klōn | Noun
Cloning is a modern method of cannabis/hemp cultivation. A clone is a hemp plant taken (cut from the stem) from a mother hemp plant that becomes a copy of the original plant. Typically, a clone is obtained from the healthiest, young female hemp plant with stable genetics. Growers raise clones instead of seeds when they would not risk growing a male plant or a plant with poor characteristics. This process promotes identical genetic makeup each growing season.
“Did you know that growers clone the healthiest hemp plants to avoid growing males in their gardens?
“In hemp cultivation, a clone is a plant taken from the mother hemp plant that grows independently.”
What Is It?
It’s a prime example of asexual propagation or taking a part of a parent plant and replicating it outside the means of sexual reproduction. The clone regenerates itself into a new plant. It typically starts as a cutting of a stable mother hemp plant that gets necessary conditions to grow into a genetically identical plant.
The purpose of cloning is to reproduce and preserve the genetic identity of the hemp plant. The clone is then grown in the same environmental conditions as the mother plant. So, it’s infinitely more likely to exhibit the mother’s physical and chemical traits than a regular sexually propagated plant.
Keeping the environmental conditions consistent throughout its life cycle ensures that the clone develops a nearly identical cannabinoid and terpene profile to the mother plant. It goes as far as mirroring the mother’s ability to take in nutrients and its resistance to pests or fungi.
Clones vs. Seeds
Most cultivators and home growers prefer clones over seeds for a multitude of reasons. As a heterozygous plant, hemp naturally reproduces a diverse set of offspring. And the continuity of plant characteristics is key for cultivators and home growers to sustain top-quality plants. Sexually propagated hemp plants cannot provide that continuity, plus it takes up to a month to determine the sex of a seed. With clones, growers save time and money because they have known and control the sex of the plant right of the bat. This information saves them weeks of energy, nutrients, and expenses on cultivating healthy female plants — resources that might have been wasted on an unwanted male plant. When it comes to the initial price of clones, they tend to sell roughly the same price as seeds.
There is an immense benefit of clones and their genetic consistency for growers. When growers cultivate identical plants, they can experiment with them, evaluating and replicating effects. Such certainty allows them to determine optional feeding schedules, flowering times, and nutrient recipes. These advantages allow cultivators to reproduce plants more favorably.
Lack of genetic diversity of clones is a good thing for growers but can also be a disadvantage. In fact, it can have catastrophic consequences. If exposed to adverse environmental effects, they can be wiped out. Luckily, this happens rarely, so the advantages of genetic consistency outweigh the disadvantages.
Where to Find Them
You can purchase clones in dispensaries at a great price. Typically, you get what you pay for — especially if dealing with a trusted source. You should know that the main downside to purchasing clones at a dispensary is the risk of incurring pests or mold. Spider mites, in particular, are increasingly resistant to organic pesticides. While most dispensaries carefully examine the plants for powdery mildew and insects, it can be difficult to catch all of them. So, make sure you double-check for pests before bringing the plants home.
You should also pay attention to the plant’s roots, size, and color. Preferable characteristics are roots that go over 4 inches in height and 6 to 8 inches in stem thickness. The color of the roots should be bright or dark green with minimal yellow spots.
The best way to avoid contamination with pests from the clone to other plants in your garden is to quarantine them for a week or two. You can use organic pesticides to minimize the risk of introducing a pest or mold that the clone may have picked up from the dispensary or during transportation.
Cloning hemp plants is a process that offers growers several advantages that outweigh traditional methods of growing hemp plants from seeds.