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Growing and maintaining cannabis mother plants is a great way to keep your favorite cannabis genetics alive for years down the road. If you want to regrow a specific phenotype that you loved, mother plants can be a bountiful source of high-quality cuttings.

Cuttings, which can produce clones, are cut-off branches of a vegetative female cannabis plant. Cuttings grow to have the exact same characteristics as their mother plant. These plants will have the same aroma, flavor, structure, and look as their mother plant.

Mother cannabis plants are the foundation for year-round indoor growing. If you’re interested in enjoying more of your favorite cannabis genetics, our in-depth guide shows you the importance of the mother plant and how it can provide you with an endless supply of cuttings.

Benefits and Importance of the Mother Plant

Growing healthy mother plants offers numerous benefits for growers. A cannabis mother plant can be an excellent source for clones throughout the year. You can take cuttings immediately after harvesting your last batch of clones, so you can keep the cycle going.

Clones growing from mother plants will have the same size, appearance, and aroma, providing growers with consistent quality and traits.

In addition, mother plants are not at risk of becoming pollinated by male plants, since they will be kept in a separate space from flowering plants.

With mother plants, growers don’t need to start from seeds and can skip the germination phase. Growers can save time and money by not buying seeds and waiting for seeds to sprout. Overall, growing clones from a cannabis mother plant can be a great way to enjoy your favorite strain for years to come.

How to Choose a Mother Plant

Since your cloning project relies on the genetics of your mother plant, it’s important to spend some time identifying the traits that meet your needs or growing environment. This process requires growing several different strains, cloning them, and searching for your desired traits.

Characteristics of a Healthy Mother Plant

  • Tolerant to pests and diseases
  • Free from pests and diseases
  • High-yielding
  • Fast-growing
  • Excellent aromas and flavors
  • High trichome density

Taking Cuttings

Mother plants can provide you with a plentiful supply of cuttings throughout their entire life. Here is exactly how you can take a cutting from a mother plant.

What You Need

  • Mother plant
  • Scissors
  • Razorblade
  • Rooting solution
  • Gloves

How to Take a Cutting

scissors cutting a cannabis plant, importance of the mother plant
  1. Select a branch with an alternating cluster of nodes.
  2. Take a cutting close to the plant’s primary stem with a pair of sterilized scissors. Make the cut at a 45-degree angle. The cutting should be 5-8 inches long.
  3. Immerse one-third of the cutting in water to prevent air bubbles from forming in the exposed part of the cutting. This can prevent nutrient uptake.
  4. You may make controlled cuttings using a razorblade on the exposed area to increase the surface area of the cutting to the rooting hormone.

Learn more about the cloning process with our blog post: Learn How to Clone Marijuana in 5 Steps.

How to Maintain a Mother Plant

Maintaining a healthy mother plant takes time and patience. If you do it right, you can keep a mother plant alive for years. However, improper care and maintenance can cause nutrient deficiencies, light damage, disease, and other issues.

To keep your mother plant around for a long time, follow these mother plant maintenance tips:

  • Regularly top your mother plant and use LST to improve the light exposure of the canopy and create a bushier plant structure.
  • Grow in a fabric smart pot to “air prune” the roots. This allows you to keep plants in the same pot for longer while reducing the risk of developing root rot.
  • Keep your mother plant in a constant vegetative cycle with 18 hours of light and six hours of darkness. Some growers use a 14/10 schedule to slow the rate of growth.

Once you get to know the basics of marijuana cultivation, your next step is getting mother plants to begin the cloning effort. There are three primary reasons for doing so.

Firstly, the economy of getting mother plants is essentials since to buy quality marijuana seeds mean that you may have to spend more than you bargained for. Unless you do your cultivation to produce seeds, you should avoid putting out so much money to buy new seeds each time you begin the marijuana grow process.

Secondly, when you use clones, it will speed up your marijuana grow efforts. With clones, you will avoid the necessity for seed germination and you also have to think about the period of time, it takes to wait for the process to be completed.

Thirdly, cloning your mother plants means that you have to consider quality first and foremost. When you are able to find an excellent phenotype with the desirable qualities, it is only sensible to repeat the cloning process of your mother plants so as to genetically produce an identical offspring.

The Setback

One setback with the process, though, is that you cannot decipher the quality of your seeds until it has been flowered. By that time, it will be too late to transform the seeds into mother plants without reverting back to the vegetative phase and this can cause the plants to be stressed. What do you do in this situation?

Mother plant cannabis cuttings

Selecting Mother Plants For Marijuana Cloning

Let's say you get a new batch of cannabis seeds. Once you start cultivating them and you notice that they are growing in the way you want them, start by taking the cuttings from individual cannabis plants. When will you do this? It will usually occur during a month of the vegetative growth.

Take those cuttings prior to the pre-flowering phase. Similar to their donors, clones possess identical biological age. Therefore, when you take the cuttings from the flowering cannabis plant, it will still flower, whether they are just a few inches in length or not.

Taking the clones from the mother plants during the vegetative phase allows the grower to have more control over the results.

The Cuttings

Now, label all the cuttings that you made so that it corresponds with each of the donor mother plants. You could keep your cuttings in one room as you would the donors and do so under 18 hours of lighting. Once your marijuana clones have been established, you can then separate them from your donor plants.

Start to flower your donor plants by adjusting the lighting, making it 12 hours lighting and 12 hours without lighting.

Keep your cuttings on a light cycle while in a vegetative state. Once you see the male plants appear, these should be immediately removed along with the corresponding clones. You won't have any use for these.

The Flowering Phase

If your cannabis strain has a lengthy flowering period, then your marijuana clones might turn out to be too large and unmanageable and they will forcefully try to get into the flowering phase. If you find this happening, just take your clones from those clones and continue in the vegetative phase for the second generation of clones.

As the donor plants develop during the flowering stage, you will be able to choose which ones interest you and which ones you prefer and which ones have the qualities that you like.  

The most important categories to consider are vigor, aroma, taste, yield, appearance, phenotypes, and potency. Reject the clones prior to the flowering phase.

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The Perpetual Harvest Method

Cannabis mother plants can give growers an endless amount of cannabis on-demand using the perpetual harvest method. In this method, growers use multiple grow tents or spaces to keep the flowering and vegetative phases always going.

Growing cannabis using this method may be more expensive due to the added lights, space, and nutrients required, but it can provide you with a constant supply of clones to produce your next batch of cannabis. With this method, you can harvest bud every couple of months.

Learn How to Grow Cannabis Clones at Home with CTU

Cannabis Training University provides students from all over the world the opportunity to learn from the best growers, doctors, lawyers, budtenders, and extraction technicians. Learn how to create the perfect environment for your mother plant and start growing clones today.

Learn more about mother plants and clones by visiting the Cannabis Training University and enrolling in our marijuana growing classes.

Luis Cordova
Luis Cordova

Luis Cordova is a distinguished author, and renowned expert in cannabis cultivation, who possesses a Master's degree in Plant Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Science. As a valued contributor to highly esteemed publications such as Cannabis Training University and Maximum Yield Magazine, Luis has emerged as a trusted source of guidance and knowledge in the cannabis industry. Having written thousands of informative articles, Luis is widely recognized for his comprehensive expertise on cultivating cannabis, both indoors and outdoors.

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