In this blog post, you will learn the advantages of using mother plants and how to maximize mother plant cuttings in a controlled indoor growing environment where space may be a challenge. Mother plant cloning is a propagation technique that saves time and space and provides more harvests throughout the year. Cannabis cultivators are looking to work smarter, not harder.
Indoor growing presents its own unique set of challenges, whether it is maximizing limited space, maintaining ideal climate conditions, or maintaining year-round harvests. Growers that use indoor farming systems need to think ahead regularly in order to determine how many plants should be at each stage of the grow cycle simultaneously. Whether you are a commercial grower or a home cultivator limited by plant count guidelines, the objective is similar: keeping your plant material consistent, robust and plentiful throughout the year.
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Starting a Crop with Seeds Vs. Mother Plants
Starting a crop from seed is very exciting and can offer the indoor plant grower opportunities to experiment with cross-breeding strains. While germinating seeds is not particularly difficult, it should be noted that the germination process requires time for seeds to sprout, which increases the time you need to prepare ahead for your next crop.
It is not unusual for indoor plant farmers to spend the time and the resources caring for seedlings only to end up with a fraction of usable female plants. There is also the possibility that some seeds will not germinate at all or that feminized seeds may be "hermies", or hermaphrodites. Of course fewer plants at the start means a smaller harvest down the line.
It is also important to note that even seeds of the same strain will vary slightly in their genetic material, so that the qualities of each plant in your indoor growing system may not be consistent even though they are of the same batch.
Seedlings are also less space-efficient. Germinated female plants will each require their own pot or cube to individually sustain them until it is time to transition them into still larger pots for vegetation and flowering. Meanwhile, it may be necessary to have other seeds in germination to be ready for transplant when there is room. It can be an endless rotation of crops and containers of varying sizes as you try to grow as much as you can in the limited indoor growing space you have.
Getting the Most from Cloning with Mother Plants
Cloning crops is one way that growers can ensure there will be enough plant material growing and ready to be clipped when it is time to transplant directly to the vegetation space. While there are many cutting techniques that growers like to share and discuss, the question remains: Where do I get the clippings from?
Maintaining a mother plant is a popular propagation method for growers who want to be certain that their clippings are female, and genetic replications of their desired strain. A single mother plant kept in the vegetative state will grow for months and months, producing numerous offshoots that can be clipped, cloned, and directly transplanted to the cultivation space. No need to germinate and sex seeds; no need for extra time and space to plant and care for seedlings until they can be transplanted.
As ideal as this sounds, of course, caring for a mother plant is not without its challenges. Mother plants can get really tall and unruly. If you are growing indoors, you may not have a tall ceiling to accommodate the space requirements of a mother plant left to her own devices. This means it is necessary to remove lots of branches to keep her healthy and uncrowded. New buds will indeed form at the pruning sites, but trimming the mother plant regularly is a time-consuming task.
In our last blog post we listed a few ways that the TrellaGro LST™ Model 6 helps to cultivate and easily maintain robust mother plants. Our automated low-stress plant training technology gently trains the plant to grow horizontally, saving indoor growers time and plant material since all branches can be kept intact. This in turn protects the health of the mother plant by reducing plant maintenance requirements, and allows the plant to grow more freely and fully since it gets longer and not taller. This means a shorter veg time, a bigger mother plant, and a greater yield of clippings for clones. Since clippings will be taken from the "top" of the plant along the horizontal, the "bottom" branches will be exposed to more light and new offshoots will naturally grow upward.
Our automated plant growing technology not only gives us the freedom to grow what we want where we want, but it gifts us with more free time and cash to enjoy reaping what we sow. So, how will you automate your grow this year? If you're interested in learning more about automated plant maintenance, click below.