Cloning Cannabis: How to Do It & Avoid Mistakes

A healthy cannabis clone plant

Cannabis clones are a cutting from a living cannabis plant. That clone will later grow into a full-blow cannabis plant with the same genetics as the plant it came from—this is called the mother plant.

Typically, a clone is a cutting around 6-inches long that’s put into a growing medium—like a rooting cube—and given the nutrients, it needs to grow strong roots.

Once the roots develop, the clone gets transplanted into the ground or a pot and will continue to grow like any other cannabis plant.

Related: Remove Pests & Bugs in Your Grow Tent

Why Do We Clone Cannabis Plants?

Cloning is a great option to start a cannabis plant when you don’t want to deal with the hassle of seeds. It also saves time—even though it still takes some time to root, you can skip germinating the seeds, shaving off around a month of the entire growing process.

Clones also save garden space—you don’t have to deal with sexing your plants, removing the males, or worrying about seeds, not germination. You’ll also get extra space since you know basically, every clone will turn into a healthy female cannabis plant.

You can buy clones from your favorite dispensary, or you can clone plants that you already have growing with a few simple tools!

All About Cannabis Mother Plants

The plant your clone comes from is its mother plant. You should choose healthy, sturdy cannabis plants as mothers—it will pass on its genetics to the clones.

However, it’s crucial that you don’t take cuttings from a flowering plant, or you risk the clone becoming hermaphroditic or damage to the mother plant. You always want to take your cuttings when the mother plant is in its vegetative stage of growth. It is possible to re-veg a clone from a flowering plant, but that is a topic for another day.

Many growers have dedicated mother plants they use for cuttings—just know that you won’t get any buds from a mother plant because you’ll keep it forever in the vegetative stage.

Another method growers use to get cuttings is to clip them before the mother plants flower and then force them into the flowering stage. This way, you’ll still get buds from the mother plant, but get to preserve those genetics and phenotypes that live on through the clones. Because the clones are genetically identical to the mother plant, you’ll get an exact copy—this means that, during each growing cycle, you can take a new cutting from each one before it flowers.

Using cannabis clones, you guarantee consistency for each plant. Each new generation will have the same flavors, aroma, and effects as the original. You can also expect the production and growth rate to be very similar, meaning that you can dial in your process and maximize your yield.

How to Find the Right Mother Plant

Because of the identical genetics, you want to choose the best possible mother plant to take a cutting from—one that doesn’t produce great buds probably isn’t the best choice. Even plants of the same strain can vary in growth, yield, potency, aroma, and insect/disease resistance. Many growers germinate several seeds of the same strain looking for the phenotype they want.

Look for these qualities when choosing a mother plant:

Related: Gorilla Grow Tents: Perfect for Indoor Growing


Your Guide to Cloning a Cannabis Plant

It might sound complicated, but cloning cannabis is really easy! All you’ll need is:

  • Scissors to take cuttings 
  • Razors for trimming the cuttings
  • A rooting hormone
  • A rooting setup—more on this next
  • Isopropyl alcohol for sterilizing your cutting tools

Getting Your Setup Set Up

The most common rooting mediums are:

  • Cutting tray, insert & dome
  • Seedling heat mat
  • Rockwool
  • Rooting cubes
  • Non-soil alternatives like peat and foam
  • Hydro-cloners

Whichever cloning medium you choose to use, you will need a tray, insert and humidity dome to hold the clone and keep it at the proper temperature and humidiy.

Rockwool consists of melted rock spun into fine threads. It has exceptional moisture retention and allows for a lot of airflows. You can buy rockwool cubes here.

Rooting cubes are similar to rockwool cubes except they are made from organic materials like biochar and coco coir. You’ll add the clones to the cubes, put the cubes in the tray-cells, and then set those in a tray that holds water. Then, the dome goes over the tray to help keep in humidity. Some growers use a heat mat, too, to ensure your clones are at a comfortable temperature for optimal growth.

Another method you can try is using a hydro-cloner. The upfront cost is more, but they are worth it if you plan on cloning more than a couple of plants. They cut down on the amount of work you need to do by using aquaponics to spray the cuttings with nutrient-filled water at specific intervals to promote better root growth.

Whichever method you choose, you’ll need to ensure that your new clones get a lot of light—around 18 hours per day—and plenty of humidity. You’ll only need a fluorescent or low-power LED light for cloning. Too strong of light and the clones will get light-burn and may not root.

Taking a Cannabis Cutting

First, check your mother plant for three things—ensure that it’s:

  1. Healthy and sturdy
  2. Insect and disease-free
  3. At least 2-months into its vegetative cycle
  4. Not flowering

Then, ensure that you don’t fertilize the mother plant for at least a few days before you take the cuttings—this way, the nitrogen will leave the leaves. If the cuttings have too much nitrogen, they will start trying to grow leaves instead of roots.

To take your cutting:

  1. Find a sturdy, healthy branch with at least two nodes.
  2. Cut the branch off above the mother plant’s node. You can use scissors or a razor if the branch is hard to reach.
  3. If you are taking a lot of cuttings, keep a cup of water handy and put the fresh cuttings in the water until you are ready to proceed.
  4. Then, with a razor, cut the bottom of the cutting at a 45-degree angle to increase the rooting surface’s area—this promotes faster growth.
  5. Immediately place the cutting into your rooting hormone and into your root cube or other growing media.
  6. Once done, remove any unnecessary leaves and fan leaves from the cutting—this supports photosynthesis and helps your clone uptake more nutrients and water.

Transplanting Your Clones

After 10-14 days, your clones will be ready to transplant. You’ll know they are ready when you see one- to two-inch white roots.

For simplicity, we are going to recommend transplanting directly into your growing pot rather than a cup or smaller pot before transplanting into growing pot. Transplanting into larger pots multiple times has its benefits but also requires a lot more work and knowledge to know when and how to manage the stress on the plant. We will discuss this more in another article.

Here’s how to transplant—we recommend using gloves to keep the environment as clean as possible:

  1. Fill your pots with soil
  2. Water the soil before transplanting the clones
  3. Once the water drains, dig a hole just large enough to bury the roots
  4. Place the clone in the hole and gently cover it back up with soil


Now you’re ready to start taking cuttings and growing your own clones! Don’t forget to stop by our shop at Cannaporium to get all of the grow gear you need!

Related: Cannabis Grow Tents: Buyer’s Guide


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