How to cut clones for a gene preservation is a must for cannabis growers. Creating clones from a mother plant will ensure identical genetic traits, giving the grower greater control over his product. Everyone must learn how to cut clones as well as, incubating clones until rooted and ready for transplanting.
You will need a few items prepared before you can really begin. The items required are as follows:
- Cloning tray and dome. Dome can be shallow mount or tall; I like the tall.
- Rooting hormone that contains a Indole-3-Butyric acid (IBA). Various products might include 1-Napthalene Acetic Acid (NAA) which is acceptable.
- Disposable Cup; this is used to hold your clones until place into rooting medium.
- Heating pad.
- T12,T8 or T5 lighting: minimal of 35 watts is required and no more than 55watts. A single T5 bulb is ideal.
- Rooting medium: rooting medium can be Jiffy’s #5 or #7. I prefer #7 since they are a bit larger. Rockwool is acceptable and mostly used for hydroponics.
- Thermostat with probe. Used to turn heat pad on/off.
Now that we have the supply list gathered, its time identify our cloning location. The location should be in a draft free area out of direct sun light. Do not place clones near windows or free standing wood stoves. The cloning area should be placed within a room with the most stable temperature. Ideally, this is where a grow tent is most beneficial.
Setting Up Your Cloning Station
Once you have your location picked out, your ready to set your cloning station up. To be most organized, follow the steps outline below:
- With a 3 or 5 gallon bucket, add water and adjust water to 6.0pH with jffy’s peat pellets or 5.8pH with rockwool. These pH I have found to work near perfectly.
- Make sure the water total dissolved salt is below 200PPM. If you use city water your ppm will most likely be below 100ppm. If using well water, consider using RO water with Calcium/Magnesium supplement to help balance pH. Or use natural spring water VIA water bottle.
- Soak your rooting medium in the water for approx 5-15 minutes or until jiffy’s have fully expanded. Rockwool can soak for 30 minutes if desired; this will help balance pH of the rooting medium.
- Gently squeeze your jiffy’s to remove approx 10% of water. If your jiffy is fully saturated you want approx 80-90% saturation. Removing some water is one trick to help minimizing ‘damping off’.
- Place your jiffy’s within your cloning tray. Your cloning tray should be on top of the heat mat now and plugged in. Align your jiffy’s 4 deep and approx 8 wide giving you approx 32 clones per tray. This will fully depend on the average clone size you cut. Clone size is really a personal choice.
- Use a small stick, pencil, wire, or scissor end to make hole within the rooting medium 3/4 down. Do not go all the way til you bottom out on the tray. This is another important tip. Now sprinkle some water on your dome, shack to increase water drop size and place onto clone tray.
- Make sure when using a heating pad you attach to a cloning thermostat. The sensor must be inserted into a spare jiffy and placed within the cloning tray. If not using a thermostat, make sure you place a towel beneath the tray. Some adjustment will be required. The main goal is to have your temperatures inside the dome/jiffy’s greater than the ambient room temperature. Ideal temperature should be 72degrees. Clones can handle minor temperature errors but cannot handle being over heated.
- Your station is prepared and your jiffy’s are now heating up. Its time to make your cuttings/clones.
The Art Of Cutting Clones
Cutting a clone is very easy. The real art is learning all the little tricks that will give you 90-100% cloning rates. It all start’s with identifying with your strongest mother plant. Ideally, you will clone only the best plants unless gaining clone numbers is difficult. Simply put, your mother should not be deficient of nutrients. The mother plant should not be to old; no older than 6 months. If to old, the stem’s will be to woody. She should also be well hydrated at the time of cloning.
To make your clones you will need a spare cup filled with water from your buckets; this is where you will store your cuttings until you place within the rooting medium.
Try to cut the most potential clones on the lower laterals and do not cut more than 30% of your mother plant. There are two approaches to cutting clones. One, you cut just below a natural hormone storage site or two, you scrape the chambriam on the stem. Either approach will work for successful rooting and you most likely use both approaches every time.
Approach 1 Clone Cutting
Identify a small stem with a plant top with a minimal of two leaves. If you have another set of leafs fairly close beneath use that area for rooting and make a 45degree cut 1/2 inch below. You must first snip the leafs off as close to the stem as possible. Your clone should look something like this picture below
Approach 2 Clone Cutting
If you do not have another natural hormone storage site AKA leaf area to snip and use for rooting you can simple use the stem. Very gently use your scissors and scrape the very outer layer of the stem AKA chambriam. Try to allow for approx. 3-6 inches of stem.
Gently scrape approx 1/2 inch of stem that will be inserted into the rooting medium. Than cut at 45degree below your scrape and quickly place in the cup of water. If you scrape to much or to heavy you will risk dampening off your clone.
Dip Clones In Rooting Hormone
Once you have cut enough clones, it is time to introduce the new cuttings to your rooting hormone than into the rooting medium. Remove the dome off your cloning tray. Gently grab a clone and dip into the rooting hormone. If you choose a powder, gently shake the excess off. If your using a gel, dip lightly if possible. The gel was more designed for hydroponics applications such as Aeroponic chambers and rockwool although, it does work just fine with jiffy’s.
Remove enough rooting hormone out of the container and use a 30ML measuring cup to dip your clones. This will help reduce cross contamination and is a good practice to follow.Healthy Cannabis Reviews
Once the clone has been dipped into the rooting hormone, quickly place the cutting 3/4 into the jiffy. There is a less chance of your cutting acquiring an air embolism once dipped into the rooting hormone. The greatest risk of air embolism is right after cutting clone from mother; therefore, its imperative to place cutting into the cup with water.
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat.
You have successfully made your first cutting and once rooted, you will have made your first clone. Repeat the proccess and pay attention to all details.
10 Days later: Should See Roots
Approx 10 days after cutting your clones you should see a roots starting to pop. Do not transplant your clone until there are more than 3 roots approach 1 inch sticking out of the jiffy. If you transplant to soon, your clone may not survive. The clone needs adequate roots to help the transition from 90-100% RH in the dome to your ambient RH in your room.
Here is some important advice that you should consider when cloning. There is no particular order with the advice but it should all be taken into account.
- Keep the lights approx 6 inches away from the dome lid
- Do not over soak the jiffy’s and than place a clone with scrapped chambriam ; the clone will have an increase risk of damping-off
- Clones should be aired out daily for approx 2-5 minutes
- Do not water from the top or you will risk rotting parts of the plant. Pick up each clone and dip into a cup of water.
- Remember the clone will only root at the right temp and moisture level; you only have approx 1 inch to get that right. The stem is only inserted approach 1 inch into the jiffy.
- Clones can take up to 14 days to root. After 14 days, your clones will start to suffer and so will your success rate.
Cutting clones is actually very easy; I have made approx 1400 clones in one day before. The proccess is quite simple but you must pay attention to your environment. Make sure your moms are healthy and that really will be your key to success!
If you have any questions please comment below and I will answer the best I can. We are on Facebook and would love your support with ‘shares’ and likes’. We will provide you with a discount on seeds if you join our Facebook friends page and help distribute our blog shares. Happy Growing.