Most new marijuana plant growers have to decide between using seeds or using clones from other marijuana plants. This is an important decision. If you choose marijuana clones, you will be able to harvest sooner, and if you know other growers, clones are often easy to come by. You can also buy marijuana plant clones from sellers who focus on growing clones in a vegetation garden. These sellers have a good variety of marijuana plant mothers to choose from, growing them under lights left on for 18 hours a day. These sellers make a good income selling both clones or their more expensive cousin, rooted clones.
You will often find people buying trays of marijuana plant cuttings when first starting their garden because of the decrease in time required to get to harvest. Even though this is a sensible idea, you should still take the time to learn how to grow from seed because of how much you will learn about your marijuana plants during the process. If you choose to grow from seeds, you will be able to choose which plants will suit your growing needs best. Our recommendation is before you send your plant to flower, you always take two marijuana clones off of the bottom leaves. Mark the clones to match the mother they came from and mark off the date. Then get those clones to root and set them up to grow in a vegetative state for later cloning should you like the harvested results. You can create an entire crop from a single mother plant, and the plants will all appear relatively uniform. You should end up with an increase in quantity and quality over your previous yield this way. All growers should clone their own plants when they find a successful plant to grow. We will now go through and explain the easiest way to take clones off of a mother plant so you can enjoy this process and be successful at it.
To begin, you will need these materials: a misting sprayer for water, a growing medium, some type of tray with a see-through lid, a clean and sharp razor blade, and possibly a jar of commercial rooting hormones. You can clone marijuana plants successfully using only water, but most growers of marijuana plants opt for using rooting gels or powders. We recommend you cut each branch under water so you can avoid air forming bubbles within the new stem because it can stunt the growth of the new cutting, causing it to die. Rooting hormone dips will avoid this consequence all together. Gels will stick immediately, but powders require a wet area to stick to. Prepare a small hole in the growing medium to put the cutting into using a pencil eraser or toothpick. Just make sure you don't bend or crush the new stem. The hole should be approximately the same size as your stems so less work has to be done around the cutting's base. Once all of your tools and necessary accessories are prepared and your growing medium is damp, the next step is to choose a small, soft branch near the bottom of your marijuana plant for cutting. You would want to choose one that would not impact the growth of this plant anyway. If your goal is simply to grow this plant as a mother and not let it go to flower, then pick stems with 2-3 nodes. You can choose cuttings that are anywhere from 2-8" (5-20 cm), but the softer the branch, the more likely you are to be successful. Woodier stems are much more difficult to root from. Next you will want a diagonal cut, made evenly through your branch with the razor blade. Take off the lowest leaves, apply the gel or powder and immediately plant the cutting. If you were lucky enough to find a cutting place above an existing node, then you will end up with two new branches where the one you cut originally was, just like if you pinched off that part of the plant. With this procedure, you can take more new cuttings every two weeks, allowing you to give away or sell the additional rooted clones you have created.
Once those steps are completed, you should place the lid over the tray you chose and move the tray to your light source. Fluorescent light bulbs work well for this. The lights should be put about 6" (15 cm) from your cuttings at first, slowly moving them closer daily until they are about 2-3" (5-7.5 cm) away. You will want to keep your cuttings about 75°F (24°C) as much of the time as possible to help them grow. You would rather go a couple degrees under than potentially go over and scorch your plants. Lights that directly hit your marijuana plants could do more harm than good because there are not enough leaves or roots to keep up with the levels of transpiration that your marijuana plants would be requiring. With transpiration being such a vital part of marijuana plant growth, you do not want to disrupt this process. It helps feed nutrients to your marijuana plants, aids in photosynthesis, allows the plants to "sweat" out toxins and lets the air carry the negative chemicals off of the leaves. If the tray you chose did not have a lid, you would not be able to stop the wind from affecting the transpiration of your new cuttings and they would not be very likely to survive. You can try spraying a wax on the cuttings to slow transpiration, but lids often work better and have less consequences. We also recommend you cut tiny holes in a couple corners of your lid to allow for a slight amount of ventilation, and corresponding holes in the bottom of your tray to allow excess water to seep out. Too much water will kill off new roots and keep the necessary oxygen from reaching your plants.
We love using Oasis Foam as a growing medium because it's light and airy, allowing for quick drying of the root system. Plus you do not have to worry about it changing your pH level as it is neutral. We also regularly use rooting gel, and while they all seem to work about the same, we prefer Olivia's. Soaking your tray prior to planting is often enough for the cuttings to stay moist until they are forming roots on their own. You may see nutritional additives and rooting powders at your garden center, but neither are essential for cloning in our experience. You will likely see products like these, but we have found that water works just fine! Super Thrive, Power Thrive, Nutriboost, Spray & Thrive, Olivia's cloning solution, seaweed solutions or many different products can help, but are not typically necessary for this process.
If you lift the tray and it feels light, it likely needs some water. If you notice your new marijuana plants looking dry, try misting them with water. After the first three days, look at the bottom of the plants for new roots. You will find some varieties of marijuana plants root quickly while others are much slower, ranging from 3-14 days. Once you can see roots coming out the bottom of your growing medium, you need to transplant your cuttings into your growing medium. You will have to choose between a medium that lacks soil, such as hydroponics, or a medium made up of soil and draining elements to ensure healthy plant growth. You will find hydroponic options will increase yield and speed up production, but ease of growth has to go to soil. Hydroponic system setup is simple, but little missed details can spell disaster for your marijuana plants if you don't immediately correct them. There is a lot of monitoring for hydroponic system, which is significantly decreased when using soil. Soil really only needs water when it becomes dry for a happy and healthy plant. Most growers have also noticed a better flavor from soil-grown marijuana over hydroponically-grown marijuana, but that is a personal choice for you to make.
Occasionally marijuana growers try combining both mediums by using organic hydroponic solutions, but you can buy an inexpensive solution that should have everything your marijuana plants require. You will end up buying fertilizer salts that you put in with your hydroponic solution, but you may end up tasting a bit of metal in your final product. Some experienced growers of marijuana plants have found that leaching their plants prior to harvesting can help remove a bit of this metallic flavor, but it takes a few times of leaching to really give your plants a pure taste. If you use a milder nutrient solution, you will not be as likely to have any fertilizer salt build-up within your buds. Some growers will leach for only a couple days while others will leach for a couple weeks, but that is ultimately up to your sense of taste. You can also leach with clear water or a very diluted nutrient solution.
No matter which system you choose, you will likely end up trying the cloning process at some point. This process can improve your efficiency and give you a steady supply of your favorite buds. You can even take an exceptional marijuana plant that you have already flowered and return it to a mother state. All you need is a little vegetation left around the bottom of your marijuana plant that can be put under lights for 18 hours a day so all of those bits of vegetation can grow out into new shoots. You can then take a cutting to grow an entirely new mother plant from a clone and use it as your source of new clones for all of your growing needs. This will give you an indefinite number of repeats of your favorite harvest!
Want to read more about marijuana? Go to our marijuana grow guide.