It’s not science fiction! Cannabis clones are very real — and very easy to grow yourself. Read on to learn more about what cannabis clones are, why you should consider buying them, and how to keep them sprouting at home, even if you don’t have a green thumb.
Cannabis Clones from Outer Space?
Well, not quite. A cannabis clone is a cutting, about 6 inches in length, that’s taken from an established, healthy marijuana plant called the mother. The cutting is given the chance to develop a root system before it’s replanted into its own pot, where it then grows into a totally new (but genetically exactly the same) marijuana plant.
Cannabis cloning is a great way to get into growing marijuana at home. Unlike with seeds, you won’t grow a bunch of plants that you’ll then need to sex and cull (because you can’t do much with male marijuana plants). You’ll also save time because, while seeds have to germinate, clones can be planted as soon as they develop roots — shortening the growing process by about a month.
Plus, seeds can be finicky, and if they grow in conditions that aren’t perfect they won’t develop into plants at all. Clones, on the other hand, start out as tiny plants already. And if you already have plants at home, then making clones is free. It’s a great way for beginners to get into the growing game.
The best part about clones is that they’re, well, clones. If you have a plant whose appearance, smell, or effect you enjoy, you’ll be able to get the exact same results from a clone.
How to Clone a Cannabis Plant
There are a few rules of thumb when growing cannabis clones. When choosing the mother plant, make sure it’s healthy and sturdy. Any negatives will be replicated from the mother to its clones. Also, make sure you’re taking cuttings from a marijuana plant in its vegetative state. If the plant is flowering when you cut it, then there’s a chance it’ll turn into a hermaphrodite, which results in bad buds.
A good mother plant will have:
- Vibrant growth and a sturdy appearance
- Lots of buds
- Resistance to pests and diseases
- A consumption experience you enjoy
Once you’ve chosen the mother plant, it’s time to take cuttings. The clones will need to be placed into a rooting medium, like a grow cube, to develop the roots necessary for planting. Your local dispensary will have recommendations about the kind of rooting medium that’s best for your setup.
Stop fertilizing the mother plant a few days before you want to take cuttings. This gives the leaves a chance to get rid of any excess nitrogen they might be holding onto. If there’s too much nitrogen in the clones, they’ll try to start growing leaves instead of roots.
When it’s time to take the cutting, follow these steps:
- Use clean scissors and wear gloves. Pick a cutting that’s 6 inches long, looks sturdy and has at least two nodes.
- Cut the clone off the mother, making sure to cut above the node of the mother plant.
- Cut the bottom of the clone below the bottom node at a 45-degree angle. A razor is the cleanest way to do this step.
- Place the clone in root hormone before putting it into its rooting medium. Remove unnecessary leaves from the bottom of the clone and trim the ends of the leaves at the top.
Most clones are ready for planting after 10–14 days, when their little white roots are a couple of inches long. When it’s time to plant, wear gloves to prevent transplant shock and plant the cutting in damp soil so that the roots are covered.
What to Look For in a Clone
If cutting your own clones sounds a little complicated or you don’t have a mother plant yet, buying clones from your local dispensary is a great choice. Dispensaries work with growers who often only grow plants for cloning, which means you’re getting consistent and high-quality clones that’ll make it easy to get started. When looking to buy a clone it is important to know that they are seasonal. It is best to purchase clones from March to July.
In Oregon, you can legally buy four immature plants in one day. Ask your friendly neighborhood budtender to walk you through the different clones available. Like buying flowers, there are different strains to consider. Think about what effects you’re looking for and how you like to consume cannabis. Don’t be afraid to ask about the grower, the clone’s origins and the best way to grow the clones at home. Budtenders are experts who can’t wait to talk cannabis with you, and they’ll guide you to the perfect clone for your lifestyle.
Visually inspect the clone. It should look green and sturdy, with no visible disease or pest damage. Look for stems that are thick, not narrow, and leaves that aren’t wilting. If you’re buying from a reputable dispensary, you shouldn’t have to worry about being sold sick clones, but it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with what healthy clones look like. It’ll make it easier to identify unhealthy clones in the future.
Once you bring your new clones home, it’s a good idea to quarantine them away from the rest of your garden for a few days. This gives the clones a chance to settle into their new home, and if for some reason there is an issue (like pests or disease), it won’t spread to the rest of your plants. As we said above, if you’re buying from a trusted dispensary you don’t have to worry, but it’s still good to get into healthy cloning habits.
Once your clones are established, all you have to do is help them grow! Reach out to your dispensary with any growing questions as your plants get bigger. The budtenders will help you troubleshoot and grow (see what we did there?) more confident in your green thumb.
Clones are a great way to get into growing cannabis at home. Check out your local dispensary and get planting!