by Seshata on 28/07/2015 | Cultivation

How to clone a cannabis plant

In the agricultural world, vegetative propagation (or “cloning”) is remarkably common. Without it, various crops would not be commercially viable, such as bananas, apples, grapes, and sugarcane. Cloning is hugely important in the cannabis industry, as it allows for uniform growth and characteristics, including flavour and effect.

In the agricultural world, vegetative propagation (or “cloning”) is remarkably common. Without it, various crops would not be commercially viable, such as bananas, apples, grapes, and sugarcane. Cloning is hugely important in the cannabis industry, as it allows for uniform growth and characteristics, including flavour and effect.

What is cloning?

“Cloning” is the act of cutting a terminal branch (the end of a branch, with a shoot or new pair of leaves at the apex) from a growing plant. The branch clipping is then coaxed into growing roots from the cut stem and effectively becoming a whole new plant.Cannabis_clone_5_days_in

This ensures all cuttings taken from a “mother” plant will have identical growth characteristics if provided with identical growing conditions, as they are “clones” with identical DNA. In terms of cannabis, it means getting the exact flavour and effect required is all but guaranteed—with more certainty than growing from seeds can provide, even with the most stable strains.

The basic process is the same for most plants, but the term “cloning” seems to be cannabis-specific—so if looking for supplies at your local garden centre, referring to your babies as “cuttings” rather than “clones” may be advisable, depending on local laws!

Choosing a mother plant

Choosing a good mother plant is fundamental to the cloning process. There is very little point in essentially immortalising a genetic (or at least massively extending its natural lifespan) unless it has value as a commercial strain.

Growers and breeders typically select mothers on the basis of productivity, height, rate of growth, potency, flowering time, flavour and effect. Other more niche characteristics may also be selected for, such as high CBD levels (increasingly popular in the medical world) or tolerance of cold, for growers in northerly regions.

When growing plants from seed, it is impossible to know what a potential mother will turn out like without flowering it. Therefore, cuttings should be taken from seed plants a few weeks into the vegetative period. These cuttings should then be rooted and immediately placed under 12/12 light to induce flowering. Then, the mothers of the most promising cuttings can be kept permanently in vegetative growth conditions so that more cuttings can be taken.

Preparing your cuttings

You will need:

A mother plant; scissors or secateurs; a sharp, clean razor blade or scalpel;

A cutting surface such as a silicone baking sheet or ceramic dish;

A cup or glass 2/3 full of lukewarm water;

A growing medium such as rockwool cubes;

Rooting gel or powder; a plastic spray mister bottle;

A (preferably heated) propagation chamber.

Cloning cannabis plants allows for a homogenous garden

First, soak your rooting blocks in water thoroughly, for up to fifteen minutes to ensure that they are saturated. Adjusting the pH of the water to around 6.0-6.5 prior to soaking the cubes is advisable.

While the medium is soaking, use scissors or secateurs to take cuttings from the mother plant. Cuttings should consist of the outer 3-4 leaf nodes of a terminal stem or branch.

Using the razor blade or scalpel, trim all but the topmost leaf nodes off the cutting, as close to the stem as possible.

Cut the stem at a 45° angle. Some growers use the blade to scrape away the outer layers of bark and expose the inner stem from which new roots grow; others believe this step is unnecessary.

Dip the cutting into rooting hormone, making sure to thoroughly coat the bottom 1cm or so of the stem.

Remove the rooting blocks from the water and lightly squeeze out some water so that they remain wet but not dripping.

Insert the hormone-covered stem tip into the rooting block to a depth of 3-4 cm. Place the cutting into the propagator.

If correct conditions are maintained, in 2-3 weeks cuttings should all have visible roots protruding from the rooting blocks and be ready to transplant.

Maintaining cannabis cuttings

As a general rule, your cuttings should be kept at a constant temperature between 20°C and 26°C, and at a relative humidity of 90-100%. The relative humidity (RH) can be reduced somewhat after the first two or three days, but should never drop below 60-70%.

Cannabis requires specific conditions to be maintained if cloning is to be a success. Furthermore, the three main subtypes of cannabis, informally known as “sativa”, “indica”, and “ruderalis”, can vary to some extent in their requirements.

As most commercial strains are now heavily hybridised and their genetic lineage unclear, trial and error may be the best way to ascertain the individual requirements of a specific variety. Be prepared to lose clones, and until you are certain of a strain’s requirements, take more clones than you anticipate needing.

Humidity, temperature & mould

Cannabis is prone to rot and mould, particularly powdery mildew and botrytis (grey mould). Great care must therefore be taken to prevent mould while maintaining high enough moisture levels for plant tissues to remain adequately hydrated and rooting to occur.

Prolonged direct contact with water itself (such as in an overly-moist growing medium) will also cause stems to decompose. Stem rot taking hold, whether through a fungal agent like botrytis or through direct action of water, will usually result in clones needing to be thrown away.Cloning cannabis header

However, maintaining a consistently high humidity and a consistently low-to-moderate temperature also provides ideal conditions for mould growth. Maintaining good airflow (usually a small fan will suffice) helps to combat this problem, by carrying saturated air away and bringing fresh clean air to the fragile stems and leaves.

Successfully cloning cannabis plants is one of the trickiest aspects of growing cannabis for novice growers, and even with years of experience it can remain pernickety. Following the advice given above will usually bring about good results, but trial-and-error is still the best way to “get the feel” of taking cuttings.


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Rosi Bergman

Hi I work for a tv-productioncompany in Sweden and wants to get in contact with you. Please email me and I will tell you more.
Kind wishes from Rosi


David Cannafacts

Hello Rosi,
For this kind of request, please forward your details as well as additional information to

Thank you!


Darrin Gagel

If a plant is harvested, you can sample it, and decide if you want to clone it. Pick your favorite 2 or 3 distinctly different types of plants to clone, based on trying the harvested plants. Weed Farmer - How to Grow Cannabis?


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