Kept in a constant vegetative state, mother plants are grown for the sole purpose of taking cuttings to grow clones of a particular cannabis plant. While you could try replicating the plant’s genetics through seeds, it’s a tricky and time-consuming method. Taking cuttings or clones is the easiest route and the most fail proof way to preserve the same taste, effect and yield throughout the years – from the exact plant that first produced your favored outcome. Therefore, mother plants are your genetic lifeblood, the ticket to keeping your most beloved strains alive for years, even decades.
Before you can clip healthy clones for your flower room or greenhouse, you must have strong, healthy mother plants.
Here are some tips for creating the ideal environment:
Choose the Right Materials
When setting up your “moms” room (or closet, you don’t need a huge space), the first step is gathering the right materials. Be sure to choose a big enough container – 10 gallons, for example, isn’t too outrageous. You could also opt for a hydroponics system like a single bucket, deep water culture system. Another option is to use fabric aeration pots like the ones RediRoot offers, filled with your favorite potting soil. This setup is more forgiving, should a pump fail.
You’ll also need the appropriate lighting system – fluorescent tubes or low-consumption lamps (blue spectrum) are typically used to keep mother plants and root cuttings. Keep in mind that while fluorescent lights are OK for clone trays, they’re not recommended for moms because they lack the intensity to property mother a cannabis plant. What will happen is the plant will grow up toward the fluorescent light with far intermodal spacing that leads to the dreaded “popcorn” buds. The goal of the mother plant is to create a big bushy plant with extremely tight intermodal spacing, and this requires light intensity. In order to maintain rapid, vigorous growth, mother plants should receive between 18 and 20 hours of light each day; vegging plants do need a sleep cycle.
You’ll also want an air exhaust fan to remove any excess heat, and renew the air inside your growing space. For this, we at Garden Rebels recommend Fantech’s FKD & Revolution Fans. You’ll also want a timer to set photoperiod for your plants, along with a soon-to-be-released oscillating fan from Fantech to improve air circulation.
Constantly Manicure and Maintain Your Moms
Preventing pests and diseases are critical to protect the health of your invaluable mother plants. Be sure to clean out the inside of your plants and create airflow through the middle by snipping out big fan leaves or any branches that grow inward. Aside from reducing the chances of mold or mildew, this action promotes healthy, bushy new growth.
Before you begin to clip clones, be sure your mother plants are at least two months old (although you can take a limited number of cuttings to help shape your plants). Be strategic about where you cut, as you don’t want to snip clones from anywhere. Always cut from right at the base – at the trunk of your plant or anywhere inside. Improper cutting can impede the growth and health of your mother plants.
Use the Right Nutrients from Day One
While you want to be careful not to over-fertilize your mother plants, you need to ensure the utmost plant health. The Garden Rebels team recommends Mills Nutrients Start-R, a high nitrogen additive used in the vegetative stage. This root enhancer and growth stimulator offers a complex bio-stimulant, ensuring that your mother plants will remain strong and healthy into their later years.
A regular use of enzymes can also help break down salt residues in the substrate, making them once again available for the plants and “cleaning” any excess salts. You may also want to use some type of foliar spray such as Mills Vitalize to make sure your mother plants remain hearty and lush.
Maintain a Relative Humidity of 60 to 65 Percent
As needed, you’ll want to use a humidifier to maintain a relative humidity of 60 to 65 percent in your mother room. By maintaining this level, your cuttings will be full of moisture and better equipped to adapt to life inside a propagator or aeroponic cloning machine as they await root development.
By maintaining a collection of stable and healthy mother plants, you’ll have a good chance of keeping a dependable supply of high-quality clones from your favorite strains.
The Garden Rebels team can help you set up the perfect room for your mother plants, ensuring that you have the healthiest plants from which to clip clones, starting from day one. Contact us today and find out how we can help!