Weed can be grown or propagated from seeds or plant cuttings.
The method a weed gardener ultimately settles for depends on their preferences and what characteristics they’re looking to have in a mature plant and their eventual harvest.
Guide to Cloning Weed
In this piece, we’ll dive into the specifics of cloning weed.
Related Article: The Basics of Growing Marijuana
What is weed cloning?
Rest assured that cloning weed is a simple process that’s neither evil nor dangerous. Cloning weed simply means selecting a healthy parent plant that the farmer feels has the traits that they’d want in their crop.
They cut a small portion of the parent plant and propagate it. That means, after cutting a sapling, it’s planted in a pot or tray in order to develop roots. The propagated sapling will have the same traits and qualities as the parent plant, hence the term cloning.
Common weed traits that gardeners look for in a parent plant can be any of the following:
- High productivity
- Bright colors
- Foliage that is healthy
Benefits of cloning weed
Gardeners who opt to clone weed are often looking to preserve certain plant traits such as the ones mentioned above. An additional feature that a gardener might want to preserve in a weed plant is potency - cloning can help achieve that efficiently.
A weed grower who wants a faster turnaround on weed harvesting will lean towards weed cloning. That’s because they mature faster than planting seeds.
Weed seed propagation takes longer to grow to maturity and the harvest is often staggered so ultimately all the plants are not ready for harvest at the same time. That can be a pro as well as a con for a weed gardener.
If a gardener is looking to have a consistent harvest that’s all done at the same time, then weed cloning will provide that result as all the saplings planted at the same time will come to maturity at the same time.
Perhaps the biggest benefit is that seeds tend to generate inconsistencies in the quality of the harvest, the strength of the plant, time of maturity, as well as potency.
However, weed cloning allows the gardener to have control over preferred traits in their crop and therefore an ability to generate more consistent results in the quality of their end product.
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Drawbacks of cloning weed
Cannabis seeds, if properly stored, can last for decades. The same cannot be said for saplings as they can only be harvested from an existing parent plant.
Also, only photo-period flowering cannabis is able to be cloned. Unfortunately, auto-flowering cannabis, also known as cannabis ruderalis, cannot be cloned, and must be grown from seed. This is because autoflowering cannabis is genetically programmed to flower after a certain amount of time, instead of when it sees the light cycle change like photoperiod flowering cannabis (indica and sativa) relies on. When you try to clone autoflowering plants, the genetic timer doesn't reset, so the clone goes straight into flowering far too early, and isn't viable.
How to clone weed by cutting propagation
Cloning weed is not as hard as it sounds. As a matter of fact, it’s a fairly easy process that most weed growers will master with ease.
Choose a weed plant that has the characteristics that you desire. The plant that you choose is referred to as the parent plant.
Now, cut a healthy sapling from the parent plant. The one at the extreme end of a branch yields the best results. Ensure they have tightly spaced nodes as this an indicator that they’re actively growing. Cut below the densely spaced nodes.
Place the cutting into the soil. Dipping the cutting in a rooting hormone is also recommended as it helps with the development of roots.
The rooting hormone comes in the form of a solution, gel, or powder and for optimal results dip the cutting’s planting side for three seconds into the rooting hormone before planting.
Ensure the cutting is an inch deep in the ground while surrounding the planted part loosely with soil.
This should be done in a pot or a tray. In the event that one’s propagating more than one cutting in the same pot or tray, make sure that the spacing between the saplings is three to four inches.
Cover the tray or pot with a polyethylene cover so that the environment the cuttings are growing under resembles a greenhouse. This step ensures consistency in humidity levels for the cutting.
Making sure their growing environment has consistent moisture at this stage is crucial. The optimal temperature for the rooting stage is 70 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Within three to five weeks one can expect the root of the cuttings to have developed to a length of two to four inches.
At this point, the cutting(s) can be transplanted into individual pots where they’ll grow to maturity
Related Article: The Ultimate Guide on How to Harvest Weed
Cloning weed is not rocket science, but it does, however, need meticulous care when choosing parent plants and making the cuttings.
Dipping saplings into the rooting hormone is vital as it increases the pace at which the cutting will develop roots.
For faster harvest turnarounds and consistent quality, cloning weed is a great way to plant weed for cannabis gardeners, provided they're growing photoperiod flowering cannabis (indica or sativa) and not autoflowering cannabis (cannabis ruderalis).
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Frequently Asked Questions about cloning weed
Do clones yield more than seeds?
No, A plant grown from seed will yield more than a cloned offspring
How often should you water your clones?
2-3 days is best for a young plant. If it's taking too long to dry out, you may need to offer less water, until the plant is growing faster.
Can you turn a clone into a mother plant?
If you ever find a particularly great plant, you can take clones of it and turn them into mother plants