Mother cannabis plants - Uses and physical appearance

Published Mar 31, 2019 12:22 p.m. ET

If you have begun to research how to grow marijuana or cloning weed than chances are you have come across the term mother plants. Though it might seem pretty straightforward, most people have no idea what a mother plant is, or why one might be important to breeding, marijuana seeds, and cloning. Here we will cover all the basics including the official definitions, and explanations to help you to understand the marijuana plant “family tree,” including why those geneticsare so critical to the methods that mother cannabis plants are used for.

What is a mother marijuana plant?

A mother plant is a specific plant that is grownfor the purposes of breeding or cloning. A mother marijuana plant is maintained inside of a vegetative state so that they are readily available to clone.

Why would you want a mother plant?

  • The most common reason behind a mother plant being maintained is for easy access to clones, and their resilience against pests.
  • Offspring that are harvested from a mother plant will always be female which reduces the risk of a pollinated crop which will result in a seed filled yield.
    -There are of course several other motivating factors a person might want a mother cannabis plant including genetics, output, consistency, simplicity.
  • Cannabis mother plants can be kept alive for double the expected life cycle of their counterparts with little to no effort required to maintain them.
  • Another reason that mother marijuana plants are so often used is that they provide growers with confidence and stable plant that becomes easier to work with and or manipulate as necessary.
  • Clones produce a much higher yield per square foot than a plant that was started from marijuana seeds.
  • Massive colas are the result of clones maturing which are often used for the visual appeal to either increase value or compete in events.

How many offspring can one mother plant provide?


One mother marijuana plant will be able to create an average of 10 clones for each growing cycle that are all identical genetic copies of the parent plant.

Other distinguishable features of a mother plant

In cannabis species, a mother plant will always be entirely female and therefore look like a typical female plant in a vegetative stage complete with resins, crystals, and sometimes even small buds.

Tips for maintaining a mother cannabis plant

  • A mother plant should always be started from marijuana seeds that contain the genetics you would like to reproduce for yourself.
  • Mother cannabis plants will eventually age over time. Though they can live longer than your typical transitioned plant, the maximum life expectancy of any strong mother is 2 years. Beyond that production will go down
  • Always maintain backup seeds to start a new mother plant in case of a sudden issue with the original. It’s really easy to get attached to a particular weed strain, and losing a mother is slightly less painful with more of her wonderful genetics safely packed away in storage.
  • When it comes to added fertilizers, nutrients, or supplements, you should always use strictly organic products on your mother cannabis plant. Since these treatments are only meant to be used for a short time, the plant can develop a resistance to them resulting in the opposite effect you are looking to achieve.


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