Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on January 2, 2023

Cannabis growers are constantly looking for new ways to make their cannabis yields more budget-friendly, and one of them is definitely cloning marijuana plants. Whether you buy your cannabis clones at the local dispensary, or you clone your own cannabis plants, cloning weed can be a relatively easy way to cultivate new marijuana plants.

Below, we’ll dive into what it takes to get weed clones as a cultivator, and how you can clone your own plants within optimal conditions. Furthermore, we’ll compare growing marijuana plants from both seeds and clones, so if you’re growing clones for the first time, you’ll have a clear picture of how it needs to be done.

What Are Cannabis Clones?

Basic cannabis cultivation consists of the following developmental stages:

  • Germination stage;
  • Seedling stage;
  • Vegetative stage;
  • Flowering stage. 

In order for you to get flowering plants and THC and CBD rich buds, the cannabis plant needs to go through all of these stages. With cloning plants, the process is the same for the following reason.

Cannabis clones are genetic copies of the cannabis mother plants. This method of reproduction, asexual propagation, involves replicating a parent plant into a clone with an almost identical cannabinoid and terpene profile as the mother. The cloned plant should also be resistant to similar pests and fungi as the mother since it contains the same physical and chemical traits as the mother plant.

Why Clone Cannabis Plants?

The reason that growers choose cloning as opposed to planting seeds and letting them grow is because using this method will allow you to create a whole new harvest that replicates your best plants. If grown properly, your clone will have the same phenotype as the mother plant, meaning it will have the same flavor, cannabinoid profile, terpene profile, and yield. 

Other benefits of cloning include saving money, as cloning doesn’t require growers to buy additional seeds if they want to grow new plants. But also, it doesn’t require to sex the seeds out and get rid of the males since you’ll be taking clones only from female plants, which will also save you additional grow space.

How to Get Marijuana Clones From the Mother Plant and Start Cloning Cannabis?

The cloning process of cannabis is fairly easy, so here are the things you’ll need:

  • A healthy plant (female mother plant) with vegetative limbs of 4-20 inches (10-50 cm) in length;
  • Cloning tray (with a dome) or a plastic bag;
  • Razor blade;
  • Water;
  • Rooting medium;
  • Rooting hormones;
  • Scissors;
  • Fluorescent light fixture.

Before You Clone Your Cannabis Plant

  • It’s important to sterilize the blades before cutting the mother plant so you don’t infect the roots of the clones with bacteria.
  • To get high-quality clones, the mother plant should be no less than a month old (but optimally 2 months) and you can take clones until 2-3 weeks before harvest since they root faster in the vegetative stage.
  • You should keep the mother plant under a light cycle of 18 hours on and 6 hours off, which will prolong the vegetative stage. 
  • Choose the right rooting medium to promote root growth. You can choose between rockwool cube, rooting cubes, peat, foam, and others.
  • Don’t use fertilizers on mother plants a few days before cutting to give the leaves time to work the nitrogen out of their system. Otherwise, you risk your clones to vegetate instead of making roots.

Cloning Your Cannabis Plants

To make the best out of your new cuttings, you should follow the guidelines listed below:

  • Make sure you cut branches that are sturdy and healthy with at least two nodes. Cuttings from the lower half of the plant have more rooting hormones and are more likely to grow roots faster.
  • Cut above the node of the mother plant with scissors.
  • Cut below the bottom node of the fresh cutting at a 45-degree angle to increase the rooting surface area. 
  • The new cuttings should be between 5-8 inches (10-20 cm) long.
  • Place the new cutting into a rooting hormone and remove the fan leaves from the bottom of the cutting that look big since they’ll likely over-exert the plant and not allow it to grow propper roots.
  • New clones need a lot of light and humidity. The light cycle should be 18 hours on and 6 hours off, and the humidity should be between 75-90% until the plant develops roots. This should take between 7-14 days, and when the roots are between 1-2 inches long, it’s a sign that the plant should be planted. 

Transplanting Cloned Plants

  • You should keep a sterile environment when transplanting clones in order to avoid transplant shock.
  • Before you transplant, you should first put the soil in the planter, water it, let the water drain, and dig a small hole, enough to bury the roots.
  • Put the clone in and cover the base with soil.
  • You should check the clones daily to see if they need additional water or humidity. To increase humidity, spray water on the leaves with a spray bottle.
  • If some clones die, make sure you discard them immediately to avoid mold in the rest of your clones.

Growing Cannabis Plants With Cannabis Seeds vs Cannabis Clones

When it comes to deciding whether you want to reproduce cannabis with cannabis seeds or cannabis clones, it’s really a personal preference.

Cannabis Seeds

Seeds are created by crossing a male marijuana plant with a female one through pollination. When growing marijuana from seeds, you need to acquire marijuana seeds, germinate them, sex them out, and continue to grow them. Plants grown from seeds have stronger taproots and better immune systems compared to clones.

This is a more expensive procedure, since you will get both male and female plants, but only female plants produce buds (although you could buy feminized seeds which only produce female plants). But, by breeding both male and female plants, you could create hybrids from the parent plants.

Cannabis Clones

Cloning, on the other hand, is a method preferred by cultivators and home growers because it is a more budget-friendly version of cultivating marijuana. You save weeks of energy, nutrients, and grow space which you would waste on male plants.

Clones also have a genetic consistency which allows cultivators to really get to know the specific conditions that it takes to grow that particular plant. Moreover, clones have a better head-start compared to seedlings because they’re already mature plants by the time they’re cloned, so you can get a bigger plant faster.

The only downside is that clones lack a taproot and only grow secondary roots as part of their root system. That type of root system only simulates lateral growth, as opposed to the downward growth of roots in plants that came from seeds. That can make clones more sensitive to light, and cause them to burn easily when they have too many nutrients.

Final Thoughts on Cloning Marijuana

It all comes down to your preferred method of cannabis cultivation. While cloning can be a budget-friendly option, it can also result in somewhat weaker plants since they only have secondary roots. But if done correctly, cloning marijuana can help you maintain a continuous harvest year-round. And all you’ll need to cultivate your plants are grow lights, appropriate humidity, enough grow rooms, and you’re ready for a genetically consistent crop.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


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