How To Propagate Your Cannabis Plant

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How To Propagate Your Cannabis Plant

How To Propagate Your Cannabis Plant

How To Propagate Your Cannabis Plant

3 Propagation Methods with Practical Tips to Achieve Success

Want to achieve success as a cannabis grow? The very first thing you need to know and do is the propagation of your marijuana plant. Propagation marks the first growth stage of the weed life cycle, the other two being vegetation and flowering. There are three ways to propagate your cannabis plant:

  • Seeds
  • Vegetative stem cuttings
  • In vitro propagation (also known as tissue culture or micropropagation)

The propagation through vegetative stem cuttings is preferred over other two methods, i.e., seed and in vitro propagation. According to a study published in the Canadian Journal of Plant Science, growing new weed plants from vegetative stem cuttings (cloning) is a low-cost method that provides genetically uniform plants with consistent rates of growth and cannabinoid production.

Wondering which of the propagating methods is best for your needs and circumstances? Here is an overview of three methods along with practical tips to increase your yield with minimum cost and effort.


  1. Seeds
  2. Cloning (Vegetative Stem Cuttings)
  3. Tissue Culture/Micropropagation
  4. Seven Practical Tips to Achieve Success in Cannabis Propagation
  5. FAQs About Cannabis Plant Propagation
  6. Conclusion

1. Seeds

Seeds offer an easy and hassle-free way of propagating cannabis plants. You can simply purchase seeds and germinate them in paper towel,  water, or soil.

One of the benefits of seeds is that they are less exposed to bad growing environments or diseases. If you like, you can buy feminized cannabis seeds, which will specifically produce only female plants.

Seeds are also very easy to ship and transport. You can also buy a wide variety of marijuana seeds. Some growers even choose to germinate their own seeds.

The one downside to growing with seeds is that it takes much longer than growing from clones. Plus, seeds won’t always germinate. You have to take extra care and follow specific rules for optimizing seed growth.

1.2 Germinating Marijuana Seeds

Germinating cannabis seeds can be done using 3 ways: paper towel, soil, or water method. Ensure you have viable and healthy seeds for successful germination. Below is a brief overview of the three methods to germinate cannabis seeds.

1.2.1 Paper Towel Method:

  • Place marijuana seeds on a thick, moistened paper towel.
  • Soak the towel with seeds in running water.
  • Place the towel in a plastic container in a warm area  with a temperature measuring 70 to 85°F.
  • Wait patiently for seedlings to sprout in 3 to 10 days.

1.2.2 Germinating Seeds in Soil:

  1. Prepare well-draining soil for seeds germination in a small pot or container.
  2. Water the soil and place cannabis seeds on top, gently covering them.
  3. Cover the pot or container with clear plastic, poking small holes for proper airflow.
  4. Maintain a stable temperature (70°F to 90°F) until seedlings start growing.
  5. Gradually remove the plastic and transplant sprouted seeds as needed. Remember, avoid excessive watering and prioritize moisture for optimal growth.

1.2.3 Germinating Seeds in Water:

  • Place cannabis seeds in a glass of water.
  • Keep the glass in a dark area with a temperature of 68°F to 77.0°F.
  • Wait for roots to grow 2 to 3 mm in length.
  • Transfer seedlings to a suitable growing medium. 

Note: Loss of some seeds is normal. 

Choose your preferred germination method and provide optimum conditions for the best results.

2. Cloning (Vegetative Stem Cuttings)

Cloning might sound like a daunting process, though it isn’t in the slightest. No, you don’t need a lab to clone your plants. All you need to do is take a cutting from a cannabis Sativa or Indica plant and give it some ideal growing conditions, such as hydroponics or soil.

Cloning is incredibly simple and very reliable, which is why it is often recommended to beginner level growers. The beauty of cloning is that you always know the type of cannabis plant that you are going to end up with in the end. You must take your cuttings from a healthy mother plant to ensure you’re getting the best out of your plant.

Cannabis clones take all of the best traits of the mother plant, giving you another generation of the things that you loved.

However, it is very important to note that clones are extremely delicate. You have to have an understanding of active vegetative cannabis plants, so that you can make them into clones. When it comes to picking the vegetative stem cuttings, there is a bit of skill involved. You might not get the process right the very first time around, but if you need help, we’re here to provide you with useful tips..

2.1 Why Choose Stem Cuttings for Propagation?

Growing cannabis plants from stem cuttings has proven to be more effective than growing from seeds and tissue culture. Seeds can be unreliable, and investing a lot of money in them may lead to germination failure. Tissue culture may be a bit of a complicated process. Also, the stem cutting option can save you time and money. Taking cuttings from healthy mother plants in your local area is a better approach.

2.2 Here’s What You’ll Need

  • Healthy mother weed plants in the vegetative stage.
  • Suitable rooting medium like coconut fiber or rockwool.
  • Clean X-Acto knife or razor blade (avoid scissors).
  • Glass of water for the cuttings to soak in.
  • Growing tray with a lid to maintain humidity.
  • Rooting hormone powder or gel (such as Clonex) or DIY alternatives.
  • A spray bottle filled with water for misting.

2.3 Tips for Taking Stem Cuttings/Clones:

  • Do not fertilize the mother marijuana plant for a week before taking the cuttings/clones.
  • Choose strong, healthy plant branches that can support 6″ to 10″ cuttings.
  • Sterilize your hands and the blade by rubbing them with alcohol.
  • Cut just below a node at a 45-degree angle to promote rooting and water uptake.
  • Immediately place the vegetative stem cuttings in a jar of clean water to prevent drying and air bubble formation.

2.4 Applying Rooting Hormone and Growing Medium

  • Use rooting gel or powder by dipping the cut end of a cutting.
  • Prepare the clone growing medium and mist it thoroughly.
  • Place the treated cutting in the medium and press it gently.
  • Mist the plants and keep the medium humid but avoid overwatering.
  • Maintain a moist environment with regular misting and a plastic dome or sheet.

2.5 Transplanting

Once the root system starts developing and new growth appears, it’s time to transplant the cuttings. It’s best to move the clones into a larger container instead of frequent transplanting.

By following these steps, you can successfully propagate cannabis plants with the help of stem cuttings.

3. Tissue Culture/Micropropagation

Plant tissue culture, also known as micropropagation or in vitro propagation, is widely used in specialty crops like citrus, strawberries, and ornamentals. It offers several benefits for cannabis propagation, including:

  1. Protection against untreatable infections.
  2. Prevention of plant damage
  3. Efficient storage of cannabis plants and germplasm in a compact manner.
  4. Production of clean stock clones for growing  healthy mother plants.

Although the tissue culture method is often costlier than seed or clonal propagation, it provides advantages such as space management, genetic preservation, pathogen protection, and increased yield through rejuvenation of juvenile plant growth.

3.1 Two Types of Tissue Culture for Cannabis Producers

3.1.1 Meristem Tissue Culture: Meristem tissue culture method can be done using cuttings directly from the mother plant or from plants in nodal culture. Meristem culture helps growers eliminate viral and other infections but it doesn’t guarantee pathogen removal, as some pathogens can penetrate into the non-vascular tissue of the plant. It is a complex and technical process that requires expertise in plant physiology and tissue culture on the part of the grower. It’s time consuming, as it can take one to two years to complete, and successful harvest of meristem tissue is not guaranteed in all tissue culture labs.

3.1.2 Nodal Tissue Culture: It involves growing cannabis plant cuttings on agar with growth hormones. You can propagate the plant by taking cuttings or segmenting and resetting them into new vessels, allowing for exponential proliferation under sterile conditions. Nodal culture ensures safe storage, protections against infections, eliminates surface pathogens, and enables large-scale proliferation of the plants. However, it doesn’t eliminate systemic pathogens and change the genetic composition of your marijuana plants.

In both meristem and nodal culture methods, identifying suitable plant candidates is a time-consuming process, as some plants may not survive the early stages. Once a plant has successfully transitioned from tissue culture, you can pot it as a mother plant. Then, regular cuttings can be taken from the actively growing mother plant for clone production.

4. Seven Practical Tips to Achieve Success in Cannabis Propagation

Since outdoor growing, indoor growing, and mixed-lighting settings have different requirements, the practical tips provided in this guide may prioritize one environment over the others. However, all the tips are relevant and applicable to multiple marijuana growth environments.

  1. Begin with an Abundance of Tissue Cultures/Cuttings/Seedlings: If you are a new grower, managing many weed plants can be challenging. But, having more options will allow you to select the best specimens for the next cultivation stage. This way, you can avoid undesirable plants and focus on those best suited for your production needs.
  2. Be Quick to Remove Unnecessary Plant Material: Whether propagating from clones or seeds, removing lower leaves directs energy towards healthier vegetation. Trim anything below the top two leaf sets and the top shoot of a 6-inch clone. This practice, known as “lollipopping,” strengthens leaf structures and improves the rooting system.
  3. Prevent Algae Growth by Covering Rockwool or Other Media: Algae can thrive on the surface of growing media like rockwool, coco fiber, and perlite. It will compete for nutrients, hamper moisture absorption, and cause issues like nutrient deficiencies and fungus gnat proliferation. Use products like black plastic strips to shade the cannabis growth media and prevent light transmission.
  4. Provide Oxygen Supply to the Roots: While cannabis plants absorb CO2 through leaf surface pores during photosynthesis, their developing root systems also need oxygen. There is a need for elevated oxygen levels for root production. Exchange air in the cloning environment at least twice a day to facilitate root development, even in later stages.
  5. Avoid Exposing Unrooted Clones to Intense Direct Light: Marijuana clones that haven’t yet developed roots lack the ability to effectively photosynthesize without roots. Placing them under excessive light will lead to leaf cannibalization as they try to produce new vegetation. Provide approximately 800 lumens per square foot for unrooted cannabis clones and not more than 1,500 lumens per square foot for rooted weed clones. You should adjust lighting levels for delicate seedlings and tissue cultures accordingly.
  6. Maintain Cooler Temperatures During Propagation: Vegetative stem cuttings, tissue cultures, and seedlings prefer lower temperatures compared to later growth stages. Monitor the air and media temperatures surrounding these delicate marijuana plants, preventing elevated radiant heat near plant tips. Keep propagation rooms between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Customize Watering Schedules Based on Propagation Method: Seedlings and clones require periodic watering, while tissue cultures need no watering until they are transferred to a media. After watering, allow clones and seedlings to transition from wet to damp without fully drying out. Avoid overwatering, as it stresses the plants and promotes mold, mildew, and disease. Slowly drying the media encourages oxygen intake, supporting root development. Use oxygen-rich water throughout all growth stages.

By following these effective tips, you can ensure propagation success, increase growth rate, and improve the health of your cannabis cultivation.

5. FAQs About Cannabis Plant Propagation

5.1 What are the methods of propagation of cannabis?

There are three methods of propagation of cannabis plants, i.e., (1) seeds, (2) cloning/growing vegetative stem cuttings, and (3) tissue culture or in vitro propagation. Among these methods, cloning is preferred by growers, as it can save you time and money.

5.2 What are the best conditions for rooting cannabis cuttings?

The best conditions for rooting cannabis cuttings include water balance, placing cuttings in water immediately, pinching and pruning stock plants, dipping cuttings in biostimulants, and gradually decreasing humidity levels from 100% on sticking day to 65-75% over 7 to 10 days.

5.3 How long do cannabis plants take to root?

It may take 7 to 14 days or a bit more for vegetative stem cuttings to develop the root system. When it comes to propagating with seeds, they may develop roots within a span of 3-10 days. During the germination period, it is crucial to keep the cannabis seeds dry until they rupture the seed coat and start absorbing water. To facilitate their growth, provide them with essential elements like light, moisture, warmth, and essential nutrients, such as water, oxygen, and carbon dioxide.

5.4 Can cannabis grow roots from stem?

Yes, cannabis can grow roots from its vegetative stem. There are two ways to grow roots from stems: place them in water-based nutrient solution (hydroponics) or embed them in potting soil or another suitable growing medium. Various plant species, such as coleus, pothos, and spider plants, exhibit a high propensity for rooting in water.

6. Conclusion

Based on your needs, availability of resources, and environmental factors, you can choose seeds, cloning/stem cutting, or tissue culture for the propagation of your cannabis plants. It doesn’t matter which growth method you choose, the main thing to do is to make sure you follow the necessary steps to make the most out of your weed growth. Many people prefer marijuana clones, however, as they are cost-effective, time-saving, and provide far more consistent results.

If you are looking for high-quality clones to start growing, make sure to give us a call at  877-262-6192 today! Or you can contact us via email. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.