Cloning is a common method among cannabis growers. It is an economic and sustainable way to garner more from your chosen seeds. Other than that, you get to mix and match strains according to your desired effects.
Though widely practiced, it is said to not apply to autoflowers. In this article, we’ll talk more about cloning autoflowers – the hows, the whys, and the answer to the big question: can you clone autoflowers?
What exactly is cloning?
In the field of gardening, cloning is simply defined as the process of taking a small part or portion of the cannabis plant, which is commonly called as cutting and placing it in a medium, like water, where it can grow on its own and develop similar characteristics of the cannabis plant where the cutting was derived from.
The main purpose why this is practiced by growers is to grow a new plant that will share the similar genetics of the “mother plant”, making sure that these genetics are well-preserved and will continue to manifest.
For example, if a certain strain is rich in trichomes or if it has resinous buds, you can replicate the same characteristics in a new plant by the process of cloning. Aside from that, cloning speeds up growing, which is why this process is a popular choice among growers who would like to save more time and effort.
Need we say more about how wonderful it is? Let’s talk more about its other benefits.
The benefits of cloning
Now that you’ve already discovered what cloning is, let’s talk more about the benefits of cloning. Cannabis, when cloned, has multiple advantages to growers for both personal and commercial use. Seeds of some strains could get pricey, and sometimes, when such seed is extremely in demand, you will have to compete with other growers in purchasing them. But with cloning, you will save yourself time and effort because it helps in generating massive yields from fewer seeds. You can also control the gender by only taking cuttings from a female strain to grow a new female one. Ergo, you get more value for your money and you are sure that you will continue to cultivate cannabis plants with your preferred characteristics.
What’s not to love with cloning? Aside from saving huge amounts of money, cloning also allows the customization of strains. Thus, cloning autoflowers is perfect for those who are particular with the strains they want and those that are growing tailor-made ones for sale. All in all, there really are no downsides to cloning!
What is the challenge of cloning autoflowers?
Before we answer this, let us first bring back the question: can you clone autoflowers? Unfortunately, the answer is not a 100% yes.
While cloning presents a wide array of enticing benefits, like so many others, it also comes with a set of limitations. And one great example is that doing it with autoflower strains means taking risks. This is because autoflowering strains are quite difficult, albeit not impossible, to successfully clone. Meaning, you have to go through a stringent process first before you will achieve the best results.
As discussed earlier, cloning would result in a new plant that would possess similar characteristics to the mother plant. These characteristics do not just include the appearance, but also the age or the genetic timeline of the mother plant.
How does this make cloning autoflowers challenging? Simple. Autoflower clones also possess the same age as their mother plants and similarly, they also grow based on time, not on the amount of sunlight they receive. So when their mother plant approaches the flowering stage over some time, this could mean that the clones, although still premature, will have to produce flowers early. This premature flowering would result in minimal yield or even a huge amount of waste when done massively.
Although autoflowers have a long list of advantages including rapid growth speed, and compact and dense sizes, these advantages tend to be the reasons why cultivators would think that pursuing the cloning procedure on autoflowers is not worth it. They would just prefer to stick to the traditional one because why waste time on cloning autoflowers when it does not guarantee 100% success?
Because of this, the procedure has slowly become a myth. But is it a myth? Not really, because some growers have testified that they have carried it out successfully before. But asking if it is worth pursuing is another big question that we have to answer.
Is it worth it to clone an autoflower strain?
Now, knowing that autoflower cloning can be challenging, would you still pursue the process? Well, you may want to give it a try just to experiment.
Over time, those who have tried the procedure were able to come up with a list of techniques to perfectly carry it out. But just a caveat, these are just recommendations.
Those who have tried the procedure suggest that the cuttings must be taken from the lowest branches where the hormones are more stable and where the information of the first signs of flowering stage coming from the apical meristems reach the latest. Observation is the key to understanding the process and to know when to appropriately obtain the cuttings.
It is advisable to take the cutting during the brief window between the first signs of the flowering stage and the time the flowering hormones have reached throughout the whole part of the plant. Doing this entails careful observation and patience as the brief window only takes a few hours.
After the cutting is successfully obtained, it must be placed in a medium and be kept under a dim and moist environment. This procedure has to be consistently followed from start, to when the cuttings produce roots, and finally when they reach almost the same size as that of their mother plants.
If you follow these procedures, there is a considerable amount of possibility that you will succeed in your goal.
However, there is also a chance that the procedure will fail. So now let’s again, bring up the question as to whether or not cloning autoflowers is worth it.
Most growers would say no. Growing through all the process may be worth trying but it is still more of a trial-and-error type of procedure. There are more chances that you will not be able to successfully carry it out than perfecting it.
But in the end, the choice is always yours. Whether you decide to do it or not to pursue it will depend on your willingness to take risks.
It’s for you to decide if it is worth a try.