Cloning for the first time? Don’t waste your cuttings! What might seem like useless plant material can grow you an entirely new plant of the same strain and genetics as the original.
Breeding healthy, thriving clones is easy. But, a few common blunders can ruin your chances of success. If you’re hoping to transform one plant into many, this guide is for you.
Keep reading to learn more about cloning marijuana plants and the five biggest mistakes to avoid during the process.
Cloning a cannabis plant is self-explanatory. It involves using a cutting from a healthy, strong female plant and placing it in water and then soil to form a root system.
From there, the cutting will grow into its own plant, meaning you can double your harvest without buying more seeds or seedlings. You can do this with as many cuttings as you like, as long as they’re from a female plant and you have enough space for a larger grow-op.
It may sound easy, but there are some mistakes cultivators often make when cloning plants. See below for the most common cloning mistakes and how to avoid them.
Growers often like to keep their plants under a constant 24 hours of light. However, when rooting clones, this constant light is unnecessary.
Instead, most growers opt for 18 hours of light and six hours of darkness. Anything extra adds additional cost to your electric bill and risks stressing the plants.
A high-intensity light is not needed for clones. Opt for cool light that is placed far enough away from the cuttings to avoid heat stress. At this point in the cloning process, plants are delicate, and any additional stress may impact the viability of the cuttings.
Young clones like hot and humid environments. Humidity domes are used to maintain the optimum conditions for plants to begin rooting. Humidity domes trap evaporating moisture and help maintain a constant temperature for your plants.
When using a humidity dome, several major problems can occur. First, while new cuttings love hot and humid environments, so do molds, fungi, and pathogens. For this reason, ventilation is necessary.
Small holes in the dome cover allow for increased oxygen and airflow into the dome, reducing the chances of mold and infection. Opt for 80% humidity at first. Young clones don’t need 100% humidity to root effectively.
Minor ventilation in a humidity dome serves another purpose: temperature control. Roots, which are naturally cooled underground and shaded from the sun, thrive in temperatures of 75 to 80℉ (24-27℃), while canopy temperatures often run hotter, up to 85℉ (29℃).
While your clones are rooting, checking the temperature regularly and adjusting ventilation as needed is best practice. Adjusting the proximity of your lighting source and increasing or decreasing ventilation is helpful for maintaining the proper temperature conditions for delicate plants.
Clones are sensitive. When taking your cuttings, use a very sharp pair of pruning shears and cut the stem at a 45° angle.
Cutting at an angle rather than straight across creates a greater surface area, which allows for greater uptake of your rooting hormone, cloning nutrient solution, and water.
Furthermore, it protects the original plant by letting rain and moisture slide off the cut rather than sitting on a flat surface and increasing the risk of mold.
Don’t delay! Waiting too long to place your cuttings in water is one of the biggest cloning mistakes you can make.
Place the stem of your cuttings in water immediately after cutting. If cuttings are not placed directly into a bowl of water, an air bubble may form in the stem.
Air bubble formation not only blocks the uptake of water but will prevent your plant from properly forming roots. Once it forms a healthy root system, you can transplant it into your growing medium.
Cleanliness is one of the most underrated aspects of cutting and preparing clones. Since clones root best in warm, damp environments, pathogenic infections can easily devastate your nascent cuttings.
Of course, allow all of your clean materials to dry before use. Make sure to rinse materials thoroughly to ensure that no soap residue remains before cloning.