When approaching your plant or plants you wish to clone from, you want to get the best and healthiest. Look for branches off the main stock that have five leaves. Taking these types of branches will give you a healthier, faster outcome in growing your clones.
This is an example of a clone you would want to pass up if you can. The three leaves shows that this paticular plant and/or branch is premature, or simply is still slightly confused from its own cloning process. Keep in mind that marijuana is a "weed" after all, and is a very resilient plant. In most cases, the plant will correct itself.
Water pH, water quality, light cycles, and even drastic temprature influxes change the qualities of your plant. I'm not saying you can't clone leaves of three--you can--but there are risks involved, including the death of the plant or a disappointing pull (yeild) at the end of your cycle.
Make sure you have some new scissors handy. It freaking sucks to have a dull pair for this part of the process. When you don't cut all the way through a marijuana plant, you end up pulling on the part you want to remove, thus tearing off the outer skin of your plant. Ouch! (Well, kinda.) Your plant won't scream, but it will focus its attention and efforts into fixing its little booboo instead of growing bazooka-sized buds.
You will be removing a selected branch from its base, touching the main stock. Clean cuts!
I don't want to beat a dead horse here (though it would be beter than a live one), but another reason for properly placed cuts when taking clones is so the plant won't try to regenerate that branch (arm) back. By not putting its energy and nutrients into attempting to regrow the branch you took, the plant's remaining branches will receive more nutrients and become stronger. Marijuana is a smart plant, in addition to its other amazing qualities. The plant will actually grow better when you remove smaller clone-size branches.
When taking clones from a mother, begin by looking at the bottom of the plant first. This is where the older branches of your plant are, which will be ideal for cloning if they look ready. You can also do a light lollipop, if need be. "Lollipopping" a marijuana plant is a way of removing excess leaves and branches that are not ideal for the future of your plant.
Once the clone is cut, you will clean it up by removing all leaves and branches except for the top two or three. This will allow the plant to still retrieve sunlight with its remaining leaves, yet won't overexert the clone by still trying to feed numerous leaves.
As you can see, I've trimed the ends of my remaining leaves. I have done this to further balance the clone at this stage. A good-sized leaf can capture great light for your clone, but may require more nutrients itself than can be given. Trimming the leaves like this allows ample light reception while removing just enough for your little one to not worry about.
Note: The smaller leaves you see in the photo cannot sustain the clone with light at this stage. The leaves are slightly premature, and with the larger two removed, would burn the plant up indefinitely.
As you continue the clone prep process, a helpful tip is to take a scoop of your pH-doctored water in a cup and keep it next to you. You can toss every clone you trim into your cup of water, keeping it ultra fresh until the final cut and placement. Doing 50 clones or more takes a while, and you don't want your clones to slowly start to dry out. This is a delicate stage for the clone and any little bit can always help your chances for the best possible outcome.
It's always good to have a few on hand, and I shoot for 50 clones given our Rockwool stater cube dimensions, 5x10. I clone every week using this process and rarely lose one, so choose your clones wisely.
You should have your properly balanced pH'ed Rockwool Cubes and your clones in water ready for one last cut and placement. Next week I will go over the final cut, cut angle, placement depth, and lights. Stay high!