen rich fertilizer.


2. Selecting The Clones From The Mother Plant

The next step in the cannabis plant cloning process is to cut the clones from the mother plant. This is easier said than done, so pay close attention here.

The most important thing to keep in mind here is that the best place to cut clones from the mother plant is at the top of the plant. Actively growing plant tops work best for cloning.

This is because the tops of the plants contain the most growth hormones, which you will need for successful rooting and growth. You don’t want to take clones from lower down on the plant.

When selecting a clone, you usually want to go for a 3 inch clone top, one that has a stem of roughly 1/8 inch in diameter, with a few fan leaves, and a slightly firm, but not overly firm stem. Shorter clones with no more than 3 leaf nodes are best to use for this.

On that same note, it should be a fairly mature clone with alternating leaves. You don’t want the leaves of your clones to be growing opposite from one another.

You want to avoid stem cuts that have no nodes, as well as plug cuts. Another tip here is to cut the fan leaves in half, because this will minimize the amount of weight and foliage which the new root system will need to support.


3. Cutting The Clones From The Mother Plant + Trimming

Now that you have selected the clone to cut, you must cut it. You want to use sharp and sterilize scissors or a razor blade to do this. You want to cut the main stem of the clone just above one of the fan leaves and auxiliary shoots, about 2 or 3 nodes down at the most.

You want to leave a shoot and a fan leaf on the mother, so it can continue growing and allow it to form another node on the stem of the mother plant. When you make the cut, be sure to cut it long enough so that there is one trimmed internode which can be planted under the growth medium.

You want the clone you cut off the mother plant to be at least 3 inches long, but no more than 4 inches at the most. Once you have cut the clone off the mother plant, you want to cut off all fan leaves and branches, except for the top two fan leaves and the tip of the branch that will grow.

This will ensure that you have a decent stem for secure planting. Always use sterile and clean tools when doing this. Also, be sure to take cuttings from parts of the mother plant that are soft and veggie-like, as cuttings taken from woody and hard areas will have problems rooting.

If you can manage to get a larger branch from the mother plant, this is advantageous when it comes to rooting. Cuttings taken from larger branches will often have what are known as adventitious roots, which are little white growths that will quickly turn into roots when planted.

In this case, cuttings are recommended to be taken from lower branches, as they contain the largest amount of sugars are growth hormones needed for rooting and growth.

Now, just trim all fan leaves besides the top ones, so there is a node and a long stem ready to be planted in the medium.

Cutting off fan leaves ensures that the main stem and roots take in the majority of the nutrients, instead of just feeding into the fan leaves.

Cut about ¼ inch below the lowest node, using a razor blade to cut at a 45 degree angle, as this will help the roots develop.


4. Prepare The Planting Medium – Rockwool

Ok, so you have selected your mother plant, selected the clone, and cut it off too. When it comes down to it, one of the best mediums to plant your clones in is rockwool, which is cheap, sterile, portable, and biodegradable too.

What is also great about rockwool is that once the plants root and grow sufficiently, you can simply transplant the whole thing, rockwool and all, into soil, with minimal or no transplantation shock, or anything else of the sort.

Keep in mind that this rockwool does need to be treated and prepare before you plant clones in it. So, how do you prepare the rockwool for clones?

  1. Get some good old tap water, but ensure that you let it stand for at least 24 hours to allow all chlorine to dissipate. Keep in mind that this water should be at room temperature.
  2. Take the rockwool cubes and remove the plastic from them. You don’t want the plastic on there as algae and mold can grow in between the rockwool and the plastic.
  3. You now need to treat the water so that it is at the ideal pH level for pot plants, particularly clones. This means treating it so that it has a pH level between 5.5 and 6.5.
  4. Immerse the rockwool cubes in this pH treated water for 24 hours. This will allow them to soften, absorb water, and get ready to have clones planted in them.
  5. Keep in mind that cut clones will begin to wilt within minutes of being cut from the mother plant, so you need to have these rockwool cubes prepped and ready to go before you cut the clones from the mother plants.

5. Planting The Clone

Now you are ready to plant the trimmed clone into the prepared rockwool. However, there is something that you need to do before this. You need to use some kind of rooting solution.

This is a solution which promote healthy root growth for clones. This can also be known as rooting gel. All you need to do here is to ensure that the bottom of the stem, including the lowest node, is dipped in the cloning gel or rooting solution. You don’t need to let it soak. A simple dip will do fine.

Something to keep in mind here is that you need to dip the cut clone right into the rooting gel and then directly into the growing medium, in this case rockwool, as fast as possible.

Laying the clones down on the counter, or something similar, can cause an embolism or air pocket to form in the stem, which can cause serious problems, and needs to be avoided at all costs. Be sure to remove excess rooting gel, as it can suffocate your plant.

Now, just gently push the stem into the rockwool, making sure to push the rockwool in around the stem, so that it is just tight enough to stand upright on its own.


6. Lighting & The Humidity Dome

Alright, so now you have planted your clones in the rooting medium, and now it is time to place them inside of the humidity dome and to give them some light.

Once you have the clones on their plastic trays, and you have put them inside of the humidity dome, spray them with water mist, but be sure to only spray the rockwool cubes, not the plants themselves, as this can cause mold, mildew, and other issues to occur.

You should keep this humidity dome on for at least 3 days, and lift it up once or twice per day to allow for some air exchange.

Once the fourth day comes around, you can slightly prop the dome cover up to help acclimatize them to the outside world. If the clones begin wilt, put the dome cover back on for another day or two.

Keep in mind that when inside of this humidity dome, your clones will still need some light, and you should be using soft white fluorescent lights for this. These clones only require limited amounts of light, and strong direct sunlight or high powered grow lights will do nothing more than burn them to a crisp.

During this stage, the lower leaves may yellow and die off, which is perfectly fine. As long as you see roots starting to come out of the rockwool cube within the first 10 or 11 days, you are on the right track.


7. Daily Maintenance

  • Remember to lift the dome cover every day, twice per day, for the first 3 days to allow for air exchange.
  • When the roots are not showing yet, water the clones every 2 days to encourage root growth.
  • Once the roots are showing through the rockwool, water the cubes twice per day to keep the cubes moist. You can let them get slightly dry, because this will encourage the roots to go searching for water, thus growing faster, but also don’t let the cubes dry out totally.
  • Keep in mind that the pH level of the cubes will slowly rise, so every couple of days, you want to give them pH balanced water to ensure that the pH level stays ideal.
  • Water the cubes by using a tray of water, and then place the tray of cubes into that water, then let the excess water drain, and place the cubes back under the lights.
  • Once the humidity dome has been removed, you can add small amounts of nutrients to spur on healthy growth, but only very small amounts.
  • Depending on the temperature, you may need to use a heating mat to keep the clones warm. Be careful that you keep the clones an inch or two above the heating mat, as excessive heat can cook the roots.

8. Checking The Roots & Transplanting Into A Permanent Container

The bottom line is that roots should appear and grow through the bottom and sides of the rockwool cubes with 10 days, 12 at the most. You can test to see if the weed clones are rooted, as the roots will not always grow through the cubes.

Do this by gently pulling on the clones at their base. If the clones feel like they are embedded in the rockwool, they are rooted, and yes, they are getting ready to be transplanted.

Now, it can take up to 3 weeks for a new clone to develop a healthy root system. If the plant looks healthy and is slowly growing, and the roots seem to be spreading, after about 20 days, you can transplant them into their permanent growth container, or in other words, a big bucket with soil.

Keep in mind that some fan leaves will yellow and fall off, which is fine as long as the rest of the clone looks healthy.

Now you can treat these weed plants like any other pot plant in its vegetative state, making sure to pay attention to all of the important factors, such as light, humidity, nutrients, and all of that other fun stuff too.

Let them vegetate for an additional 4 weeks, at the least, after having transplanted them into their permanent location, before you begin flowering them.


Cloning Cannabis Plants – FAQ

How long does it take for clones to root?

It should take roughly 7 to 12 days for clones to root, with a substantial root system developing within 3 weeks.

Why are my clones not rooting?

This could be due to a number of issues including improperly cut clones, excessive or too little moisture and humidity, too much or too little lighting, a pH level that is not ideal, or it could be that the rooting medium has not been properly prepared.

How to make clones root faster?

The best way to get clones to root faster is to use some kind of rooting gel or rooting solution. Also, make sure to cut from mother plants that are in a vegetative state.

How to care for marijuana clones?

Remember to not give them too much light, water them regularly, and keep the pH level balanced until the root system is fully developed and you can transplant them into a permanent location.

How much light for clones?

Marijuana clones require minimal amounts of light until you have transplanted them into their permanent location. Some soft white fluorescent lights, fairly weak ones, will do just fine.

How to use rapid rooter plugs with seeds?

Simply place the weed seed into the rapid rooter plug, place the plug inside of a growing medium, and treat it as you normally would during the germination and early growth stages.

How to cut clones from a mother plant?

You want to cut the main stem of the clone just above one of the fan leaves and auxiliary shoots, about 2 or 3 nodes down at the most.

You want to leave a shoot and a fan leaf on the mother, so it can continue growing and allow it to form another node on the stem of the mother plant.

When you make the cut, be sure to cut it long enough so that there is one trimmed internode which can be planted under the growth medium.


Conclusion

There you are folks, absolutely everything you need to know about cloning a weed plant, from the very beginning until the end.

Yes, this is a fairly complicated and lengthy process, and you need to take great care to follow all steps and tips we have gone over here. Even the smallest mistake can quickly kill a clone, so be super careful and vigilant!

photo credit: Cannabis Training University [CC BY-SA]

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