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CLONING TECHNIQUES FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA CROPS    •    

Cloning cannabisCannabis clones

Cloning Medical Cannabis Plants


Cloning or the taking of cuttings allows you cultivate all female crops with known characteristics. When you take a clone from a female plant the resultant offspring will be an exact genetic replica of the mother plant. This allows medical cultivators more control over crops and saves valuable time spent determining the gender of plants grown from un-feminized seed. Although feminized seeds are an excellent way to start an all female crop, they still take longer to produce than cuttings.

Before any cloning can be carried out you will first need to identify a strong, vigorous female plant. It is not advisable to use a mother plant that has been grown from a feminized seed as they are notoriously genetically unstable and can result in hermaphrodite plants. Choose a vigorous plant that has come from a batch of regular seeds, and once a strong female is identified you can begin taking clones from her. The mother does not have to be grown from seed and you can take clones from a clone without any problems; but if you intend to do this on a regular basis keep an eye on your crop and introduce fresh mothers as soon as you notice any decrease in vigor or yield. The preferred method is to keep a mother plant constantly in the vegetative stage to provide you with a regular supply of fresh clones.

Cloning cannabis sideshoot Removing cannabis sideshoot

Basic Cloning Requirements

1). Sharp razor or scissors

2). Container of rooting gel

3). Rooting medium

4). Clear plastic propagator with lid

5). Plant mister bottle

Start by selecting a vigorous growing tip on your chosen female; ensure that the tip is at least two inches (5cm approx.) long and preferably longer. Cut the tip from the mother plant at the nearest node using either a sterilized razor or sharp scissors. The female will go on to produce two fresh growing tips from below the site you have just cut, doubling the number of cuttings that can be taken next time. Re-cut the clones stem at a slight angle to expose more surface area before dipping the same end into a horticultural rooting gel; available from most general garden stores. Gels ensure a more even coating of the stem base than you get using powdered rooting hormones. An alternative to rooting gel is to dip the clone stems into a solution of ‘Bloom’ fertilizer before placing the cuttings into your medium or if you are gardening with a strict organic regime you can dip the clone stem into honey.

The clone is then placed into your chosen rooting medium, which can be seed compost or peat pellets for organic growers and sand, rockwool cubes, floral foam or small pots of perlite for hydroponic gardeners. Place the new clone into a high sided propagator and ensure you have a humid environment for the first few days at least. It is helpful to remove the propagator lid on a daily basis and wipe any excess moisture from the inside using a cloth. Mist the clones daily with a spray bottle for the first few days. Roots should develop within 10 to 14 days.

Propagator clonesYoung clone

Aero Cloning Requirements

1). Sharp razor or scissors

2). Light-proofed kitchen container (Tupperware or Rubbermaid)

3). Aquarium bubble bar/Aquarium air pump

4). Airline, 15cm plastic tubing/silicone glue

5). Sterilized water

Aero cloners work by misting the stem ends, where rooting takes place, with a fine spray produced by air bubbles bursting on the surface of the water, generated from the bottom of the container using an aquarium air pump and bubble bar. These cloners are so efficient that you can almost guarantee a 100% strike rate without the use of any rooting agents or plant hormones.

   
Aero cloners are easy to make yourself using a light proofed plastic container with a tight fitting lid. Smaller aero cloners can be made from Kitchen storage containers but you require a minimum depth of around six inches (15cm).  


Lightproof the outside of your chosen container by painting it with a rubberized paint, you can try bumper paint designed for cars but it tends to flake off if the plastic bends. The images and video show containers that have not been lightproofed in order for you to see how they function. A better alternative is to cover the outside of the container with duck tape. The clones are placed into quarter inch (20mm) lengths of at least eighth of an inch (10mm) diameter plastic tubing depending on availability, there are rubber tube suppliers on Ebay; the larger the tube thickness the easier it is for removing the rooted cutting. The clone stem should protrude at least quarter of an inch (20mm) from the bottom of the tubing. The tube itself needs to be split down one side to enable you to remove the clone once it has rooted. The tubes are placed into holes drilled into the plastic lid; the same diameter as the tube supports. Mark out a grid (obviously dependant on the size of your container) before drilling the holes. Glue the aquarium bubble bar to the base of the container and ensure it provides bubbles for the whole surface area. Larger cloners will require additional bubble bars to ensure even coverage.

Attach the bubble bar to your aquarium air pump using plastic airline and then part-fill the container with pre-boiled/sterilized water. You will need to adjust the depth of water to suit your container; the best way to do this is to start the air pump with the lid attached, if the water is at the correct depth you should see tiny splashes coming through the holes drilled into the lid. The clones are placed into the tubes in the lid and then given a final trim to ensure they are all the same length and don’t touch the water, they should hang just above and be misted by air bubbles breaking on the surface. The clones are then placed under fluorescent light and will root within 7 to 14 days depending on variety. The cuttings require no additional feeding, but you can mist them with a weak nutrient solution if they appear to lose vigor. The clones should be sprayed with a fine mist of water for the first few days, and ensure that the water in the aero cloner is maintained at the correct level. The forming roots are sensitive to temperature and prefer to be kept at around 75-800F and you can add a small submersible aquarium heater to maintain it at optimum. Once rooted, you can treat your clones as young plants.

Aero bubblerClone in rockwool

Water Cloning Requirements

1). Sharp razor or scissors

2). Lightproof cup/container

3). Aluminium foil

4). Pre-boiled, Sterilized water

Water-cloning is easy to do and simply involves rooting your cutting in clear water without any rooting powders, gels, hormones or additives. The secret to successful water cloning is ensuring you don’t give the cuttings too much exposure to any strong artificial or natural light. You can root your clones on a window sill that doesn't receive direct sunlight, or under ordinary incandescent light bulbs, but fluorescent are a better option. Fill your light proofed cup with sterilized water and then cover the top with aluminum foil, before cutting a clone from the mother plant and placing it in a piercing made through the foil cover, ensuring that at least half an inch of the clone stem remains constantly submerged. The optimum temperature for root development is 75-800F so it is advisable to test your water using an inexpensive fish tank thermometer, the water will maintain the same ambient temperature as its surroundings so don't keep the container anywhere where the temperature may drop overnight. You can place several clones into each cup and they should all root within 10 to 14 days, after which they are treated as young plants and placed into your chosen medium under an 18 to 24 hour vegetative light cycle.

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