What is cannabis cloning and why is it necessary? First, cannabis cloning is the easiest way to create many new marijuana plants for free and fast, and is used by seed producers for breeding purposes.
A cannabis clone is essentially an offshoot of a mother plant that is obtained by trimming the stem and rooting. The resulting plant is genetically identical to the mother plant. In order to obtain a root from the stem, certain comfortable conditions must be created for the future independent plant.
Cloning marijuana has advantages and disadvantages compared to using seeds for propagation. There are fervent discussions on the Internet about which method is better, cloning or growing from seed. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of growing cannabis by cloning.
Advantages of propagation by cloning
Since a cloned plant contains the same genes as the mother plant, all of its properties and traits will be known in advance. This advantage is especially valuable for the selection work that seed producers do when breeding new varieties;
Several clones can be produced from a single plant, which can be very helpful in terms of minimizing the cost of obtaining new bushes;
Marijuana clones can be created at any point in the life cycle of the mother plant;
After a clone has taken root, it can be transplanted immediately, transferring it to a photoperiod. This eliminates the seed germination stage, which greatly reduces the time it takes to get a new plant.
Disadvantages of cloning
Of course, this method of plant propagation has also a number of its negative aspects, about which you also need to know in advance.
Immediately after transplanting a clone plant, it will grow a little slower compared to the mother plant;
A clone plant’s resistance to stress factors can also be lower than that of the original plant. So the grower will need to watch factors such as light, humidity, temperature, fertilizer amounts and the pH balance of the irrigation water more closely;
The stress experienced by clones when separated from the mother plant is also reflected in a much lower resistance to attack by insect pests. So you have to protect your marijuana clones more carefully using a special protective compound;
You can never produce an autoflowering plant clone with Ruderalis in the genotype. It is very difficult to create clones from mother bushes of certain varieties with dominant sativa genes and early flowering.
What you need to prepare before starting the cloning process
First of all, the plant that will serve as the mother plant must be prepared for the procedure. In the last seven days before cloning, you should eliminate fertilizer from the “diet” of the plant. It will also be good if during this time, once every two days, you will spray its leaves with water;
One or more foam cubes (according to the number of clones that will need to be created) that are used to germinate the plants;
A sharp blade or knife that needs to be disinfected;
A special cloning gel that will quickly “seal” the cuttings at the point of cuttings and act as a powerful stimulant for root development
Containers in which to perform the initial planting;
Lamps for lighting. Sunlight, which stimulates photosynthesis, is ideal, but if you want to clone indoors, ESL bulbs will work well. More powerful cannabis lighting can damage the clones, so if you decide to use them, you should place them farther away.
Instructions for cloning cannabis – step by step
We take a foam cube and place it in water to prepare a place for the cuttings in advance;
Using a disinfected blade or sharp knife, cut the lower branches from the mother plant at an angle of 45 °. The length of the shoot should be approximately 10-20 cm. It is recommended to take the lower shoots because they are stronger than the upper ones, and thus can better withstand the upcoming trials;
Immediately after cutting, place the stem in cloning gel or water. The sooner this is done, the better, as it is advisable not to allow air to penetrate the tissues of the plant. Lower small leaves, if any, should be cut off with scissors – this will give the plant an opportunity to direct all its energy exactly to the formation of the roots;
Treat the stem of the cuttings with cloning gel;
We put the sprig in a cube soaked in water to germinate it;
Put the newborn plant directly in the cube into a pot of suitable size. The cube should not be allowed to dry out, so you need to keep a close eye on this factor, ensuring a sufficient level of moisture.
After you have done all these steps, you will need to take care to create good conditions for the plant that will stimulate its growth and development.
How to create ideal conditions for a clone?
The first thing worth mentioning is watering the clone plant. Since the clone has no root yet, it cannot get nutrition this way. So as long as the root is not formed (this occurs after about 6-10 days), you need to spray the baby leaves with a sprayer filled with water at a temperature of about 20-22 ° C;
The second important point is the light regime using lamps of soft light with a blue spectrum, which will stimulate the strengthening of the bush and its active growth. Lighting mode in the ratio of periods of light and darkness should be chosen 18/6;
And, finally, the third important factor is the temperature of the air in the room. Newborn plants are very fond of heat, so it is very important that the temperature does not drop below 22 ° C. Ideally, if the air is heated to a range of 22-26 ° C.
Here are a few tips that will come in handy for those who are going to perform marijuana cloning for the first time:
Pay attention to the age of the mother plant – it should not be less than two months old;
Be sure to put the mother bush on a “water diet” seven days in advance;
Choose only the lower stems for pruning – they are stronger and stronger, which means the likelihood of successful cloning increases;
Be sure to use a special compound to treat the stem and cut of the cuttings (this can be gel or powder);
Help the clone to quickly put down the root by creating conditions close to the humid tropics (spraying water on the leaves, high air temperature – 25-26 ° C);
Cloned plants will feel better and strengthen faster if their leaves are sprayed with solutions containing potassium, phosphorus, vitamin B1;
Create several clones at once – this will help to increase the chances of success, for the same approximate amount of labor.
The fate of the mother plant
The plant from which you cut the branches to produce cannabis clones can be kept in a vegetative state for up to two years! So you have to keep the photoperiod at 18/6, without switching to 12/12, which means you can let the plant flower. Water regularly, and make sure you keep it at the right moisture level. To avoid the plant getting too tall you should also cut back the top shoots occasionally, and these can also be made into clones. In this way you can make a mother plant a donor of sorts, a constant source of material for cloning! From each resulting clone, when the plant is mature, you can also produce clones, creating many bushes with similar genetics.