One big plus of taking cuttings from a mother plant is that you’ll never have to worry about having male plants. They will also be clones, having the exact same strain traits, taste, smell, and potency. Additionally, it’s faster to grow clippings from a plant than it is to raise new plants from seeds. You can choose good, sturdy clippings and have very good plants in a few weeks.
There are some disadvantages as well. You’ll have to have a room sealed off with different grow lights and set to different cycles than your main plants for a while until they take root and this may require additional space and growing lights and equipment. You’ll need to decide if this is the investment that you want to make.
You also need to be extremely careful that you aren’t cloning a sick plant. You want to make sure there is no fungus or parasites that could be passed to other plants and cause death to your entire plant population. Only harvest cuttings from your best, healthiest plants.
Choosing the Best Mother Plant
The best way to have a good cannabis mother for cloning is to be very selective. Only take a few cuttings from the best plants and use mothers that were grown from seed. That way you know exactly what you have and are working with.
As soon as you pot the cuttings and they’ve taken root, force them into flowering by putting them on a light cycle of 12 hours. This is why you need a separate room for them where you can control the light at all times of the day.
Once your newly potted cuttings begin growing and show their sex, choose the best of the group. You may discard the rest. Nitrogen that builds in the soil can inhibit cloning so you should flush the mother with fresh water before taking the cuttings. Checking your pH levels in your water is very important. You want a pH of 6.3 in soil or 5.8 if growing in rockwool. Flush your plant in water for up to one week before taking cuttings to have the best new starts.
What You Will Need
You’ll want a good planting medium. Rockwool is very commonly used. You’ll want a sharp scalpel or knife for taking your cuttings. You should have a sterilizing agent, and you will really want a controlled propagator. A heated propagator helps to create the perfect environmental conditions to simulate spring days. By using the vented roof to your advantage, you can also control the exact humidity.
Presoak your rockwool for as long as 24 hours before you are ready to use it. Keep in in the propagator while you are cutting your clones so that it is warm and perfectly temped before transplanting them. Take great care to make sure your mother plant is well hydrated before taking clippings. Water her a few hours before hand. This will ensure that your clippings are also well-hydrated.
Sterilize your scalpel before using it and have your propagator warmed up and ready to go. Clear and sterilize your workspace so that everything is very disinfected and clean. You do not want to risk contamination of your cuttings.
You cannot be too careful or too precise with your routine when it comes to maintaining a clean environment to take your cuttings in. Remember that you are also exposing your mother plant to anything on a scalpel and you could ruin her as well.
Use the scalpel to take a cutting that is at least four inches long. Cut it as close to the main stem as you can without cutting the stem. Remove the bottom two leaves. You want plenty of the new cutting to place in soil and relatively few leaves to start because they take a lot of energy to photosynthesize. One or two leaves is great for your new cutting to start off with.
Cut your stem at a 45 degree angle and you may want to use a block of wood or cutting board so you can make this cut clean and precise. You do not want to crush the stem, you want a very clean edged cut.
Place your cutting in clean water immediately so that you don’t get air in the stem. When you are ready to pot it, dip it into some rooting hormone to help it grow roots as quickly as possible. Plant it into a small container, 2 inches in size is good. Gently pack the soil around the stem as you cover it, but not too hard.
Check your clones in the propagator very closely for the first few days. This is the critical time. Never let them dry out. Mist them and keep them moist at all times. This is critical. After 5 days to 2 weeks you can start letting humidity out of the propagator and bring the plants out for a few hours at a time to harden them off before introducing them to their new environment.
As you can see, there are a lot of steps and you should take care to be prepared before you ever make the first cut. This is in investment in the future of your strain and these cuttings will as long as 15 years with the right care. You can’t be too meticulous in the way you take care of your clippings and your mother plants.