12 Secrets for Successful Marijuana Cloning
You have two options if you want to grow marijuana: start from seeds, or grow from clones. Here is our marijuana cloning guide with 12 secret tips!
There are many advantages to growing from clones. You are going to grow only female plants, so you don’t have to worry about killing males or getting seeds in your bud. You know what to expect in terms of growth, flowering time, yield and bud quality.
These days, if you live in Colorado or Washington you can buy clones. But doing it yourself at home is easy and often more reliable than purchasing clones. Some strains are difficult to clone, but with a little knowledge and practice even these can be cloned successfully. Here are 12 secrets for successful marijuana cloning.
1. Use a Healthy Mother Plant
This may seem obvious, but many people take clones from plants that are not strong. This is like breeding an un-rideable horse and expecting the foal to be the next Secretariat. It makes no sense.
Your mother plant must be the most vigorous plant in your grow room. She burst out of her seed and shot up ahead of all the other seedlings. She grew fat and bushy quickly. She is resistant to pests. Remember, you clones will share all of her genetic features, good and bad.
For more information on choosing and managing a mother plant, read this article on cloning.
2. Choose the Right Branches to Cut
Once you have identified the best mother plant, it is time to pick the right sites for cutting. Here are qualities each stem you cut should have:
- They appear healthy. Green, flexible, vigorous. You can tell.
- The leaf veins are translucent.
- The branch has at least six nodes.
- The diameter of the stem is equal to or greater than the holes in your rockwool cloning cubes (if you choose to use them).
3. Use a Sharp Blade to Take Cuttings
Dull shears will crush the bottom of the cutting, which makes it hard for roots to grow. Use sharp scissors, or better yet, a razor blade to ensure a clean cut.
4. Cut at an Angle
You are trying to achieve the greatest surface area possible at the base of the cutting. This allows it to absorb more water and increases the odds of successful rooting.
5. Wrap the End of the Cutting in Tape
Placing a little tape around the base of each cutting keeps that portion in the dark. This is called etiolation. It mimics the conditions of soil, and will encourage the cutting to take root.
6. Make a Second Cut Under Running Water
This is a useful trick if you have a strain that is especially hard to clone. If the cut stem is exposed to the air, it can stop the capillary action which pulls water into the plant. Make the second cut under running water, and place the cutting directly into a rooting solution without exposing it to the air.
7. Make Sure Everything is Sterile
Clones are especially prone to disease and mold. You can minimize the risk by using only sterile equipment. This includes scissors, razors, humidity domes, trays, cups, media… everything.
8. Use Gentle Lights
Clones can burn really easily. It is best not to use HID lights as they are too hot and intense for delicate cuttings. Fluorescents (CFL grow lights) are really ideal for cloning. Another good option is to place them near a window and let them absorb indirect sunlight. Be careful in full sun if you are using a humidity dome as they will heat up very quickly.
9. Use a Humidity Dome
This can be as simple as placing a plastic soda bottle over each pot. Clones like humidity levels of 75-90%. The dome keeps the medium from drying out and limits the amount of transpiration, or “breathing” that the plant can do. The more it transpires the harder it works and the more stressed it can become.
10. Trim the Leaves
Another way to limit transpiration is to cut off half of each leaflet on the cutting. This decreases the amount of surface are available for transpiration. This technique also reduces the risk of fungal infection by preventing the leaves from coming into contact with the sides of the dome.
11. Manage the Temperature Carefully
Clones do best when temperatures are consistently between 74-77°F. Many growers find that leaving fluorescent lights on over their clones for 24 hours a day is enough to regulate the temperature.
It is essential to manage the temperature of the root zone as well. If it drops below 69°F the cutting won’t root, and if it rises over 79°F it will suffer heat stress.
If your cuttings are cold try placing a heating mat on low underneath the pots. You can also use an aquarium heater to boost water temperatures if you are growing in an hydroponics set-up.
12. Use an Aero or Bubble Cloner
These set-ups work by applying a fine, constant mist to the base of the stem where rooting will occur. If you have a strain that won’t clone successfully with any other techniques, give an aero cloner a try. Properly set-up, they have a success rate of nearly 100%.
What’s Your Cloning Success Rate?
If you use these tips and a basic cloning protocol, your success rate should be nearly 100%. If half of your clones don’t make it, you are doing something wrong!
Remember, clones are delicate. They need a carefully controlled environment to take root successfully. Start with a healthy plant, handle the cuttings carefully and monitor the environmental conditions. Your clones should be fully rooted and ready for transplant in one to two weeks.