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Can You Clone Autoflowering Plants?

How cloning works and the advantages of using autoflowers over clones.
02 June 2022
5 min read
Can You Clone Autoflowering Plants?

Contents:
  • 1. What exactly is cloning?
  • 2. The advantages of using clones
  • 3. What are mother plants?
  • 4. The benefits of mother plants
  • 5. What about cloning autoflowering strains?
  • 6. The similarities between clones and autoflowering cannabis
  • 7. Advantages of growing autoflowering seeds over clones
  • 8. In conclusion

Cloning is a way to create a genetic replica of the cultivar you are growing. There are many advantages associated with using clones in comparison to growing with seeds, so in this article we explain what is cloning, the benefits, cloning autoflowering plants, and the differences between working with clones and autoflowering cultivars.

1. What Exactly Is Cloning?

When we are talking about photoperiod strains that are reliant on a separate grow and bloom cycle, once the plants are in a mature vegetative state, it is possible to take a cutting off the plant, with the intention of rooting the removed cutting.

Can You Clone Autoflowering Plants?: What is Cloning

What exactly is cloning and how many clones can be made from one mother plant?
 

As long as the right criteria are met in terms of timing and how the cutting is taken then it is possible to take anywhere from 5-50 off one plant, with the understanding that the plant will grow back with a more bushy appearance.

2. The Advantages of Using Clones

  • Clones of male plants can be used for regular breeding lines and for backcrossing.
  • An exact genetic replica will be produced once the clone has rooted.
  • Ideal for Sea of Green setups that require smaller-sized plants.
  • As they are already rooted they can be flowered immediately if necessary.
  • A single clone can be turned into a mother plant allowing for more clones.
  • Vegetative time is saved using clones due to their maturity.
  • Clones can be sourced with a solid reputation and vouched for by growers.

3. What Are Mother Plants?

Once a grower has put the time into a seedling, grown her out, flowered, and decided she has all the desired traits, then this winning phenotype will become the mother plant. The idea is that the mother is the single source for cuttings every 2-4 weeks once new growth has emerged, depending on the maturity and cultivar in question.

Can You Clone Autoflowering Plants?: What are mother plants

What are mother plants and what to consider.
  

There are many benefits to growing a mother plant, however, it must be kept in a vegetative state meaning the light cycle cannot change from 18-24 hours of light.

4. The Benefits of Mother Plants

  • There is no future requirement to buy large amounts of feminized seeds.
  • The clones will be an exact replica and can be taken fresh once the plant recovers.
  • As long as they are kept in a vegetative state they will not flower.
  • Keeping several mother plants in a grow room can allow for large-sized projects.
  • Breeders will also keep mother and father plants around to work with.

5. What About Cloning Autoflowering Strains?

Unlike photoperiod cultivars described above, autoflowering hybrids, unfortunately, cannot be cloned. As they will flower automatically after 21 days or more, the possibility to keep them in a vegetative state, where they can be grown into a large size mother plant is not a reality. However, autoflowering Cannabis plants are very similar to growing with clones if saving time and being more practical is your end goal. For example, if your plan is to grow as many smaller-sized plants as quickly as possible, then using clones indoors can allow you to produce a crop every 8-10 weeks depending on cultivar. This is very similar to how autoflowering cannabis plants work. Since autos have an inherently genetic timer that automatically switches the growth from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage after 21 or so days (depending on the strain), you can expect the whole lifecycle from seed to harvest to be finished within 8 to 11 weeks (again, strain dependant).

The one really obvious advantage of working with autos over clones is the fact that autos are unaffected by light timings in terms of the growth period. As we have already discussed, clones have to be taken from normal photoperiod plants. Photoperiod plants are controlled by lighting timings when it comes to which stage of growth they are in, which means they are very sensitive to changes in lighting and the timings of the lights.

Not so with autos. Setting up a perpetual harvest system with autoflowering cannabis plants is super easy, thanks to the fact that plants at any growth stage can be under the same lighting schedule. For example, you can set up a nice, large grow room or tent, set up multiple LED panels, and link them to timers set 20 hours on / 4 hours off and just leave it be for as long as you like. A 2m x 2m can hold anywhere between 10 to 18 flowering plants, so you can start your 8 or so and once they begin the flowering process you start your next 8. 

When the first 8 are ready for harvesting you simply start another 8 and just keep the loop going. This way you have an almost unlimited supply of top-shelf flowers coming out of one single room with very minimal effort or hassle, which is essentially what every cultivator is looking for, right? Auto-flowering cannabis crops also need less feeding than regular plants (about half the nutrient needs), are highly resistant to not just pests but also fungi and disease, and these days almost every single strain you can think of comes in an auto form with the same THC percentages and sometimes higher CBD quantities. Working with autos just makes life as a cannabis grower easier. 

6. The Similarities Between Clones and Autoflowering Cannabis

  • Clones and autos can be perfectly suited for medium-sized plants in a Sea of Green.
  • Autos can be left to grow with very little maintenance or plant training.
  • Both will focus on flowering and will use only blooming nutrients.
  • It is possible to grow a photoperiod and autoflowering version of the same cultivar.
  • Some autos can be harvested as quickly as 9 weeks allowing for fast rotation.

7. Advantages of Growing Autoflowering Seeds Over Clones

As practical as growing with a room full of rooted clones ready to be flowered can be, there are a few advantages of growing with autos over clones.

 

1. The choice of cultivars available in autoflowering form in comparison to reliable clones is far superior. This allows growers to pick and choose from a wide range of flavors, effects, flowering times, plant height, and so on. Depending on where you live, and how well connected you are, finding reliable clones can be easier said than done.

 

2. Clones can be grown outdoors and left unattended during the end of Summer and then influenced using light-deprivation techniques during the rest of the year. Autoflowering Cannabis can be grown at any time of the year without any extra assistance. This means it is possible to harvest 3-4 times per year in some countries.

 

3. Autoflowering cultivars are very tough and highly resistant to cold and hot climates. They will also have a much better chance at surviving cold and harsh climates outdoors, producing excellent results.

Can You Clone Autoflowering Plants?: Advantages of Growing Autoflowering Seeds Over Clones

Reasons to choose growing autoflowering seeds over clones
 

4. Seeds can be sent to your house safe and sound, unlike clones that need to be sourced. It is also possible to pick from a large menu of strains, with in-depth descriptions of how well the cultivar is suited for growing scenarios, plant training, and climates.

 

5. Clones can oftentimes be infested with spider mites, that will quickly take over your garden. Spider mites can be a seriously frustrating pest that will take treatments to kill and prevent. When working with seed, the concern of contamination is nonexistent allowing for a safe, clean, and insect-free garden.

8. In Conclusion

Unfortunately, it is not possible to clone autoflowering Cannabis plants, however, the upsides of using autoflowering seeds in comparison to photoperiod cultivars and clones are well worth it. They are excellent performers outdoors in all climates, perfect for commercial growers, and the ideal starting point for a beginner grower new to Cannabis. 

02 June 2022