Instead of mixing genetics every generation, many cultivators prefer cloning. Clones are created by cutting the tip of a cannabis branch off. If the tip is placed in a sugary compound and given enough water, it will grow roots.
The new clone is genetically identical to the parent and a mature plant can produce thousands of clones every month. Plants used to make clones in this way are known as ‘mother’ plants. The mother is kept in her vegetative state while each generation of daughters grow to flower.
Using a mother plant makes growing hundreds or thousands at a time much easier. It also takes slightly less time for a clone to reach maturity than a seed. Seeds take an average of 4-6 weeks longer to grow than clones so many commercial growers prefer clones.
In a commercial setting, every extra day in the process equates to lost income. Using clones ensures a consistent, fast growing and bountiful crop every time.
Five days prior to a mother plant being cloned, feed her a potassium heavy nutrient mixture. Mild flowering nutrient mixes are perfect for this. This ensures the mother develops higher levels of potassium in the tips of the plant. It also increases the stability and rooting time of the cutting. Clones can be taken from all parts of the plant with no difference in performance.
To begin the cloning process, prepare a tray of inert cloning plugs by soaking them in a willow water solution at a PH of 5.8. Once the plugs are thoroughly soaked growers can begin taking cuttings from the mother. Taking 4″ to 5″ cuttings and stripping all nodes from cutting except for the top three produces the best results.
After the plugs soak in the willow water solution for about five minutes, insert the cutting into the plugs. Once the roots develop, the plant is ready to transfer to another grow medium. It takes an average of 6 to 10 days to develop enough roots for a clone to be transplanted safely.