There are a few ways you can go about getting clones for your garden. You can buy one from a medical cannabis club, but that is not always affordable or allowed in many areas. So the best way to get quality clones is from someone who already has healthy female plants and knows how to take care of them properly.
If you have never grown before, taking cuttings from larger plants may seem intimidating at first. But it really isn’t too difficult if you follow a few simple steps. The most important part of this process is choosing the right plant with plenty of big mature fan leaves. This ensures that there will be plenty of energy stored within the plant so that the little clone doesn’t become nutrient deficient during its early stages of development which may cause it to die.
To ensure the clone roots quickly and properly you need to take cuttings from a female plant that is at least 2 months old, has large fan leaves for energy and is not too tall as this will be difficult to deal with indoors. Many people prefer to take clones from their plants when they are young or small enough that they can manage them easily in a smaller space such as an apartment. But if the weather is pleasant where you live it may be better to wait until your plants have grown considerably so that they have lots of leaf mass for immediate healthy growth after being transplanted into larger containers. Also this means there will be plenty of bud sites on your new mothers allowing each to produce multiple colas instead of just one.
Cuttings should be taken from the main stem of the plant, below a set of fan leaves and above another and taking 2-3 nodes (where new growth emerges) with a sharp clean blade. This ensures that there will be plenty of foliage to produce energy for the developing roots and helps to prevent against rot when placing them in a rooting medium. It is always best practice to take cuttings under a microscope so that you know your cutting is clean and free from any pathogens such as bacteria or fungi that may cause root rot during early stages of development which could kill your baby clones before they get a chance to grow into big hearty plants capable of producing multiple pounds each per harvest.
The next step is choosing what type of rooting medium you are going to use. Usually people opt for an organic soilless mix with added perlite for good drainage. But this isn’t the only option available, there are many types of mediums that will work just as well or better depending on what you have handy or can afford at the time. Rockwool cubes are my favorite because they are just about foolproof and easy to prepare, but it is difficult finding them without being soaked in chemical solutions which I prefer not to use if I don’t have to. Many growers use coconut coir pellets or peat plugs which also work quite well when prepared properly. But since most people starting out are on a budget, this article will focus on preparing organic soilless seedling mix for cloning.
Before cutting your clones, it is best practice to soak them in water for 30 minutes to rehydrate the plant tissue and allow for easier penetration of rooting hormone which will be applied later. Once they have been removed from their bath, shake off any excess water so that they are only slightly moist to the touch, but not dripping wet. Now take a pencil or marker and mark an “X” on one side of all 4 cuttings so you can tell which ones are facing upwards when fanned out in your hand. This way you don’t have to guess what direction each cutting was facing when placed into the medium which could lead to some being under or over saturated with water while others might dry out too quickly.
Now it is time to place your cuttings into the soilless medium. If you are using seedling mix simply spoon some out into a large container and fan the leaves apart, then with one hand holding the stem firmly at the bottom near your marked “X”, begin placing prepared cuttings into your medium leaving about an inch between each cutting. Try to position them in such a way that they will be supported both above and below the soil line if possible as this prevents against toppling over when placed outside under direct sunlight during vegetation.
Another important aspect of cloning is choosing where to take cuttings from. Most people prefer to take them from areas with bigger buds or colas because these plants are capable of storing extra nutrients for the formation of roots and will always grow into healthy plants. These areas are known as meristems or growth tips which contain cells that haven’t differentiated into specific plant parts yet, so they will continue to develop until they are injured or die. This is one of the reasons why clones taken from unhealthy plants usually don’t survive beyond the seedling stage if at all since there isn’t anything available to transfer over during cloning except what was already present on the surface of your cutting before it rooted.
Once you have placed all your cuttings in your desired medium, gently tap them down so that they are below the surface by about half an inch (the top fan leaves should still be above). Once again hold each stem near its base where you see the “X” and pour a small amount of water over them so that they are lightly but adequately moist, not soaking wet. Then put your newly made clones somewhere dark and warm to discourage evaporation from occurring so quickly.
If you have been keeping up with your watering schedule up until this point there is a good chance most of your cuttings will root within 7 – 10 days with some exceptional cases taking as long as 2 weeks depending on the strain. If your plants don’t show signs of new growth after 3 days or if they begin to wilt, then their roots aren’t developing properly and might need more time for the soil to hydrate before being moved outside under direct sunlight. But if all goes well, your clones will have a nice set of white taproots in a week or so and can be taken out for sun in about two weeks.
Once the clones have been removed from their dark environment they need to be hardened off before being placed outside in direct sunlight which means slowly introducing them to outdoor conditions over a period of days. The best way to accomplish this is to take them outside during the day for an hour or two at first then gradually increasing their exposure up until full sun which should happen within a week. Make sure to bring them back inside every evening until you are confident that they can survive throughout the night without any help from you.
It is important not to rush this process because the shock caused by quickly placing them under direct light can often lead to the death of your clones. They may wilt and lose their leaves or even topple over due to not having developed a sturdy stem yet and you don’t want anything like that occurring before they have had time to develop some roots because it will slow down growth and make them more susceptible to disease later on.
Now for the fun part; after all those weeks of waiting you get to see how much your work has paid off as the first shoots begin poking through the surface of the medium! These baby plants are still very fragile though so care should be taken when watering them (only from above) and keep an eye out for pests which could cause damage by chewing on young stems within just a few days post emergence. If you notice anything like this happening, spray them with an organic pesticide like neem oil or diluted peppermint essential oil.
One of the most important things to remember when dealing with clones is that they are still in their vegetative stages and require nutrients in order to grow. If you fail to give them this then they will become pale and weak which can eventually lead to their demise if not corrected quickly enough. Weak clones take longer to root so be sure to avoid any sort of nutrient deficiency before planting them!
You might be asking yourself how often you should water your new plants once they have been transplanted into larger pots or left outside even though it hasn’t rained for weeks. The answer is every other day, but only about an inch of water every time and no more than that or the roots won’t be able to absorb it properly and some may begin to rot while others dry out completely. Just do your best while keeping in mind that the plants need to get acclimated for a few weeks before you expect large yields from them, but after about a month they should be really taking off with all four of their nutrient receptors fully functional!
In order to promote proper growth throughout the vegetative stage it is necessary to use a very high quality soil with plenty of organic matter such as worm castings, bat guano, fish emulsion, etc. A 5-gallon container is usually enough space for one plant unless you are growing one massive specimen which will most likely require at least a 15-gallon pot.
An assortment of organic nutrients will be necessary to provide the clones with all the vital elements they need in order to develop at an optimal rate and stay healthy enough to see them through into flower whereupon they can begin building up sugars which will then become new buds towards the end of their lifecycle. There are plenty of beneficial supplements you could use such as green sand, guano tea, kelp meal, etc., but for this particular grow we will stick with premium quality water-soluble nutrients like Dyna-Gro Foliage Pro or any other good brand that is geared towards plants needing lots of nitrogen during vegetative growth such as fox farm which has similar products available if not exactly the same.
It might seem silly to use any of these nutrients on plants that are still young and growing slowly, but this is the best way to initiate rapid growth which will continue once you switch them over to flowering mode. For now, just provide them with all the nourishment you can until they have started showing signs of the first internodes popping up along their main stems. Once this occurs it is time to change their light regimen by removing the fluorescent tubes emitting cool white light for an HPS grow lamp of at least 400 watts for indoor growers or a high-pressure sodium lamp if you are planning on having your plants outside during summertime in locations where there isn’t much chance of frost.
This also means that it’s about time to begin considering what strain you would like to grow if you haven’t already. If your clones were taken from any good sativa variety then it makes the most sense to grow them indoors so they don’t get too tall before the flowering stage begins, but this is not a hard and fast rule since plenty of indicas can be grown both indoors or outside with great success.
When growing outdoors the best time for preventing frost damage is during late spring or early summer when temps are still fairly mild at night even though daytime highs might no longer require long sleeve shirts and pants just to spend a few hours in the garden tending to your plants. Newly rooted clones that have only been outside for about 3 weeks up until this point will need some extra protection using materials such as bubble wrap or even sheets of styrofoam to hold in heat which is still being given off by the soil and surrounding area.
There are some varieties such as northern lights that can handle very low temperatures, but most strains will not be able to withstand anything below 50 degrees Fahrenheit which means it’s time for you to try and find out what cold weather techniques work best in your particular region if you haven’t already. There really isn’t much more than can be said about this topic, so all we need to do now is learn how long it takes cannabis plants from seedlings through vegetative growth up until they begin budding.
About three months should suffice for any indica variety while sativa dominant hybrids might take four months before seeing any significant signs of bud development. This is such a broad topic that there isn’t much else to say about it, but you should keep it in mind since the vegetative stage really does determine quite a bit about how your plants will turn out once they begin flowering.
Now that we have learned how long it takes to grow clones outside and what type of strains work best let’s look at some pics of different outdoor cannabis varieties:
Guerilla Grow: Outdoor Cannabis Strains
Sun grown afghan kush – pure indica variety which can handle colder climates than most sativa dominant hybrids. Tends towards shorter heights while producing large dense nugs after each harvest. An ideal strain for guerrilla grows near roads or other well-traveled areas.
Hydroponic Grow: Outdoor Cannabis Strains
Blackberry kush – a very popular strain that is most often found in dispensaries selling retail marijuana products. Very strong pungent aroma and flavor with year-round hardiness even though it originated from an indica dominant hybrid line.
Northern lights hydro grow – as the name suggests this plant originates from northern climates where nights are long and daytime temps can sometimes dip below freezing during early autumn, but this variety has been bred to withstand cooler conditions than most sativa/sativa hybrids which tend to stretch too far upwards for easy guerrilla grows since they need more time for each harvest.
Sensi star outdoor grow – a famous indica strain that produces large amounts of resin and has a very relaxing effect. Ideal for guerrilla grows since it can be harvested twice per season and doesn’t stretch too far upwards which is why it works best in outdoor guerrilla grows where security isn’t as much of an issue.
Green House Seed Co Outdoor Cannabis Strains
Jack Herer – earns its namesake from the famous marijuana activist who originally brought the strain to prominence by winning numerous awards including “Best Sativa” at the High Times Cannabis Cup back in 1994. This plant needs lots of sun and will typically stretch quite a bit before beginning to flower, but yields are incredibly massive with this variety compared to most sativa dominant hybrids that could stretch even higher if they weren’t pruned.