How to Clone Cannabis, What is the Best Way to Clone a Cannabis Plant?
The preservation of the exact genetic traits of parent strains is very important when it comes to cannabis plants. This is not only because of hybridization to produce new cannabis strains but also for the purpose of cloning such cannabis plants.
Many have believed that cloning is a complex technique that takes a high level of know-how to pull off. Well, we are glad to tell you that this is not the whole truth. With the right knowledge and equipment, you can get started on cloning your cannabis strains without hassles. Thankfully, we are here to provide you with all the information you need. Read on as we explain the best ways to clone your cannabis plants.
What are cannabis clones?
A clone is a cutting, such as a branch, that is cut off of a living marijuana plant, which will then grow into a plant itself. A clone has the same genetic makeup as the plant it was taken from, which is called the mother plant.
A typical clone is about 6 inches in length, give or take, and after cutting it off the mother plant, the clone is put into a medium such as a root cube and given a hormone to encourage root growth.
After roots develop, it is then transplanted into a pot or the ground, and it will grow like any weed plant.
A seed is different from a clone because it contains the genetics of both the father and mother species. This means that the plants that emerge from these seeds can have varying phenotypes and have varying differences. This is similar to the way siblings can come from the same parents but look completely different and act differently as well. Cloning however retains the taste, smell, yield, and every other important characteristic of the mother cannabis plant. This is why many growers are keener on cannabis clones compared to seeds.
How to take a cannabis clone
Clean your tools
The first thing to ensure before taking a cannabis clone is that all needed equipment is available. These include razor or scalpel, starter cubes, cloning gel or powder, mild lightning, and alcohol to disinfect the tools. It is important to ensure that all the tools to be used in the cloning exercise are properly cleaned. This is because the presence of bacteria puts both the mother plant and clone at risk of developing infections. Therefore, tools that can be cleaned should be cleaned and those that need sterilization should be sterilized as well.
Why clone cannabis plants?
If you don’t want to mess with seeds, clones can be a great option for starting a marijuana plant. Growing weed from a clone will save you time—even though they need time to root out, you don’t have to germinate seeds, which will shave off a month or so of the growing process.
Clones will also save space in your garden—with seeds, you have to grow many and sex them out to identify and get rid of the males. Also, usually some seeds don’t germinate. You’ll need extra space for all those seeds, and they might not even turn into full plants.
If you take a clone from a plant you already have, they’re free! You just need to invest in some supplies. Although, you can buy clones from a dispensary if you want.
One of the best things about clones is they are exact genetic replicas of the mother plant from which they were taken. If you have a particular marijuana plant you like, whether for its appearance, smell, effects, or something else, you can take clones of it and grow it again, ad infinitum.
There is some speculation that clones can degrade over time based on environment stressors and other factors, but that is open to debate.
How to choose the right mother plant
Different cannabis strains possess different special characteristics but there is a science to choosing the best plant to clone from. If you are to choose an ideal mother plant, its growing pattern must be factored in, its smell, yield, as well as flavor. Other important traits include resistance to molds and pests, high potency and resin production, and height and robust growth.
Some growers are fond of the act of taking clones from different mother plants and keeping the healthiest clones when they grow. While this is not a wrong practice, it is still possible to take cones from only plants that possess the desired characteristics. The only issue that might be tough to surmount is how to determine and ascertain the potency of these strains early on.
What to look for in a mother plant
As genetics are identical between a mother and a clone, it’s important to choose a good plant as a mother. A wilty plant, or one that doesn’t produce good buds, won’t make a good mother.
Growers usually look for these qualities in a mother plant:
- Sturdy, vibrant growth
- Great aromas and flavors
- Big yields
- Dense trichomes
- Resistent to pests and mold
Alternative Methods to Cloning Cannabis
Seed propagation and tissue culture are the two other methods of marijuana propagation being used today.
In seed propagation, also called seed production, male and female plants are bred to produce seeds with the purpose of growing cannabis starter plants. Different from cloning, seed propagation is a type of sexual reproduction between male and female plants.
Tissue culture is a lesser-known method of cannabis propagation that has a similar goal of cutting propagation. Tissue cultures are taken from a small plant cutting and placed in a dense nutrient culture, which is often a type of agar. Using the tissue culture method, small pieces of plant tissue from your cannabis cuttings can eventually create hundreds of clones.
Seed Propagation vs. Cutting Propagation
Remember how cannabis cloning is a useful way to preserve cannabis genetics? Well, seed propagation is just about the opposite.
The purpose of seed breeding is to create new plant varieties by mixing the DNA of two different plant cultivars. These seeds can then be used in the seed propagation to grow more plants.
Sourcing the best seeds for your farm is considered by some growers to be the single most important factor in improving desirable plant traits such as yield, biochemical profiles, and terpene development. Another upside to working with seeds is that you don’t have to maintain stock plants for your cuttings or tissue. The downside to seed propagation is that the plants are not 100% identical to their parent plants, as they would be in cutting propagation or tissue culture.
For this reason, cloning is most often used as a secondary reproductive process to create starter plants once a plant breeder has developed a favorable cultivar where genetically identical traits are desired.
Tissue Culture vs. Cutting Propagation
Tissue culture is the latest scientific method becoming popularized in the cannabis industry today. This highly controlled method of propagation lets cultivators preserve living clones with minimal space.