Whatever grow system you use,
you are bound to use clones sooner or later.
By Breeder Steve
of the Spice of Life Seed Co.
any novice growers ask themselves "should I start
from seed or should I grow some clones?" It's a good question, and
one that deserves serious consideration.
Growing from clones means that you will harvest more bud
sooner. Many people who start a garden these days know someone who
will give them a few clones for the simple pleasure of sharing a
good thing. Some people sell clones, often growing an exclusively
vegetative garden without ever flowering. These clonemeisters keep
a variety of select mothers from high-quality strains, and grow
them on a continuous eighteen hour light cycle. They can make good
money selling trays of cuttings, either rooted or simply fresh cut.
Rooted clones are more expensive than fresh
cuttings versus seeds
Many people opt to purchase a tray of cuttings when
starting out, so they get a faster return on their investment. This
is sensible, but there is no substitute for learning, and growing
from seed teaches you more about the plant. Growing from
seed, especially from high numbers of seeds, allows for the
selection of a particular plant that best suits your needs.
I always tell people who start from seed to be sure to take
two clones from the bottom of each plant just before putting
the plants into flower. These clones should be labeled with the
same number as the mother plant from which it was taken, as well as
the date it was cut. Keep those clones alive!
When you see which plant produces the best buds and is
most worthy of your precious grow space, take the corresponding
clones and grow them large under your metal halide on an
eighteen hour light cycle. Your next crop can be all
cuttings from your favourite plant. This harvest will be much more
uniform than the last one, and this will improve the quality and
quantity of your yield.
If you grow you should eventually cut and root your own
clones. There are many ways to take clones, and I am going to
share the simple procedure that I use to take mine. It's easy to
do, especially once you get a feel for it.
how to take the cutting
To get started you will need: a clean razor blade, a water
mister, a tray with a clear plastic lid, a planting medium, and
perhaps a jar of rooting hormone. Clones can be effectively
rooted using nothing more than water, however most growers
choose to dip their freshly cut stem into either a rooting powder or a gel.
Many growers cut the branch underwater so that no air
bubbles will form in the stem of the new cutting. If air enters the
stem it will prevent the stem from carrying water and the cutting
will die. Dipping the cut end of the stem immediately into a
rooting gel also solves the air bubble problem. If using a
powder the cuttings must be wet so that the powder will
Use a toothpick or a nail to poke a hole in the planting medium,
to ease the entry of the cut stem. It is important not to
crush or bend the tender stem at all. Try and make the hole about
the same size as the stem to be inserted.
When you have your tools and accessories ready and have soaked
your medium, you should select a soft, small branch from the
bottom of the plant, one that wouldn't amount to much anyway.
If you are planning to keep the plant in vegetative
growth to continue taking cuttings then you should take
cuttings from any shoots that have two or three nodes. I take
cuttings that are between two and four inches long, but some people
prefer to take cuttings as long as eight inches.
The stem will root quickly if it is still soft and green,
not woody. Make an even, diagonal slice through the branch with
your clean razor, below the would-be cutting. Strip the bottom
leaves off of the cutting, dip it in rooting gel and plant it.
If you make your cut right above a node on the branch then
two new branches will sprout out as if it had been pinched. If
you continue in this fashion then your mother will produce an
exponential number of cuttings every two weeks. You will soon be
proudly giving clones away to your friends (or maybe Sell
how to root your cuttings
So now you've cut and dipped your first batch of clones, stuck
them in a medium, misted them, and put the clear plastic lid on the
tray. Now put the tray under fluorescent lights, about six inches
away to start with, moving them a little closer every few days.
I've rooted clones on the floor in my bedroom, and in
many a veg room in the shade of a leafy mother. Both provide decent
ambient light and a good temperature range. 24¡C is optimum
temperature, but my experience is that as long as it's close to
that it'll do. The clones must be warm but not scorched. Direct
light will burn them because without roots the stem cannot supply
the leaves with enough water to match the leaves' rate of
Transpiration is a part of how the plant grows. Water and
nutrients travel up the stem from the roots to the leaves, where
they are used in photosynthesis. Tiny hairs called stomata sweat
out the moisture to allow the stream of nutrients to continue
flowing. Wind aids in transpiration by blowing the moisture off the
stomata, which is why the lid is so important.
Another way to protect the stomata is to spray a light
wax onto the cuttings. This slows transpiration to the point
where you don't even need a lid, and the waxy coating serves as a
protection against pests. I suggest you just try using a lid at
Remove the lid once a day and fan the cuttings with it
for a few seconds. I also like to cut small holes into the corners
of the lid so that there is a little ventilation, and I
usually put holes into the corners of the tray to allow for
drainage if the plants are over-watered. The roots need oxygen
to thrive and survive.
supplements & supplies
Oasis Foam is my favourite medium because it is so airy
and quick to dry, and it has the added bonus of having a neutral pH
balance. Olivia's is my favourite rooting gel, although I've tried
many and they all work. I find that just soaking the tray before
planting is usually sufficient to sustain the cuttings until they
There are a number of nutritional additives that may be
added to this soaking, but my experience is that they are not
essential. You might try Spray & Thrive, Nutriboost,
Powerthrive, Superthrive, Olivia's cloning solution, a mild seaweed
solution, or a plethora of other products. Plain water works well
after cutting care
When the tray feels light water it. If the plants look
dry, mist them. Check the bottom for roots after three days. Some
strains will root this fast, while others may take up to ten days,
or even two weeks. When roots are showing out of the sides and
bottom of the medium it is time to transplant them into
whatever medium you choose to grow them in.
Generally, your medium will be a pot with a well drained soil
mixture, or one of any number of soilless cultures. The latter
are definitely an improvement over soil when it comes to speed of
production and overall yield, but it is much easier to grow
marijuana in soil.
It is not that difficult to set up and operate a hydroponic
system, but one detail like a faulty irrigation timer can
cause devastation if not immediately corrected.
The hydroponic solution must be monitored closely and kept
balanced, while a well prepared soil solution may not need
any additional fertilizers for the entire life of the plant. As
long as you water the soil when it gets dry the plant will thrive
and be happy.
Soil-grown pot is considered by many to have a more
palatable taste than hydroponically grown herb, but there are
always exceptions to such rules. Some growers get the best
of both worlds by experimenting with organic hydroponics, but most
use basic stock solutions that contain fertilizer salts in a
readily available form. These salts are easy to administer in
tried-and-true formulas, but the problem is that these stock
solutions tend to leave a metallic taste in the precious
produce. Experienced growers know to leach their plants
before harvest to remove residual salts from the buds, but it
appears that few bother to leach sufficiently for a truly clean,
A milder feed solution will prevent the build-up of
excess fertilizer salts in the bud. Leaching time varies from
grower to grower, from two days to two weeks. Some use plain or
distilled water, others simply use a very diluted feed
clones are fantastic
Whatever grow system you use, you are bound to use clones
sooner or later. They can greatly improve the efficiency
of your growing area, and are a fantastic way to preserve your
An exceptional plant can be rejuvenated and cloned even
after it has flowered and been harvested. If a small amount of
vegetative matter is left growing on the bottom of the plant and it
is placed under an eighteen hour light cycle then all the
little nuggets will stretch into vegetative shoots, which may then
be cloned and grown into a full mother plant, which can be cloned
indefinitely. This will provide you with many uniform harvests of
your favourite plant.