Whether you are a first-time grower or someone who has finally gotten into the swing of things and found their perfect strain, cloning is a great option. After putting so much hard work into nurturing some amazing weed, you don’t want to just let it die. To save you tons of time searching for answers, we have written a whole series on successfully cloning your plants. This ultimate guide puts all that information together and shows you where to find more if you need it.
1. Clones vs seeds. Why clones can be the better option
Every seed is a little different. Even taken from the same plant, they might express different traits. If you have smoked some great weed, then gone back for some more only to find a completely different experience, you know the frustration. All commercial grows for medical purposes strive for consistency, and so they choose clones.
Why? Because the cuttings contain the exact DNA of the mother plant and grow to produce the exact same bud.
Another reason to choose clones over seeds is speed. If you want more harvests in less time, whether for recreation, medicine or profit, using clones cuts up to a month off of each crop. Why waste time on seeds that may or may not even sprout? Successfully cloning gives you a dozen reliable plants from a singlemother in minutes.
For a more in-depth discussion on the pros and cons of clones, check out the article here.
2. Get the best possible clones
If you decide to stock your garden with clones from another source, you need to be picky. You wouldn’t let a stranger into your grow room, not knowing what they might do. The same goes for clones. The best place to get them is from a dispensary. There, you can try herb grown from the same plant the clone comes from and know exactly what your plant will produce.
A little homework goes a long way to getting good clones. If the place doesn’t have their plants clearly labeled, you could have a mix-up. Go in knowing what your grow environment can handle, and what you are looking for. How big does the strain grow? What nutrients work best for this strain? Is it disease and mold resistant, or fragile?
You also want to know what to look for in a healthy clone. The two big signs of a promising clone are developing root systems and leaf structure. If the roots are weak or broken, the plant may not make it. If the leaf structure doesn’t have growth nodes, it won’t grow into a vibrant plant.
For more information on growth structure and a list of questions to take with you to buy clones, click here.
3. How to make clones at home
When you finally have that perfect strain, you want to smoke it forever. Eventually, you will want to restock your garden yourself, saving both time and money. Cloning can be an easy process if you follow the steps.
Gather your supplies: sharp scissors or a razor, sterilizing solution, starter cubes for your cuttings, cloning gel or powder, CFL’s for the early stage, and an incubator system. You can buy one or build one yourself from simple parts.
Start off with a healthy mother plant, that hasn’t begun flowering. After sterilizing your tools to prevent infection of your plants, find the perfect cutting. Look for new growth tips, with strong leaves, and new branching. The lower you cut on the mother, the more rooting hormones will be in the cutting, giving it a better start. Cut at a 45° angle, and take a 5-10 inch cutting. Quickly place the cutting in a glass of water, so air doesn’t enter the cut!
Next, you trim the clone up, removing lower leaves and giving the clone ideal growth structure. Then, quickly dip into your rooting solution, and pop it into the starter cube. Now, put it in its early stage environment, and keep warm and moist.
For more detail on these steps and the early environment for clones, click here.
4. Caring for clones
Clones have a few differences in growth once they are established compared to seedlings. Knowing what they are and managing them makes a world of difference.
Clones are already mature plants, having the same life stage as the plant they came from. Though they are small, they can begin to flower almost immediately. To avoid this, outdoor growers should wait until days are longer before moving them outside.
For indoor growth, they can’t handle full strength lights at first, similar to seedlings. Increase the distance from strong lights to about 30 inches, or use CFL’s for the first few weeks. Always start on an 18-hour light cycle, but you can move to 24-hours after 3 weeks if you want. Clones absorb moisture primarily from the leaves until the roots are robust. Foliar misting and feeding is highly recommended.
As they develop, you can switch them to full nutrient levels after 3 weeks of robust root growth. Keep labels on each clone. If the plant you took them from flowers and turns out to be male, you will want to toss those clones early. Training your clones takes some special adjustments. They grow unevenly, so you have to balance stem dominance to produce great mainlining results.
For more in-depth information on training and caring for your clones, click here.
Successfully cloning is a great way to preserve genetics
Seeds can be a gamble on the genetic lottery, but successfully cloning gives dependable results every time. Growing the exact same plant, again and again, lets you become an expert with it. You also get the exact same medicine crop after crop, which is vital for medical patients.
Be sure to check out the entire Cloning 101 series for details of every aspect of the process, and to answer any questions you may have. Faster crop rotation, smoother growing cycles, and reliable herb can be yours year after year using cloning.