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Cannabis Mother Plants: How To Maintain It And Obtain Endless Clones

Cannabis vegetative stage

Keeping a cannabis mother plant ensures an endless supply of planting materials all year. But how do you grow, care for, and maintain this parent? 

Cloning cannabis doesn’t have to be challenging. With the right skills and equipment, you can keep mother crops that produce healthy and sturdy marijuana plants.

Are you ready to learn how to choose weed parents and harvest clones? Keep scrolling to discover the pro tips for selecting and maintaining productive mother crops. 

What is a cannabis mother plant?

A mother plant is a healthy cannabis crop grown to produce cuttings. These clones require soil or another medium to develop roots and mature.

There are two choices when cultivating marijuana: clones vs. seeds. Growing from scratch takes more time and might result in male plants or crops with varying characteristics. 

Consider using clones to achieve plants with similar phenotypes, growth patterns, terpenes, and effects. When taking the cuttings, ensure the mother crop is in the vegetative stage and not flowering.

Kyle-Kushman-and-cannabis-plant-in-early-vegetative-stage

The benefits of growing a mother plant

Here are some advantages of growing mother plants: 

  • Saves you money: You don’t have to purchase seeds whenever you want to grow new plants. With a mother crop, you get an endless supply of clones. 
  • Grow cannabis with consistent characteristics: Clones have identical phenotypes to their parent crop. Cultivate marijuana from cuttings and harvest buds with similar benefits and flavors.
  • Saves you time: Rather than waiting for seeds to germinate and mature, get clones from a cannabis mother plant. The cuttings are in the vegetative stage and only take a few weeks before flowering. 
  • Guaranteed gender: Female weed seeds may occasionally produce a few male plants. Clones assure you of only bud-bearing marijuana. 

How to choose a cannabis mother plant

Selecting a mother crop requires patience and thorough inspection to ensure the plant possesses your desired characteristics. Record the growth patterns, yields, effects, and harvest quality

Here are some factors to consider when choosing a mother plant:

  • Resistance to pests and diseases: The parent crop should produce clones that fight pathogens that attack cannabis plants. 
  • Healthy roots: Choose plants with an extensive root system which signifies that the crops will mature faster. 
  • Growth pattern: Select plants that mature quickly and reach the harvesting stage within a few weeks. The crops should be healthy throughout the life cycle. 
  • Strain profile: After harvesting, analyze the flowers’ flavor, potency, and aroma. Select the plant that produces a yield with your desired effects. 
  • Flowering time: Keep cannabis mother plants that reach the flowering stage quickly. The clones should develop numerous buds and trichomes. 

When selecting parent crops, consider strains that are easy to grow, produce high yields, and have a good structure. Keep in mind the anatomy of a cannabis plant and ensure they have strong stems, large buds, and excellent resin production. 

If you’re choosing your mother crops by growing seeds, take clones from each plant during the vegetative phase. Record how the clones behave until the harvesting stage.

The ideal mother plant should be healthy, resilient to pruning stress, produce roots quickly, and mature faster. 

Cannabis Vegetative Stage with the Stoner Mom

How to care for a weed mother plant

Once you’ve selected the mother crops, the real work of caring for them begins. These plants should remain in the vegetative stage to give you an endless supply of cuttings. 

Maintaining the crops in this phase for the longest time can be challenging. Apply proper techniques to prevent the weed mother plants from overgrowing, developing root problems, or contracting diseases.

Here are several ways to ensure the mothers are in the best condition to produce high-quality clones.

Feeding

Mother crops require a constant supply of nutrients to keep them healthy while vegetating. Ensure the plants get enough nitrogen, which is essential for their growth and acts as a building block for proteins.

Rather than frequently adding nutrients, consider feeding the cannabis mother plants with dry-release organic fertilizers. It’s less labor-intensive as it only requires top-dressing and watering. 

Some growers also opt to use compost tea that boosts plant growth and introduces beneficial microorganisms into the soil. 

Watering Cannabis Plants and Adding Nutrients

Topping and pruning

Forcing the marijuana mother plants to stay in the vegetative phase continually can make them grow to uncontrollable heights. Topping and pruning cannabis crops is vital to keep them short. 

Start topping the mothers early (about two weeks) in the vegetative stage. If growing indoors, branches tend to stretch towards the light source. Use a low-stress training (LST) technique to manipulate the plants and prevent them from becoming too tall.

Pruning the cannabis mother plants ensures you eliminate overgrown and dead branches while promoting the development of healthier ones.

Pinching the crops also results in shorter and bushier limbs that produce numerous clones without taking extra space. Top the parent plants regularly to maintain them within manageable heights. 

Permanent vegetation cycle

The ideal lighting cycles for weed vary depending on the growth stage. Mother plants require more illumination since they’re in their vegetative phase. 

If you’re an indoor grower, use the standard 18/6 schedule. Keep the artificial lights on for 18 hours and maintain darkness for six. Outdoor cultivation can be challenging as you don’t have control over the daily amount of sunlight. 

Maintain the 18/6 light cycle if you want the cannabis mother plants to proliferate and produce many clones. 

Use the 14/10 schedule (lights on for 14 hours and off for 10) to reduce the maturity rate. The parent crops will remain in their vegetative stage without overgrowing. 

vegetative cannabis

Air pruning roots

Mother plants can develop problems due to staying in containers for extended periods. They can suffer from nutrient deficiency, attack by pests, or develop root rot. Ensure the pot size is large enough to accommodate the mature crops

Invest in a fabric container that promotes better aeration and helps regulate the soil temperature, leading to better growth. These pots enhance drainage and naturally trim the roots through air pruning, reducing the risks of diseases.

Are you wondering when and how to trim a mother plant’s roots? Stunted growth, hardy stems, and poor health likely indicate that it’s time to prune. 

Trim the roots when they start growing out of the container. Once done, transfer the crop to another pot and fill it with soil. Water the plants and wait for them to recover in about three weeks before taking clones. 

Environmental requirements 

When cloning cannabis, it’s essential to maintain the proper environmental conditions to ensure the production of healthy cuttings.

The mother plants require temperatures ranging from 68–77°F to thrive. Cold temps inhibit the crops’ ability to absorb nutrients, while hot conditions stress them.

Keep the humidity levels between 45–60% when growing indoors. Study your area’s outdoor climatic conditions to determine the best time to raise the mothers. 

The crops require a growing medium with pH levels ranging from 5.5–6.5. The cannabis mother plants also need frequent watering. 

Spray H2O daily in the morning or evening. Dry soil in the container signifies thirsty crops that require water.

How to take clones from a cannabis mother plant

Are you ready to take clones from your parent plants? Here are the steps to follow for the best results:

How to take clones from a cannabis mother plant
  • Prepare your work area and ensure all tools, like rooting medium, scissors, etc., are ready. 
  • Wear gloves and sterilize the working space and equipment to avoid spreading bacteria to the mother crop or cuttings.
  • Select sturdy branches with two nodes or more and cut at 45° to increase the rooting surface area. 
  • Immediately place your clones in the rooting hormone, then into the medium.
  • Remove the bottom leaves and cut off the tips of the fan leaves to encourage photosynthesis. Reducing the surface area triggers the clone to focus its energy on developing roots. 

After trimming, transfer the cuttings to a humidity dome to keep them hydrated. The clones then require an 18/6 light schedule to vegetate. 

Transplant the cuttings after they form roots about two inches long, which can take up to two weeks. Sterilize the environment, then transfer the clones to the new pot. Fill the container with soil and water gently. 

FAQs about marijuana mother plants

Do you have more questions about cannabis mother plants? Here are answers to common queries that weed growers ask. 

When can I take clones from a weed mother plant?

Before taking cuttings from a mother crop, ensure the branches are mature enough to root and survive. Generally, the plant is ready to produce clones after 2–3 weeks into the vegetative stage. 

How many clones can I take?

The number of cuttings a cannabis mother crop can produce depends on age, health, and size. If the parent plant is large and bushy, chop about 6–8 clones. While young, only take 2–3. 

The mother crop can produce unlimited cuttings, depending on how long you keep it. Though the parent plants can survive for years, most growers opt to replace them after 6–12 months. 

How often can I take clones from a mother plant?

If you’re wondering how often you can take clones from a mother plant, the answer is as frequently as possible. Give the parent crop about three weeks to recover after cutting.

Take the clones after the plants develop new, healthy, and strong stems.

What’s the best light cycle for a cannabis mother plant?

Maintain an 18/6 light schedule to promote growth while preventing the crops from flowering. If you want to slow the maturity rate and save on utility bills, set a 14/10 cycle. 

Achieve a perpetual cannabis harvest

Do you want to maintain a perpetual harvest in your weed garden? Keep cannabis mother plants and enjoy an endless supply of clones for planting.

Are you looking for the best strains to grow as parents? At Homegrown Cannabis Co., we’ve got hundreds of premium marijuana seeds ready to ship to your doorstep. 

Browse through our catalog, select your preferred cultivars, and take your marijuana cultivation to a new level.


About the author: Derek LaRose

Also known as Kronic from The Cannabis Kronicles, Derek LaRose is a young ambitious cultivator and a staple educator for indoor cultivation.

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