Cannabis Cultivation

Mother Cannabis Plants (Bonus: Find the Best One!)

Mother Cannabis Plants Header

Have you ever grown a cannabis plant that was so awesome that you wished you could grow it over and over? Well the good news is that you can! By using the “mother cannabis plants” technique you can find and keep growing your prized cannabis plant forever! In this article we will teach growers how to grow, find and keep growing the same plant over and over for as long as you like. Using mother cannabis plants you can grow your best buds for as long as you like. 

Grow Unlimited Cannabis Buds from Mother Cannabis Plants
Grow Unlimited Cannabis Buds from Mother Cannabis Plants

What is a mother plant in cannabis growing?

A mother cannabis plant is one that is selected by the grower to use as a source of clones for continued growth of the plant. All clones that will be produced from the mother plant, will be genetically the same as the mother cannabis plant and can be used as a source of clones for years to come. Mother cannabis plants should at all times be kept under 16 hours of light each day. This amount of light per day will keep your plants from switching into the flowering cycle. 

Start Off Growing Your Cannabis Just the Same 

Using this growing technique, you will start your plants from seeds no different than you would growing any other style. We recommend starting with feminized cannabis seeds and you can find information on how to germinate your cannabis seeds here if you need help getting started. It is best to start with more seeds than you would like to grow, this will give you a better selection of plants to choose from when it comes time to select your favorite mother cannabis plant to continue growing from. 

Mother Cannabis Plants
Mother Cannabis Plant

How Many Cannabis Seeds Should You Start from?

The more feminized cannabis seeds you are able to start with the better. If you are starting from regular cannabis seeds it is best to double the amount of seeds you will start with due to half being male cannabis plants. The more female cannabis plants you have the more selection of plants you will have to choose from as a mother cannabis plant. If starting with feminized seeds we suggest using 10 seeds to start from.

Cannabis Seeds from the Cannabis Plant
Cannabis Plant Seeds

Removing Male Plants From Female Plants

Once your plants are growing well, if you use regular cannabis seeds it will be time to remove the male plants from the female cannabis plants. We recommend this article for helping you understand the difference between male and female cannabis plants. You will want to make sure there are no male plants in your plant stock before moving on to the next step in the process. However if you do miss a male plant it can be removed later in the process. 

Trimming your Mother Cannabis Plants before Cloning 

Once you have identified your female plants or you are growing feminized cannabis seeds it is time to prepare your cannabis plants for cloning. We recommend pruning your cannabis plant at the uppermost growing tip. This will cause the plant to start growing faster from the lower growing tips on the plant. For each plant you will want at least 2 to 3 growing shoots that are about 3 to four 4 nodes (where the leaves and stems meet the main growing stem). Once you have these on each of your plants it is time to move on to the next step in the process. 

Clones from a Mother Cannabis Plant
Clones from a Mother Cannabis Plant

Taking Clones from Each Plant

Once your female plants have at least 3 strong growing tips you are ready to start cloning your plants. We have a great pro guide here to help you get started with cloning cannabis plants. Your goal here should be to create at least one clone from each cannabis plant. If you are an experienced cannabis cloner, you may only need to take one or two clones to make sure you have at least one clone per plant. If you are new or newer to cloning it may be wise to take a few extras just to make sure that you have at least one per plant. 

Make sure that you have labeled each female cannabis plant. If there are all the same strain then label them as so:

For each set of clones that you take for each plant, also label these to correspond with each labeled female cannabis plant that they were taken from. For example if you have 3 clones that were take from Canadian Sunshine Plant #1 Clone then label each of these as such. This is one of the most important parts of all for selection later in the process. 

Depending on how you choose to clone your cannabis it will take from 6 to 14 days for your new clones to root. Make sure that at least one of your clones has rooted and is healthy from each plant they were cloned from. 

How old should a mother plant be before cloning?

Because you are using clones from the original plant to create your mothers, as you will see later in this process your mother plants will already be approximately three months old when they are used for new cloning.  

Time to Start Flowering Your Cannabis Plants

Now that you have a clone of each of your plants, you in other words have at least one genetic copy of each of our main cannabis plants that were grown from seed. Now it is time to move the main plants that you started with and cloned from into the flowering cycle of growth. 

Turn the lighting back to 12 hours per day and watch your plants start to flower over the next 8 to 12 weeks in most cases. 

Transplant your Clones and Start growing Them as Normal

Now that your clones are now rooted they are ready to transplant into your medium of choice. Take them out and place them into the pots as needed. Make sure to keep the labels for each clone in place for each new plant. You will want to be able to identify which clone came from the plant for the next step in the process. Once the clone is growing well, start to prune it so you are able to use it for new cuttings. Out of these plants from clones will come your new mother cannabis plant.

Selecting Your New Mother Cannabis Plants

While your clones are now transplanted and growing new shoots, your flowering cannabis plant will be finishing up in the flowering room. Now comes the time to select your favorite cannabis plant in the flowering room. Pick the plant that you like the best, but also keep and dry samples from each of the plants. Your favorite may be weak in potency and you can not tell this from just looking at the plant itself. 

Once all the female plants are finished dry them and make sure each plant is labeled for testing. Now that everything is dried and harvested it is time to test each plant for potency. Remember that even seeds from the same seed lot, and strain can vary greatly in THC and CBD content so testing for potency is a must. If you live in a legal state or country it is even better to send in the samples for testing this way there is no doubt which plants are the most potent. 

You Have Found Your Favorite Plant Now What?

Well the hard work is completed. You only need to go back and find the clone that is labeled and matches the plant that you just harvested and tested or had tested. This matching clone will now be an exact match that you can take clones from. This new mother cannabis plant will be fully ready to produce many new clones. 

However instead of taking clones from all the plants as before you only need to take your clones from this new mother plant. You may even have taken a couple of mother cannabis plants to use for cloning if you found two or even more that you liked. 

Caring for your new Mother Cannabis Plants

Now that the plant is selected it is time for you to get this plant ready for long term growth. As long as you keep the plant under 16 hours of light each day it will never start to flower. A mother cannabis plant can provide thousands of clones each year. Using pruning techniques to grow many cloning shoots on your plant will help to create clone plants that will have lots of branches to clone. 

Looking after mother cannabis plants is like looking after any other cannabis plant in the vegetative stage of growth. However we do suggest that growers keep their cannabis mother plants in larger pots if they intend to keep the plants for more than a year. 

Mother Cannabis Plants ready for Cuttings
Mother Cannabis Plants ready for Cuttings

How big should a mother plant be?

This will largely depend on how many clones you would like to take from your mother cannabis plants each month. If you only intend to take a few clones each month then keeping your mother plants compact and small will work just fine. If you are going to be taking thousands of clones each month then you will need a very large plant, perhaps with hundreds of branches to remove clones from. Always remember that removing too much foliage from the plant can cause it to grow slower, it is best to never remove anymore than 50% of the plant’s foliage (green plant growth) at any one time.

How do I keep my mother plant alive forever?

This is actually rather easy to do by continually starting new mother plants with clones from the old mother plant. The new clone will be an exact genetic copy of the mother it was taken from. Growers can even have more than one mother plant from the same plant.  By taking many clones and growing them into cannabis mother plants, instead of one mother plant you can have 5 or 10 mother plants that are all exact genetic copies of one another. A grower can then use these copies to take more clones from. 

As you can see this is a very powerful method to grow great cannabis year after year. 

How many clones does a mother plant produce?

Once again this will truly depend on the size of the plant the grower is taking the clones from. Smaller plants will yield less clones than a larger sized cannabis mother plant. To yield many clones keep your cannabis mother plants short and stocky with many growing tips to get the most amount of clones from the mother plant. 

How to Prune Cannabis Mother plants

Pruning mother cannabis plants is just as easy sometimes as taking clones from them. Everytime a clone is removed from the plant, you are essentially pruning your cannabis plants. After removing the clone two new growing tips will form on that branch, and continue to grow into two new cloning sites. The more times the growing tips are cloned the more growing tips that will grow to be cloned. 

Sometimes when the grower isn’t taking as many clones from the plant, the grower will need to prune the plant in between taking clones. This is to keep the plant short and from getting “out of control” as you could stay. For this reason it is good to plan when you will require clones and prune a few weeks before that point in time to give a good amount of sites for the clones to be taken. 

What to Feed Cannabis Mother Plants

Mother plants will require the same feeding as any plant that is growing in the vegetative stage of growth. If the grower is using salt based nutrients it is advised that the cannabis plant be flushed every month to keep the salt nutrients from building up in the growing medium over time. Once they build up heavily, it can cause the plant to “lockout” the uptake of nutrients and the mother cannabis plant will become unhealthy and unless corrected die. 

We recommend keeping your cannabis plants organically. This means using organic methods of growing to keep the mother plant healthy for cloning. The advantage of keeping and growing mother plants like this, is the ease of feeding the plants. Using organic nutrients to feed the plant there will never be a build up of salts in the growing medium. Growing mother cannabis plants using organic soil and amendments works very well when growing the plant in the same pot for many months or even years. If you would like to learn more about organic cannabis cultivation you may read more here

Final Thoughts

Using mother cannabis plants is a great way to keep growing your favorite cannabis for years into the future. Don’t be one of those growers that say after harvest “this was the best plant I ever grew!”. When that happens your genetics and favorite plant is gone forever, once the jar is empty. By using the techniques in this article you will never have to worry about this happening to you, and can grow great cannabis for generations to come. 

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