A mother plant is any cannabis plant you take a clone from. Mothers should be healthy and sturdy, as their genetics will pass on to the clones—if you have a sickly mother plant, its clones will also be sickly.
Cannabis mother plants guarantee genetic consistency, so each new generation of clones taken will have the same taste, flavor, effects, and other characteristics. Clones will also generally grow at the same rate as the mother, produce a similar quality product, and grow with the same vigor, allowing you to dial in your process and really get to know how to grow that particular weed plant.
What to look for in a mother plant
Check your clones daily to make sure they have enough water by checking the bottom of the tray or auto-cloner. To increase humidity, you can spray water on the leaves with a spray bottle. If any clones die, discard them so they don’t cause mold in the rest of the clones and also to give the remaining clones more space.
When selecting a mother plant to clone from, look for plants that are healthy, sturdy, and at least two months into the vegetative cycle. Don’t take a clone off a plant once it starts flowering.
If you don’t want to mess with seeds, clones can be a great option for starting a marijuana plant. Growing weed from a clone will save you time—even though they need time to root out, you don’t have to germinate seeds, which will shave off a month or so of the growing process.
Photoperiodic plants require a change in the amount of light they receive each day in order to go from the vegetative phase into the flowering stage.
Photoperiodic varieties are far superior when it comes to cloning. If the cutting is taken during the vegetative phase and the light cycle remains the same, it will have the chance to grow and flourish within the vegetative phase. Only when the plant has reached an optimal size will the grower elect to shift the light cycle and initiate the flowering stage.
Photoperiodic strains evolved closer to the equator. When grown indoors, they require a light cycle change which simulates the approaching autumn and encourages them to march towards flowering and seeding before the weather becomes too harsh for them to continue to survive.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AUTOFLOWERING AND PHOTOPERIODIC STRAINS
So, what does this genetic difference mean when it comes to the craft of cloning cannabis plants? Well, remember when we talked about how cloning results in an exact copy of the mother plant? This literally means that every trait is carried over, even the age of the plant when the cutting was taken.
Cloning cannabis plants is also economically appealing to many growers. It means that they don’t have to keep buying seeds in order to grow the exact same strain; instead, they can simply take a cutting from the prized plant within their crop and create a homogeneous copy. With all these benefits, it might seem as though cloning should be a technique that all growers use, all of the time. However, the method does indeed have its limitations.
One significant limitation is that autoflowering strains of cannabis are quite difficult, though not impossible, to clone successfully. Considering that autoflowering varieties have some massive advantages over traditional strains, such as compact sizes and rapid growth time, this may put many cultivators off from cloning altogether.
To discover why growers don’t see impressive results when attempting to clone autoflowering cannabis strains, we need to observe what it is that sets this breed of plants apart from the rest. Autoflowering strains pretty much do exactly what their name suggests – they flower automatically based on time, rather than on environmental factors like photoperiodic strains.