Cannabis is a plant that is high demand. It’s always been prized and very valuable, but now it is more so than ever before. Varied strains have been ‘precision grown’ to target specific therapeutic needs in the industry of medical marijuana now that marijuana is allowed in several states and more are considering it.
Marijuana is specifically cultivated to have more of some terpenes and less of others, while some have a higher concentration of CBD and less of THC. Sativa strains are cultivated to impact the mind while Indica strains have more impact on the body, generally speaking.
There is so much more to it and some strains take years to grow and perfect. Samples are tested for the levels of each compound present. When a strain is perfected, it is highly prized and guarded.
For this reason, it is very important to growers to be able to do all that they can to ensure that the strain is kept alive through cloning. When you clone a plant, you have exact replicas that are identical to the original. This allows growers to keep a strain viable for years and years.
Cloning successfully involves having a hardy mother plant. Cloning is also the fastest and cheapest way to keep growing the strain. Growing from seeds takes much longer and is actually much more difficult that cloning. The mother of clones is often called the Bonsai Mother, as it is a small tree in a pot, the very definition of Bonsai. Let us look very closely at this process as it needs to be done meticulously.
Finding and Prepping the Perfect Mother
You will want to choose a mother plant that is hearty and which embodies the exact attributes that you’ve been breeding for. Growers that test their plants and know exactly the percentages of concentration of each cannabinoid and terpene can determine when they’ve got the perfect blend that they’ve been seeking.
The medical marijuana industry has not only opened the market for professional growers, it has also educated consumers to be very knowledgeable of the strains that they are seeking for their conditions.
Growers are working to meet the demands of the market and when they find the combination of compounds that accomplishes this, these plants can be worth more than gold to them over many years. Therefore it is essential to treat these plants like gold and to only choose the very heartiest to start with.
The plant which embodies all the characteristics that you are looking for is the one you’ll want to clone and each mother that you clone can give you hundreds of clones over her lifetime. Many growers have multiple mother bonsais and this is the most optimal way to continue running their business.
Once you have chosen the perfect mother plant(s), you are going to want to cycle her into a constant growing phase so that you can take cuttings. In order to prep her for this, take these steps.
The well-fed plant will produce as many as 30 cuttings every two weeks if kept under an HID light. If you are using fluorescent lights, the same amount will be produced in closer to twenty days. A four-foot by two-foot space could yield as many as nine-thousand cuttings per year or more. Now do you see why cuttings are the best way to grow and maintain your strain?
Your mother plants should be carefully pruned in the beginning. She will have been chosen as a hearty plant at a very young age. You will want to trim her to only 4 branches and ideally, you’ll trim her into a “Y” shape with two strong branches. Some refer to this as a ‘cup’ shape.
Top the two longest branches when they reach a size of five-inches by gently pinching them off at a leaf node. This will promote more branches forming under them. When these new branches reach a length of four to six-inches long, you can make these your cuttings. You should have about eight of them.
When you cut your clones, use a sterilized scalpel and make your cuts as clean as possible, at the base where the branch meets the main stem, but don’t cut your stem. Dip your cuttings in root starter and either place them in water or plant directly into organic potting soil in a a two-inch pot.
After you transplant your clones, it is time to move your mother plant up to a size larger pot. Continue to prune her the same way, carefully trimming the tops (topping) and this will promote branches to form underneath again. In approximately three weeks, you’ll have more cuttings. Ideally, some of your first cuttings will be showing you who is ready to also be a mother plant and start yielding cuttings for you as well.
Keeping Things Sterile
You will want to make sure that you’re using a clean and sterile blade to cut each plant and not share a blade between plants. If you ever have a fungus or disease get started, you will spread it to all your plants this way, which could be tragic. Clean your counters, use clean and sterile pots and use organic potting soil and you should be fine.
Take care not to touch anything between plants, and don’t use any tool on one plant and then use it on a different plant without sterilizing it in between plants. Enjoy your new plants!