#2 - Start a motherplant by clones

In this grow lesson I’m going to teach you how to start what’s called “Mother Plants”, how to make clones biologically, and how to tell what sex the new plant you have started is.

female calyx

As the seedlings reach the age of about two months they start to tell you what sex they are, and they are finally big enough to start taking clones from. By this point in taking care of your seedlings you have no doubt picked some favorite looking ones. Maybe it’s the way the leaf is shaped, maybe it’s how close the nodes are to each other, or the special color of green a certain plant has. Once you have picked the plants you want to work with, you take a jeweler’s magnifying loupe and look closely at the nodes just underneath the tip of the plant. This is where the cannabis plant’s sex organs are located. A male cannabis plant has what is starting to be a little rosette looking ball, while the female has what’s called a calyx with a soon to be white hair coming from the middle. If a plant turns out to be a male don’t immediately kill it like so many people do. Males are valuable for changing genetics and can also be made into mother plants and cloned. If male plants are kept under 24 hours of light a day they remain in a dormant state and can be used in the future as they are needed. Female plants on the other hand are what you are really seeking because they are the plants that we all love to smoke. The male plants are no good for smoking, only for making seeds.


There are many ways of making clones, hydroponics, aeroponics, and soil. Since I do everything in soil, I make my clones in soil also. Most people these days use rockwool but it’s too toxic for me. Breathing the dust in from dry rockwool isn’t much different from asbestos.



 The method that I use to make the clones starts out the same way that I started the seedlings in the last lesson. I take 60 jiffy peat pots of the slightly larger size and fill them with a mixture of cloning soil and perlite, then put them in a styrofoam tray and soak them with water without getting them dripping wet. I mix in enough perlite so that you can see a lot of it in the mix. I then take my carefully selected mother plants that I started from seeds in the last lesson which have been carefully labeled. An example of labeling goes like this: If you have six plants of the same type you label them 1,2,3,4,5,6, when you take the cutting from the mother you also give it the number from 1-6 accordingly, so that you can keep track of the specific plants of the same type. You never know when one particular plant will shine with a special glow, making you want to make sure you keep it as a mother.


I then put the tray in a clear plastic box with a lid, I leave the lid on for about 12 hours. Then I open it slightly leaving a small crack in the edges of the lid for an air exchange, while still keeping the inside of the box with high humidity. I place the box on top of heating pads covered with thick waterproof plastic. The heating pads I use are the kind that are sold to place on top of a mattress and are easy to find and inexpensive. The boxes are left there for about 14 days under at least a  250 watt halide or 400 watt full spectrum light. After 14-21 days the baby clone has turned into a rooted plant ready for transplanting.



Transplanting is done in not to large a container to start with so the small root system doesn’t stay too wet. At this point not quite all of the seedlings has shown me which sex they are, so I take the matching clone to the Mother plant and put it in the 12 hour flowering room. Within 2 to 3 weeks of 12 hour light the little clones tell you which sex they are. You keep the females and you pull the males unless you want to make seeds or make a male mother plant. You then go back to your mother plants and match the sexed plants to your well labeled mother plants. You now have a good idea which plants are male and female.


Remember the plants start out small, but quickly become quite large so make sure you have enough space to start with. Don’t fertilize your young plants until the second week and then only with a mild solution until they get a more substantial root system. As your plants grow try your best to think like one when you work with them.


Happy gardening, Soma