Cannabis Clones And Rooting Hormones
Clones are the best way a home grower can keep hold of dank genetics and continue to crop a specific cannabis strain long-term. Similarly, if you plan on growing large numbers of plants, cannabis cuttings are the smart option. Rooting hormones play a key role in cloning. Find out why here.
Cloning is consistently inconsistent for all kinds of growers, from novices to cultivators with decades of grow room experience. Taking cuttings is hit-or-miss for a variety of reasons. Although, to be clear from the outset, the number one cause of death for cannabis clones is the cannabis cultivator. Grower error is responsible for most clone casualties.
To successfully root cannabis cuttings, the grower must be willing to experiment in order to discover the custom formula that works for them. Expect to take losses and stack up a cutting kill count before you figure it out. There is no one way to take cuttings and root them. But no matter which method you use, the biological fuel for root development are rooting hormones.
Sure, you can cut stems at a 45 degree angle with scissors, or cut finely with a razor blade, or cut precisely with a scalpel. But without a dose of rooting hormone and a new home inside a propagator, odds are, plenty of your clones are already done for.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO ROOT CLONES?
Ok, so you’ve decided on a clean cutting tool, invested in a propagator, and perhaps you have some cutting practice, albeit with mixed results. You have three types of rooting product to choose from; rooting hormone is available in gel, liquid, and powder form. It’s best to stick with the cannabis-specific brands. Some square gardening products work and some don’t. Why take the risk?
Using homemade rooting products or those from the garden centre is amateurish and not recommended. High-quality cannabis rooting hormones are inexpensive and will cost you less than €20. If you want a high rate of success and a process that you can repeat, you must match the right tools with the right techniques. And practice, practice, practice until you’ve got it down perfect. The best way to root clones is the way that works for you, again and again.
WHAT ARE ROOTING HORMONES?
Generally, there are five agreed plant hormones: auxins, abscisic acid, cytokinins, ethylene, and gibberellins. When it comes to rooting cannabis cuttings, it’s all about the auxins:cytokinins ratio. In ordinary decent stoner terms, auxins are root juice. The two most important natural auxins are, brace yourself for the science, indole-3-acetic acid or IAA, and IBA or indole-3-butyric acid.
HOW TO USE ROOTING HORMONE PRODUCTS
Typically, rooting hormone products are based on either IBA or a synthetic auxin like NAA (1-naphthaleneacetic acid). There are lots of really effective cannabis rooting products available, both from the grow store and online. Let’s discuss the three most commonly-used forms of rooting hormone by home growers.
Cloning powder is favoured among commercial growers and those planning on large crops. As a powder, it has by far the longest shelf-life of any rooting product; plus, you can root a lot of clones using little powder. After you make your cut, you need to cover the tip in powder. Most growers fill a bottle cap or small cup and tap off the excess. Then, place your cutting in your medium of choice.
Cloning liquid is pretty versatile. Some growers like to dilute a few ml in 6.0pH water and immerse rooting mediums like coco coir, Jiffy pellets, or rockwool cubes in the solution to promote root zone development. More common is for growers to dunk a fresh cutting in a lid full of cloning liquid for 5 seconds, and then insert in the rooting medium.
Cloning gel is probably the most popular form of rooting hormone used by home growers these days. Again, to use gel, it’s more or less the same as the other two methods. You dunk your cutting into a small cup full of gel, only the gel is a gooey consistency and covers more of the cutting base and lower stem. Gel is easy to use and very effective. Dunk and pop your clone in a rooting cube.
HOW TO PROMOTE SEEDLING ROOT DEVELOPMENT
Some home growers will mix cloning powder with seedling potting mix to make it more auxin-rich. This is most effective with seedlings in small pots or containers. As the plants transition to vegetative growth proper, you need to transplant to a medium with fewer auxins or stem development will be stunted.
Other growers will use a light solution to assist rooting by adding a few ml of cloning liquid with watering, directly after transplant. This is in order to promote root development without building up too many auxins in the medium that will inhibit stem growth later.
The ideal habitat for cannabis clones is a propagator under an 18-6 light schedule. Cool white CFL, MH, or LED will do just fine. Powerful lamps are too intense and not needed. 250W is about right for any light system. Don’t be tempted to run 24 hours straight to speed things up. Clones do most of their actual rooting during the dark cycle. So stick with a conventional 18-6 cycle.
Maintaining optimal environmental conditions during propagation is critical to clone survival. Try to keep humidity 70-80%+ and temps at 24°C. You can occasionally mist plants with pure water if the RH gets a bit too low. Successfully rooting clones can become routine if you can control the climate and master your method.
NATURAL HOMEMADE ROOTING COMPOUNDS
There are a number of commercial rooting hormones available that promote the healthy striking of clones.
With the demand for high quality organic weed increasing all the time. It makes sense to begin the life of your plants with an organic homemade rooting compound. Here are 6 natural and homemade methods for helping cuttings develop their first shoots.
Yes, cinnamon. Cinnamon isn’t so much a rooting compound as a natural antifungal agent that prevents pathogens from harming developing roots.
In a well prepared quality medium, cuttings will eventually develop roots without the need for rooting compounds. It can take a little longer and cinnamon will protect the young plant while it strikes roots.
- Shake some cinnamon into a small container.
- Dip the cutting into the cinnamon.
- Plant as normal.
Honey is an old school way to aid with striking cuttings. It has a number of beneficial enzymes and vitamins and is a natural antibacterial and antifungal. As with cinnamon, honey might not be considered a rooting compound as much as a protectant for emerging roots. It goes without saying that natural honey needs to be used. Be careful, many of the shelf brands contain substantial amounts of sugar syrup. Be sure the honey is pure.
- Decant an amount of honey.
- Dip the clone in the honey and let any excess drip away.
- Plant as normal.
3. WILLOW WATER
Certainly the most traditional rooting compound, used by gardeners since time immemorial. Willow water has naturally occurring indolebutyric acid, which is a growth stimulant. This is why a willow branch laid on the ground will sprout roots and grow.
- First source some willow and cut a small bunch of young branches, enough to fill 2 cups. Don’t collect fallen branches as the important compound is gone. The size and thickness of a pencil is ideal. You can also use the bark of the willow tree itself, however you will need 3 cups as the indolebutyric acid is weaker in bark.
- Cut the branches or bark into small pieces and place in a container that can hold at least 5 litres of fluid.
- Using a large saucepan boil 3.7 litres of water.
- Pour the boiling water over the willow bits and leave to steep for at least 12hrs, preferably 24hrs.
- Your rooting hormone is now ready. Strain into clean glass bottles making sure no bits get into the mix. Label and date bottles and store in the fridge. It will keep for up to 2 months.
- When ready to make clones, decant some of the tonic into a container large enough to hold your cuttings. Let them rest for a few hours while the indolebutyric acid works it rooting magic.
- Plant as normal.
4. ALOE VERA
Aloe Vera is a common succulent with many uses. A favourite for sunburns and getting rid of dark rings under the eyes. Aloe is also a handy natural rooting aid for clones, as it contains salicylic acid, which is a growth stimulant. Aloe can also be watered into mature plants to encourage healthy overall growth.
- Break off an Aloe frond and squeeze out the sticky juice into a clean container of pure water. Give it a stir until the goo is well dissolved. Container size depends on how many cuttings are being made.
- Make your cuttings and put them into the aloe and water mix. Leave them to soak for 24hrs. You will notice they increase their turgidity.
- 24hrs later break off another Aloe frond and push the cut stalk into the wound. Agitate it a bit to make sure the juice gets onto the stalk. Agitation has the added benefit of mildly scoring the outer cambium where root shoots will be encouraged to develop.
- Plant as normal.
5. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Apple cider vinegar is a useful rooting tonic for clones. It must be diluted, otherwise it can be too acidic and harm the clones whilst dropping the medium pH.
- Dilute the apple cider vinegar with fresh. 1 teaspoon of ACV to 6 cups of water and stir well. Any stronger than this is too acidic.
- Dip the cutting in the diluted mix.
- Plant as normal.
Uncoated aspirin tablets can also be used to make a rooting agent. They contain salicylic acid, which is why aspirin in vase water helps cut flowers last longer. Follow the method for the willow tonic to make a rooting agent. Aspirin may not be totally organic, but is a cheap homemade solution to expensive rooting compounds.
- Purchase uncoated aspirin tablets. There’s no need for any additives that may harm young plants.
- Dissolve a tablet in a clean glass of water. Give it a quick stir to ensure there are no solids left over.
- Place the cuttings in the solution and leave to sit for a few hours.
- Plant as normal.
Do you want to learn how to root cuttings and understand the importance of rooting hormones in the process? Read on to find out more!
Cannabis Cloning Made Easy… Roots in 7-10 Days!
Hey everybody, it’s Mr Green here from www.GrowBCBud.com with some free advice about making cannabis cloning as easy and quick as possible. Today you’ll learn how to clone your marijuana plants successfully every time!
I’ve been growing marijuana on a large scale since 1990 and have made thousands of clones over the years. The following is my best advice to get your clones rooted fast, in just 7-10 days.
- Cloning Tray (with ridges at the bottom, no holes) & 7” Vented Dome
- Razor Blade or Exacto Knife & Scissors
- Cloning Gel and Cloning Powder
Note: Any brand rooting powder and gel will work for cloning
- 2 small plastic buckets (or large mixing bowls – to be filled with water)
- Spray Bottle/Mister
- “Jiffy 7” Compressed Peat Pellets(Recommended)
Note: Rockwool Cubes and Rapid Rooters can be substituted
- Grow Lights: Fluorescent Lights or Metal Halide lights (250w, 400w or 600w) seem to work best for cloning, however any quality grow light can be used.
To begin we will fill one of the small buckets with warm water. Put the other bucket aside for now, as we will use it in a moment.
Next, we soak the Jiffy 7 compressed peat pellets in the warm water, which makes the pellets expand in size, as pictured below.
Once the compressed Jiffy 7 peat pellets have expanded in warm water, we remove them one at a time.
Gently squeeze excess water from each pellet before placing in cloning tray.
Once the cloning tray is filled with expanded warm wet Jiffy pellets, we are ready to begin cutting our cannabis clones.
Let’s fill the other bucket with cold water now. We will use this to hold our new clones.
Where to cut?
When cutting clones from a mother plant it is better to cut a large section of a branch with multiple branches and bud sites.
Bigger branches will support bigger buds. A small clone may take a week or two before multiple branches appear.
This photo shows the difference between a small cannabis clone vs a big clone. You will get faster growing and more vibrant plants by choosing big clones!
Using a new razor blade, cut the branch of the mother plant at a 45-degree angle. This “branch” will be your new clone!
Place the new cutting in the small bucket of cold water you just prepared.
The stem of the cut branch will absorb some water while soaking. This prevents air bubbles from getting trapped in the stem.
If your cutting has large fan leaves you should cut the blades of the leaves shorter to fit in the cloning tray.
This way the fan leaves will still remain and speed up the growth of the new cannabis clone.
Once you have all the branches cut and soaked we are ready to dip the tip of each of the cuttings (soon to be clones) into the rooting gel.
Dipping the clone in gel first will protect the stem from getting clogged.
After the clone is dipped in rooting gel we will dip the tip into the rooting powder.
This method is what I call “Double Dipping the Clones”. I do this because some strains root better in gel, while others root better with rooting powder. This way each clone will always root no matter what. Any brand rooting powder and gel will work for cloning.
After the clone has been double-dipped, you will insert the cutting into the Jiffy 7 peat pellet.
Gently press the peat in the Jiffy 7 around the base of the stem to ensure a snug fit and to ensure contact of the peat with the stem. We don’t want the stem loose or falling out of the peat.
Note if you’re using Rockwool: Rockwool cubes usually have a small hole for the clone to be inserted. Just be sure you have a snug fit between the stem and the cloning cube.
Once all the clones are inserted in the pellets I add a teaspoon of water to the base of each stem to activate the rooting gel and powder.
The next step is to spray the clones with water before moving the clones under the light.
When spraying the clones with water make sure you spray the inside of the dome and the base of the cloning tray. Fresh cuttings need high humidity to encourage root growth.
Now place the dome on the cloning tray with the new clones inside.
Leave the light on 18 hrs per day for cloning. Try to give the clones as much light as possible. More light makes clones root faster.
About the lights:
- If using fluorescent lights or CFLs you can keep the light 1 or 2 inches over the top of the dome.
- If using a horizontal 400w or 600w Metal Halide light keep the light about 24 inches away from the top of the dome.
Make sure the vents of the dome are closed for the first 2 days.
Keep the room temperature slightly warm, above 20 Degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit).
That’s it for now! You’ve made it through the first day, which means you’ve made it through the toughest part of cloning!
Remove the clear plastic dome from the cloning tray and spray the clones and inside of the dome with water.
Place the dome back on the tray when done. It is best if you spray the clones in this way at least 2 times per day.
Spraying a clone with water dilutes the nutrients in the leaves. The clone will be forced to search for nutrients once the leaves have low nutrient levels. Misting also helps maintain water levels in the plant since it can’t drink through the roots.
Spray clones once in morning and once at night.
Open the vents in the dome of the cloning tray today.
We want the moisture to escape now which will dry out the Jiffy 7 pellets. The drying of the pellets will force the small bits of root to grow quickly in search of moisture.
Keep vents on dome open and spray clones once in morning and once at night. Hopefully by this point each clone is standing up on its own.
Keep vents on dome open and check to see if pellets are dry.
If the Rockwool or Peat Pellets are dry to the touch we will add half a liter (
2 cups) of water to the cloning tray itself which will fill the grooves in the bottom of the cloning tray.
Important: If you add water, add it to the cloning tray itself to fill in the grooves at the bottom of the tray. Do not add water to the tops of the pellets at this point, or roots will take longer to form!
The pellets will absorb the water from the bottom of the cloning tray. We want the roots to search for the moisture, and forcing them to move downwards to find water will force the plant to root more quickly.
Adding water over the top of stems now will make it take longer for clones to root. Do not add water to the tops of your pellets!
Close the dome vents on Day 6.
Keep spraying clones once in morning and once at night. You should now see some roots breaking through the Jiffy 7 peat pellets for several of the clones.
We have closed the dome vents again on Day 6 because we want extreme humidity now that clone roots are starting to show. Trapping the water in the tray with vents closed creates the best environment for roots to grow rapidly.
Continue spraying clones twice a day.
By day 7, roots should be showing on at least 50% of the clones. Keep the vents closed on dome. We need to maintain high humidity until day 10.
DAY 8 & 9
By day 8 or 9 you should see roots on 90% or more of the clones. At this time you should add half liter of water (
2 cups) that has been infused with a light concentration of grow nutrients to the grooves in cloning tray.
Keep vents closed on dome which will add nutrient to the humidity in the cloning tray. Over the next day roots may triple in size.
Continue spraying with water for day 8 and 9.
Remove the dome on the cloning tray today to allow clones a chance to adjust to normal humidity. Clones may be transplanted to dirt or Rockwool anytime when you see roots.
If you want bigger plants, take bigger clones!
About the Bathtub Floodtable
I’ve recently been growing marijuana at home in my new condominium apartment. As a result, I needed a place to keep Mother Plants, Clones and a place to Veg the Clones.
I discovered that my spare bathroom is the perfect place for the job. The bathtub floodtable is a piece of plywood 2ft x 4ft in size. I’ve covered the plywood with 2 layers of B&W Plastic.
The plywood is raised 2 inches at the front edge of the bathtub which makes the water run downhill towards the tile wall at the back of the bathtub. The nutrient drips off the floodtable into the bathtub to be recirculated again.
View a video featuring Mr. Green’s Bathtub Floodtable
The bathtub acts as the reservoir holding the hydroponic nutrients. A submersible water pump forces the nutrients up onto the floodtable through 1/2 inch tubing that leads to spaghetti hose for each plant. Nutrients drain out of the pots while plants are being fed. This method is what I call “Flush & Feed”.
Excess nutrients are being Flushed out of the Rockwool while the Plants are being Fed nutrients.
Plants cannot be overfed with this method of hydroponic growing.
Plants are fed several times per day as programmed by a digital timer. I also have an air pump with air stone in all my reservoirs keeping oxygen in nutrients at maximum levels.
More information and instructions how to build custom floodtables are included in my book “Marijuana Mass Production Made Easy”.
ABOUT MR GREEN
I was born in British Columbia and started growing marijuana on a commercial scale in 1990. I designed and built grow rooms in nearly 20 different locations over the years, and worked as a consultant for major size grow-ops. The cover of the book has images of my basement which held 24 x 1000w HPS lights.
My education with hydroponic grow systems began in 1991 under the supervision of University Botanists who were developing a special nutrient formula for the cannabis strain Northern Lights. Since then I’ve learned advanced techniques to improve the quality and yield per light.
I’ve read dozens of books and always wanted to find one that tells the reader exactly how to get professional results without having to perform experiments, and without having to sort through pages of re-hashed common info about how plants grow. The book I wrote, “Marijuana Mass Production Made Easy” has the condensed instructions of how to average 2+ lbs per 1000w light.
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2012 and am now Licensed by Health Canada to Grow my own plants. All the photos and videos on my website, www.GrowBCBud.com are from rooms I built and plants I grew.
Share my pics and videos with all your friends. My book “Marijuana Mass Production Made Easy” shows you how to grow 2 lbs or more per 1000w light and includes instructions on how to grow 12 lbs every 3 weeks in 1000 sq ft room.
The book includes the hydroponic food formula I use that will make your plants grow Bigger and Faster than ever before. I make growing easy for anyone to understand with basic instructions of what to do so you achieve awesome results every time.
Marijuana Mass Production Made Easy is available for $24.95
Get Your Supplies To Follow This Cloning Tutorial!
Cloning Tray (with ridges at the bottom, no holes) & 7” Vented Dome
Note: Because these are bulky but lightweight, these items are usually much cheaper to buy in person without having to pay for shipping (can be found at most plant nurseries and gardening stores). Although not necessary, the reason the following tray is white on top is this style helps reflect light back up at the plants (though it costs a little more than a regular propagation tray).
Cloning Gel and Cloning Powder
Note: Any brand rooting gel and powder will work for cloning
2 small plastic buckets (or large mixing bowls – to be filled with water)
Grow Lights: Fluorescent Lights (including CFLs) or a Metal Halide light (400w or 600w works great). However, you can use almost any grow light successfully as long as you keep it at the correct distance away.
Mr Green has been growing marijuana on a commercial scale since 1990 and has made thousands of clones. Learn the exact technique he uses to get clones consistently rooted fast, in 7-10 days!