how to clone cannabis plants

How to Clone Cannabis Plants: A Comparative Analysis


Cannabis cultivation has become increasingly popular in recent years as laws surrounding its legality have changed in many places. For both medical and recreational consumers, growing cannabis at home provides more control over strain selection, quality, and cost compared to purchasing at dispensaries. Cloning is a common technique used by home growers to propagate desired strains through asexual reproduction. The process involves taking a cutting from a “mother plant” and rooting it to produce a genetically identical copy or “clone”.

Two articles - “How to Clone Cannabis” by Jamie Corroon and “How to clone cannabis plants” from Leafly - provide step-by-step instructions on cloning as well as background information on the technique. While both describe similar methods, there are some key differences in their approaches regarding best practices for selecting mother plants, taking cuttings, rooting, and caring for clones. Analyzing the merits of each methodology as presented in these articles can help determine optimal cloning strategies for home cannabis cultivation.

Clone Cannabis Plants

Comparing Approaches to Selecting Mother Plants

A critical first step in cloning is choosing a healthy mother plant, as this will determine the vigor and potency of the resulting clones. The Leafly article recommends selecting a mother at least two months into the vegetative state, displaying qualities like sturdy growth, good aroma, and resistance to pests/mold. Corroon also advises choosing a plant that is past the seedling stage, has lots of branching, and high yield potential based on prior flowering. However, Corroon places more emphasis on selecting mother plants with proven high production of buds and desired cannabinoid content.

While Leafly makes a good point that visual indicators of health like vibrant growth are important, Corroon provides more concrete guidance by advising growers to directly select mothers that have flowered well previously. This takes some of the guesswork out of predicting which plants will produce the best quality and highest yielding clones. The ability to assess THC, CBD, and terpene production from prior flowering gives growers valuable quantitative data to choose superior mother plants.

Comparing Cutting Methods

Both authors provide similar recommendations regarding the physical act of taking cuttings from the mother plant. They state cuttings should be taken from branches that are approximately 6-10 inches long with at least 2-3 nodes. The cut should be made at a 45 degree angle just below a node using a sterile razor or knife. Leafly further specifies removing lower leaves from the cutting right away to reduce water loss and applying rooting hormone immediately before inserting the cutting into the chosen medium.

While these directions are largely aligned, Corroon offers some additional helpful tips. He notes the bottom of the plant concentrates more rooting hormones, so taking cuttings from lower branches may promote better root growth. Corroon also advises placing cuttings immediately in water after taking them to prevent air bubbles forming in the stem that can block water uptake. Compared to Leafly, Corroon provides more thorough explanations for why certain techniques are recommended, giving growers a better understanding of best practices.

Cutting Methods

Comparing Rooting and Transplant Methods

Both Leafly and Corroon describe using rockwool or other soilless media like peat or foam to root cuttings. They advise keeping humidity high by using a plastic dome over the cuttings while they root. Adequate warmth and low intensity fluorescent lighting are also recommended during rooting. However, Corroon offers additional suggestions to optimize the rooting environment, like using a heat mat under the cuttings and keeping lighting very close to the plants. Providing more specifics on ideal rooting conditions can help growers troubleshoot if cuttings are slow to root.

For transplanting, the two articles provide nearly identical instructions on steps like preparing larger pots with soilless medium, watering the medium beforehand, and burying the full root cube to prevent drying out. One distinction is that Leafly recommends burying the cube so the top is flush with the surface of the pot, while Corroon advises leaving 1-2 inches at the top of the pot. Corroon’s approach helps prevent overwatering issues. Overall though, both articles offer clear and thorough transplant directions.

Additional Background Information in Leafly

While Corroon focuses almost exclusively on the procedural aspects of cloning, the Leafly article provides additional background information that is useful for understanding cloning best practices. For instance, Leafly explains the benefits of cloning versus growing from seed, like faster maturation time and knowing plant sex. They describe the role of mother plants in detail, including different setup options for dedicated clone-only mothers versus using the same plants for cloning and flower production. Leafly also goes over what to look for when purchasing clones from a dispensary. This contextual information helps growers make informed decisions when developing their own cloning protocols and setup.

Optimal Cloning Procedure

Recommendations for Optimal Cloning Procedure

Based on analysis of these two articles, the following actions are recommended for optimal results when cloning cannabis at home:

  • Select vigorous mother plants that have proven high production of buds, cannabinoids, and terpenes in previous flowering cycles
  • Take 6-10 inch cuttings from low on the plant using a sterile razor at a 45 degree angle below a node
  • Remove lower leaves and apply rooting hormone before inserting into rockwool or soilless media
  • Maintain high humidity and warmth using a dome and heat mat during rooting
  • Use fluorescent lighting very close to plants for 18 hours per day during rooting
  • Transplant into soilless medium when roots are 1-2 inches long, burying root cube 1-2 inches below the surface
  • Follow transplant with high intensity watering for the first week to prevent drying out
  • Review contextual information on cloning benefits and best practices to inform setup decisions

While these two articles present similar cloning methods, analysis reveals Corroon provides more evidence-based guidance for selecting high quality mother plants and optimizing rooting conditions. Leafly offers useful background information to supplement the procedural instructions. Combining the strengths of both resources allows home growers to develop an effective cloning protocol suited to their specific needs and environment. With proper technique, cloning enables cultivation of endless cycles of robust cannabis plants with desired cannabinoid profiles, aromas, and plant structures.


Cloning can seem daunting for novice home cannabis cultivators, but is a valuable technique for preserving favored genetics and skipping the seedling stage. While numerous online guides provide cloning directions, they often differ in their specific recommendations. Comparing two such articles from Leafly and Corroon highlights small variations in suggested approaches regarding mother plant selection, taking cuttings, rooting methods, and transplanting clones.

Analysis reveals Corroon provides more concrete guidance backed by scientific evidence for choosing high yielding mothers with potent cannabinoid profiles and optimizing rooting conditions. Leafly’s article contains helpful contextual information on the broader technique and applications of cloning. Combining the strengths of both resources enables home growers to refine techniques for maximizing cloning success rate. With practice, gardeners can master propagation of resilient, true-to-type cannabis clones.

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