JTake it from a commercial grower in Denver, of all the amazing reasons to create a mother plant in your grow, cannabis constant tops the list. No more hoping it’s the same thing; no more trying to recreate that peppery strain that all your buddies keep begging you to smoke. The process is simple, and you’ll be glad you followed this motherly advice.
Read on and learn how to create a mother plant!
What is a mother plant?
Best explained by Abby Hutmacher, a mother plant is the one that is kept in an indoor culture and intended for cloning purposes. They are used to maintain a desired strain in vegetative mode, never allowing it to flower.
The clones picked will be exact matches to the seeds and their phenotypes. They can be kept for a long time in the 18/6 light cycle, pending general maintenance. Eventually, the mother plants are recycled or returned to flowering.
How do you start a mother plant?
To sow or to clone, that is the question.
What is the answer? Some growers might recommend growing new mother plants from seed. The reason for this is that the roots can sink into the ground much better. They found their home directly from the germination process and there is no transfer process involved.
Problems that could arise with seeds are missed germinations. Often the paper towel method will leave you with 75% success on three of the four seeds. These things don’t come cheap. If you buy, be smart and choose feminized seeds. These will produce female plants that can later grow flowers, versus males that cannot.
Mother plants can be created from seeds or clones. Photo credit: David Martin
Can you grow a mother plant from a seed you found in the cannabis flower you bought? Yes. But, this seed probably came from a hermaphrodite, meaning it ended up with both male and female structures. If you use seeds that aren’t feminized, you might end up with Mamas and Papas, which is a lot less”The California Dream.'”
Start a mother plant with a clone!
The reason for creating a mother plant with a clone is consistency. Do you know how many cycles it took this master grower to perfect this strain? At least enough times that recreating it is a pain. Not with cloning.
When cloning, you cut a winning branch from another mother and presto! This same strain will grow, phenotype and all. Using clones is what the big players in the cannabis industry do. They know what people like and can grow these strains repeatedly. That’s the difference in millions of business dollars each year.
Better than that, using clones allows you to select the best of the best. Find those strong, vigorous branches and grow better cannabis. Eliminate any that don’t look healthy.
How to make a mother plant from cloning?
To give you the best information, we consulted a Master Producer Kevin Altman, who grows for Callie’s Cannabis in Denver (previously head cultivator for Botanico). Her 11 years of growth have left us with this sticky advice:
Steps to make a mother plant from cloning:
Step 1: Choose the strongest plant available to take your clones. Consider how bushy they are, how beautiful the upper branches are, and how old the plant itself is. Clones should not be taken for two months or about two feet in height. Producers do it and it works, but the results can diminish. Taking wings from a chicken before it was a bird doesn’t always fly. Each time you pick up a clone, two more should spawn in its place. The process, if done every two weeks for 3 months, can lead to up to 50 clones. When filling a cash crop, you may need 150-400 plants.
2nd step: Get yourself some good trimming scissors and create a small bath/bowl/pot with diluted bleach. Some producers say isopropyl alcohol works to kill bacteria and viruses. Nothing will spend about 10 minutes in bleach, and it is highly recommended to do so between parent plants in general. Viruses such as Latent hops are easy to spread in grow rooms.
Step 3: Some growers debate it, but the best clones come from above. They found the most light and these hormones are in full swing. Depending on the length, cut your clone under the 2nd or 3rd knot at a 45 degree angle. A good rule to follow is to reach out and then match the distance between your thumb and the middle of your little finger. Weak cuts usually do not survive. Some growers say the cuts should be immediately in a cup of osmosis water. The process can be shocking to the plant. Be nice.
Step 4: Prepare at least a 1 inch rock wool cube, depending on your needs. If you are making multiple cuts for a grow tray, stagger the clones to give them space. Immerse the cube in your osmosis water.
Step 5: Dip the end of your clone in a rooting hormone such as Clonex, aka clone sex. This purple paste works magic. Place the soaked clone in your damp rockwool, then under the 18/6 cycle lights. Presto! Your new clone should be dome and sprayed with the right mix of nuts to keep it growing. He’ll be strong enough to get under the lights soon enough.
Step 6: As mentioned in step 1, your new mother plant will need about two months before you get clones from it. The mother plant should stay under the 18/6 light cycle. If you switch to 12/12, the flowering process will begin. Not the worst thing, but not your goal.
How long can you have a mother plant?
Theoretically, there is a mad grower who has been harboring the same mother plant for 20 years or more. If that person took the right care and only a certain number of cuts a year, this could continue. But eventually the mother will wear out and you may not create healthy clones. At least not as healthy as they could be.
Mother plants can last for years with proper care, but most people swap mother plants every year or so. Photo credit: David Martin
Instead, you should change your parent plants on a yearly basis. Let old mothers complete their growth cycle on 12/12 or discard them due to exhaustion. Create a new mother from the best available clone.
Final Thoughts on Creating Mother Plants
After reading, you should know how to create a mother plant. The process is simple and will grow cannabis steadily for cycles to come. There is no guesswork in the phenotype and companies can use cuttings from cloned mother plants to create customers. Clone a mother plant yourself today and take the guesswork out.
Have you ever created a mother plant in your cannabis crop? Share tips, tricks, and experiences in the comments below.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
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