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Wednesday January 30, 2019

By Abby Hutmacher


Almost all commercial grow facilities (and many private grows) begin growing their cannabis plants by taking cuttings off mother plants. By turning plant cuttings into clones, growers can speed their grow time and predict results with amazing accuracy. But that’s not the only reason to love mothers. If you’re unfamiliar with what a mother plant is, keep reading as we take a closer look at these integral parts of a cannabis grow!

What is a Mother Plant?

A mother plant is a plant that is grown specifically for cloning purposes. They are kept in a constant vegetative state and never transitioned over into the flowering stage. Cannabis plants are especially appealing to use as mothers because they are easy to clone and are resilient to the minor stress that accompanies plant cuttings.

Reasons to Keep a Mother Plant

There are many reasons to keep a mother plant, the first of which being the amount of time clones shave off the cultivation process. Because clones can be placed directly into a flowering light cycle, there needn’t be any lag time between crops – when one crop gets pulled to trim, another can go straight into the flower cycle. It is important to note, however, that the plant’s output will directly correlate with its size so smaller clones should be allowed to veg on their own until an optimum size is reached.

Perhaps the best reason to keep a mother plant, is because clones taken from a mother are exact genetic copies of each other.

One plant may produce around 10 solid clones in a single cycle all of which will produce the exact same strain qualities. Not only that, but clones taken from a female plant will always be female, as well (unless stressed into going hermie) so you’ll never have to worry about males pollinating your females.

Cloning from mother plants is a great way to ensure consistency in a grow.

Another great reason to cultivate cannabis from mother plants is the confidence inherent with growing the same crop over and over. Because clones are exact copies of their mothers, their grow patterns and nutritional needs will match as well. This not only helps novice growers perfect their cultivation process but also helps more experienced growers experiment with different cultivation techniques and growth mediums. By comparing the growth cycle of genetically identical clones, growers can learn which techniques produce optimum yield and which are best left untouched. 

Tips to Keep Your Mother Healthy and Strong

Once you’ve decided to use a mother plant, you’ll need to start growing one. We suggest starting mother plants from seeds because seeds develop stronger, deeper taproots which is important for both nutrient absorption and structural integrity of the plant. We also suggest purchasing cannabis seeds from a reputable breeder (instead of using bag seeds) as these tend to possess stronger genetic traits.

After germinating your seeds, grow them under a vegetative light cycle until they begin showing signs of their sex. Male plants will begin developing seed sacks by the nodes whereas female plants will develop bracts and eventually hair-like stigmas intended to collect male pollen. Alternatively, you can force-flower a cutting by placing it in an 18+ hour light cycle for a few weeks. Males should be removed immediately while females can be flowered or used as mothers. Also remember to keep your mother plants in the vegetative light cycle to reduce stress and the likelihood of your plants turning into hermaphrodites.

Losing Vigor
All mother plants will lose vigor over time, even with the best care.

When it comes to preserving your mother, always use organic nutrients and pesticides. Over the generations, your plant could develop a resistance to synthetic nutrients/pesticides thus reducing her ability to resist stress and infestation later in her life cycle.

Lastly, know when it’s time to put your mother plant to rest. Even with the best of care, your mother plant will begin to show signs of age after about a year or two. Growth will be less vigorous, clones will produce less weight, and signs of stress may become apparent. Therefore, we suggest storing seeds from your favorite plants so that, when it is time to put your mother plant to rest, you’ll already be prepared to start over again.

Final Thoughts

Mothers are truly special; they give us life, nurture us throughout adolescence, and instill our most important characteristics through the years. Cannabis mother plants are no different. Using a mother plant to grow cannabis is both easy and extremely rewarding giving us all the more reason to love the mothers in our lives.

Do you have any tips for maintaining mother plants? Share them with our readers in the comment section below.


Abby Hutmacher Abby Hutmacher

Abby is a writer and founder of Cannabis Content, a marketplace designed to connect cannabis writers and creatives with businesses in the industry. She has been a professional cannabis writer since 2014 and regularly contributes to publications such as PotGuide and M&F Talent. She is also the Content Director at Fortuna Hemp, America’s leading feminized hemp seed bank. Follow Abby on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.

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