If you are reading this article, the chances are high that you are just starting to embark on the very rewarding journey of becoming a cannabis cultivator, or that you’re very new to cultivation. Either way, learning how to clone cannabis is a great place to start.
Growing cannabis indoors or outdoors is one of the most worthwhile endeavors that someone can pursue. Whether you are cultivating cannabis for medical use, adult use, or just for the fun of it, trust that you are in for an amazing time because the cannabis plant is one of the most fun plants on Earth to cultivate.
Whereas many other plants take a very long time to show signs of new life, the cannabis plant, when cultivated properly, can grow very quickly and provide daily gratification. Plus, if you are cultivating cannabis for consumption, there is obviously a fantastic reward in the form of cannabis flower after the harvest is complete. However, before you get to the point of reaping that reward, you will first have to start at step one.
Starting from a cannabis seed is a good idea for those who have experience cultivating other plants from seed, and/or have time to get the seed to germinate and grow to the point when it can be transplanted. For those who want to speed up the process, using a cannabis clone is likely a better route. It’s also a much better route for ensuring that the plant is female.
What Is A Cannabis Clone?
For those who are new to cannabis cultivation, a cannabis “clone” is a genetically identical cutting from parent plants.
The process involves cutting a small branch from an already established cannabis plant, often referred to as a “mother plant,” getting it to establish its own root system, and thus become its own cannabis plant. It is important for beginner cannabis cultivators to know the process behind what goes into cloning a cannabis plant so that when they get a clone, they know what they are acquiring.
Also, it’s a great way to share cannabis genetics. If you find a cannabis cultivar you love and don’t want to see it go away post-harvest, cloning cannabis plants ensures your cultivar can stay around to be enjoyed again and again.
The Cloning Process
The first step in the cannabis cloning process is to locate a healthy parent plant. If you do not have one in your possession, you will need to find a kind friend who does. Be advised that you should only take clones from a mother plant that is in the vegetative or veg stage, not the flowering stage.
The next step is to find a branch on the cannabis plant that is suitable for cloning. Specifically, you will want to look for a branch that has new growth with at least a few sub-branches coming off of it.
You do not want to cut a branch that is too big and established because it will likely not become a rooted clone. Conversely, you do not want to cut a tiny branch because you want the eventual rooted clone to be strong enough to become a large, healthy plant. Look for a branch segment that is 8-10 inches long.
When you find a branch that is suitable, cut the branch off and make sure to not leave a ‘stub’ — make sure the cut is flush with the larger branch you’re removing it from, otherwise the original plant could experience branch rot.
From there, cut the base of the clone at a 45 degree angle. This will help increase the surface area of the inside of the clone’s base, which is important for the next process.
The next step, which should immediately follow the initial 45 degree angle cutting, is to dip the base of the clone in a rooting hormone. Rooting hormones can come in many forms including a cloning gel, a rooting powder, or a watery mixture. Read the directions on the label for best results, and cover as much of the exposed plant tissue with gel or powder as possible.
The rooting hormone will speed up the rooting process and result in the clone roots coming in faster and healthier.
From there, place the clone in a grow medium that you prefer and place it under low-intensity grow lights (that use CFL bulbs) until there’s a solid root base in 1-3 weeks. Rockwool cubes are a common medium, although there are others, including organic soil and “super soil.”
Humidity Is Very Important
It is very important that your new cannabis clones, sometimes referred to as “root cuttings,” stay in a proper environment that is humid and fairly warm.
A simple humidity dome can help a great deal to ensure that your clones grow in an environment that is conducive to the rooting process. Humidity domes are sold at most garden stores and in garden sections of major retailers. They typically come with a tray that the clones can be placed on, with little vents that can be opened and closed as needed.
Check the humidity dome daily to ensure there is enough moisture in the mini-ecosystem. If you don’t see some condensation on the walls of the dome, it’s probably time to give the inside of the dome a spray via a standard spray bottle with room temperature water.
If you have the financial resources to do so, consider purchasing a clone box. A clone box keeps the bottoms of the root cuttings moist at all times via an automatic sprayer that constantly administers root hormones. Clone boxes are not cheap, and certainly not required to create cannabis clones, however, they do take a lot of the labor and guesswork out of the process.
Once your clone has a healthy root base, it can be transplanted into a larger container and the plant can then be cultivated like any other cannabis plant!
Continuing Your Education
Cultivating cannabis is a never-ending educational journey. Even the most experienced cannabis cultivators will be quick to tell you that they are always learning and seeking out cultivation information.
A great way to learn more about the cannabis cultivation process from seed to harvest is with Green Flower’s Cannabis Cultivation Certificate Program. The program is led by true cultivation experts and involves insightful course materials. If you are looking to increase your cultivation knowledge or start a new career, this is a great way to do it!