The King of Clones

Just as a caterpillar slowly changes from a leaf munching monster into an eye-catching aerial acrobat, you as a cannabis grower may find yourself evolving your skill and passion with more experience and time. Most of us started out planting bag seeds, and there is nothing wrong with this. By attempting various techniques, you will find those that best suit your specific needs and provide a perpetually endless supply of your favorite strains!

In this segment, we are going to dig into the nuts and bolts associated with cloning. Now for anyone who has ever watched a sci-fi movie, perhaps the notion of cloning is easier to grasp. The concept is designed to replicate or duplicate the genetics which determine the nature of your mother plant.

In a world where opinion is everything, and evidence, along with fact, are often lost in translation, we decided to seek the advice and guidance of a Master Grower. This segment is advised by Mr. W, who imparted his experiences and gave us a practical guide to cloning. Based on personal effort spanning decades, he offered a rarely seen approach to a subject which has become over-complicated for many.

Mr. W has been cloning cannabis plants for quite some time, and while many people opt for expensive, complex systems, his methods are designed to optimize simplicity, cost, and above all, efficiency.

Before we get into the sticks and stalks of cloning, we are going to cover a few basic requirements.

Ensure you are cloning a photoperiod female plant.

Ensure you have a clean work environment and have all tools and amenities prepared.

Please ensure that an adequate mood is set prior to commencing procedures (have something pre-rolled).

Photoperiod feminized cannabis plants display the characteristics required for successful cloning. They develop based primarily on a light cycle and are feminized through selective breeding or chemical treatment methods.

If you start with poor quality genetics, it will not produce a better blueprint should you decide to clone the plant. Reputable seed banks provide a means to ensure that your mother plant will be of sound lineage and breeding. Be sure to select photoperiod feminized seeds if you intend on cloning in the future.

Simply put, a mother plant is going to supply you with all your clones. One of the most neglected areas in the process is in fact, base genetics. To successfully replicate and produce a healthy cannabis plant, the mother plant (also known as the stock) should be in a good state of health. Many experienced growers believe that the vegetative stage of development is critically important in determining the quality of herb when it reaches flowering stage. This can also directly affect your overall success rate and impacts on your stock plant’s reaction to the process. Cloning is preferably done two months into the vegetative growth stage.

Mr. W emphasized the importance of combining low stress training (LST) with a technique referred to as the “pinch and grow” method.

Starting at soil level, the stock plant is thoroughly checked for disease and parasites. Keeping wind exposure to a minimum and humidity levels up will reduce mortality rates dramatically. Bacterial infections on open cut sites are not uncommon, and contaminations or the loss of entire crops have been reported due to parasites.

General maintenance may also include removal of fan leaves and low stress training, which basically allows you to manipulate the instinct of your plant using twist or pull-down nylon, hemp or cotton twine. One end should be anchored while the other end is looped around the branch to be pulled down and set into place. This not only increases the light surface contact area but minimizes possible disease caused by insufficient air flow.

Once you are satisfied that your mother plant is in good health, it’s time to choose your clones. Mr. W goes on to select the branches that will be cut. Each clone should measure between fifteen to twenty centimeters and consist of at least three separate nodes. Cuttings taken midway and up seem to develop roots quicker, however bottom level cleaning cuttings can also be used, but they do usually take longer to show signs of new life.

Preparation is key, and ensuring you have everything in place prior to cutting will impact on your success rate. Wiping all surface areas and cutting instruments with 3% Isopropyl alcohol will kill any bacteria. A pair of sharp point scissors and a blade will be required, as well as three small containers. Two will hold rooting agents, while the third will be a holding station for your prepared cuttings. Still PH neutral water should be used, and Mr. W recommends thoroughly washing your containers before use.

Two variants of rooting agents that are commonly used come in powdered and liquid forms. Both are equally effective when used correctly, however organic agents can also be used alone or in conjunction with these. The dilution of liquid rooting agents is often necessary and must be mixed correctly.

Having now prepared his workspace and selected the branches to be cut, Mr. W begins removing each branch, working systematically as he cuts at a 45-degree angle anterior to a node. Once the clone is free cleaning begins, and all bottom growth including the side twigs are removed. Three nodes and three sets of leaves are all that remain. The largest of the leaf sets are tip trimmed, which forces energy to root development and gives your clone a fighting chance.

Scraping away surface tissue fifteen millimeters above your cut and moving downward towards the end point provides a larger surface area for rooting agent adhesion. Place your clone directly into your water-filled container after this.

This process is repeated by Mr. W until all the clones have been taken to ensure consistency in size.

There are many types of commercial cloner units available. The main elements required are a high humidity factor (95 to 100%), a sealed environment, and a source of light.

Mr. W utilizes a commercial cloner which has been thoroughly cleaned and has placed his low watt 3500k -6500k white LED tube approximately fifteen centimeters above the dome. To supplement his LED’s, Mr. W uses a red spectrum light positioned adjacent to the main white light. Checks are done to ensure the ventilation ducts are closed and that water levels are sufficient. “Glow plugs” will act as substrate, and effectively provide a convenient and sterile means of controlling water saturation and contact.

The clones are now ready to be treated with a suitable rooting agent. Allowing your clone to sit in the powder or liquid will allow for maximum effect.

Mr. W carefully removes a clone and pushes the coated end smoothly into the glow plug. The plug should be moist but not saturated, dripping is not a good sign, so be careful when pre-soaking the plugs. Designed to fit into the small trays, each is carefully placed to allow enough space for growing and to give the clones breathing space.

One final check and mist spray with clean water is followed by sealing the cloning unit with the dome.

Mr. W gave the following guidelines and care tips for the next week.

  • The dome should remain sealed for three days.
  • All vents should be closed.
  • Lights can be run on a 16 to 20-hour light interval.
  • Humidity levels should remain between 95-100%.


One final check and mist spray with clean water is followed by sealing the cloning unit with the dome.

Mr. W gave the following guidelines and care tips for the next week.

  • The dome should remain sealed for three days.
  • All vents should be closed.
  • Lights can be run on a 16 to 20-hour light interval.
  • Humidity levels should remain between 95-100%.


There is no better reward for any grower than watching a true miracle take place as his or her clones begin to spark new roots.

The clones will need to go through a process of “hardening off”, which incorporates not only light manipulation, but also a feeding schedule very different from the normal vegetative nutrients you would administer at this point.

Keep a close eye out for yellowing leaves and brown spots as both are early indicators that warrant concern.

Mr. W has achieved great results by combining years of trial and error. His structured approach can be adapted, and in his own words,

“Understand the basics and learn from your own mistakes!”

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