Cloning cannabis: a beginners guide to cloning weed

Cloning: How To Reap Its Amazing Benefits
October 14, 2019
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Cloning cannabis

Have you ever had that one magnificent marijuana plant that you wished you could perpetuate forever? Cloning cannabis allows you to do precisely that. 

While cloning may sound like something best left to people in lab coats, any grower can do it. Today, we’ll discuss how and when to clone marijuana plants. 

Let’s get into it.

What is a cannabis clone?

You can grow many different plants, including mint, thyme, and roses, from cuttings. When a plant reproduces by rooting new parts of the initial plant, it’s known as vegetative or asexual reproduction.

A cannabis clone is a cutting taken from a vegetating marijuana plant.

Plants grown from seed have genetic material from both a father and mother plant. Essentially, every seedling is a lucky draw and may display any one of the parent plants’ characteristics.

When you clone marijuana plants, they have the same genetics as the mother. That is the plant from which you take the cuttings and usually offers superior traits that you want to keep.

No matter how you clone marijuana plants, the resulting ones will be an exact genetic replica of the mother plant. 

Why clone cannabis plants? 

When you know how to clone marijuana plants, it gives you several significant advantages.

When you grow cannabis from seed, you’re likely to have both male and female plants. Since males don’t have a use, that means you lose a few. When you grow clones, you always get female ones.

You also save time when cloning cannabis instead of growing from seed. While marijuana clones require time to form roots, it takes less time than waiting for seedlings to reach the same growth stage.

If you practice cloning, you need less space than when growing from seed. Since you don’t have to wait for plants to mature before you can sex them, you can produce as many usable plants as you can house.

Possibly the most significant reason to clone marijuana plants is affordability. Since you already have the mother plants, getting clones is essentially free. 

You may need to buy some basic supplies, but the cost is negligible compared to buying cannabis seeds. Additional savings come from the absence of male plants and cannabis bushes guaranteed to have desirable traits.

How do growers find the right cannabis mother plant

When you clone marijuana, you need to choose the right mother plant. The primary purpose of cloning is to keep desirable genes, so you need to select a female with good traits.

Typically, growers will harvest a batch of seedlings, then choose to clone the most noteworthy plants. This process works best when you take cuttings during the vegetative stage, and most harvesters will take these from all the plants. Once they know which ones offer the traits they want, they cull the other clones. 

Among other things, you can look for mother plants that:

  • Have the flavors you want
  • Offer a noteworthy yield
  • Have a strong aroma
  • Are healthy or disease-resistant
  • Flower faster than other seedlings

How old should a mother plant be?

There’s a fair bit of discussion about when to clone marijuana plants. Most growers agree that the ideal time to make clones is between the second and third weeks of its vegetative stage.

If the mother plant were also a clone, it would be about eight weeks old when you start taking cuttings. If you grew the female from a weed seed, she’d be closer to ten weeks old. 

How to take a cutting from a cannabis plant

Taking a cannabis cutting is straightforward, as long as you ensure that your equipment is sterile. Most cultivators use sharp scissors and a razor blade or scalpel.

Avoid using pruning shears, as they only have one blade and typically damage your cutting’s internal tissue. 

Before you take your cuttings, sterilize your tools with rubbing alcohol. 

Look for a branch that has at least two growth nodes above the stem of the mother plant. Typically, growers recommend taking cuttings from tips as the shrub’s growth hormones are present in higher concentrations there.

Once you’ve selected a viable cutting, use the scissors to cut a little way away from the lower of the two growth nodes. 

After you remove the cutting, use the razor or scalpel to cleanly remove any extra flesh below the second growth node. Cultivators believe that dividing at a 45-degree angle gives the plant more room to create roots.

We’ll discuss how to clone marijuana plants in more detail later.

Different types of cannabis cloning

How do you clone marijuana plants? There are multiple possibilities, each with pros and cons.

Natural means

Naturally, cloning marijuana is usually the preferred version. This method is to take cuttings, dip them in rooting powder or gel, and cultivate them in a humid, lighted area. 

You can do this more naturally by not using any rooting agents.

Artificial means

The most common artificial method of cloning cannabis is using tissue culture. The grower takes a sample of the plant and places it in a growth matrix.

The matrix is typically a gel full of minerals and nutrients and provides what the developing clones need to thrive. The plant sample will grow roots, and other required parts, much like a traditional cutting. 

Pros and cons of natural and artificial cloning

There are advantages to growing cannabis clones, no matter which method you use.

The main appeal to using artificial cloning methods is that you can use a much smaller tissue sample. In the longer term, you’ll also require less space to create them in this way.

The downside to artificial methods lies in their complexity. Cloning using tissue culture and similar methods require a controlled environment. 

You can’t create tissue clones in any location that’s not entirely sterile; you also need a lot more equipment.

Naturally, cloning cannabis is appealing in terms of simplicity. Once you know how it takes under five minutes to go through the process.  Most seasoned growers can take a cutting, dip it, and have it into growth media within a few minutes. You also require considerably fewer tools to do this.

Unfortunately, natural cloning methods usually take up much more space. Not only are the samples larger, but you need to house them in a high humidity environment like a propagation dome. 

How to clone a cannabis plant

If you know how to grow cuttings from your flower bushes, you understand how to clone marijuana plants in soil. The process is similar, but we’ll take you through a basic tutorial for cloning in soil and other mediums.


  • Step 1: Gather your scissors, scalpel, or razor blade, rooting gel or powder, pots or trays, and growing medium.
  • Step 2: Use rubbing alcohol to sterilize the scissors and scalpel.
  • Step 3: Select a cutting with at least two growth nodes.
  • Step 4: Use the scissor to remove the clone from the plant, cutting slightly below the first growth node (counting from the mother plant’s stem).
  • Step 5: Cutting at a 45° angle, use the scalpel to trim away the extra tissue below the growth node. 
  • Step 6: Dip the base of the cutting in rooting gel.
  • Step 7: Place the new clone in your choice of Rockwool cube or other growth medium.
  • Step 8: Set your potted cutting or Rockwool cube inside a humidity dome or a cloning machine.
  • Step 9: Monitor your new plants to ensure appropriate humidity and temperature levels.
  • Step 10: Remove any dead pieces, and wait for your cuttings to root. Once they’re embedded, treat them like your other plants.

Choosing the right medium and setup

When you clone marijuana plants, the proper setup and growth medium can go a long way. There are many different options to choose from, and it mostly boils down to preference. 

Rockwool cubes are a popular choice because they’re porous, retain moisture, and offer excellent airflow. Rockwool consists of molten rock that’s been spun to a fine thread and molded into blocks. Other non-soil options include foam and peat.

Some growers like to root their cuttings directly in PH-balanced water, and others prefer compost or something similar. Your best option is to play around with different techniques and find what works for you. 

Rockwool is easy to use because you merely place your cuttings in the center of the cube. You’ll need a tray if you decide to use something like Rockwool or peat blocks.

You can also choose between multiple setup types. Many growers prefer a humidity dome since it’s straightforward to use. Others prefer a cloning machine, which controls all the humidity and temperature variables. They’re a bit pricey, but they save a lot of time and effort.

Some growers prefer to use plant pots with plastic bags or canisters to help maintain humidities. There are as many options as there are cultivators, and it comes down to preference.

What to look for if you buy a cannabis clone

Careful inspection is necessary before buying clones. You don’t want to find out while drying and curing cannabis buds that you didn’t get what you thought you did.

Only buy clones from trusted dispensaries and always ask where they originated. Most of the plants came from cloning-centers and trusted growers, but some may come from unknown places. 

You don’t need a degree to clone cannabis plants, but you need to know that they were started well. If the dispensary can’t tell you where the clone came from, don’t buy it.

Inspect: stem / pests / diseases

Assuming you’ve established that the seller is legit, inspect the clones themselves. While you can’t spot every potential problem, you can see signs of most issues.

  1. Inspect the width of the clone’s stem. Inferior or weak plants usually have thin or rangy limbs. If the clone doesn’t seem sturdy, you don’t want it.
  2. Look for pests or signs of pests. Check the stem, the substrate, and the undersides of the leaves for pests. You’ll spot aphids and spider mites readily, and signs of mite silk or leaf yellowing are indicators too.
  3. Try to spot any signs of diseases and fungi. You can see diseases like powdery mildew and rust easily and should avoid plants with those disorders.

Transplanting your weed clones

When you first bring your new cannabis clones home, you need to transplant them. Each grower’s garden is different, and the clones are probably grown in other mediums than you use. The substrate may also house pests that you’d unwittingly introduce to your garden if you didn’t transplant.

Unless your clones are minute and not ready for a full-sized pot, prepare the one you want to grow the plant in for the rest of its lifetime. It’s always a good idea to avoid additional transplants (and the corresponding “transplant shock”) as much as possible. 

  1. Clean the pot you want to use, and fill it with your preferred medium.
  2. Create a small crater in the middle of the pot.
  3. Gently remove your clone from its substrate, teasing all the roots free.
  4. Rinse the roots in PH-neutral water.
  5. Plant the plantlet in the crater you created, and carefully close the substrate over the roots.
  6. Water and feed your newly transplanted clone. 

Clean and quarantine your cannabis clones

Even if your new cannabis clones look healthy and vigorous, you face a risk when introducing plants from another grower’s garden. 

Pests, bacteria, and unwanted fungi can all hitch a ride on your beautiful new clones without your knowing. Most cultivators suggest dipping new plants in your preferred IPM solution to prevent accidental introductions.

After you’ve treated your new clones, it’s wise to place them in quarantine for a while. Give them all the care and attention you would give your main garden, but away from the rest of your plants. 

We suggest a waiting period of 7-10 days before introducing new plants to your garden. If any issues pop up at that time, deal with them as you should. 

At best, you’ll save your garden from a destructive force. At worst, you’ll spend a few more days before introducing your new clones.

What is cloning crop plants in tissue culture?

Once you know how to clone marijuana plants naturally, you may develop an interest in tissue culture. 

When you clone crop plants using tissue culture, you use a small tissue sample (the explant) to grow a copy of your existing one. Cloners place the tissue sample in a charged matrix, usually a gel-like agar, in a sterile environment.

The grower controls the humidity and temperature perfectly to keep it within specific parameters. They also maintain a certain amount of nutrients and minerals in the charged medium. 

Theoretically, any part of a plant placed in a nutrient-filled medium and sterile conditions can grow into an entire plant. For many crops, including marijuana, the theory plays out well.

As with natural cloning techniques, tissue culture creates a genetic carbon copy of the original plant, preserving the favorable genes. For this reason, horticulturists worldwide clone disease and pest-resistant marijuana and food crops using tissue culture.

The clip: anyone can clone cannabis 

In this article, we’ve looked at how to clone marijuana plants. 

Cloning cannabis sounds like something from a futuristic sci-fi film, but it’s straightforward. Anyone can clone, and time and effort may see you becoming an expert. 

You have to decide which type of cloning to use and what best suits your needs. Artificial cloning saves space but is more expensive at the beginning. The natural option is cheap and easy but requires more space.

The advantages far outweigh the challenges, and if you clone the right plants, you’ll save time, space, and money. You need to make sure you buy high quality cannabis seeds for your mothers, but If you choose the right weed seed, you’ll also have massive yields of a product you know you love.

Visit our store for your mother plant growing needs

Are you interested in cloning cannabis but don’t have the mother plant of your dreams? Our store stocks cannabis seeds of many different strains and cultivars. 

Head over to our shop and buy the weed seeds that will become the mothers of your future clones. Don’t want to risk getting males? Check out our range of feminized cannabis seeds. 

Writer’s notes

One of the anchor links in this article was unrelated to the topic, and another was for a search page, which isn’t ideal.

I’ve tried to fit the keywords as naturally as possible, and therefore not once for every 50 words. Repeating the same five keywords once in every fifty words would have created an unpleasantly repetitive article.

High Potency Cannabis

Early Signs Of Diseases

With the sensitivity of clones to new environments, they become more prone to various diseases. Several telltale signs of a sick stalk may include limping and discoloration of the leaves. Plants may give off a mild yellow hue as they root, but other pigmentations suggest infections and diseases. For instance, white powder on stem leaves signal mold and mildew.

To improve the younglings’ resistance to diseases, provide correct nutrition ratio and follow feeding schedules. Also keep in mind that not all ailments can be remedied by adjusting pH levels, temperatures, and humidity levels. Ergo, always conduct ample research and/or consult with cultivation experts before performing any remedial actions.

Possible Pest Attacks

Tiny Spider Mites On A Leaf

Several visual cues indicate potential pest infestation that may hinder optimal plant growth or even kill the flora. Bite marks on leaves suggest the presence of insects like spider mite. Meanwhile, larvae or root maggots on the soil is a clear sign of fungus gnat habitation. To prevent or stop such attacks, maintain proper air circulation and a clean grow area, among others. Also thoroughly inspect the plants daily.

Rooting Further

Nature continues to amaze with its responses to alternative methods of reproduction. Despite skipping the germination stage, plants still resume development and yield production through the asexual process of cloning. Clippings grow roots for continued survival, especially in the presence of adequate rooting, transferring, and growing conditions. But, most importantly, the success rate is strongly determined by the quality of mother plants as clones are replicas of their sources.

Cannabis Attached To A Trellis