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How to Propagate Cannabis Clones from Cuttings

Cannabis is now legal here in Canada, as well as many parts of the United States. Hopefully the rest of the world will follow suit, as this is an invaluable plant ally for countless reasons. In fact, it’s one of the best plants to cultivate for medicinal purposes, so if it’s legal to grow in your area, it’s a good idea to add to your medicinal herb garden.

Why Propagate from Cuttings?

In my experience, growing cannabis plants from cuttings is far more effective than growing from seed. Seeds can be fussy, and you might spend a ton of money on them only to have them fail to germinate.

Your best bet is to take a cutting from a wonderfully healthy mother plant that’s thriving in your neighbourhood.

If you live in the cool and rainy Pacific Northwest, for example, and you’re trying to grow a plant that thrives in the Afghan Kush’s hot, dry environment, you may not have much luck. Growing clones from local plants is ideal because you know that if they do well in your neighbour’s yard, they’ll do well in yours as well.

This is true for just about any plant, actually, and is why we recommend growing local species whenever possible. The exception to this is if you’re growing indoors, or in a greenhouse, since you can control the environment very carefully.

What You’ll Need:

Before You Start…

I don’t know whether you have the same relationship with plants as I do, but I do my best to treat them with respect and love. Because of this, before I prune or harvest anything, I take a few moments to sit with the plant and connect to its spirit.

Basically, I do my best to let it know my intention, so it has the opportunity to withdraw its energy from the branch I’m about to cut. Think of it like being warned before a medical procedure: it’ll hurt less if you know what’s coming, because you have the chance to brace yourself for it.

After I harvest, I offer the plant some compost tea or comfrey infusion in thanks. It’s a small act of courtesy and respect, honouring the interconnectedness of all life, with sincere gratitude.

Tips for Taking Cuttings:

  • Don’t fertilize the mother plant for about a week before you take your cutting, and water it thoroughly a few days beforehand. This reduces the amount of nitrogen in the leaves. Why is this important? Remember that nitrogen is the nutrient that prompts plants to create vegetation: by reducing the nitrogen, the cutting will focus on growing roots, not new leaves.
  • Choose strong, healthy, straight branches that can support a cutting that’s 6″-10″ long.
  • Sterilize your hands and your blade with 90% rubbing alcohol beforehand so you don’t contaminate the cutting with any harmful bacteria.
  • Cut just below a node, at a 45 degree angle. Not only will this increase rooting space area (which will make roots grow more quickly), it also allows the plant to draw up water more effectively.
  • Keep a sterilized jar full of clean water close by, and pop your cuttings into the water immediately. This keeps the cut end from drying out, and also prevents air bubbles from forming inside the stem, which can damage or even kill the plant.

Next Steps: Rooting Hormone and Growing Medium

Keep the growing medium moist while waiting for roots to develop, but don’t overwater unless you want the stems to rot. The best approach is to put some purified water (e.g. through a Brita filter) into a spray bottle, and mist the plants daily.

This regular misting—paired with the plastic dome or sheeting that you’ll keep over the plants—should help you maintain a fairly constant, humid environment.

You’ll know that roots have formed when you start to see new vegetative growth starting. This is when you can transplant the cuttings into a larger container. Plant cuttings generally don’t like to be handled or transplanted often, as it can make them go into shock.

As such, it’s best to move them into a large container so you don’t have to keep potting them up as they grow.

Why is Cannabis Such an Effective Medicine?

The Leafly website explained this so perfectly, I’m going to share what they have to say about it here:

Cannabinoids (e.g., THC and CBD) are the chemical compounds secreted by cannabis flowers that provide relief to an array of symptoms including pain, nausea, anxiety, and inflammation. These work their medicinal magic by imitating compounds our bodies naturally produce, called endocannabinoids, which activate to maintain internal stability and health. To put a complex system simply, they mediate communication between cells, and when there is a deficiency or problem with our endocannabinoid system, unpleasant symptoms and physical complications occur.

When cannabis is consumed, cannabinoids bind to receptor sites throughout our brain (receptors called CB-1) and body (CB-2). Different cannabinoids have different effects depending on which receptors they bind to. For example, THC binds to receptors in the brain whereas CBN (cannabinol) has a strong affinity for CB-2 receptors located throughout the body. Depending on a cannabis product’s cannabinoid profile, different types of relief are achievable.

Cannabis contains over 85 types of cannabinoids, depending on the strain and cultivar. As you can imagine, this allows these magical plants to help with conditions ranging from pain and mood disorders to neurological conditions, autoimmune diseases, autism, gastrointestinal disorders, sleep disorders, and female reproductive issues such as PCOS, PMS, and endometriosis.

Healing Blessings to You

There are many different strains available, with different benefits. Do your research on sites such as Leafly to find out which strains might best suit your needs, and try out those strains to see how you react to them. Some people only tolerate sativa plants well, others (like myself) prefer pure indicas. There are also countless hybrids available, with different beneficial effects.

Once you’ve found a strain that you really love, see if you can find a local grower and ask if you can take some cuttings from their mother plant. Most growers are happy to sell you cuttings, or will even let you take a few in exchange for delicious baked goods.

The best thing about growing a cannabis plant from a cutting is that you’re cloning the mother plant. Quite simply, you’ll end up with an exact copy of it! Same gender, same lineage: no surprises.

Whether you take this medicine as smoke, tincture, edible, or topical salve, we hope it brings you peace and healing.

If you’re interested in learning more about herbal medicine, check out these related articles:

Lead image via Unsplash Creative Commons.

Growing medicinal cannabis plants from cuttings is far more effective than growing from seed. Read on to learn how to take strong, healthy cuttings, and grow your own!

Growing cannabis cuttings

Propagation of cannabis by cuttings

Marijuana or Cannabis Sativa is a perfect species for asexual propagation (i.e. propagation via cuttings). To clone your favourite cannabis plant you need the following basic material:

  • A small propagator (heated, if possible)
  • Sterilised scissors for cloning, properly sharpened (shaving razors or surgical knives/scalpels can also be used)
  • Rooting hormones, like ClonFix or VitroClon
  • Substrate for the cuttings (jiffy peat moss pellets, rockwool, soil. )
  • A small source of white/blue light (fluorescent type, LED. )
  • And, of course, a mother plant from which you will take the cuttings

The temperature must be between 18°C and 22°C and the relative humidity must be above 90% for the cuttings to root, what can be easily achieved if heated mini-greenhouses are used.

Clones develop nicely in all types of substrate (Picture: Brett Levin)

How to make cannabis cuttings

1. Cut the cuttings from the mother plant, preferably using only the apical tips, and cut the lower leaves and the tips of the upper shoot to prevent it from dehydration. Then place them in a container with tap water.

2. Prepare the substrate. If you are using Jiffy pellets, soak them in warm water (pH around 6) for 10 minutes; if you are using rockwool, you should soak them during 24 hours in water (pH=4.5) and add rooting fertiliser until reaching an EC value of 0.60. If you are using soil, just fill the pots or cells with your substrate.

3. Apply rooting hormones on the lower part of the cuttings and gently plant it in the substrate you are going to use.

4. Place the cuttings in the greenhouse and spray them with water. Once covered, place them under a fluorescent light with a 18/6 photoperiod.

5. Close the greenhouse properly and don’t forget to open it and spray the marijuana plants with water once a day.

6. After 3-4 days continue to open and spray the plants every day, but this time leaving the greenhouse’s vents open.

7. After 8-10 days, if the substrate begins to dry, fill the greenhouse with one or two centimetres of water and leave it for 10-20 minutes so that the substrate gets moist again.

8. After 12-14 days, remove the greenhouse cover. If after one hour the marijuana cuttings remain upright, leave them uncovered and continue spraying a few times a day. On the other hand, if after an hour the cuttings lose strength, spray them and put the greenhouse cover back. Try again a few days later.

Clone showing the first roots

9. 15 days – or before – after the start of the process, you should see how the first roots begin to appear. Some strains may be more precocious and start rooting after 8 or 10 days, while others can take up to 20 days. Over 25 day-old cuttings that have not rooted and remain green will hardly end up rooting.

10. Transplant the cuttings to their growing pot and apply rooting fertiliser for marijuana during the following weeks.

Cannabis is an excellent plant for asexual reproduction. It roots very easily and is an ideal plant species to perform propagation by cuttings. We onl