Cloning Cannabis in Soil

Cloning cannabis in soil is one of the most common ways to grow plants without seeds or seedlings. Instead of germinating seeds, cultivators clone a female cannabis plant.

But what is a cannabis clone?

In this post, we explain what a cannabis clone is, along with some of the most common questions about cloning cannabis.

cloning cannabis in soil

What is a Cannabis Clone?

Cannabis clones are cuttings. These look similar to a branch, except cut from a living female marijuana plant. With the right cloning technique, a clone becomes a genetic makeup that’s identical to the plant it was removed from, also known as the mother plant.

Most clones are around six inches in length once cut from the mother plant. Once the clone is snipped, it’s then placed in a medium that will encourage root growth. Most of the time, a rooting cube and a hormone will work to nurture your cannabis clone.

Once the roots develop, the clone gets transplanted into the ground or a pot. At this point, it should grow the same as any other marijuana plant.

Benefits of Cloning Cannabis Plants

Cloning cannabis plants can take the guesswork out of a grow operation. For those who would prefer to avoid purchasing feminized seeds and seedlings, clones save time. However, keep in mind, these will take some time to root out, of course.

The main benefit of growing clones is that you don’t need to germinate cannabis seeds. This takes around one month off of the growing process. But there’s another factor that comes into play here: uniformity.

Genetics among cannabis plants is one of the key determining characteristics of how the buds will grow. Clones are genetically identical to the mother plant. Thus, this takes the guesswork out of the genetics as you already know how the clones will mature.

From the smell to the effects, you can expect the same plant to grow if it’s a clone of a mother plant. This is why so many cultivators opt to grow a few beautiful mother plants and clone the best of the best.

Clones are also great space savers. For seed grows, it takes time to grow an assortment and sex them out. Then, you’d need to rid your grow of any males. This, of course, is if you’re using random seeds as opposed to feminized.

How to Clone a Cannabis Plant in Soil

How to take a cutting from a cannabis plant

Look at the mother plant and find sturdy, healthy branches. You’ll need at least two nodes on your final cutting.

Then, cut the clone from the mother. You’ll cut above the node on the mother plant using scissors or a razor.

Use a razor to cut under the bottom node on your fresh cutting. This should be done at a 45-degree angle to the brand, allowing optimal surface area for the rooting surface while encouraging more rapid growth.

Next, you’ll put your fresh cutting into a rooting hormone. From there, you’ll plant it straight into a rooting cube. For cultivators using an auto-cloner, place a collar around the cutting and put it in the auto-cloner. The rooting hormone goes into the clones once all of your cuttings have been removed from the mother plant.

After you take your cutting, remove the unnecessary leaves around the bottom and cut the tips of the fan leaves. This will encourage photosynthesis efficiency, allowing the clones to take nutrients and water in with ease.

How to transplant a cannabis clone

Check the bottom of your auto-cloner or tray daily to ensure your clones have enough water. If you need to increase the humidity, spray some water onto your leaves using a spray bottle. But make sure to discard dead clones immediately to minimize your chances of mold and offer more space to your remaining clones.

The majority of clones are ready for transplanting into the soil within 10 to 14 days. However, it’s always possible for clones to root out faster or take more time. Keep in mind, your clones are ready for a transplant once the white roots measure an inch or two in length.

The first step to a successful transplant is to maintain a sterile environment. Use gloves when handling your clones as transplant shock is possible.

You’ll place some soil in your pots. This is the point that you’ll begin prepping your soil by watering it.

After draining the soil, dig 2-inch deep holes using your fingers. This should be enough to bury the clone roots.

Place the clones in the holes before gently covering the roots with soil.

How to purchase cannabis clones

If you’re buying cannabis clones, it’s crucial to inspect them to the best of your ability. However, keep in mind, all diseases, pests, genetic markers, and pesticide residues aren’t easy to spot. This is why you’ll need to double-check your clones before planting them in your grow.

Here’s what to look out for when buying cannabis clones:

Stem Width

Clone stem width will show your clones’ health. If the stems are thin or narrow, the clone came from a weak branch. These branches have a higher probability of being more susceptible to disease and issues. But the root systems can also take more time to develop, as well.


Pests are a massive problem in the cannabis space, and for growers buying clones, fungus gnats and spider mites are usually the first visible pests. However, make sure to look under the leaves and in the soil medium as you may find some pests there, too.


One of the biggest challenges for clone cultivators is diseases. Diseases in cuttings are difficult to see early on, but you can check for irregularities, mutations, discoloration, and limping leaves.

Powdery mildew is one of the most common clone diseases. These mold spores easily transfer between plants. So, if you see white powder on stems and leaves, it’s best to tend to them as soon as possible.

Cannabis Cloning FAQ

Can you put clones directly into soil?

Anyone cloning plants will benefit from planting them into soil or rockwool. This will allow the plants to take root and begin growing. Encouraging root formation is possible in potting soil, seed starting mix, and well-composted gardening soil.

Why are my clones wilting?

Clones can wilt for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to temperature or humidity changes. If you’ve recently changed the environment your clones have grown accustomed to, this is likely the reason your clones are wilting. Give them some time to adjust. But if you’re working with the wrong temperature or humidity, this could be problematic for your clones.

Can you clone an Autoflower?

Similar to photoperiod plants, you can clone an autoflower plant. The process is quite the same, meaning you can take cuttings from a mother plant and root them to create genetic replicas. The main difference here is that the genetics of autoflowers come from the Ruderalis cannabis species. But you can still clone your autoflower marijuana plants.

Louis Levey is the Content Success Manager and Founder at No Strings Content. He's passionate about helping cannabis businesses use content to attract, educate, and convert audiences. His hometown is Boca Raton, Florida, but he currently lives and works remotely in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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