What Is Cloning And Its Advantages?
Cloning is a technique that ensures that new growths all exhibit the same desirable traits. Not only is it an effective propagation method, but also cheap. Moreover, it presents numerous other advantages over starting from seeds.
In a nutshell, cloning entails obtaining stem cuttings from a mature cannabis plant. These cuts, then, undergo the rooting process. As the root system develops, the young plants go through both the vegetative and flowering stages.
Advantages Of Cloning
Starting from clones is a widely used propagation method. For commercial growers, it could spell the difference between making or losing money. Even for personal consumption, cloning cannabis offers many benefits.
1. Eliminates The Need For Seeds And Economical
On the assumption that you have already grown several plants – and the time to switch to the flowering period is imminent. The question is, should you flip the switch, or obtain cuts?
Letting the plants enter the bloom stage means that after harvesting, you need to germinate seeds again to start new growths. Cloning eliminates this process. As a result, there is no need to buy more seeds. For personal consumption over the long term, the savings could range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
2. Faster Growth
As if obtaining a genuine, high-quality seed is not challenging enough, numerous other factors affect the success rate of germination.
Seeds take time to crack. Some take only 24 hours, while others could take up to 7 days before the taproot appears. Indoors, the seedling stage takes 2-3 weeks on average, and up to 6 weeks if cultivated outdoors.
Cloning virtually eliminates the entire seedling stage. One the root system develops, the cuts already enter the vegetative stage. As a result, you could start harvesting earlier.
3. Guaranteed Females
Among the different types of seeds, feminized are the most sought after, and for a good reason. One single male plant which develops its pollen sac could contaminate all the nearby females by accidentally pollinating. If that should occur, then an entire batch of perfectly good plants go to waste.
Feminized seeds, however, is not 100% guaranteed to produce only females. Depending on the quality and environmental factors, there is still a slim chance that a male or a hermaphrodite could show up.
With cloning, there is no ifs or buts. Cuts obtained from a mature female plant will grow into a replica of its donor – 100% of the time.
4. Guaranteed Desirable Traits
Once the seeds sprout, its phenotype expression will have slight differences, assuming it came from a highly stabilized mother plant. In some cases, it could be radical such as an Indica showing up amongst Sativa plants. Thus, with regards to characteristics that include growth pattern, appearance, chemotype, fragrance, and effects, some plants will be better than others.
Cloning takes away the guesswork. The standard practice is to choose the best female plant and use it as the donor. In essence, each clone replicates the original, and thus all the desired traits – 100% guaranteed.
5. Perpetual Harvest
Cloning makes “perpetual harvest” possible – it easy to have an unlimited supply of high-quality cannabis flowers. It is also among the top reasons for duplicating plants in the first place.
You could obtain up to 50 cuttings from a healthy, well-developed mother plant.
Think about that.
Moreover, it can be kept alive for years with proper care and maintenance. Imagine starting 50 new growths – week after week. Not only is the value of its equivalent in seeds astronomical, but that is an endless supply.
“Perpetual harvesting” benefits medical patients the most for two reasons. One is economics. The other is an assurance of constant supply of a strain that works. As it turns out, these two factors are why many ailing individuals grow medicine at home. Besides cutting down on expenses, a particular strain may run out of stock. Even if it were available, its efficacy varies.
With clones, you get precisely what the mother gives.
6. Easier Time Growing
One of the traits that make a female standout is its superior growing traits, among all the phenotypes. At least, that should be the case. If so, then expect each clone to be as resilient and hardy, and free of disease or other weaknesses.
Cloning also makes the Sea of Green cultivation possible. The clones – having uniform size and growth tendencies – allows for optimal use of space and even distribution of light. As a result, even with a reduced life cycle, the overall yield increases.
Disadvantages Of Growing From Cuts
The numerous benefits offered by cloning makes it appear to be the “holy grail” of cannabis propagation. However, there are also reasons to cause a pause.
1. Inheriting The Flaws
For all the promise of growing an endless bunch of plants with desirable traits, there is a dark side to cloning. Any vulnerabilities and weakness such as poor genetics or disease – it is also inherited by the clones.
It is avoidable, of course. After raising the plants to maturity, choose the best among the healthy plants. In some cases, it may necessitate passing on the current batch, and keep watching out for a gem to emerge in future grows.
2. Not For Autos
Unfortunately, there is no fix for this. Auto-flowering plants switch to the flowering period after a predetermined time, usually 2-3 weeks into the vegetative stage. Any injuries sustained, such as cuts, wreaks havoc and significantly reduces the quality and its yield. Clones also do not have the luxury of time to recover first from the “shock” caused by the cutting.
Cloning, thus, only works for photoperiod plants.
3. Possibly Lower Yields
Plants grown from seeds tend to develop a better root structure. As such, its yields tend to be higher than clones. However, the differential is not substantial enough to stop you from cloning.
Where To Obtain Cuttings
There are two ways to obtain cuttings – purchasing it or taking cuttings from the best plant grown from seed. Each has its pros and cons.
Option 1: Buy It
If available in a local dispensary or licensed facility, then it may be possible to obtain cuts. Buying takes away the hassle of procuring seeds, germinating, and nurturing throughout the vegetative stage until it is possible to start cloning.
Although quick and convenient, most people do not have access to a reputable source. Even if available, it also presents some challenges.
- There is no verifiable way of knowing the growth patterns and other traits of the mother, except what the seller says.
- It is almost impossible to determine if the cuttings are from a sickly or poorly cared for source plant.
Option 2: Obtain It from Own Grow
The best way to obtain stem cuttings is to grow the plants yourself. It is not only reliable but also cost-effective.
Typically, it entails:
- Germinating and growing the plants.
- Once the plants exhibit its gender, discard the males to keep the grow area female-only.
- Take cuttings from each female, and label it for identification.
- Keep the original mother plants in the vegetative stage.
- Root the clones and nurture until it flowers. Keep a record of the qualities of each clone.
- Harvest and assess the flowers, and use the mother of the clone that exhibited the best traits as the source.
It may be a time-consuming process. However, it is the best way to guarantee that the donor plant was treated well and grown in the best possible environment. Consequently, clones started from this mother plant will attain the full potential, matching the source and its favorable traits.
Is Cloning Cannabis For You?
Cloning may require a bit of a learning curve. By and large, though, it is not a complicated procedure. Once comfortable in cultivating cannabis, it is merely a matter of replacing the germination and seedling stage with cutting and rooting.
For sure, cloning is not for breeding and producing seeds. It is also not a viable option for growing autos.
As for most home growers, it is an option that offers tremendous benefits. It is a guarantee that batches after batches of new plants all exhibit the same trait as the outstanding female chosen to be the donor. For patients, it is an assurance that there is a constant supply of medicine. If these reasons alone are enticing enough, then yes, cloning is indeed for you.