First serious cloning attempt

Active Member
Cannabis Fan
First serious cloning attempt

Hi all! I'm new here, but a friend said it's a nice site so I'm giving it a go with a journal I'd like to share with you.

We're poor. It took us a long time to get all the supplies needed for a mold-free and dense return product on our limited budget, and so previous attempts at cloning throughout the years were not successful. At all. Simple methods using aloe, willow/coconut water, etc, without keeping a consistent and optimal VPD for propagation, or even knowing what VPD meant back then.

We finally purchased a few things recently, and decided to give it a go. The victim mother plant, is an 11-week old Monkey Grease planted from a feminized seed they sponsored me with for another journal. She sits in our 2x4x5ft tent, taking up way too much space, so we have been getting creative with our LST/HST training, because we want her to last another 2 months in vegetation, so she can be transplanted outdoors to finish the season.

So, we thought, since we're removing so much of her anyway, "why not try cloning?", and thus the journal began.

Being an organic gardener, we have great concerns with inputs we use in our garden, so we chose an organic, non-GMO rooting gel solution, rather than attempt to make our own and fail again.

We lopped off about 30-40% of the mother, because she needed it (again). Out of this material removed, as we came across nice looking tops, we immediately dipped them into our 100% organic rooting gel solution. followed by inserting them directly into pre-soaked (with kelp and fulvic acid water) peat cubes. While we chopped off branches large and small, we chose to only use nice looking, thin-stemmed, fresh top growth, with at least a few nodes, with a fair internodal distance. We did not want to use thick, well established stems in our peat cubes, as it would only prolong their exposure to a moist environment, which we thought would decrease our odds of success.

The mother: Monkey Grease, from Kannabia

We only took 6 cuttings, and discarded the rest of the material. We could have made many more clones, but, let's not get overwhelmed. If these 6 fail in a couple weeks, the mother will be asking for another haircut by then, and we shall try again, learning from our mistakes (hopefully).

As far as the basic setup is concerned, the peat cubes sit in clear plastic divider cells, with spacing between all 6 cuttings, in a humidity dome. We slide Neoprene collars over the cuttings to keep them upright and stable, just in case, with a little gap between them and the peat cube, in order to give some airflow as well as a chance for trichoderma to thrive. We put a slight amount of the leftover kelp water into the bottom tray, just enough to be flush with the grooves, so that it can be absorbed through the drainage holes in the plastic cell dividers.

We are using the 6-pack dividers because we do not want the peat cubes to remain soaked, or to be sitting in standing water for too long. Every day, we will remove the divider trays and clean thoroughly the bottom tray and lid with a hydrogen peroxide solution, to prevent unwanted guests. And then we will refill the bottom reservoir on an as-needed basis, monitoring humidity closely at both the canopy level and peat cube level.

We misted the clones as well as the top dome with a fish excreta-based foliar spray, and placed the dome lid on top.

We have a custom built 55"x24"x32" germination chamber we have our dome in, that has a custom climate controller we also programmed. However, we have not yet managed to keep the internal environment of the dome as consistent as we would have liked, like we are able to do with plants growing in the germination chamber. It is a cheap plastic dome lid, and venting is tedious and was subject to many WTF moments.

In the germination box, there is more light than is needed, so most of it is switched off. Out of all the lights in there, we have:

3x 15W, 5000K, 1800lm LED bar lamp
1x 32W, 4000K, 3000lm LED bar lamp
1x 35W, 4000K, 3000lm LED bar lamp

At first, we tried using just the 3x 15W lights, since they give off practically no heat and have a bit more blue in the spectrum. We were running into heat issues anyway, because of the mostly sealed humidity dome, so ended up trying to change that over to the 1x 36W with an even greater heat problem, 2x and even 1x 15W, which didn't seem any different than 3, until eventually settling on the 1x 32W light. It has given me the most chance to play around with the venting of the dome in order to get an optimal temperature/humidity.

This was all in day 1. It was a lot of work, so let's see if it pays off.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Posted : 02/28/2024 12:53 pm love-2-grow liked

Same story, different day. We removed the collars as they seem to not have any problem standing. No signs of roots yet.

Cannabis Grow d005 01

Posted : 02/29/2024 1:20 pm love-2-grow liked
Active Member
Cannabis Fan

We really have been struggling to keep the airflow and humidity in check with this dome. Humidity was a bit too high and heat was a bit too low, for too long, and our peat cubes are waterlogged.

Additionally, we see the symptoms of this problem today in two forms: the beginnings of powdery mildew forming on fan leaves of some cuttings, and browning towards the base of the stem, indicating rot working its way upwards.

So, we did the un-thinkable: we dissected the peat cubes, removed the cuttings, and examined them all closely.

The 2 rotten ones were rotten because the gel must have wiped off, or there was not a clean enough cut, as the cut point itself was hardwood and dry, with rot above it. They weren't uptaking anything like that, just decaying the stem with the saturated peat. These two cuttings were discarded, bringing us down to 4.

Two of the remaining cuttings were interesting to look at once taken out of their peat cubes. These were in fact ones that I gently tugged on and were snug in the peat cube, unlike the other four. 1 of them had about 6-8 small white protrusions, which I assume to be root nodules forming. The other one had 1 of these, in addition to 2 tiny root hairs no more than a couple millis seamingly coming out of the cut point with no white protrusion near it. Interesting.

The last 2 had no signs of root growth, and infact, looked to be slowly rotting. We kept them anyway, after making a new cut removing the rot, and dipping again in organic rooting gel.

As far as the temperature/humidity issue and the powdery mildew issue, we have corrected the former, and to mitigate the latter we did a few things:

  • Since we weren't rooted yet on those plants (seemingly, yesterday), we clipped their fans, which previously hadn't been done at all.
  • We wiped off the top and bottom of the fans and stems using a paper towel moistened with hydrogen peroxide (also yesterday).
  • We foliar sprayed that day (yesterday) with our citrus/lactose organic fungicide, which acts as a leaf surface pH adjuster.
  • We removed the peat cubes from the 12-pack cells (today) when dissecting them. They will stay removed.

We learned a few things already, and after doing a ton of research I think I over-complicated this whole setup. I am going to take some more cuttings tomorrow, using a completely different approach -- one that has apparently been done in non-cannabis industry for a long time with great success, and actually requires even less work than this. More on that tomorrow, when I add them to this journal. For now here are the 4 still clinging on:

Cannabis Grow PXL 20240302 150743992


Posted : 03/02/2024 9:54 am love-2-grow liked

I was super busy yesterday and didn't get a chance to take any clones. Additionally, the humidity in our area went from weeks of 20-40% RH to 90% RH in the 2 hours I decided to leave for some errands, right after watering all my plants. I came home to all tents in the 80-90% range, because I never thought I'd need a dehumidifier yet. Anyway, that's not part of this journal, but what is, is that this chamber was FULLY vented for the past 24 hours and was still at 96% RH. Today I decided to check on the damage.

3 of the 4 were rotten. But look what is inside the last one I checked!

Cannabis Grow PXL 20240304 155215107
Cannabis Grow PXL 20240304 155205375

The peat is still completely soaked, but I have a feeling me ripping it open two days ago gave it some much needed oxygen. We'll see if it survives!

I'm not yet ready to share the other experiment, but we are replacing the 5 we lost already with 8 new ones that are being setup today in a different fashion.

Posted : 03/04/2024 8:18 am

Here's the mother on day 86 now, after taking 8 more clones. She has finally stopped growing, which is perfect. I just need to maintain her nutrient supply for less than 2 more months.

Cannabis Grow d086

Also, I never showed what the actual clone looks like today, just the roots forming, so here's that too

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Cannabis Grow PXL 20240304 155038235

Posted : 03/04/2024 11:31 am
Active Member
Cannabis Fan
A week later

Well, things got awfully busy around here right after the last update, as we're trying to prepare for veggie season outdoor while simultaneously managing 3 indoor cannabis gardens, among other life tasks.

We did start the new experiment with 8 more cuttings. It will not be shown here, because results were not impressive. Infact, I don't know if any will make it, but we'll see. The technique is simple and has been used for decades across all different crops.

It's simple: place some (non-coarse) perlite in a (preferably clear) container. It doesn't need drainage holes. Add a little water to pool on the bottom. Stick your cuttings in above the water level.

While I am seeing some growth, I think if I were to do it this way again, I would:

  1. Use a perlite that is actually damn perlite. I had my wife pick me up some perlite while she was out shopping. I didn't even give it a second thought and just used it. It's Miracle-Gro perlite (with fertilizer mixed in). It's gritty and not pure, and the organic content is not meant to be near standing water.
  2. The moisture held in the perlite above water level evaporates fast. Our humidity dome goes from around 95% RH to 60% in half a day, after a foliar spray of the leaves, bottom tray, the top of the perlite in the cups, and the inside of the dome lid. I don't know what I would do differently yet to alleviate this, but, being busy with all the aforementioned other work, there were a few times when the cuttings did not look so healthy, and infact, I trashed 2 of them -- 1 on 2 separate ocassions.
  3. Next time I would use pumice. I can't stand working with pure perlite even. It's ugly bright white and does not look like it belongs. That might sound weird, but I know of at least one other person that feels the same. Moreso though, the reasonings are:
    • It breaks down faster than pumice. I used to buy both very coarse and grade 1 perlite, and now my coarse perlite after being reused and washed a few times, is really no different than fresh grade 1.
    • It floats a little too easily. I normally use about 30% aeration in my mixes, which is usually almost always perlite, and after harvest, most of that perlite is on the upper half of the soil. Mind you, I don't pour water in my pots like a maniac -- infact, I use a fine pump misting gun and really take my time watering like it was raining.
    • It's unsafe to work with. It's basically volcanic glass. Very airbourne glass. Enough said.
    • It's a finite resource that must be mined, and is unsafe to do so for those involved, and for the local ecology.

Anyway, that's all I have to say about the perlite experiment, but I hinted at how I use it in my soil mixes. Not anymore. I have been looking for an excuse to move to pumice or lava rock for some time now, since I am growing in large beds that don't move anyway, so the added weight is not a consideration. I just bought a bunch of pumice for my upcoming mixes. It's exciting, and looks like I got some very high quality stuff for a bargain.

As for the original clones, if you remember, we lost all but 1 of them last week. That same day, we transplanted her into a solo cup, and with all the neglect from being so busy with everything else, let's see what it looks like now:

Cannabis Grow PXL 20240311 231951018
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Cannabis Grow PXL 20240311 231744018

Well now. I guess it doesn't take much. It also looks like I need to transplant again as soon as possible.

First real cloning attempt: success.

Posted : 03/11/2024 6:15 pm
Active Member
Cannabis Fan
Looking good

She is looking good with fresh new growth and nice green leaves the day after transplanting her into a 1L.

Cannabis Grow PXL 20240313 203834572
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Posted : 03/13/2024 4:26 pm