There are two main reasons for using clones over seeds: Consistency and Quality. Cannabis plants are similar to humans, in the way that we all have slight variations in parts of our DNA. If you were looking to keep your strain going and to get an exact replica, cloning is the process you would use. You will get an exact genetic copy of the donor, or "mother" plant. You will also find a shorter grow cycle (time between harvests) in clones than you would in plants from seed, and you can have a rooted growing plant before the seed even sprouts. And there are no worries about the sex of the plant: a female plant will always yield a female clone. Here are some great tips and tricks for taking clones: www.weedfarmer.com!
What You Will Need To Get Started (Materials)
Single Edged Razor Blade - Must be sharp! A new blade is best. Any hardware store will have these.
Back-Up Block - A piece of Styrofoam, wood, or plastic approximately 2"x2". Hardware store.
Tupperware- Or similar small glass or plastic container. Grocery Store, Box Store, you may already have it.
Growing Medium - Rockwool or Oasis cubes, Pro-Mix, coconut fiber or one of several other suitable growing media. Looking for help choosing?
Seed Tray With Clear Humidity Dome Rooting Hormone - You will need a good quality rooting hormone such as Woods, Clonex, Olivia's, Dip & Grow etc. You can use a powdered rooting hormone but in my opinion they are much harder to work with, resulting in a reduced success rate.
Spray Bottle With Water- For use in misting both cuttings and clear Humidity Dome.
Rubbing Alcohol- Use for sterilization.
When cloning, always use the healthiest plant. Take a few more than you need. Many fail in this process. It is not easy.
The Mother plant, or plants you are cloning from, will be nitrogen rich. You will need to bring that level down two to three days before you take your cuttings by heavily watering the plant because nitrogen will inhibit the roots in the clone.
As far as growing mediums go, most people tend to use Rockwool or Oasis cubes. They come with a hole and are pre-formed for your ease. Cost effective alternatives include plastic cups with coconut fiber or a Perlite & Vermiculite mixture. Regular dirt and or peat pellets will rot the cut stem. No Dirt! You will also pre-soak your Growing Medium before you begin. Water that is pH balanced is preferable, distilled water is great, but any clean water source will work (go for a pH 6 to pH 7 if a manual pH balance is possible).
If you have to make holes in your medium for stem placement, make sure they are the same size or slightly smaller. Note: Don't damage the plant while gently placing the cut end in the medium hole.
Note: Sterilization of hands, razor blades, and cutting block recommended. Cuttings are susceptible to viruses, diseases, and fungus.
Move quickly yet carefully when making your cuts from the mother plant. You must get them into a 3/4 glass of rooting hormone as soon as possible, preventing air from entering the stem.
Lets Do This!
Step One: You will be looking on the mother for a growing tip about 3" to 6". It's best to have two but at the very least one leaf internode. (Leaf internode: where the leaf connect to the stem.)
Step Two: Using your sterilized razor blade, remove the one or two bottom leaves, making the cut flush with the stem. (Remove any small branches or stemage that will obsruct your hole placement in your grow medium.)
Step Three: At a 45 to 60 degree angle, cut about 1/4" below the leaves you just trimmed. Be confident and direct in your cut, you DO NOT want to damage (tear or crush) your stem. Utilizing your back-up block can help to save both your stem and fingers. (New razor is best.)
Step Four: Immediately after cutting, place into liquid Rooting Hormone and let soak for 40 minutes. (Note: When using gel type Rooting Hormone, you can dip the stem and place strait into Growing Medium.)
Step Five: It is key upon insertion of stem into Growing Medium to NOT force or push. Also note that your leaf internode cuts are below the top surface of the growing medium.
Important: Pack any gaps between stem and growing medium back together. You will need contact between stem and growing medium for results.
Proper Feeding and Care
Now you are ready to place the cutting and growing medium into your tray. Mist both the cutting and the inside of your clear humidity dome and place the dome over the tray. Note: you must be regular on misting the cuttings and the inside of the dome. TWO to THREE times daily as not to dry out the plant under the dome. They are reliant on the water in the medium, the mist, and the humidity of the dome, which must remain at 90 percent untill you begin to see roots. The plant in the dome should remain at 72 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit for this part of the process.
Now if you're in the dark about light, allow me to shed some. You need bright light, just not too intense or hot. The best form I have learned is a double tube fluorescent style fixture that has both a cold white bulb and a warm white bulb. The light given here is easy for the plant absorb. This can be kept above the dome 3" to 4" from the top. Light time is constant 18-20 hours daily.
When watering your cuttings, use plain distilled water. Depending on experience, this is where you can add mild fertilizers by measuring ratios into your water. If you live in a dry climate, you should be watering every day. Normal climates can usually water every two days. Keep an eye on your grow medium for moisture. You don't want it dry and you don't want it constantly soaked. This will rot your stem. The best way here is the two-tray method. One tray with holes in it, also containing your soon-to-be buds, and the other without holes that you can fill halfway with water. When it's time to fill the tray without holes halfway with water, simply dip the tray with plants and holes into the water source. Once the water has sat for a few moments, pull it back out and let it drain.
Given a week and a half with the process above, you can now check you plants for roots. You can do this by removing the dome for and hour and a half. Check to see if the plant has started to wilt. If she looks happy and can support herself, chances are the plant has established roots and is ready for your hydroponic set up or the soil. If not, simply remist cuttings and dome and continue process. Note: Throughout these steps and time, some lower leaves may turn yellow and start dying. Don't panic! She (the plant) is actualy feeding off herself to sustain vital nutrience. Do not remove these! You will starve your plant.
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