One of the problems faced by cannabis growers all over the world is that when you germinate and grow a pack of seeds, there’s no guarantee that all of your plants will end up exactly the same. You can have a pretty good idea of what you will end up with when you grow a certain strain, but despite the stability of any given strain’s genetics, there will always be different phenotypes thrown up within the same batch.
What this means is that two plants, despite being nominally the same strain, can in fact be quite different in terms of their flavor, aroma, and even their cannabinoid profile. So if you’ve grown a strain once, and loved it, there’s no guarantee that buying the same seeds next time will ensure that you end up with that perfect strain again. One way of getting around this problem is to clone your plants.
Cloning is a technique by which a grower can take a ‘cutting’ of his or her plant, and force it to root, thereby creating an exact genetic copy of the original plant through a form of asexual reproduction. This is different from the cloning of animals because it is a process which occurs naturally in a wide range of plants in the wild.
Other than ensuring the quality of your plants, there are two other main reasons for cloning your cannabis. The first is cost - cannabis seeds are not cheap, and when done correctly cloning can ensure an essentially endless supply of plants. Of course if you want to try a new strain you’ll still need to buy seeds, but utilizing cloning techniques can keep costs down considerably.
The other reason is speed. Cuttings and clones get rid of the need to germinate seeds, so skip the initial stage of growth and thereby speed up the whole process considerably. There’s no guarantee of course that every cone will survive, just as there’s no guarantee that every seed you buy will germinate, but the beauty of clones is you can always create more.
Cuttings should always be taken from plants in the vegetative stage, since cuttings taken from flowering plants will have to revert back to the vegetative stage in order to begin growing, and this will inevitably slow down the growth of the cloned plant. If your initial grow was from regular seeds, as opposed to feminized seeds, you should always make sure that you know for certain the sex of the plant you are cloning from before you do so. Obviously, since clones are genetically identical to their mother plant, if you accidentally pick a male plant to take cuttings from they will all end up as males too.
Clones can be an extremely useful tool if you are trying to grow a large amount of a certain strain at one time, or on a cycle, so have been utilized by medical users who know exactly what strain they need to treat their specific symptoms. However, they’re not for everyone. If, like a lot of growers, you are more interested in variety than quantity (or a bit of both), it’s likely that you’ll want to stick to growing from seeds at least until you have yourself a few mother plants to choose from.
Buying and trading cones is also becoming a more and more popular method of distribution, so if you happen to live somewhere where this is possible, it’s highly recommended that you check it out. There is, as always, plenty of information available online.