What is cloning marijuana?
Put simply, marijuana cloning is the process of making an exact copy of your marijuana plant, meaning you can grow marijuana without having to plant a seed.
This guide on how to clone weed will cover everything you need to about cloning, the advantages and disadvantages, the equipment needed and an annotated step by step guide. You’ll never run out of bud again!
Why is it used and how does it work?
In short, the main reason people take to cloning marijuana is that it guarantees a female plant and many growers clone weed as it preserves and repeats the characteristics of their favourite plant. It’s also a great way to share genetics with other growers. In some medical marijuana dispensaries it is possible for the grower to purchase their desired genetics as there are marijuana clones for sale.
In the process of cloning marijuana, cuttings are taken from a “mother plant” in vegetative growth and are rooted to be grown as a separate plant. In order to survive, marijuana clones must develop a rooting system. Your marijuana clones do this by using energy from carbohydrates stored within the cutting. Taking your weed cuttings from the lower branches means they will root faster and be stronger as these contain higher amounts of sugars than those taken from the tip of the mother plant.
The advantages and disadvantages of cloning marijuana
- A female plant will produce 100% female marijuana clones.
- Marijuana clones will have exactly the same desirable characteristics of your favoured mother plant.
- Cloning marijuana is cheaper and faster than starting from seed.
- There is no limit on the number of marijuana clones you can take.
- You can clone from a clone. In fact, it’s good practise to replace the mother plant after a year.
- You open yourself up to a strain that is weak in potency and unresistant to pests and diseases.
- If mother plant hasn’t been through flowering, you can’t be sure what characteristics the plant is going to have.
- You cannot clone auto-flowering strains.
- It limits your selection on genetics and pheno types.
How do you know when a plant is ready to be cloned?
Knowing how to clone weed and when to do it is fundamental to cloning marijuana. You can clone at any stage in a plants life cycle but you really should clone your marijuana when your plant is in vegetative growth. You are best off waiting until the plant has started to show its sex in pre-flower, which usually takes at least 4 weeks.
Cloning marijuana from a plant that is already in flower is possible, however, it is not recommended as cuttings taken from a flowering plant can take a month or two to revert back to vegetative growth.
It is recommended that you take up to 50% more cuttings than you will need from the mother plant as some of your marijuana clones will not root and eventually die. It is important that you do NOT use any supplements or nutrients on new marijuana clones, as this is when they are at their most vulnerable and cannot handle them.
The plant you have chosen for marijuana cloning is called the mother plant. Choosing a strong mother plant is important as your marijuana clones will grow exactly the same.
- Your mother plant should be healthy as well as disease and pest free.
- Pick a mother plant you know is female.
- Wait until your mother plant is at least 4-5 weeks old.
- Avoid picking a mother that hasn’t shown sex in pre-flower and is already in flower (it can take weeks to revert back to vegetative growth and your marijuana clones will yield less.
- Prepare your mother by feeding her with a high phosphorous, low nitrogen fertilizer one week before taking your cuttings.
What rooting medium can be used?
There are numerous choices out there for your clone rooting medium. Choose a medium that drains very well and withstands leaking without becoming saturated.
Oasis root cubes
What rooting hormones are can be used?
Use a rooting hormone that contains Indolebutyric Acid (IBA). There are a number of different types of rooting hormone you can use that come in the following formats.
- Rooting gel – Practical and easy to use. Gels distribute hormones evenly along the stem.
- Rooting liquid – Are the most versatile and consistent for cloning marijuana, penetrating the stems evenly.
- Rooting powder – Powders tend to distribute unevenly and penetrate poorly. Recommended behind the others for marijuana cloning.
During marijuana cloning, it is recommended to keep clones under a weaker light source. CFLs are preferred as HID lamps can often be too strong. A warm light CFL with 2500k lumens 6 inches away from the plant is perfect. If you only have HID, make sure they are 4 – 6 feet away.
How to clone weed – Step by step guide
There are numerous ways of cloning marijuana, and in the name of simplicity, this marijuana cloning guide will give you a technique that is straightforward and has a high success rate.
You will need the following equipment; rubbing alcohol, razor blades or scissors, hormone, rooting cubes (whatever you have chosen), plastic cups, a 2500k CFL bulb, labels and a marker pen to label your clones. It’s no good cloning your plants if you don’t know what they are afterwards.
1. Before you start, you will need to make sure that everything you are using has been thoroughly cleaned, including any surface on which you are going to be placing your clones and/or utensils.
2. Choose your mother – Select a mother plant that displays the characteristics you want to reproduce, making sure you choose a healthy plant that is at least 4 -5 weeks old.
3. Select a strong and healthy branch that is 1/8 – ¼ of an inch across the on the mother. Just above the third node down, make a 45 degree cut across the stem with a sharp blade or scissors. Do not crush the stem in the process.
4. Trim off the lower two or three leaves making sure you cut them off at the node. Plants like it when there are one or two trimmed nodes below ground.
5. Trim the remaining leaves in half horizontally across the leaf to keep them from overlapping and lower water evaporation from the clone.
6. Place the cutting into a plastic cup filled to 1/5 with water. This will help prevent any embolisms from occurring. Each cup will hold around 5 to 10 clones.
7. Soak the medium you are using with water and make a hole big enough for the cutting. Put the rooting hormone you have chosen in a separate container (this avoids contamination). Dip each cutting in the hormone solution up to the first node, making sure the solution has covered the stem evenly (follow the maker’s instructions). Gently push the cutting into the medium.
8. Lightly water the medium evenly. It is important that you keep the moisture levels up, as the clone has no roots to supply water to the leaves. However, you can have too much. A little tip for telling is by squeezing the medium. If it drips or it is soggy, it means it has too much water. Remove any excess water.
9. Label each cutting with the type of plant and the date you’ve taken the clone.
10. Put the clone under a fluorescent light bulb for 18 – 24 hours. Make sure the marijuana clones are around 4 – 6 inches away from the bulb.
11. A more vigorous root system develops in your clone when the growing medium is a little bit warmer than the room temperature, between 3 to 5 degrees hotter than the ambient room temperature. The best results come between 75-80°F. You can heat the medium using either a heat pad or an incandescent light bulb placed below the cuttings.
12. Although some of them may wilt, your marijuana clones should return to normal by the end of the week. If they have not, remove them from your grow.
13. New rooting systems will take 2-3 weeks to appear. Check the root development by lifting the grow medium and checking that the roots have developed. Once they have started to develop, you can move the lights closer (half the distance the lights were set at to begin with).
14. The final step is to transplant the clones, but only once they have developed fully functioning roots, making sure they have not become too big for their containers.
The detailed step-by-step guide on how to clone weed should have cloning marijuana plants in no time, allowing you to re-grow your favorite strains with ease and precision. You’ll never be out of bud again.