SUCCESSFUL CANNABIS CUTTINGS
Taking cuttings is one of the most popular ways to propagate a cannabis plant. Often called “cloning” it is a very good method to get multiple cannabis plants that are genetically identical to the “mother” cannabis plant. Many people feel intimidated by the process, and are a bit leery to attempt “cloning”. If you are one of those people, relax, it’s a relatively easy process.What follows are step by step instructions for a simple procedure that works for most types of cannabis plants.
WHY TAKE CUTTINGS?
There are several reasons that you may want to clone your plant, the most obvious being, that you don’t have any seed. Cloning might be your only option in this case. Another reason that you might want to take cuttings is to control the Quality of the cannabis plant(s). Let me explain: Every seed, like every human being, is slightly different. Genetically, no two cannabis plants are the same, DNA works in cannabis plants much the same way as humans. So if you have a cannabis plant that is just what you want it to be you can take cuttings to “clone” your special cannabis plant. Over time you could make about a bazillion genetically identical clones if you wanted to.
One reason to clone your cannabis plants that is often overlooked, is that it’s often Faster than starting from seed. Some cannabis plants will produce a rooted, growing cannabis plant from a clone before the seeds of the same cannabis plant can even sprout. Saving a lot of time.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
A SINGLE EDGE RAZOR BLADE – Must be sharp!! A new blade is best.
Must be sharp!! A new blade is best.
BACK-UP BLOCK – A piece of Styrofoam, wood or plastic approximately 2″x2″.
A piece of Styrofoam, wood or plastic approximately 2″x2″.
SHOT GLASS – Or similar small glass or plastic container. Or similar small glass or plastic container.
GROWING MEDIUM – Rockwool or Oasis cubes, Pro-mix, coconut fiber or one of several other suitable growing media.
SEED TRAY WITH CLEAR HUMIDITY DOME
ROOTING HORMONE – You will need a good quality rooting hormone such as Woods, Clonex, Olivia’s, Dip & Grow etc. You can use a powdered rooting hormone but in My opinion they are much harder to work with resulting in a reduced success rate.
SPRAY BOTTLE WITH WATER
BEFORE YOU START
This might sound obvious, but you should only use healthy cannabis plants to take cuttings from. The healthier the “mother ” cannabis plants the better success you will have with your clones. You should take a few more cuttings than you need and then select the best ones to use and throw away any that are unhealthy.
You will need to leach the nitrogen out of the mother cannabis plant(s) by watering them heavily with pH adjusted water only (no fertilizer) for two or three days before you take the cuttings. This is an important step because the nitrogen stored in the cannabis plant will retard rooting.
Decide what you are going to use for growing medium. Most people use either Rockwool or Oasis cubes, which are probably the easiest to use because they are pre-formed and already have a hole in them for the cutting. However you can use many different mediums just as successfully, use plastic cups with holes cut in the bottom to hold coconut fiber, a Perlite & Vermiculite mix or other loose type growing medium. Do not use regular dirt or Peat Pellets as they stay too wet and will rot the stem of the cutting. You will need to pre-soak your growing medium before you start, using pH balanced water. Distilled water is the best thing to use, but any Good water source will work. (NOTE: Most growing medium need to be soaked in pH 6 to pH 7 water, Rockwool needs to be soaked for 24 hours with water adjusted to a pH of 4.5 to 5).
Make holes in the top of the growing medium that are about the same size or a little smaller than the stems of the cuttings. You do not want to force the cutting into the growing medium.
It is critical that you sterilize everything before you start, because cuttings are very susceptible to fungus, viruses and diseases until they root. Use rubbing alcohol on your hands, the razor blade and the cutting block. Rinse the shot glass (or whatever you are using) with alcohol, dry it and then fill it 3/4 full with rooting hormone, and set it aside for now.
Work quickly but carefully. When you make the cut that separates the clone from the mother, you must get it into the rooting hormone as quickly as possible to prevent air from getting pulled into the stem. Please be careful not to cut yourself with the razor blade. (The lawyers made me say it).
TAKE THE CUTTINGS
1. Take a growing tip from your cannabis plant 3″ to 6″ long with at least one leaf internode, two is better but not always possible. (A leaf internode is where the leaf connects to the stem, See diagram 1).
2. With a Sharp single edge razor blade, carefully cut off one or two leaves (or small branches) flush with the stem. (See diagram 2).
3. Make a cut approximately 1/4″ below the internode(s) where you just trimmed the leaves. Cut at a 45 to 60 deg. angle. (See diagram 3). Hold the back-up block behind the stem where you are going to cut, hold block tightly against the stem, this supports the stem and protects your fingers. Make this cut as quick and clean as you can, you do not want to tear or crush the stem.
4. Quickly insert the cutting into the rooting hormone (See diagram 4). If you are using a liquid hormone you can let the cutting soak for 30-60 seconds. (NOTE: With a gel type hormone you just dip the cutting and then insert it into the growing medium).
5. Insert the cutting into the growing medium (see diagram 5), do not push the cutting all the way thru the medium, leave room for the roots to develop. Make sure that the cut(s) you made at the leaf internode(s) are below the surface of the growing medium.
6. Gently pack the growing medium up against the cutting. Make sure there is good contact between the cutting and the growing medium.
CARE AND FEEDING
Congratulations! you have now successfully taken cuttings, now the challenge is to keep them alive long enough to root. The cuttings are obviously very vulnerable at this point and must be handled with care. If you follow the steps below you should have few problems.
7. Once you have your cutting(s) in the growing medium mist them with the spray bottle filled with water and place them in the tray. Mist the inside of the clear humidity dome and place dome over the tray. (NOTE: The cuttings need some ventilation and a couple of small holes in the dome will usually do the trick).
8. Remove the dome and mist the cuttings 2 or 3 times a day. This keeps the cuttings from drying out and also changes the air under the dome. This step is critical, the cuttings have no way to replenish lost moisture because they have no roots. Mist the inside of the dome and replace on tray. The humidity under the dome needs to be about 90 % until roots appear on the cuttings. (NOTE: Be careful that the air under the dome doesn’t get too warm, if it is, you may have to increase the amount of venting, and increase the number or mistings per day). Cuttings need to be kept between 72 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. To hot or cold will inhibit root growth. If you live in a cold climate you may need a heated propagation mat.
9. The cuttings are going to need light, you need bright light, but not too intense. Dappled sunlight if you are leaving your cuttings outside. Indoors you can use a double tube fluorescent fixture with both a cool white bulb and a warm white bulb in the fixture (or two “grow” tubes). This will give a good, balanced light spectrum. Fluorescent light doesn’t penetrate so you must keep the lights very close to the cannabis plants (1-2 inches above the cannabis plants).
If you are using a Metal Halide or High Pressure Sodium fixture you must keep the cuttings much further away (2 – 3 feet away for 175 – 400 watt bulbs and 4 – 6 feet for a 1000 watt bulb).
The lights should be turned on for 18 to 24 hours a day.
10. To water the cuttings you can use either plain distilled water (or other Good Quality Water), or you can add a very mild fertilizer such as Olivia’s Cloning Solution or Wilder’s Clone Root Concentrate, you can also use a 1/4 strength general purpose hydroponic fertilizer solution. Don’t forget to adjust the pH of the water / nutrient solution (5.5 for rockwool, 6.5 for most everything else).
11. Water the cuttings every 2 days unless you live in a very dry climate then you should water every day. Never let the growing medium dry out. Do not let it set in water either, or the stem will rot. (NOTE: A great way to water the cuttings is to use two trays, one with holes and the other without. Fill the tray without holes about half way with water and then slowly lower the tray with the holes (and cuttings) into it. Let sit for a few moments and them slowly raise the tray back out and let it drain). Small Hydroponic systems are available to automate the watering cycles of the cuttings, greatly reducing the amount of manual labor.
12. After about a week you can test to see if your cannabis plants have started to root. Remove the humidity dome and leave it off for an hour or two. If the cannabis plants have not wilted at all then they probably have enough root development to support themselves. If no wilt is noticed leave the dome off, if they are wilted, spray the cuttings and dome and replace the dome on the tray. Once you have determined that the cannabis plants can support themselves, stop misting the cuttings and leave the humidity dome off. (NOTE: Once the cannabis plants have roots, constant misting can actually be harmful to the cannabis plants).
13. If the lower leaves start to turn yellow and die, don’t worry, it is perfectly normal. It is the cannabis plant feeding off of itself to sustain life, moving valuable nutrient and water from the older growth. Do not remove any dead growth until the cannabis plant is well rooted. If you remove the dying growth the cannabis plant can starve and die completely.
14. When the cuttings are completely rooted you can move them into your hydroponic system or the soil.
“Cloning” is easy once you get the hang of it. You must always remember that every step must be done properly, if anything goes wrong you will get less than satisfactory results. We suggest that the first time you take cuttings take twice as many as you need (if possible). With a little practice this method of propagation should produce a 95 to 100 percent success ratio.
The use of distilled water can drastically increase your success ratio, especially if you don’t have good quality water where you live.
This is one “Tried and True” method of propagation that works well on most types of cannabis plants. There are several other ways to “clone” your cannabis plants, including, air layering, dividing, and tissue culture. There is even a hydroponic system that does a good job of rooting cuttings that uses no growing medium at all, once the cuttings form roots you simply transplant them to whatever growing medium you will be using.