When a grower is particularly fond of a phenotype, i.e. characteristics of a particular plant such as smell, taste, growth speed and vigour, making it their mother plant means being able to reproduce exactly that bud, and plants that grow identical, over and over again.
In this article we tell you everything you need to know about what a mother plant is and what it is used for.
A cannabis mother plant is basically a plant which is kept in a permanent vegetative state, and from which cuttings are taken and rooted in order to fill a garden with identical plants which produce identical buddy, cycle after cycle. Taking cuttings from a mother plant is a method that many cannabis growers make use of, and it differs from growing from seed in that the cuttings are an exact replica of the donor mother. The cuttings contain the same genetic material as the mother plant and, therefore, guarantee a copy it: the same aromas, flavours, cannabinoid profile, etc.
This being said, there are always variations in the result of the harvests because environmental and growing conditions affect the result (flower production, amount of resin, etc.). Growing from rooted cuttings instead of seed stock guarantees that the grower will be able to replicate the qualities that he appreciates so much of his favourite phenotype.
When growing from cuttings, it is crucial that the mother plant is healthy, otherwise diseases or genetic deficiencies will still be present in the rooted cuttings that come from that mother plant. In addition, of course, the healthier the plant, the quicker cuttings will root, and the longer the grower will be able to continue to harvest new cuttings from that mother.
You should keep in mind that cuttings, also commonly called “clones”, will behave like the mother when it comes to growing them. As you pick up knowledge growing the same genetic over the course of more than one cycle, you’ll be able to optimize your growing techniques and maximize your yields and potency potentials from that specific phenotype and genetic.
Growing with cuttings will also guarantee you a 100% female crop, as they come from a female mother plant. To ensure that the mother plant always remains in the vegetative period, i.e., producing new branches from which to make cuttings, it is necessary to prevent its natural flowering phase. To meet this objective, the mother plants must necessarily be photoperiodic – not autoflowering – and be given at least 18 hours of light per day. In this way the plant never enters the flowering phase (less than 18hrs of lights on time per day will induce flowering. The closer to 12 hours on and 12 hours off this is, the faster this will happen), and will be able to continue to generate cuttings for as long as the mother stays healthy.
Unfortunately its not possible to take a look at a seed and know that it is a great candidate for being established as a mother plant. In fact, one of the most resource consuming parts about growing from cuttings and mothers, is going through the process to pheno-hunt and select a mother. Here is a step by step guide for hunting down and choosing a killer phenotype, perfect for setting up and establishing a mother plant:
A mother plant must be carefully selected and love at first sight alone is not enough. A plant may contain a unique terpene profile that gives it a very special taste and smell, but a good mother plant also displays other characteristics like vigour, resistance to pathogens, and potency.
As a general rule, a favourable phenotype should have the following qualities:
To make cuttings, you must cut the branches of a living mother plant, which should ideally be about 15 cm long. It is entirely possible to root even small cuttings, however.
These are the steps to follow when making your own cuttings from your mother plant:
A great way to maintain proper humidity levels is to cut holes in the sides of a medium-sized plastic, clear storage container. Add 4-6 cm of perlite to the bottom of the container and enough water mixed into that perlite that there isn’t any standing water. Place your cuttings in form-fitting containers on top of the perlite.
You should monitor the cuttings daily and check that they have everything they need to grow. By day 4 or 5 it is not uncommon for substrates to need to be soaked in a water or rooting solution in order to re-hydrate.
Cuttings may take 10 to 14 days to develop roots, but some may take longer. When their roots begin to explode out the bottom of a rockwool, or jiffy plug, they are ready to be transplanted. When this happens, and without the million dollar investment of Blade Runner, you will have created a whole army of replicas.
Let’s remember all the advantages mentioned so far:
However, some disadvantages should be mentioned:
Seedstockers has a range of selected strains of great quality that have been obtained through long breeding processes. Genetics which, because of their qualities, can be ideal candidates to make mother plants at home and are known for having special phenotypes ripe for discovery. Here are four jewels of our catalogue that you should think about preserving: