I have a secret to share with you. We do not keep mother plants!

Mother plants count in total plant numbers, use up electricity while being kept in the vegetative state, and take up valuable space as they get bigger. Long ago we realized we could do away with mother plants by becoming efficient in cloning.

Since we have multiple growing areas running different lighting schedules, before mature plants are budded by flipping the lights to a 12/12 schedule, cuttings are taken from these plants before the timer is changed. These new cuttings are placed in 18/6 light to root. This gives us small, healthy duplicate plants with vigorous growth instead of older barky stems to try and root from. We never take clones from old tired plants with barky stems.

I have read up genetic shift and I simply believe it does not apply when taking cuttings from healthy plants. Sure, if you clone some old tired root-bound mother with woody stems who knows what could happen, but as long as the cutting is make up of healthy cells we have never encountered a problem.

Sometimes this is easier said than done, as many growers struggle with cloning.

When I first started growing it was the one aspect of the hobby that eluded me. I went through every device and product on the market until I figured out it really comes down to two basic conditions: Temperature and Humidity! These are the main factors that determine rooting time. If these factors are controlled, cuttings will root very fast and be completely healthy and ready to transplant. If these factors are not controlled, rooting can take longer and the cuttings can become stunted and never really take off, even after they finally root. Aim for a constant temperature between 74-78 Degrees. While people root outside these parameters, we have the best success using this range.

See the gallery on Flickr

I recommend using Rapid Rooters. These are small plant-based plugs pretreated and ready for cuttings. I disregard their plastic trays and just flip the triangle-shaped cubes upside down for support and make a new hole with a pen or nail. I have used soil in cups and rockwool cubes but Rapid Rooters are really the best choice – and they seem to hold just the right amount of moisture without suffocating the plant. As long as you don’t let Rapid Rooters dry out you will have great success.

Clone from only fresh green shoots. Older parts of the plant will have an thin bark-like surface and cuts taken from this area will not root as easy and may not contain 100% healthy cells. I like to prepare all my materials first before I take any cuttings.

Make sure you cut the clone and a sharp angle like a spear. While a new, clean razor blade works best, I just use clean, sharp scissors that I trim with.

Cut off the long fan leaves about half way; this will prevent water loss. I use a plastic pen to make a hole in the rooter and hold it open with my fingers as I pull out the pen. I stick the label in at this point before placing the cutting in.

I gently find the hole and slide the cutting down, never forcing it. Be careful not to squeeze the cutting as you press it into the Rapid Rooter. I keep repeating these steps until all the plants on the list are checked off, list are important they keep us from forgetting so take the time to write things down.

I see people wasting coin on all kinds of contraptions designed only to take your hard earned dollars out of your pocket.

You think cloning is important now? You bet on it! It’s the key to mastering the art of Fine cannabis production.

Post edited for clarity on Oct 22, 2009.



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  64. BIGNLOUD on

    I just got back home (Dallas Tx) today, after a five day vacation to see one of my buddies in PORTLAND. On the trip out I had an odd flight plan, that had me going from Dallas to Houston then to Portland. I fliped out when I was boarding the jet in Houston, and went to call my friend in Portland to let him know I was about to take off and was shocked to find my cell was gone. I figured it fell out of my pocket on the other flight. With no time to go back across that huge airport I went on without it. This became a real problem when I got to Portland and didn’t see him anywhere. I tried to remember the name of the print shop he worked for to look it up as I, like most people today, rely on my phones memory instead of my own, but came up empty. After an hour and a half of waiting I started to think my vacation was doomed. Then I remembered his email has his work phone number on it. I found an internet kiosk inside the airport, and after a $14 credit card charge I got the # and called his work. They knew all about him picking me up, and gladly gave me his cell # when they found it. I figured he was right around the next corner looking for me the same as I was looking for him. When he answered and told me he was 10min away at a tattoo shop watching someone get a tat of a bud on his back, I thought my trip had to change for the better soon or I would snap. You see I’m on disability for bipolar disorder and don’t handle stress very well, so I tend to toke up all day every day. I wanted to level my head but didn’t risk bringing any herb with. About 20min later I forgot all about how bad my day had started. When my friend pulled up to get me the first thing I asked him was what the hell he was doing at a tattoo shop while I sat around waiting for almost two hours for him. He then cautiously reached under his seat for a paper sack, and handed it to me. I COULD SMELL IT, and it smelled good. Inside the paper was a plastic bag with a BUNCH (8) of smaller plastic bags inside it. Each one labled with a name. I recognised some of the names and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. This vacation had definatly made the type of change I wanted/needed.
    I can’t begin to thank you enough. MC2

    I have more I want to tell you, but not here. Email me if you can. THX

  65. Mountain Man on

    This guy is amazing. I am doing the soil, beans, watering, lights and venting. All by Subcool standards. I want to thank him for passing along this truely amazing method for an incedible end product.
    Thanks Sub !!

  66. SomeDude @ GP on

    Very nice writeup sub.. Keep up the good work my friend

  67. petitgrower on

    Hi Subcool!

    First…exuse me for my bad proficiency of englis language!

    I have read your jurnal, and it was wery intrusting for me. I live in Hungary, and we have one forum.

    I have making one translate from your article. I hope, that I dont have damage any right whit this work!
    You can see here the translated version:
    And thank You wery much!!! 🙂

    Im a medicinal grower, and for this reason, I grow little yield of ours favourite plant. This method will be wery good for me.
    I wan to know, that, during how many generations can I kept the original genes of one strain, because, somebody hawe say for me; “it is much better to work with mother plants, since as it’s more stable, than cloning the clones along many generations.”
    Im wery curious for what You say, because we hawe one debate of this method.

    Thank You for Your answer!

    Petitgrower, from Hungary

  68. Sees in the Dark on

    People v. Wright
    (2006): The California Supreme Court reaffirmed that the Medical Marijuana Program Act (SB 420) specifically provides an affirmative defense to the crime of transporting marijuana to a qualified patient or a person with a state identification card who transports or processes marijuana for his or her own personal medical use. In addition, the Court found that the amounts of marijuana described in SB420 (8 ounces of dried marijuana and 6 mature or 12 immature plants) constitute a floor, not a ceiling, on the amount of marijuana a qualified patient may possess. Click here to view the ruling.

    People v. Phomphakdy
    (2008): The Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District (Sacramento) held that the quantities of marijuana specified in the Medical Marijuana Program Act (SB 420) constitute an unconstitutional legislative amendment of a voter-approved initiative. Click here to view the ruling.


    As you can see if you are in the state of california there is NO PLANT LIMIT ANYMORE!! as of Dec 2008. So dont worry about your plant count?, now you can have a full breeders selection to your hearts content! Peace and POT!,sees.

  69. subcoolonline on

    I teach people how to grow legally under state guidelines and that comes with plant number restrictions

    I bud only 8 plants under 2400 watts and my yields are the same as when I ran 40 plants back east.
    I think this method I teach is less work over all and the final result is amazing.

    Since plants bud for 60 days that is what determines my veg time and if you wait for my bondage and canopy management threads to go up you will understand even more.

    I am pulling between 5-9 ounces per plant BTW I also feel Cannabis that receives a longer veg time is of better quality.
    Big tress produce amazing meds

    I thank everyone for there comments and I understand that many people want the security of mother plants but in my case that would put me way over numbers so this method was created to keep legal growers legal.


  70. Anonymous on

    that’s a tip I’ve never heard before! i’m just saying that to add an indent here for emphasis. let’s make this stand out a little more…

  71. Anonymous on

    i should add that it would have nothing to do with the actual process of growing… like maybe those who observe genetic drift just have no idea how close to a bad grower they live? Pollen floating around?

  72. Anonymous on

    I guess there is some kind of very subtle factor coming into play with the process of making these observations, which alters the outcome of the observations made… the only way you can both think you’re right.
    Isolating whatever is causing that will allow an experiment that can put the ‘genetic drift’ debate to bed.

  73. Anonymous on

    no sir. you are truly, truly stoned.
    well done!

  74. Anonymous on

    Do you mean that you grow the clones for 60 days in 18/6 and then take cuttings from them and move them to the 12/12 room? That would seem like a long time in veg stage. Why not just grow a bunch of clones for 1 month then cut the tops off them and use those for new clones and put the topped plants into the 12/12 room which you have in two sections. That way you would have a crop every month. Or is that what you’re already doing?

  75. Dan-o on

    I have 2 strains that have been cloned over 21 generations.(Currently in the 21st gen) They stilll pack every bit as much punch as the originals did from seed and the weight has remained the same with some variance over the years due to changed lighting structure.

  76. LabRat on

    As an on-again, off-again hobby grower for the last thirty+ years I’ve always loved keeping a mom around the house. With my irregular schedule it’s no problem to hack the old girl back to nubs and let her re-grow with fresh new clone sites. An occasional root ball reduction and re-potting helps keep her thriving as well. At the moment I am a motherless child. My wife is not in full approval of my hobby and will do no more than water my babies or my mom when I’m away. A month away for work and I came back to “There seems to be some sort of bugs on the plants”. NO SHIT!

    Almost everything that should be green was silver. Thrips had devastated out my crop! Only resin coated material was spared. The mom was wiped out tho I did get a decent harvest. The room had to be sterilized and I’m restarting some of that nice purple kush from seed. 40 beans, 40 babies. Gonna find a nice mom in there somewhere.

    For me moms are the best. For you, maybe no so much. Thanks for the insight as it may prove valuable in the future.

    Oh yeah. The mom died but the wife lives on. Go figure. lol

    Later …

    LabRat … |:^{)

  77. Dustin H. on

    LOL Sucka… I’ll take my advice from a pro. You got served.

  78. Anonymous-Matt on

    thanks for your response, it answered my first post. It was just as i had first thought. Now if i could only find a doctor to sign my mmar for epliapsy, life would be good! Why is BC so difficult compared to the ease of California. maybe because we don’t have the DEA 🙁

  79. subcoolonline on

    It sounds like your basing your info on one strain and My data was collected growing hundreds of strains for 30 plus years and its my opinion that genetic drift is bogus.
    5 Top ten awards in 4 years would seem to confirm I am on the right track 🙂

  80. subcoolonline on

    It will but this clone was transplanted as soon as this picture was teken normally I would have transplanted it sooner but I let it go to get a really nice root shot.

  81. Anonymous on

    I will clarify the unclear portion and J will edit it sorry I type to fast some days
    I have been taking clones of My moms some for over 20 years.
    Genetic shift DOES NOT Occur in Cannabis if the clone is taken from a 100% healthy plant and only fresh green material IE healthy cells are used.
    We can discuss it but I have female mother plants that have been clones hundreds of times with zero change in the genetic make up.

    What I am saying about multiple areas is before I flip my main crop to 12/12 lighting I take cuts while the plants are still on a 18/6 lighting schedule in the main grow area, and these clones are placed in 18/6 light to root and become my next crop or the new mother plant.

    While the main room buds for 60 days the clones root and grow up into large mother plants and the process is repeated.


  82. Anonymous on

    When cutting the clone, hold the branch of the main plant and let the cutting fall to the floor when you cut it. This leads to 100% success rate (otherwise you squish the clone’s stem cutting it it you hold it).

  83. Anonymous on

    I think he clones from each successive generation. No seeds needed, it is the way I grow as well…Who needs mothers hanging around taking up space? Err sorry mom I dinna mean YOU!

  84. Anonymous on

    to the first comment:

    I do not think it is because you are high…I am trying to figure out this contradiction myself. It seems that you would need access to seeds in order to use this method. Grow the seed out and take cuttings before flowering the seedling, but this defeats the whole purpose of cloning…not needing to constantly acquire seeds.

  85. Anonymous on

    I do believe there is a genetic shift, and I have tried both ways. My control subject was a strain with bright pink hairs on it. Using your method each generation’s hair had less pink until about the 3rd generation there was none. Sure, they’re all nice crystally and healthy, but something happened there, and they don’t go up to 7 leaves anymore before time to flower. I like my flowers purty and pink, thank you 😉

  86. Anonymous on

    When the roots start protruding from the rapid rooter, does the light hurt them?

  87. Anonymous on

    “Since we have multiple areas, cuts are taken and rooted before mature plants are placed in the budding room” and would these plants not be getting 18 hours of light before being placed in your budding room or do you have them under the sun. looks like a contradiction to me , but maybe i am just HIGH.