Many growers don’t care much about the genetics of their crop, and simply want a high yield every grow. This can be achieved by growing from both cannabis seeds or cannabis clones. For more predictability and to avoid buying new cannabis seeds every grow cannabis clones are a great choice. The decision between growing from cannabis clones or seeds depends on what level of grower you are and what setup you want to run. Also check out our guide on the differences between growing from cannabis clones and seeds if you haven’t decided on either method yet. First of all, where can you get cannabis clones?
Buying Cannabis Clones
Finding a source of cannabis clones can be tricky, as it requires you to have certain connections. In most countries you can’t simply go to a cannabis clone store and buy them over the counter. You will also end up driving around with a number of plants in your car, so you have to consider avoiding problems during transportation. Even if you do manage to find someone with cannabis clones for sale, they still might not have what you’re looking for or even sell you something different than what you were supposed to get. A trustworthy cannabis clone vendor is a valuable resource that a lot of growers simply don’t have access to.
Larger amounts of cannabis clones are often sold per tray, it is important to consider transportation before buying anything!
Every country also has very specific regulations for buying cannabis clones. Even in countries where you can buy cannabis clones over the counter, the rules might be a bit confusing. For example if you live in Europe you could drive to Austria and legally buy cannabis clones, but these become illegal as soon as they start flowering. In legal states in the U.S., the sale of cuttings is much less tightly regulated than that of plants, so the legal status changes as soon as roots are developed.
Buying cannabis clones can be a difficult situation regarding varieties. Growers that sell cannabis clones often keep the same mother around and choose to stick with one strain. In Spain for example there is a constant supply of Critical clones as well as flowers. The downside to this is as a grower you can begin to lose relevance and find yourself growing the same thing as everyone else. There can also be a lot of variation in prices for clones of different strains. While popular strains like Amnesia or Power Plant can be bought for under 3 euros per clone in the Netherlands, clones of newer or more exotic strains can sell for up to 10 euros each!
Even if other strains are available and affordable, the vendor might still not have what you’re looking for. The ability to select any of the thousands of strains available makes the decision to grow from cannabis seeds an easy one in many situations. Large scale cannabis cultivation projects often use clones for their practical advantages, however for personal use growing from seeds has more benefits. The average bedroom grower may enjoy the possibility of working with different strains over working with a uniform crop of cannabis clones every grow. This obviously depends on how focused you are on an optimal yield.
Other problems you can face when buying Cannabis clones are pests and diseases, your brand new clones could be infected with spider mites, whitefly or thrips. These pests are a serious threat to any grow room of any size. Cannabis clones can often have many hidden dangers so always be careful where you source the clone from and make sure to check your clones for diseases or pests!
Checklist For Buying Cannabis Clones:
- Make sure the clone has rooted by gently pulling the stem.
- Check the color of the plant: The stems and leaves of your clone should be (dark) green, avoid buying clones with yellow or brown spots/leaves. Any visible roots should be white, not gray or brown.
- Make sure the leaves look healthy, avoid buying clones that show signs of stress like strongly curled leaves.
- Look for powdery mildew: powdery mildew is a very common threat to cannabis crops and looks like a white fuzz. Check the top sides of leaves and along the stem.
- Check for bugs: Most bugs like to live on the bottoms of leaves. Make sure to use a magnifying glass as both thrips and spider mites can be hard to see with the naked eye. Double check by carefully shaking a clone over a clean surface to see if any bugs fall out.
Avoid buying any cannabis clones that don’t make it through this checklist, as starting off with unhealthy plants usually means much more trouble later on. Clones say a lot about the grower and maintaining a clean, organized grow space can make a huge difference. Sometimes it can prove difficult to find a reliable source of cannabis clones, fortunately you can also produce your own clones without too much effort.
Most pests have very small larvae, thrips infestations can often go unnoticed until it is too late! Especially in Spain and California, this particular bug has been a huge problem for over two decades!
Keeping A Mother Plant
One option for a reliable source of cannabis clones is growing your own mother plant, this is a plant that is grown specifically to take clones from. When working with cannabis seeds you are at the starting point of that plant’s life cycle, so you have full control. You will have the opportunity to select either male or female plants and discard the cannabis plants you do not want to grow. This decision is based on your intentions with the grow. If you intend to produce seeds you need both male and female plants. In most grows however the grower simply wants a large, potent, seedless yield and will only keep the female plants. As you become more experienced, you will know how to recognize a keeper. This should be the best plant in the grow room in terms of growth, aroma, stature and vigour.
Provided this plant is female, it is the perfect candidate for becoming a mother plant. Any clone you have bought in the past has come from such selected mother plants. Cloning this plant before flowering or re-vegging it after harvest will allow you to have a well established plant that has been tried and tested throughout the entire life cycle. This route used to be the easiest way to obtain guaranteed female plants, this is a more difficult decision since feminized cannabis seeds have become commercially available. Keeping a mother plant alive is also much less costly than flowering cannabis plants, as you will only need a small and very basic vegetative growth room. This is because mother plants are kept in a permanent vegetative phase.
Mother plants don’t require the best light or ventilation. Keeping a mother plant won’t cost you much in terms of money, but you do need enough space!
These days feminized cannabis seeds make the task of finding a female cannabis plant much easier, allowing the bedroom grower to cut out the 3-6 week sexing process that is required when growing with regular seeds. If you want a quality mother plant however, it is best to avoid feminized cannabis seeds. Regular cannabis seeds are more stress-resistant than feminized cannabis seeds, which means mother plants from these seeds are less likely to run into problems and recover faster after taking clones. Regardless of which type of cannabis seeds you use, investing in top quality genetics will be more than worth it in the long run.
Growing From Clones Without A Mother Plant
If you grow in a setup that uses a separate space for vegetative growth, you can also grow from clones without using a mother plant. If your cannabis plant is ready for the flowering phase and has multiple branches and shoots, this is a great time to consider pruning the lower part of the plant to promote top growth. This is also the window when you can take clones and allow them to root in the same room as your vegging plants. The grow room should provide an ideal environment for the cannabis clones you pruned off to root. You’ll have a limited number of clones, but it will hardly cost any extra effort!
Pruning at the right time can give you the perfect size cuttings for free cannabis clones!
If you have several plants and take several clones, always make sure to label them. Once you have flowered the plants, you may have one plant that starts to dominate the grow room in terms of aroma and size. The clones from this plant will be your keepers, clones from the “runts” that don’t do nearly as well should probably not be used for your next flowering cycle. Taking clones while pruning every generation is very practical, however not as reliable as keeping a mother plant.
Mother Plants Can Last A Long Time
For a constant supply of cannabis clones keeping a mother plant is the best approach if you have the space for it. Growing mother plants is not labour intensive and does not require much equipment. On the basis that your environment can remain perfect and the mother plant is permanently happy, a mother plant can last for up to 10 years and more! Many famous strains around the world have been kept alive as a mother plant for over a decade. The longer a mother plant is kept alive however, the less vigour it will have. Every new generation of clones will be slightly worse than the previous, this also depends on how well the mother plant is taken care of. After the 40th generation of clones, it is advised to start a new mother plant.
Problems With Cannabis Clones Can Mess Up Your Schedule
The ultimate confidence breaker for any grower that relies on cloning is when the cannabis clones do not root. This means that the future of your favourite genetics is now under threat. Even if you root cannabis clones in a propagator or with a bubber system, you can end up pulling out clone after clone and wonder why they did not root. If this is coupled with problems with your mother plant and you are unable to re-veg a flowering plant, it will put an end to your clone cycle.
Bubblers, also known as propagators or cloners are very efficient at creating the optimal circumstances for your clones to develop a strong root system.
From this point on your options are the same as when you started: you can either invest in new cannabis seeds or locate a clone from a reliable source. If the entire point of taking the clones in the first place was to get away from buying cannabis seeds, this means you have to start all over again.
Becoming An Expert Cloner
It’s a great feeling when you see the small hairy roots emerging from the stems and through poke through your starter plugs. Once you master cloning and learn how to optimize your environmental factors you can ensure a very high success rate. From this point on you have the ability to plan ahead and buying cannabis seeds won’t be necessary unless you plan to grow a new variety.