Grower’s Guide: How To Clone A Cannabis Plant

Emily Mullins

Posted by Emily Mullins on 02/15/2024 in Growing

how to clone a cannabis plant

The process of cloning cannabis plants is an important skill for every cultivator to know. Cloning is when someone produces new cannabis plants with the same genetics as another plant. The process often involves using the cuttings taken from an original plant, known as the “mother plant,” with traits that the grower wishes to replicate in more plants. 

Benefits of Cloning Cannabis Plants

Cloning is a method of plant propagation that requires taking a cutting from an original plant with certain quality genes, and then rooting the cut piece in water, soil, or other media. The purpose of cloning cannabis plants is primarily to produce new individual plants with certain desirable traits. For example, a grower may want to have more of a particular plant that produces especially high yields. In such a case, the quality genetics can be replicated by cloning rather than growing from a batch of the same seeds.

The clones, if grown in relatively similar conditions to their mother plant, will then produce similar yields or certain sought-after concentrations of compounds, such as cannabinoids and terpenes. Cloning your female, flower-producing plants also means that you can be certain that none of your new plants will grow up to be male.

Another benefit of cloning is that it skips the germination phase (and possibly the seedling and vegetative phases), resulting in faster cultivation times. Starting your cannabis plants from seeds can take significantly longer since they have to germinate and develop into plants. The mother plant determines the starting growth stage for clones when it is cut for cloning. Within a week or less, a single mother plant can yield several cannabis plants that are ready for progressive cultivation. However, it can take seeds over a month to develop into a healthy cannabis plant, and you cannot know whether these plants will be female or whether they will have the characteristics you are aiming for.

The cloning process can also be more cost-efficient than germinating plants from seeds. If you are already growing your own cannabis plants, then cloning should cost you about as much as a pair of scissors, some water, and perhaps a starting medium for rooting the clippings.

farmer holding cannabis sprout

Cloning: A Step-By-Step Guide

Once you choose your preferred mother plant, you’ll need to then remove a small cutting from one of the branches. Afterward, you should place the bottom of the cutting into clean water, high-quality soil, or a growth medium such as a rooting cube (recommended). After a root system grows from the cutting, you will transplant the clone to the typical soil mixture used for your other cannabis plants. 

  1. Selecting and preparing your mother plant: The most successful clones will come from strong, healthy female plants about two months into the vegetative growth phase. Before taking a cutting from your chosen plant, it is best to avoid fertilizing the plant for 2-3 days so that nitrogen can move out into the leaves, which will become part of the clone. Also, while plants can be cloned at other growth stages, you will want to clone a mother plant that is in the vegetative stage.
  1. Making the cuttings: Before making the first cut, be sure you have sterile equipment and conditions to work in. This will prevent your plants from succumbing to mold, mildew, or disease. Thus, you should always wear gloves and clean your equipment before creating your cuttings. When making the first cuts, it is recommended that you choose strong and healthy branches from the mother plant. The branch should be long and bushy. Using scissors or garden shears, aim to cut two or more nodes and cut the branch above the primary node. Once you remove the branch from the mother plant, cut it again below the primary node at a 45-degree angle.
  1. Planting: Immediately after cutting the branch from the mother plant, place the cutting into the rooting hormone or rooting gel, then move it to your growing medium as soon as possible. While it is possible to use water or soil to start your clones, plant starter cubes and rooting hormones are recommended to achieve the best results.

Starter cubes are small plugs that come in a variety of growing mediums designed to provide optimal air and water for the cutting to facilitate root growth. Check your clones daily when they are rooting. It is critical to maintain the proper amount of moisture and humidity, otherwise, your cuttings will not grow roots.

Avoid using loose soil as a rooting medium because soft soil cannot provide stability for forming strong roots. Starter cubes are not difficult to acquire—you can buy them online or at your local grow shop.

  1. Transplanting: After about 10-15 days, once your cuttings form a root system between 1-2 inches, they can be removed and transplanted into potting soil. Fill some planting pots with your growing soil, and make sure the soil is moist. Then, form a 1-inch hole in the soil, carefully arrange the roots of the clone within the hole, and gently cover the roots with more of the soil.

Caring for Clones

Here are some tips for taking care of the clones while they develop:

  • Regardless of the medium you choose to root your fresh cuttings in, you need to ensure that they have 18 hours of light per day to grow into strong plants.
  • Applying rooting hormones can also help the cutting produce strong roots and speed up the rooting process.
  • Unfortunately, some of your cuttings may die without becoming full-grown plants, even if you are attentive. If a plant dies, remove it from other plants as soon as possible to avoid the spread of mold or mildew that could kill your other plants.
  • Some producers claim that the clones of clones produce lower-quality plants by a process called clonal degradation. The existence and mechanisms of this phenomenon are unclear, so it is a topic of debate among growers. Some producers attribute the changes in plants’ quality to environmental factors rather than genetic complications. Nevertheless, whether such undesirable changes occur due to alterations in environmental factors or planting processes, it is necessary to eventually introduce new mother plants.


Whether you are new to growing or an experienced cultivator, cloning cannabis plants is a rewarding and interesting endeavor. Some people may clone plants to replicate a breed with desirable THC concentrations, terpene profiles, or yield. If you have a plant whose products are worth propagating, this guide can help start your journey to multiplying the benefits of your favorite plant. 

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