For cultivators seeking consistency and/or mass production of the same strain, cloning cannabis is a popular method that is both low cost and simple to execute. If you’re a homegrower with an affinity for one particular strain, knowing how to clone a marijuana plant will be a major asset for you.
Cloning weed is convenient, time-saving, and pretty difficult to mess up; you just have to make sure you have all the right tools on hand and a good amount of knowledge on the process. For helpful guidance and expertise in the canna clone arena, you’ve come to the right place.
What is a canna clone?
Marijuana cloning is a lot less scientifically complex than it sounds.
Instead of growing from seed—which most growers are already very familiar with—the cloning process involves taking a sizable cutting from a healthy plant and waiting for it to establish its own root system. A sexless propagation, successful cloning is quick and easy to accomplish, but there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.
The mother plant
Clones always come from a female plant, which is deemed the “mother plant” in this scenario. Your clone will inherit the same genetics as its mother, so when selecting a plant for cloning, make sure it’s one that you really love and respect.
Choosing the right strain
Ideally, you want your parent plant to be strong, healthy, and potent—after all, no one wants an entire grow room full of the same weak plant. Pay attention to the strains you’ve experienced over time and opt for those with a strong terpene profile, a wide range of cannabinoids, and sturdy stems, leaves, and roots.
Cloning cannabis benefits and drawbacks
Before you learn how to clone cannabis, make sure to familiarize yourself with the top benefits and drawbacks of the clone grow room. Knowing the potential wins and risks you can reap from cloning marijuana plants will help you figure out whether or not this cultivation cheat sheet makes sense for you and your resources.
Benefits of cloning marijuana
Drawbacks of cloning marijuana
Genetic stability, since the genetics will be identical to the mother plants.
Cloning can result in increased vulnerability to environmental stressors, particularly if you selected a plant that is genetically weak.
Consistent plant quality, which is why it’s so important to select a plant that is healthy and strong.
While individual clones tend to be larger than seeded plants, they also might result in lower overall yield.
Since you won’t have to go through the germination and seedling stages to clone cannabis plants, the growth cycle duration will be notably shorter.
Cloning leaves your plants vulnerable to inheriting bad traits, which is why it is so crucial that you select healthy mother plants.
Cloning is lower-cost and lower-maintenance than buying and planting seeds.
Cloned plants mean a complete lack of genetic variety, which can be a drawback if you’re looking for wide grow room diversity.
How to clone cannabis
As soon as you’ve familiarized yourself with the potential pros and cons of canna cloning, you’re ready to learn how to clone at home.
If it’s your first time, be sure to follow the below steps—paying close attention along the way so you can keep what works, ditch what doesn’t, and develop a bespoke method that works for your unique space.
Prepare your cannabis cloning supplies
The first step to any grow room undertaking? Making sure you have the right supplies for the job at hand.
In the case of cloning, that looks like the following:
Nothing too fancy here—just a sharp, clean, reliable pair to shear your cutting from its mama. You’ll also use these to prune or trim off any excess leaves that are getting in the way.
It’s good to also have a razor on hand for cleaning things up: a.k.a., ensuring your cuttings are finely trimmed and easy to handle.
Rooting medium or cloner
Cloners help you plant your clones into their rooting medium, the first and most essential step that launches them into the vegetative stage.
A rooting hormone helps your plants develop strong roots at a speedy and steady pace. Rooting hormones can either be powder-, liquid-, or gel-based, and are typically quite affordable.
Your preferred growing medium will depend on the type of mother plant you’re cloning, but popular options include rockwool, coco coir, and jiffy pellets.
Water and nutrient solution
The healthier your mother plant is, the less water and nutrients you’ll need to feed your clones, if any at all—but it’s still helpful to keep some on hand just in case.
Clones thrive in higher humidity, unlike their seedling siblings. If you have the budget and prefer being safe today instead of sorry tomorrow, we recommend investing in a humidity dome to keep a consistent level of moisture as your baby clones begin to grow.
Take a cutting
Once your tools are gathered and at the ready, it’s time to begin step one: taking that initial cutting from your mother plant. Remember to pick a mom that is strong, healthy, and has a tendency to produce higher yields. This will help you ensure that your clones are up to your standards as a homegrower.
As soon as you’ve made your careful selection, it’s time to cut. You’ll do so once your mother plant of choice is in her vegetative stage—typically any time between 3-16 weeks old, but most ideally within the fifth week of growth.
Go for straight branches that have at least three nodes, as these will be easier to grow and less likely to block light throughout the cycle. Use your scissors to cut at a 45-degree angle from the bottom of the plant, and try to keep your cuttings around 6-10 inches long.
Immediately immerse your cuttings in water
Got your cuttings? Immerse them in water, and do it quickly.
Water helps them stay hydrated, and also keeps air bubbles out of the stems. Make sure you’re using fresh, clean water to keep fungus and other diseases at bay.
Root your cuttings
Now it’s time for the fun part: rooting your plants, just as you eventually would when you grow cannabis the organic way.
After your plants have hydrated for a while, dip the stems into the rooting hormone before settling them into the soil or other rooting medium. Make sure you don’t get any of the hormones on the foliage, or your leaves might get damaged.
When you’re ready to plant, dig a small hole in the rooting medium and insert the cutting, making sure it’s deep enough for the branch to stand upright. If you’re planning on transporting them down the line, we recommend planting your cuttings in growing trays instead of individual pots.
Place the plants in the humidity dome
If you’re using a humidity dome, now’s the time to bust it out. Enclose your plants in the dome for about 48 hours, lightly misting them beforehand to ensure they don’t dry out.
Introduce light into the mix
After those 48 humid hours, you’re ready to keep your plants under low-intensity lighting for about 18 hours per day. Be careful here, because too much light can force your plants to grow a little too quickly between nodes. To avoid this, opt for T8 or T12 bulbs, keeping them around 30 inches away from the clones.
How to Transplant your clone
As soon as you’ve completed the above, it’s time to transplant. Fill your pots with a soilless potting medium, watering them so the medium is thoroughly moist.
From there, you’ll dig a hole in each pot about the size of the clone’s rooting cube, carefully squeeze the clones out of the growing tray, and place them in. Fill in any gaps with your growing medium and water the clones to prevent air bubbles from forming.
Congratulations—you’re at the finish line. Now, it’s up to your clones to keep thriving. Just make sure to feed and water your plants thoroughly, keeping a close eye to ensure they are neither too wet nor too dry.