Cloning a cannabis plant is an extremely interesting process. It involves taking a cutting from an already established “mother” plant, and using this cutting to generate an entirely new and independent plant. What’s more, the new plant will share identical genetics to the mother that it was cloned from.

This means that cloning is an excellent way for cannabis growers to preserve the genetics from a particular strain that they adore. The new clone will share all of the original characteristics, from the way it tastes to the high that it produces.

Cloning cannabis plants is also economically appealing to many growers. It means that they don’t have to keep buying seeds in order to grow the exact same strain; instead, they can simply take a cutting from the prized plant within their crop and create a homogeneous copy. With all these benefits, it might seem as though cloning should be a technique that all growers use, all of the time. However, the method does indeed have its limitations.

Cloning Autoflowering Varieties Cannabis

One significant limitation is that autoflowering strains of cannabis are quite difficult, though not impossible, to clone successfully. Considering that autoflowering varieties have some massive advantages over traditional strains, such as compact sizes and rapid growth time, this may put many cultivators off from cloning altogether.

It is a common myth within the cannabis community that autoflowering strains simply cannot be cloned. On the contrary, it can be done, but it may not be worth it. Why are autoflowering strains harder to clone?

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AUTOFLOWERING AND PHOTOPERIODIC STRAINS

To discover why growers don’t see impressive results when attempting to clone autoflowering cannabis strains, we need to observe what it is that sets this breed of plants apart from the rest. Autoflowering strains pretty much do exactly what their name suggests - they flower automatically based on time, rather than on environmental factors like photoperiodic strains.

Photoperiodic plants require a change in the amount of light they receive each day in order to go from the vegetative phase into the flowering stage.

This distinction is largely due to evolutionary differences. Autoflowering strains are known to have evolved in northern regions of the world where there is much less sunlight throughout the year. This led them to develop the ability to flower automatically over certain periods of time.

This trait makes them very appealing to beginner growers who do not have to go through the task of changing the light cycle in order to start flowering and achieve a successful yield of high-quality buds.

Photoperiodic strains evolved closer to the equator. When grown indoors, they require a light cycle change which simulates the approaching autumn and encourages them to march towards flowering and seeding before the weather becomes too harsh for them to continue to survive.

How To Clone Autoflowering Cannabis Strains

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR CLONING?

So, what does this genetic difference mean when it comes to the craft of cloning cannabis plants? Well, remember when we talked about how cloning results in an exact copy of the mother plant? This literally means that every trait is carried over, even the age of the plant when the cutting was taken.

The cutting will follow the same genetic timeline as the mother and will continue approaching the flowering stage, regardless of its size and development. In the case of autoflowering strains, this usually results in small and underdeveloped specimens with minimal yields to offer.

Photoperiodic varieties are far superior when it comes to cloning. If the cutting is taken during the vegetative phase and the light cycle remains the same, it will have the chance to grow and flourish within the vegetative phase. Only when the plant has reached an optimal size will the grower elect to shift the light cycle and initiate the flowering stage.

CAN IT BE DONE?

It has been reported that some growers claim to have successfully cloned autoflowering varieties. Cloning an autoflowering plant is indeed possible, but the outcome will surely be suboptimal. If a grower attempts this in order to boost yield, instead of for experimental purposes, they will surely be met with disappointment.

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