Tips and tricks for success with cloning weed

Published Sep 30, 2019 10:00 a.m. ET
iStock / Rick_Thompson

The marijuana plant is an incredible species that can be shaped, molded and bred into so many different sizes, shapes and flavors that it can be hard to know where to start. One of the first things about growing cannabis that everyone who tried it should know is how to clone a healthy mother plant, as this helpful skill can turn one plant into many in a matter of minutes with minimal expertise and tools.

Why you should consider cloning weed

Cloning is a process that can be used with many different plant species, but with the marijuana plant, it is most often performed for one of three reasons.

  • Multiply the size of the crop
  • Smaller, bushier and hardier plants
  • To maintain marijuana plant genetics

What is cloning weed?

Cloning is a method of pruning and then planting the cuttings which eventually result in genetically identical copies of the marijuana plant that they are originally taken from.

Tips for cloning a marijuana plant

Cloning weed might take a few attempts to master, but once you do, this skill will come in handy and take little to no time to pull off in exchange for plenty of benefits. The trouble is that less experienced growers often don’t know where to start in attempting the process themselves. Whether you are brand new to the idea or just looking for some helpful advice, these useful tips and tricks for cloning weed are an excellent place to start.

1. Always use a clean and sharp razor blade (or any other cutting tool)

If you want to produce marijuana leaf cuttings that are in ideal condition, then you don’t want to damage the fragile stem materials during the separation process. When that happens, the clone will have a much lower rate of survival, as it will be more difficult for it to heal the wound and grow a fresh root system, which is why it’s always a good idea to use a sharp, sterilized cutting tool.

2. Cut just above the node including at least one marijuana leaf every time

Some new growers assume that any old plant cutting will do, and while technically you might be able to make misshapen clones survive, they probably won’t thrive. The best place to make the incision will be from one of the lower branches of your marijuana plant, just above the node which is where the branch parts into various sections that contain at least one marijuana leaf.

3. Handle the cutting with care

Once you have committed to the cut, you will have to handle the clone very carefully throughout the rest of the process to avoid contaminants entering the open stem or unnecessary damage to the plant materials. Tossing your marijuana leaf onto a cold or dirty surface can significantly impact its chances at lasting survival, so it is a good idea to get the tools ready from the next tip before making the slice.

4. Use rooting gel and powder together

There are two main types of rooting compound that you will find at your local greenhouse or dispensary for cannabis plants. One is a watery liquid-based gel and the second is a dry powder coating. Both require a dip, and while they are certainly effective on their own, to provide your clones with the best possible start, it helps to use both of them combined. Start with a slow dip in the gel and finish with 1 or 2 coatings of powder before placing the clone into the growing medium

5. Provide plenty of nutrient-rich soil, light and warmth

Cloning weed is not an exact science, but there are some important things that you will need to provide your freshly created marijuana plant if you want it to do well. All cannabis strains require consistent lighting, a relatively warm temperature, and nutrient-rich soil so that they have plenty of food to convert into the necessary energy for sprouting a new root system and turning into a fully matured marijuana plant.

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