Making cuttings from marijuana plants consists of taking a part of the plant, letting it take root and grow out to become a full, independent plant. This new plant will have the same genetic characteristics as its mother plant; think for instance of grow capacity, yield and resistance against pests and bugs.
In this guide you will learn
Making cuttings is a fun and inexpensive way to keep your favorite strains alive and to multiply them. You can easily take 20 cuttings a week from an adult mother plant.
In this course I will teach you everything you need to know to create healthy cuttings that will later be able to produce a lot of marijuana. I will explain all actions you have to take, discuss the different methods and tell you the perfect climate for letting the cuttings take root.
Why make cuttings
A cutting is a genetic copy of a plant it’s taken from. It’s simply a branch with some leaves you let roots grow on to. A good cutting in a dispensary will set you back about $10, but you can make ones yourself at almost no cost. These are the four main reasons why people make cuttings;
1. Keeping your favorite plant alive forever
2. Greatly multiplying a plant with certain characteristics
3. Lowering costs, because no seeds or clones have to be purchased
4. Broadening your knowledge and developing a feel for the marijuana plant
In theory, you can keep your favorite plant alive forever by continuing to make cuttings. Take however into account that you’ll have to replace your mother plants now and then. I use my mothers about six months on average and then make cuttings for new mother plants.
You can easily make 20 cuttings a week from a single mother plant. You can make about 300 cuttings a week per 12 square feet with a 400 watt MH grow light. As you can see, you can produce a lot of cuttings in a very small space. If growing marijuana is legal in your state, it’s a good idea to supply dispensaries with cuttings from special strains. You can get between 5 and 10 dollar for each cutting, which is some nice extra income…
It’s obviously a lot cheaper to keep making your own little clones. You have to however make sure to create good ones, because they’re not that expensive. Also, it’s better to not use feminized seeds for your clones, since these seeds were put under a lot of stress and were ‘forced’ to produce female plants. If these plants experience a lot of stress again, they may become hermaphroditic. So only use regular seeds or other cuttings.
The environmental factors must be ideal for a little clone to take root. Temperature, humidity, light and fresh air must be perfectly aligned. In order to master this process you should have a feel for marijuana plants. So you will learn a lot from this and you will start to recognize certain symptoms, such as a lack of water or fresh air, or too high temperatures.
Making a mother plant
A cutting is a genetic copy of the plant it’s taken from. It’s simply a side branch with some leaves you let roots grow on to. The plant you take these cuttings from is called the mother plant. Since a cutting is a piece of the mother plant that will grow to become a full plant, it will have the same characteristics as the mother plant.
So you need mother plants in order to make cuttings. These mother plants must be 100% female and be cared for very well, because making cuttings requires a lot of energy from the plant.
The easiest way to get mother plants is by buying a number of cuttings. You prune these plants and let them grow until they’re big enough to take cuttings from. Get your cuttings from a reliable source, so you know you have high quality ones.
I very often top my plants during the second week of the growing phase. I often wait until the top is nice and big, to take cuttings from it. By doing this you only have to buy cuttings once. Place your cuttings under fluorescent lighting, and later on in small pots. You could make new cuttings if they become too tall while your other plants are flowering.
You can also top your plants and make cuttings when you’re growing from seeds. It’s also possible to cut off a number of side branches to make cuttings from, right before bringing your plants into the flowering stage. This is a fun way to experiment a bit with making cuttings.
If you want to do it right, and want to make mother plants that last a long time, you’ll have to create your mother plants from regular seeds. Feminized seeds are made by ‘stressing’ the plants, causing them to only produce female seeds. If the plants that come from these seeds are exposed to stress, for instance from high temperatures or long periods of drought, they could become hermaphroditic.
This means that they will have both male and female reproductive organs. This enables them to fertilize other plants and themselves, which is the last thing we want to happen.
You should therefore make sure to get regular seeds. Let these germinate and make some cuttings from each plant during the growing stage. Make sure you properly label which plant the different cuttings come from. Now force your plants into flowering and check which plants are male and remove these from the grow room. Also throw out all male cuttings.
Let the remaining plants flower and see which ones produce the biggest buds with the most THC. You want to continue with the cuttings from that plant, so you have to make mother plants from this. It’s quite a bit of work to make mother plants from seeds, but the upside is that you know you have high quality plants. Plus, you can keep the mothers alive for a very long time…
You can grow mother plants on soil, rockwool, mapito or whatever growing medium you like. I often use big blocks made of of rock wool. The plants grow well on it and can create a nice amount of roots.
Grow your mothers under MH lights. Fluorescent light is also possible, but the drawback is that they won’t grow as fast, so you won’t be able to make as many cuttings a week. If you only need a very small number of cuttings (10 or 20 a month), it’s better to grow with fluorescent lighting, because otherwise your mothers will grow too quickly.
Mother plants have to always stay in the growing stage, so we have to provide them with 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness. You should therefore make sure to not put the mother plants in the same room as the flowering plants.
Top your mother plant a number of times, with a week-break between cuttings. This will give the mother plant a nice number of side branches we can take lots of cuttings from. Here’s a photo series about pruning mother plants and the results after a number of weeks.
How long does a mother plant last?
A mother plant won’t degrade from the cutting process, but pests or stress could lead to a loss of quality. That’s why I usually use my mothers no longer than six months, because the quality of the cuttings will decrease after that. An advantage is however that you can replace the mother plant with a different cutting. By continuing to promote a new cutting to mother plant you can keep your plants alive for decades.
I know many growers who keep their mother plants alive for over a year and continue to take healthy cuttings from them. If your mother plants stay healthy you could, in theory, keep them alive as long as you want.
What do you need
The plant you’re taking the cuttings from is called the mother plant. A mother plant should never flower, and should remain in the growing stage. It’s best to use mother plants for about six months, after which you should replace them. Also, it’s better to create them from regular seed than from feminized seed.
You need a small greenhouse to be able to put your cuttings in a closed room and still let light through. The closed room is required to create a high humidity. Since the cuttings don’t have any roots yet, they shouldn’t evaporate too much water, because they cant absorb any new water. That’s why you have to create the right temperature. If it gets too warm, the cutting will try to cool off by evaporating water.
A small greenhouse or a propagator usually has the option to ventilate by opening or closing the vent-holes. You could buy a small greenhouse or a propagator, but a plastic container with plastic foil also works just fine.
Marijuana plants produce sugars they use to grow. This takes place in the leaves. A cutting will use all of its energy to create roots. Once it has roots it can function independently and it will survive. Sugars are produced by converting light, water and CO2 into sugars and oxygen. This is why light is important.
Also, a lamp always produces heat. By using the heat of your lamp you won’t need any additional heating. Fluorescent lighting is the best option, because this type won’t produce as much heat, so you can hang the lamp very close above the cuttings.
You could also place your cuttings in your grow room, as long as your plants are still in the growing stage and therefore receive 18 hours of light. Make sure to not put them directly under an MH or HPS light, because this is too powerful for the little clones. Put them in the shade of other plants. By doing this they receive sufficient light, the temperature will be right and since they are in a closed container you can create a nice, high humidity.
Perlite is not a necessity, but it’s definitely useful. By scattering a layer of perlite on the bottom of your cutting greenhouse you keep an airy climate under the rockwool cubes. You could also leave a small layer of water in the greenhouse without the plugs sucking themselves full. This is an easy way to create a high humidity.
Rockwool cubes are perfect for letting your cuttings take root. They’re made of rockwool, retain water well and are airy, so the new roots can easily grow through. Always let the cubes soak overnight in water with a pH level of 5.5, so the rockwool cubes will adapt to this pH level. Most cubes have a pH value of 7, which is actually too high.
Rooting gel or rooting powder contains certain plant hormones that let your cuttings take root more effectively. I prefer rooting gel over rooting powder, because it stays in place better when you stick the cutting in the rockwool cube.
You need a spray bottle to keep your cuttings nice and moist. You could also give them some foliar feed this way. The type of spray bottle doesn’t matter; I usually get the cheapest one ?
You need sharp, sterile scissors or a scalp to neatly cut the cuttings from the mother plant. After taking a cutting, you need to cut the cuttings on a slant, like with flowers. The best way to do this is with a sharp scalp or razor blade.
1. Select branch
Choose a nice branch to take a cutting from. Don’t select very young side shoots, but pick a nice light, woody, branch with some leaves and side shoots. A good cutting is about 4 inches long.
2. Cut off cutting
Cut off the cutting with a sterile scalp or sharp, sterile scissors. If you cut multiple cuttings at the same time, it’s best to put them in a bit of water until you continue with the process. If the cut of the cutting is exposed to the air for too long, it could die.
3. Remove most of the leaves
You want the cutting to evaporate as little water as possible, because it doesn’t have any roots yet to absorb water to replenish the evaporated water. You should therefore remove all leaves on the cutting, except for the top pair. If these top leaves are large enough you have to halve them with scissors.
4. Cut cutting on a slant
In order to optimize the absorption of water, you should cut the cutting at the bottom on a slant, like with flowers. Use your scalp or a sharp knife for this.
5. Dip in rooting gel
Dip your cutting in the rooting gel. This contains certain hormones that make sure your cuttings take root more effectively. It also decreases the contact of the cut with the air.
6. Stick in rockwool cube
You should have let your rockwool cubes soak in water with a pH of 5.5 over night. Before sticking the cutting into it, you should squeeze out the cube a bit or let it leak for an hour. It should be very moist, but no water should be dripping from it.
Place cutting in greenhouse
Congratulations, your first cutting is now ready to take root. Place it in your greenhouse and cut the rest of your cuttings. Don’t forget to label it if you’re making cuttings of different strains.
Creating a perfect climate
Spray all cuttings to create a high humidity. Cuttings evaporate less water if the humidity is high, so there’s a smaller chance of dehydration.
Place a thermometer next to your cuttings in the greenhouse, so you can always monitor the temperature and humidity. If you can’t measure the humidity, you have to make sure the plastic is always a bit fogged. This is how you know for sure you’re around 90% humidity.
Now place your greenhouse or container under a lamp. It’s best to use a fluorescent lamp, but you can also place the greenhouse or container in your grow room. Make sure you don’t place it directly underneath an MH or HPS light, but in the shade of other plants. That’s because this type of light is too strong for these little plants.
The air temperature should always be between 68 and 77 degrees, and the root temperature between 64 and 68 degrees. Warm roots will grow faster. If the temperature in your container is 77 degrees, you can assume the temperature around the roots will be about 68 degrees.
You can increase the temperature by lowering the lamp a bit. A fluorescent light doesn’t generate much heat, so you could always hang a normal lamp in your container if it doesn’t get warm enough. You can hang the lamp a bit higher if it gets too warm.
Your cuttings don’t have any roots yet, so they can’t absorb water. They can however absorb a tiny bit through the leaves. That’s why it’s important that the cuttings don’t evaporate much water, because they can’t replenish this through the roots. If the humidity is high, the marijuana plants barely evaporate any water. You should therefore keep your cuttings wet and also spray the inside of your greenhouse every day.
How to let cuttings take root
Day 1 to 3
Keep the greenhouse closed during the first two days to make sure the cuttings don’t dry out. You have to open the greenhouse for some minutes a couple of times a day to air out and spray the cuttings. Make sure the rockwool cubes don’t get too moist, because this could cause the stems to start rotting.
Day 3 to 5
You can open the little greenhouse a bit from the third day. This allows a continuous flow of fresh air that’s rich in CO2 to reach your cuttings. Keep them moist, but don’t give them any nutrients yet. As long as they don’t have roots, nutrients will only delay growth. If they’re turning a bit yellow, you can provide them with foliar feed with an EC of 0.8.
Let the rockwool cubes dry out a bit from time to time before you water them. This stimulates root growth. Keep the temperature constant and try to not touch the cuttings.
Day 5 to 7
You can open the slide completely from this day. Spray them again and keep a close eye on the temperature.
Day 8 to 14
After having been in the greenhouse for a week, you can check if you can see little roots coming from underneath the rockwool. This usually takes between 7 and 12 days. Once you see the first little roots you can give them a bit of root stimulator.
Keep the temperature constant and keep spraying your cuttings. In a few days, they’ll all have roots and you can transplant or sell them.
That’s it. You might fail the first few times but it only takes two weeks to try again. Good luck! If you have any questions, please ask our grow experts on the forum.