How to Plant Clones
This article was co-authored by Maggie Moran and by wikiHow staff writer, Sophia Latorre. Maggie Moran is a Professional Gardener in Pennsylvania.
There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
This article has been viewed 82,038 times.
If you live in a place where it is legal to grow marijuana, you can expand your crop by planting clones. Planting clones of marijuana plants is a simple process that only requires a few steps. Choose clean pots with new soil and provide a warm, moist environment with weak light to ensure that the clones thrive.
- Twisted, blistered, and wet-looking leaves are an indication of broad mites or russet mites.  X Research source
- Small specks or bite marks on leaves are a sign of spider mites.  X Research source
- Yellow spots on the leaves indicate a fungus called leaf septoria.  X Research source
- White spots, fuzzy patches, or powdery-looking leaves are signs of white powdery mildew.  X Research source
- Be sure to wear gloves to avoid getting the product on your hands. If your skin does come into contact with the liquid, wash them with warm water and soap immediately.
- You also need to avoid contact with your eyes.
- It’s best to transplant clones into small or medium-sized pots, rather than large ones, to ensure the nutrients in the soil aren’t drained off and wasted during watering.
- It’s important to purchase new soil, rather than reusing soil, to ensure that the clones aren’t contaminated with pests or fungus from other plants.  X Research source
Plant clones when the roots are 3 inches (7.6 cm) long. Though some growers opt to plant their clones once the roots reach 1 inch (2.5 cm) long, it’s best to wait until the roots are 3 inches (7.6 cm) or longer to reduce the chances of transplant shock.  X Research source
Fill a pot almost to the top with lightly-compacted soil. Leave at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) of space between the soil and the top of the pot to leave room for the water to settle before being absorbed. Use the bottom of another pot to lightly compact the soil, but don’t compact it too much or the roots will have trouble spreading.  X Research source
- If your clones are planted in rockwool, dig out a space in the pot large enough for the rockwool. Then, place the rockwool and clone inside the pot and cover the rockwool with soil.
Water and mist the clones immediately after planting. Use only distilled water for marijuana plants, as the minerals, sodium, and chlorine in tap water can damage your plants. As soon as you’ve gotten the clones in the pots, water the soil until it runs through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Then, use a mister or spray bottle to lightly mist the leaves and stem of each plant.  X Research source
Provide 18 hours of weak light per day. Strong, bright light is not necessary for clones. Use a weaker light, such as compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, rather than high-intensity discharge (HID) light bulbs. Situate the bulbs 8 inches (20 cm) above the cloned plants. Set times on your lights so that the clones receive 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness in each 24-hour period.  X Research source
Ensure the temperature is between 72 and 77 °F (22 and 25 °C). Clones need a warm environment to thrive. They do best with temperatures between 72 and 77 °F (22 and 25 °C), so use a heater or cooling system in your grow room if necessary. Do your best to keep the temperature as consistent as possible, as fluctuations in temperature can weaken your plants.  X Research source
Keep the soil consistently moist. Check the soil each day to see if your plants need water. The soil should be moist, but not saturated. It’s better to water the plants small amounts more frequently than large amounts less frequently. You can also use a mister or spray bottle to keep the leaves moist, as well.  X Research source
Provide little to no breeze for cloned plants. It’s important to check your ventilation system before planting clones and adjust it as necessary. Because cloned plants are young and weak, too much of a breeze will dry out your clones. Ensure that there is little to no breeze in the space where the cloned plants are located.  X Research source
Treat the clones as adults after 6-8 weeks. After 6-8 weeks, the clones are considered adult marijuana plants. If the roots grow to the bottom of the pot, you can transplant them into larger pots. Provide the same amount of light, fertilizer, air circulation, and water as you would for other full-grown plants so they can mature and flower.  X Research source
Yes, although you may want to get a bucket or the growing bags found at your local hydroponics store. if you plant in the ground it is quite possible the plant will reach 10-12 feet tall, depending on the strain. be mindful of the time of year you’re planting in your zone.
Only grow marijuana where it is legal and follow all rules and regulations concerning cultivation (such as only growing the number of plants allowed in your area).
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About This Article
This article was co-authored by Maggie Moran and by wikiHow staff writer, Sophia Latorre. Maggie Moran is a Professional Gardener in Pennsylvania. This article has been viewed 82,038 times.
All you’ll need to plant clones is a pot with large drainage holes, soil, and a warm place for them to grow. Your pot needs to have good drainage because clones don’t do well if the soil gets waterlogged. Choose a soil high in nitrogen, which helps clones thrive. Give your clones about 18 hours of weak light, like compact fluorescent light, each day for best results. Clones do best in environments between 70 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit, so make sure you place them in a hot room if necessary. You should also water your clones every day to keep the soil moist, but not too damp. For tips from our Gardening co-author on how to transplant cloves, read on!
How to re-veg marijuana plants
Cannabis is an annual flowering plant, its life cycle limited to just one season. In the wild, it grows from a seed, flowers, and dies, all between spring and fall. Once a female plant dies, it will drop seeds, which are responsible for carrying genes through to the next growing season.
But it’s possible to hack this process to give cannabis plants a second growing season. A grower can manipulate a plant and force it to revert from the flowering stage back to the vegetative stage again. This process is known as re-vegging, or regeneration, and it allows you to harvest buds from a plant, then grow the same plant again for a second harvest of buds.
Cannabis has a short-day photoperiod, meaning it transitions from a vegetative period to a flowering period—when it starts growing buds—because the amount of light it receives reduces. This happens outdoors as autumn approaches and days become shorter. Indoors, growers “flip” weed plants into the flowering stage by manually reducing the amount of light they get each day.
Altering a cannabis plant’s photoperiod schedule after harvest will allow you to re-veg it.
Benefits of re-vegging cannabis plants
Reduce vegetative periods
A cannabis plant that has undergone a full growing season will have a complex and robust root system. If re-vegging a weed plant, it will move through its second vegetative phase quicker if it has a mature root system, whereas clones or seeds will take longer to establish roots.
Eliminate mother plants
Growers will sometimes keep mother plants, which are plants that always stay in the vegetative stage for the purpose of cloning only. But keeping mother plants takes time and space. Re-vegging allows you to get rid of mother plants, freeing up space in your grow for plants that only produce buds. It also saves time and resources, as you won’t have to tend to mother plants.
The process of taking a clone from a flowering plant is a re-vegging technique known as “monster cropping” (more below), and it can produce more vigorous and bushier plants. If done correctly, monster-cropped clones have the potential to create plants with higher yields the second time around because of an increased vegetative mass, stronger stems and branches, and more nodes for potential buds.
Cloning/Preserving a phenotype
If cloning a weed plant, growers usually need to take a clone of a plant before it begins flowering. But if a grower neglects to for any reason, that phenotype, or the genes of that specific plant, will get lost. Re-vegging is the only way to preserve an exact replica of a particular phenotype once it has transitioned into the flowering state.
Disadvantages of re-vegging cannabis plants
Re-vegging is hard to successfully pull off, even for seasoned growers. It takes a few weeks for new growth to appear so you might be wasting time and space waiting for new growth only for it to not happen.
Most growers who re-veg say that yields decrease the second time around. So while re-vegging may cut down on the amount of time it takes to grow a plant, it might not produce as much.
Stress on the plant
The re-vegging process is highly stressful on a plant and even if it does re-veg successfully, aberrations often occur, such as unusual leaf growth and hermaphroditism. Re-vegged plants are more delicate and must be given more attention and care.
Types of re-vegging
There are a few ways a cannabis plant can revert from its flowering stage back to a vegetative stage.
Probably the easiest method, this will allow you to harvest a plant for buds and then re-veg it for a second growing season. This is typically done with indoor plants, as you’ll need to control the amount of light they receive.
When harvesting a weed plant, leave a few healthy buds and branches intact at the base of the plant. Reset the plant’s photoperiod back to a vegetative schedule: 18 hours of light/6 hours of dark a day (as opposed to the 12 light/12 dark schedule it had when flowering).
Also, change the plant’s nutrient regimen, giving it nutrients more conducive to early-stage growth. It will need more nitrogen for root and leaf development, as opposed to the high amounts of potassium and phosphorus it likely received during flowering.
Post-harvest re-vegged cannabis plants often take a little bit of time to take off at first and some strains may not even be receptive to this method at all. Early growth on a re-vegged plant may exhibit stress-induced mutations like single-fingered leaves and odd node patterning, but these issues should go away after a few weeks if re-vegging is successful. Plants that re-veg successfully can display increased vigor after the initial transition.
As mentioned above, cloning a plant while it’s in the flowering stage is called monster cropping. To successfully do this, take clones from the lower branches of a plant when it’s in the second or third week of flowering.
Take a clone as you normally would, but be sure to remove all visible flowering nodes from each clone. This will improve the clone’s ability to root out by halting flower production within the cutting.
As with post-harvest re-vegging, monster cropping may result in stunted and mutated growth at first, but with proper care and training, this method can produce massive plants with increased vigor and foliage growth.
Cannabis plants will unexpectedly revert back to vegetative growth if there is a disturbance in their photoperiod schedule—for example, if they receive 12 hours of light a day for a while, and then start to get more than that.
This can occur both indoors and outdoors, usually because of a light leak or a light timer malfunction when growing indoors, or from planting outside too early in the season when growing outdoors.
Even the tiniest of changes in a cannabis plant’s light cycle can cause it to flip back to a vegetative state, and some plants may even turn hermaphroditic, growing both male pollen sacs and female flowers.
How to clone cannabis plants
A clone is a cutting, such as a branch, that is cut off of a living marijuana plant, which will then grow into a plant itself. A clone has the same genetic makeup as the plant it was taken from, which is called the mother plant.
A typical clone is about 6 inches in length, give or take, and after cutting it off the mother plant, the clone is put into a medium such as a root cube and given a hormone to encourage root growth.
After roots develop, it is then transplanted into a pot or the ground, and it will grow like any weed plant.
Why clone cannabis plants?
If you don’t want to mess with seeds, clones can be a great option for starting a marijuana plant. Growing weed from a clone will save you time—even though they need time to root out, you don’t have to germinate seeds, which will shave off a month or so of the growing process.
Clones will also save space in your garden—with seeds, you have to grow many and sex them out to identify and get rid of the males. Also, usually some seeds don’t germinate. You’ll need extra space for all those seeds, and they might not even turn into full plants.
If you take a clone from a plant you already have, they’re free! You just need to invest in some supplies. Although, you can buy clones from a dispensary if you want.
One of the best things about clones is they are exact genetic replicas of the mother plant from which they were taken. If you have a particular marijuana plant you like, whether for its appearance, smell, effects, or something else, you can take clones of it and grow it again, ad infinitum.
There is some speculation that clones can degrade over time based on environment stressors and other factors, but that is open to debate.
What is a cannabis mother plant?
A mother plant is any cannabis plant you take a clone from. Mothers should be healthy and sturdy, as their genetics will pass on to the clones—if you have a sickly mother plant, its clones will also be sickly.
Mother plants always stay in the vegetative stage as clones are clipped off. It’s important to not take cuttings off a flowering weed plant—this can cause the clone to turn into a hermaphrodite and may also damage the flowering plant.
Some growers have dedicated mother plants only for taking cuttings, but this setup takes up a lot of space and materials—you’ll need to keep the mother plant alive, but you won’t get any buds off it because it’ll always stay in the vegetative stage. Some growers find it hard to justify devoting time, energy, and space to plants that won’t produce buds. If your grow space is tight, this might not be the best setup.
Another method growers employ is to take cuttings off a set of mother plants before they flower, then flip the mothers into the flowering stage. The next generation of clones is grown, and when those get big enough, cuttings will be taken from those before getting flipped into flower. Because clones are genetically identical, each generation will be an exact copy of the first-generation mother and all subsequent mothers.
Cannabis mother plants guarantee genetic consistency, so each new generation of clones taken will have the same taste, flavor, effects, and other characteristics. Clones will also generally grow at the same rate as the mother, produce a similar quality product, and grow with the same vigor, allowing you to dial in your process and really get to know how to grow that particular weed plant.
Clones also guarantee that all of your weed plants are females, so you don’t have to spend time growing from seed, sexing plants, and discarding males.
What to look for in a mother plant
As genetics are identical between a mother and a clone, it’s important to choose a good plant as a mother. A wilty plant, or one that doesn’t produce good buds, won’t make a good mother.
Growers usually look for these qualities in a mother plant:
- Sturdy, vibrant growth
- Great aromas and flavors
- Big yields
- Dense trichomes
- Resistent to pests and mold
How to clone a cannabis plant
What do you need to clone cannabis?
Cloning cannabis is relatively easy and requires just a few key items:
- Scissors (for taking cuttings off the mother plant)
- Razor (for trimming up cuttings)
- Rooting setup (tray/tray-cell insert/dome/root cubes/heat mat, or an auto-cloner)
- Rooting hormone
Choose a rooting medium and setup
Common rooting mediums include rooting cubes, rockwool, or other non-soil equivalents like peat or foam. Rockwool is melted rock that has been spun into a fine thread, and it has terrific airflow and moisture retention. You can find any of these cubes at most grow stores or online.
If you’re using cubes of any kind, you’ll need to invest in a tray, a tray-cell insert, and a dome. The clones will go in the cubes, the cubes into the tray-cells, and all of that sits in a tray which will hold water. To keep in humidity, make sure to use a dome over your tray, and you may even want to use a heat mat.
Another method is to use an auto-cloner. There is an initial cost for buying an auto-cloner, but if you plan on cloning a lot, they are worth it. Auto-cloners cut down on the amount of labor needed to care for clones. Using aeroponics, these machines spray the bottoms of your cuttings with nutrient water at set intervals to promote root growth.
Experiment to see which setup works best for you. Whichever method you choose, make sure your new clones get plenty of light—preferably 18 hours—and humidity.
For more info on cloning setups, check out our Guide to cannabis cloning equipment.
How to take a cutting from a cannabis plant
When selecting a mother plant to clone from, look for plants that are healthy, sturdy, and at least two months into the vegetative cycle. Don’t take a clone off a plant once it starts flowering.
Don’t fertilize mother plants for a few days leading up to taking cuttings. This will allow nitrogen to work its way out of the leaves. When you take cuttings, an excess of nitrogen in the leaves and stems will trick your clones into attempting to grow vegetation instead of diverting energy to rooting.
Be sure to work in a sterile environment. Use gloves and disinfect razors and scissors.
The beginning of a cannabis clone. (David Downs for Leafly)
To take a cutting:
- Look for branches that are sturdy and healthy. You want at least two nodes on the final cutting, so pick a branch that is healthy and long enough. A sturdy clone will lead to a sturdy plant.
- Cut the clone off the mother, cutting above the node on the mother plant. It’s OK to use scissors here; it may be hard to get a razor in the middle of the mother plant.
- Then, using a razor, cut below the bottom node on the fresh cutting at a 45° angle to the branch. This will increase the surface area of the rooting surface, promoting faster growth.
- Place your fresh cutting immediately into a rooting hormone. Then, put it directly into a root cube. If using an auto-cloner, put a collar around it and place it in the auto-cloner; you’ll put rooting hormone in the cloner after all cuttings have been taken.
- Once done taking the cutting, remove unnecessary leaves toward the bottom and clip off the tips of the remaining fan leaves on the cutting. This supports photosynthesis, helping your clones uptake nutrients and water.
Transplanting your weed clones
Check your clones daily to make sure they have enough water by checking the bottom of the tray or auto-cloner. To increase humidity, you can spray water on the leaves with a spray bottle. If any clones die, discard them so they don’t cause mold in the rest of the clones and also to give the remaining clones more space.
Most clones will be ready to transplant into soil in 10-14 days, but some root out quicker, and some longer. You’ll know they’re ready when the white roots are an inch or two in length.
When getting ready to transplant, be sure to keep the environment sterile. Transplant shock can occur, so be sure to use gloves when handling clones.
- Put soil in your pots first.
- Water the soil before transplanting so soil doesn’t move around once the clone is in its new home.
- Once the water has drained, dig out a hole 1-2 inches deep with two fingers, or just enough to bury all the roots.
- Put the clone in and gently cover with soil.
What to look for when buying a marijuana clone
If you live in a medical or adult-use state, you’ll be able to get clones from some local weed shops, but make sure it’s a reputable shop.
Most of the time, these clones come from growers who focus solely on producing clones, but sometimes cuttings will come from a third-party source. When purchasing clones for your home garden, always ask your shop where they came from. If you can’t get a legitimate answer, find another source.
It’s important to know the origin of your clones because that’s where problems originate—diseases, pests, incorrectly labeled genetics, and unknown pesticide residues can come with a mystery clone.
Never hesitate to research a dispensary or grow facility before buying clones.
Inspect the cannabis clones
Not all pests, diseases, pesticide residues, or genetic markers will be easy to spot with the naked eye, but give your clones a good look before introducing them to your garden. If they look sickly or weak, they likely won’t grow well.
A clone’s stem width is a great way to get a sense of its overall health and vigor. Thin and narrow stems typically mean the clone was taken from a weak or less viable branch. These cuttings may be more prone to disease or death and their root systems may take longer to develop.
Be sure to inspect all areas of your clone for the presence of pests. Large pests such as fungus gnats and spider mites can be spotted relatively easily.
Check under each leaf and also check the soil medium, as some pests live there. Certain pests can also leave markers—spider mites leave spots and webbing, and other insects can leave trace bite marks.
Many diseases can be difficult to detect in cuttings, but there are a few visual cues that can be seen early on. A lack of vigor is a major cue—check for limping leaves, irregular or mutated growth, and discoloration.
Powdery mildew (PM) is a very common disease found on clones, and mold spores can transfer to other plants. Keep an eye out for white powder on stems and leaves.
It’s almost impossible to detect harmful pesticides or fungicides on a clone. Often, these applications leave zero residue and can stay on a plant for the rest of the plant’s life. If you see any suspicious residue on a clone, ask the grower about their in-house integrated pest management (IPM) and always err on the side of caution.
Clean and quarantine your cannabis clones
If some clones look OK at the shop and you decide to take them home, make sure to take a few last precautionary steps before introducing them to the rest of your garden.
First, transplant your new weed clones into a more permanent container and medium. Often the grow medium used to house fresh cuttings at the shop will be different than what you use. Also, pests may be present in its medium when you bought it—transplanting your clone to a cleaner space will help mitigate any potential root damage.
Take this time to properly clean your clone with whatever IPM solution you deem fit. A popular method for cleaning new clones involves dipping them into a light solution of whatever safe and approved pesticide you choose.
After your clones have been properly cleaned and transplanted into their new medium, make sure to keep them quarantined for a few days to a week. Doing this will protect the rest of your garden if they do develop problems, and you’ll be able to pull them out easily.
If they look good after a week or so, go ahead and introduce them to the rest of your garden.
Patrick Bennett and Trevor Hennings contributed to this article.