You Have a Plant That You Love
Usually when you are thinking of cloning a plant at home, it is because you found one particular genotype or phenotype of a strain that you loved growing, and had very positive traits (thick stem, rapid root growth, bushy leaf growth, quick topping recovery, etc.).
The traits you will look for will be different from what others prefer. If you are growing hydroponically in a tent, you will be looking for very different things than someone who wants to grow in soil outside.
There is also the fact that you may not even see some traits others may look for. If you grow in soil, you don’t necessarily know how well the root structure grows in early weeks.
So, to learn how to clone a marijuana plant, you need to know why you’re doing it.
Cloning For Genetics – Genotype vs. Phenotype
People who are looking to breed out certain traits to find their own strain have no need for cloning, other than to mass produce seeds once the strain has been stabilized.
If you are planning to clone a plant you found to grow how you want (hard to tell if the resulting product is favorable before cloning), you are doing it to keep the traits that the person creating the strain chose.
When you clone, every “baby” you create will have the exact genotype of the “mother” plant. You are making many smaller versions of the plant you are already growing.
Some may say, “But I have 20 seeds of that strain. I don’t need to clone.”
The reason that you will want to clone a favorite plant is because even when you have 20 (or even 100) seeds, chances are you will end up with 4-10 different “types” of the same strain.
Each and every organism carries a genotype.
We belong to a classification structure that ends with species, but that doesn’t exactly define exactly what each organism is. We have genetics that separate us from other humans.
Two sisters born to the same two parents can have different coloured hair.
Their genotype would be the genetic code that was given to them at birth. It identifies what is included in their DNA and how it is actually able to react to the surrounding environment.
The sisters would show a genotype difference with their hair colour.
Phenotype is the differences caused after DNA structure is created. It is the difference caused by environmental changes.
Two twin sisters with the exact same DNA could be separated at birth.
One goes to live in Arizona and the other in Alaska, both with completely different diets and lifestyles.
Even with the exact same DNA, when those two girls are placed side-by-side, there would be very noticeable differences. They would most likely be different weights and heights, different skin tone or complexion, and have a different manner of speaking. The way they deal with situations would be completely different.
Look For Genotype and Take Care of It
With cloning marijuana, you will be watching for the characteristics preferable to the method you used to grow the mother plant.
Cloning a hydroponically grown indoor plant and planting the clones in pots outside will not give you the same characteristics that you had with the mother. Likewise, changing any part of the growing cycle could bring out different phenotype characteristics in your clones, some of which you didn’t know were there.
So, stick to your growing method once you clone.
Keep a journal that tracks your pH, feeding schedule and amounts, tent temperature and humidity (if you have one), and do your best to give your babies their perfect environment.
Time To Clone
One of the considerations you must take when cloning a plant is the fact that there is a legal number of plants you can have when growing legally. This becomes somewhat of a problem if you ever want the maximum number of full-grown plants.
You want to clone a plant that is in vegetative state (18 hours of light, 6 hours of dark). If your plant has already started to flower, your clones will need a few weeks of regression time. They can be taken back to vegetative state to grow them out, but it is a waste of resources and time.
You also want to take clones from a plant that is in rapid vegetative state if possible (five-point leaves, very fast growth). This will ensure the roots take and the clone starts growing quickly.
To allow for maximum number of plants, it would be a good idea to partner with someone you trust. Have the mother and clones at one location, and the plants growing out at another. If using grow tents (find a cheap one here), this would mean the mother and clones will be on one light cycle (18-6) and the plants growing out will change as needed (18-6 for vegetative, 12-12 for flower).
Preparing To Clone
You will need a few things to prepare for cloning.
Go to What You Need to Grow Marijuana for the most up to date list of the best and most affordable products we could find.
There you will find pruning shears (in the training section), rooting gel and various seedling starter options (depending on how you grow).
You will also require paper towel and plastic wrap.
For this tutorial I used Promix Stim-root powder but have recently updated the list of products with Clonex Rooting Gel. It is a fool proof product that has a very high success rate, and the small bottle will last for hundreds of clones.
Cutting Your Clone
For this clone, I took the section of the plant that I was topping for the manifolding in Crop King Seeds – Gelato Review Part 3.
You will want to take the top of a growth node with at least 3-4 sets of leaves of its own. Then you will trim away the bottom leaves to give enough stem to be able to plant the clone whichever way you are going to.
From this point, you want to use a VERY sharp tool to cut the very end of the stem on a 45-degree angle.
Then, make a small slit at the very end of the 45-degree angle.
If using Clonex, you can skip the water part of this tutorial and just use the gel. However, if you have purchased rooting powder, it is best to soak the end of the stem for a few seconds in filtered or distilled water so that the powder sticks and remains in contact with the stem.
Keep in mind, you will probably have a bigger clone cutting than this one. The bigger the better, but I was just using the topped parts of my plants.
After soaking, you will immediately dip the stem into the rooting powder to cover the open cut.
If using Clonex gel, just dip the freshly cut tip in the gel, then follow the directions from here.
Next (I didn’t take pictures of this part but should have), wrap a 3-4 layer folded strip of paper towel around the powdered end of the clone. Dampen the paper towel then wrap it loosely with plastic wrap to keep the moist towel touching the delicate cut section.
You do not want to suffocate the new roots. They need oxygen, so only wrap it as tight as is needed to keep the paper towel in contact with the open cut.
You clone will stay this way for a few days. Check on it to ensure that the paper towel is still moist, and occasionally open the wrapping to see if any roots have started. You can keep it upright in the bottom of a large-holed colander set upside down, but it is not necessary. Just make sure it has lots of light and the paper towel stays moist.
Once your clone has roots started, you can get it planted in soil or your smaller hydroponic setup (what you use for seedlings).
The plant this one was cut from was grown hydroponically, but I am cloning this to become a mother for future clones. It will be much easier to care for a plant that doesn’t need much attention in soil than hydroponics. A mother just has to stay alive and in vegetative state.
You’ve successfully cloned your plant, and are on the road to no longer needing seeds.
Great Job and Happy Gardening!
As a bonus, here are a few pictures of the clone from this tutorial taken about five weeks later.