Cannabis clone growth is a fascinating process. We’ve made a handy guide to show you how it works, from cutting to flowering!
Taking Cuttings From Cannabis
When we cut a stem from a cannabis plant, we deprive it of its support network of roots. Without roots, the plant can’t access water and nutrients. A cutting taken from a plant like cannabis must be placed in a moist environment as soon as possible to avoid the tissues drying out.
Hormonal signals within the tissues encourage the plant to form new roots after receiving a wound. One study showed that after a stem is cut, the tissues release jasmonic acid in an immediate reaction. The reaction peaks in thirty minutes and is essential to the formation of new roots.
We can help the process of cannabis clone growth along by providing the cutting with extra hormones. We can also take various other steps to improve the chance of roots forming. For example, we can cut the stem at a 45 degree angle, to increase the surface area of broken stem. Or we can scrape the outer skin off the stem to create even more surface area. The more area of broken stem, the more space for new roots to grow.
Formation Of Roots
The proper name for roots that form on non-root tissue is “adventitious roots”. They form naturally on some plants, such as strawberries. But they only form on cannabis plants in response to stress, caused by wounding the stem.
The science behind adventitious roots is very complex. The above study shows that the hormone auxin works with nitric oxide and hydrogen peroxide to increase sugar availability. It also shows that the hormone ethylene may be involved, as well as hydrogen sulphide, polyphenols, and various reactive oxygen species. However, the process varies a lot between different plants, and the specifics of cannabis have not been studied.
Typically, adventitious roots form differently to normal roots. When you germinate a cannabis seed and allow roots to form naturally, a “primary” root or radicle grows first, followed by lateral roots. But adventitious roots don’t form a primary root, and instead form a fibrous net of lateral roots.
Vegetative Growth Starts Again
Once enough roots have formed to support the cutting independently, new growth of leaves and stems will occur. Once this happens, the initial stages of cannabis clone growth are complete, and the subsequent stages will be very much like any other plant.
The study into clone growth shows that once roots establish themselves, the activity of the hormones auxin and ethylene slows down, and production of different compounds begins. In particular, the plant produces cytokinin and strigolactones, which cause stem and leaf growth and inhibit root growth.
Some Tips On Cannabis Clone Growth
Although cannabis clone growth occurs like any other plant after the initial stages, there are a few differences to be aware of. First off, clones are identical if taken from the same mother, while seeds will always exhibit some degree of variation.
Secondly, clones may yield comparatively less than seedlings, particularly when grown outdoors. This may be due to the lack of a primary root, so the plant has less overall stability and strength and may not have as much access to nutrients. Clones may also be susceptible to drought for the same reason, as the roots don’t penetrate the soil as deeply. However, most people don’t notice a big difference, as long as plants have enough water and nutrients.
On the other hand, clones usually take a little less time overall to complete their life cycle. As they are taken from plants that are relatively mature (although still in a vegetative state), they’re ready to begin flowering pretty much as soon as roots establish themselves. For this reason, they’re great for Sea of Green methods!