After purchasing your first indoor growing kit, you might ask, “How do I actually get cannabis into the system?” Naturally, you’ll need to buy some weed seeds and germinate them. If they’re regular seeds, you’ll have to select female plants, unless you buy feminized seeds. Now, let’s say you have 4-5 female plants of the same strain. However, when you see two plants grow faster and bigger than the rest, maybe they even have a stronger smell. You decide these plants are probably going to be the best producers. So, time to flip them into flower, right?
Now if you want more. But… how can you make more cannabis plants from a single cannabis plant? Cutting clones, of course! If you think you have great genetics, expressing strong phenotypic traits, then maybe it’s worth cutting some clones, creating mother plants and then cloning again later so you can grow more of this great phenotype.
Clones are cuttings from a plant which form roots under the right conditions. For most indoor growing kits, this can be an easy way to create high-quality cannabis consistently from phenotypes you like. It’s a very common commercial propagation technique in the legal cannabis industry.
To begin, you’ll need a cloning kit comprised of a cloning/rooting tray, a humidity dome, a sharp razor, cloning solution, a cloning medium, and a spray bottle. There are many options, recipes, and products one can purchase when creating a cloning solution. This article provides valuable information about organic cloning, while synthetic cloning solutions can be found at garden supply stores, a local hydro store or even online. A cloning medium can likewise be found at a local hydro store and can range from rockwool cubes to compressed coir. Some internet forums and commercial greenhouses even report success with fine ground perlite.
Now, with a cloning kit in hand, it’s time to examine the plant, looking for young branches with at least 3 node sites or more but no less. Ideally, clones come from the top growth of your plant as those are healthiest, but you can take cuttings from anywhere on the plant. Take several, as you need to account for around a 25% loss of clones. So, taking extras allows the opportunity to select the strongest clones.
While assessing your plant, make your cloning solution and soak your medium. Most recipes -will advise soaking your medium before cutting to evenly saturate it. Some might ask you to soak your clones as well.
Now, you’re ready to take your cuttings. To see a visual example, look here. The suggested cut is a section of the branch about as long as your scissors or roughly 6-8 inches. Clean off the lower foliage, nodes and leaves, leaving 2-3 node sites at the top. Some suggest cutting off 50-70% of the leaves. Dip the cut end into your cloning solution and insert it into a plug. Pretty simple, right?
Here’s the tricky part, keeping the clones alive. Clones require a high humidity environment with enough moisture to promote rooting and a gradual introduction to the normal environment. Thus, a warm environment between 79-82 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity dome is crucial. Ideally, Humidity should be in excess of 80%.
One of the fun parts of growing is tweaking your growing recipes and finding success after failure. However, to get you started on the right foot, here is a simple recipe, but don’t be afraid to tailor fit it to your needs.
Start with the domes on and the vents closed with a light water misting. For the first 2-3 days, take the dome off for 15-20 mins, mist again and replace the dome. After the 3rd day, open the top vents about one fourth. Every day or every other day, continue to open the vent another fourth until it’s fully open.
Around days 5-7, remove the dome entirely, but continue to keep an eye on the medium. A medium saturation is ideal, thoroughly wet but not soaked. You can use plain, filtered water or opt to mix in light nutrients or supplements. Cannabis clones can sprout any time after day 7 up to day 18-21. If you remove the domes, make sure the ambient humidity is above 75%, ideally 85%.
Root development is your most important indicator of success in cloning cannabis. Healthy roots are the biggest predictor of future success. Once they begin to stretch their roots, they’ll be ready for transplanting and a vegetative cycle.