Cannabis Clone Care
Tips to Help You Care for Your Cannabis Clones
CANNABIS CLONE CARE TIPS
Cannabis plants are very sensitive in the early stages. Special care is needed to ensure that your cannabis clone grows into a beautiful and healthy flower. Our clones are guaranteed to be pest and disease free, but to ensure you are successful with the plants you choose, here are some tips on how to care for them. Please inspect your clones before leaving any retail location and if you see any issues, please report them immediately to the retail staff.
This document was created in collaboration with Berkeley Patient’s Group (BPG) who is one of our long-time dispensary retail partners. For more information on our retail partners, including BPG, please visit our Retail Page.
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT CANNABIS CLONES
Cannabis clones go through two cycles in their lifetime: the vegetative cycle and the flowering cycle. During the vegetative cycle, a plant is doing the majority of its root and foliage growth and should be receiving roughly 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness each day. If clones are not kept in the vegetative grow state long enough this can cause something called pre-flowering. Cannabis plants are photosensitive, meaning they will flower if they receive too much darkness, which can also cause a plant to stress (hermaphrodite: produce seeds). It is important to keep a close eye on the plants in this early stage of life and to watch for signs of heat stress such as drooping or curling leaves. If they do show signs of stress give them a break and move them back to the shade. It is wise to continue to give supplemental lighting through the dark cycle of the day ensuring they do not receive more than 10 hours of darkness.
The flowering cycle is the point at which the plant is receiving roughly 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. In an outdoor garden, the plant is naturally triggered to flip to its flowering cycle around the time of the Summer Solstice, which falls between June 20-22nd each year.
STORING CLONES TEMPORARILY
Ideally, clones should be planted as soon as they get to their home. We recommend preparing the space before picking up your plants. If you do need to store them temporarily before transplanting, the following is suggested:
- Water your clones with a diluted nutrient solution (400-600 parts per million or ppm) and place them under a low-intensity fluorescent fixture; T8 or T12 bulbs are ideal for this purpose, T5 bulbs are can cause plants to begin “stretching” before you are ready.
- Be sure to keep the cubes moist, but be careful not to allow standing water to accumulate in the tray. This will cause the rate of growth to slow, keeping them a manageable size and ensuring that some clones are not dwarfed by larger ones.
- As your clones begin to stretch, be sure to rearrange them to prevent some clones from being “shaded out,” and transplant them as soon as possible.
Photo credit to @m0m_jeens (Instagram)
PREPARING FOR TRANSPLANTING
The first step is to prepare the media you are planting the clone into. Some media may require soaking, conditioning, or some other form of preparation. Coco coir blocks, for example, need to be soaked and then broken up. Pre-mixed coco coir substrates are easy to work with and can be forgiving. Popular amendments include organic or synthetic fertilizer, oyster shell meal (for pH buffering), and various substances to improve soil structure.
Next, fill your pots with your chosen media. Since it is essential that you have a developed rootball before transplanting into a larger pot, planter box, or direct ground space, it is recommended to first transplant into a 1-gallon pot. After a couple weeks your rootball should be developed, allowing to transplant her into a large vessel.
Fill to 1 inch from the tip of pot and gently tamp soil by pressing it down with your hand. This helps ensure that air pockets do not develop; these can dry out your roots and will negatively affect plant health. After tamping, you should have 1 ½ to 2 inches of space between the lip of the pot and the media. This space is important so that you do not overflow the pot while watering.
Pro Tip: Some growers reduce “transplant shock” to their clones by soaking them in a vitamin and hormone solution such as Super Thrive. Super Thrive and similar products contain vitamins and hormones that are reported to minimize stress on growing plants. Prepare a batch by mixing one gallon of water with ¼ teaspoon of concentrate. Soak clones for 15 minutes before transplanting.
Photo credit to @plantgame_bobross (Instagram)
TRANSPLANTING INTO LARGER POT/GROW SPACE
First, dig a small hole in the media about the size of the 1-gallon pot. Place the clone in the hole. The top of the cube should be level with the media. If the rockwool cube is exposed too much, it will dry out easily. If the media level is above the cube, it may come into contact with the stem. This can cause fungal disease. The stem of the clone should be as vertical as possible. Sometimes this means that the rockwool cube will need to be planted crooked. We find that having a vertical stem leads to superior growing results.
Next, fill in media around the clone’s cube. Be sure that the bottom and sides of the cube are in good contact with the media. The rockwool cube should be planted so that just the very top of the cube is exposed. If the cube becomes exposed through watering, gently pack some soil back around it. After several weeks, the clone will be well-rooted, and this will not be an issue.
Finally, thoroughly water your clone. Thorough initial watering helps ensure there are no air pockets or dry spots in your media so that the cube comes into good contact with the water.
HARDENING OFF YOUR CLONES – EASING INTO DIRECT LIGHT
Most clones are kept under 24 hours of light in nurseries, whether you are buying from a dispensary or direct from Dark Heart they are likely used to 24 hours of light, but most often the clones are kept under fluorescent or LED lighting and are not yet used to strong or powerful light/heat given off from the sun. Most clones are stored under 24 hours of artificial light in nurseries and dispensaries. When a clone is moved from 24 hours of artificial light directly into intense sunlight, it can experience shock.
You need to introduce your clones to sunlight (after transplant) in a gradual, slow manner. Starting with partial shade and indirect sunlight will be beneficial for the first few days. The partial sun will get them invigorated to grow and the shade will ensure the heat is not so strong that they are overwhelmed and go into shock.
For a step by step on how to ease your clones into direct sunlight, read our Hardening Off blog post.
For the first week or two, be sure to check the moisture of the actual rockwool cube. In some cases, it is possible for the potting media to wick moisture away from the cube. In these cases, the potting media would be moist, but the cube may be too dry to support the plant. If this happens, pour about 1 cup of water onto the cube itself. Within two weeks the plant will develop a stronger root system, and this will not be an issue.
For more information about the growing process check out our Cultivation Resources page.
Cannabis plants are very sensitive in the early stages. Special care is needed to ensure that your cannabis clone grows into a beautiful and healthy flower. Our clones are guaranteed to be pest and disease free, but to ensure you are successful with the plants you choose we provided some tips on how to care for them.
Seeds Or Clones: Which Is Better For Growing Cannabis?
When growing cannabis, you have two paths to choose from: seeds or clones. One one hand, seeds are reliable, easy, and accessible. Clones, on the other, are fast, efficient, and carry the exact traits of the mother plant. However, both methods have their downsides. Let’s compare seeds and clones so you can decide how to proceed with your grow.
Cannabis cultivators can start a grow in one of two ways. They can either germinate seeds or take cuttings from a mother plant. Both of these methods produce the same end result—cannabinoid-rich buds—but take different routes to get there.
Some growers prefer the speed of clones, whereas others prefer going all the way, start to finish, from seeds. Whether you’re a new grower or a seasoned vet, it’s key to learn about both techniques so you can experiment in the future and maximise results.
Seeds and clones both have a unique set of pros and cons. Once you weigh up the traits of each, you’ll be able to decide which path you want to head down.
ADVANTAGES OF GROWING CANNABIS FROM SEEDS
Some growers view starting from seeds as the “pure” way to cultivate weed. True or not, it sure does offer a deep sense of satisfaction come harvest time.
Most home growers around the world start their projects using seeds. That’s largely because they’re more accessible and legal in most countries, but that’s not all they have going for them. Let’s discuss some of the best reasons to start your grow from seeds.
EASY TO ACCESS
The internet’s made a lot of things easier, especially getting cannabis seeds.
Nowadays, you can easily order seeds online from a long list of established seed banks (like Royal Queen Seeds, of course). They’ll send discreetly shipped packages directly to your mailbox, so you’ll never have to leave the house.
Even in countries where cannabis itself remains illegal, ungerminated cannabis seeds are often perfectly legal to order, possess, and collect. Starting with seeds will keep you on the good side of the law until you drop them in some soil.
STARTING FROM SCRATCH
Not only do seeds offer an arguably more satisfying end result, but they also enable growers to start with a fresh batch of genetics. These small packages of DNA house a code that hasn’t been exposed to a poor growing environment or a host of diseases. As we’ll discuss later, though, the same can’t be said for all clones.
BREED YOUR OWN STRAINS
Once you’ve mastered the art of growing cannabis from seeds, you can start to make your own strains. Breed your favourite female with a prized male, and you’ll have hundreds—if not thousands—of your own seeds at the end of the growing season.
In other words, you’re not “creating a seed” as much as you are creating your own unique strain. Hone in on traits that you enjoy for the most pleasant smoking experience possible.
FEMINIZED SEEDS = DANK FLOWERS
Although regular seeds emerge as both sexes, high-quality feminized seeds offer a 99% guarantee of being female.
Why is this important? Well, as you know, female cannabis plants produce the sticky and cannabinoid-rich bud that most growers are looking for. In contrast, males produce pollen sacs; necessary for breeding, but detrimental to the yield of female plants they breed with.
With feminized seeds, you’ll save an enormous amount of time and effort you’d normally spend on getting rid of males. In turn, you’ll get heaps of quality bud.
DISADVANTAGES OF GROWING CANNABIS FROM SEEDS
After reading the above, starting with seeds might seem like perfection. However, everything in life has a downside. With that in mind, let’s shift the discussion to the not-so-advantageous aspects of using seeds.
THEY DON’T ALWAYS GERMINATE
Although reputable seed banks offer higher germination rates, not every single seed will leave the soil. Unfortunately, no matter what you do, some are simply duds. For this reason, we suggest starting a grow with several seeds, even if you plan on only raising one plant.
GENOTYPE VS PHENOTYPE
Every seed from the same plant will feature a slightly different genotype—a unique genetic code. There will always be genetic variation from parents to progeny, and sibling to sibling.
This means seeds won’t produce an exact replica of a particular parent, and you’ll see differences between brothers and sisters that you grow out. If you plant ten of the same seeds, you’ll notice some variation in height, colour, flavour, and yield.
Cannabis plants also develop specific traits based on their external environment, a factor that influences their phenotype. Temperature, humidity, light, nutrients, and water can all impact phenotypic expression. In this way, achieving a uniform crop is more difficult than with clones.
SLOWER TO START
Lastly, seeds take longer than clones to reach harvest time. It can take anywhere between a few days and a week to see the first signs of life emerge from the soil. After that, add another week or two for your plant to become a mature seedling. It might not seem too long, but there’s a reason speedy autoflowering strains are as popular as they are.
ADVANTAGES OF GROWING CANNABIS FROM CLONES
For those unfamiliar, clones are cuttings taken from vegetating mother plants. Once obtained, growers root the cutting before introducing it to soil or a hydroponic medium.
As the name suggests, a clone provides an exact genetic copy of the mother plant. This can either be a blessing or a curse, as you’ll see below. First, let’s discuss the advantages.
CUTTINGS FROM FEMALES CREATE NEW FEMALES
Because clones are exact copies, cuttings taken from a female mother plant will produce another female. This allows growers to sidestep the 50/50 chance that comes with growing from regular seeds. It also avoids the minor risk of feminized seeds throwing out a male.
CLONES SAVE TIME
With clones, you don’t need to wait for a seed to germinate and grow into a reasonably sized seedling. In fact, you completely skip that stage! Simply root your cutting, and you’ve got a plant that’s instantly ready to grow.
YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT TO EXPECT
Clones deliver exactly what you liked about the mother plant. As exact genetic copies, they’ll carry over all of the mother’s traits, including size, taste, morphology, and productivity. Seeds will differ slightly from the plants they came from, though, due to genetic and environmental factors.
DISADVANTAGES OF GROWING CANNABIS FROM CLONES
Clones far outperform seeds in some areas, but they aren’t perfect. Here are some issues you might run into if you decide to grow from clones.
GOOD LUCK FINDING THEM
Want seeds? Go find a seed bank online. Want clones? Good luck. Since they need to be cut from an active vegetating plant, clones are difficult to find if you’re a home grower. Plus, they’re illegal before they even end up in your possession, making shipping them quite risky.
Paying your growing buddies a visit might be the best way to find clones in most countries. Ask politely, and you might head home with a cutting or two.
YOU NEED TO BE CAREFUL
Seeds are tough. They can be thrown straight into the soil. Clones are delicate and need to be treated as such. If you handle cuttings aggressively or fail to give them a good start, they’ll die before they put out roots.
Fragile cuttings also require a specifically tailored environment with customised parameters to give them the best start in life. They need optimal humidity levels and finely tuned and consistent temperatures. For these reasons, you’ll need to set up additional space in your grow room to cater to their needs, especially if you’re also growing from seeds.
YOU GET THE BAD TRAITS, TOO
Mother plants pass on everything to their clones, including their bad traits. The mother plant, whether you know it or not, might have an underlying genetic issue or fault. It might not become apparent until you’ve raised a few clones, but it’ll do some damage when it does.
CLONES OR SEEDS — WHICH IS BETTER FOR GROWING CANNABIS?
Honestly, the answer is entirely subjective. It all boils down to the personal preferences and skill of the grower. Beginners will have a much easier time—and see better results—using seeds. Clones are more tricky, and best reserved for slightly more experienced growers. However, veteran growers will also choose seeds for breeding purposes, or to see plants through from start to finish.
As with everything in the world of growing, experimenting will enable you to find your own way of doing things. Try both and see what works best for you and your growing style. Good luck!
When growing cannabis, seeds and clones offer a host of distinct benefits and downsides. Explore the pros and cons of each to decide which is best for you.