Cloning, also known as plant cutting, is a method of plant propagation used widely in agriculture. Let’s take a look at how growers apply this technique in cannabis cultivation.

What is Cloning?

The term cloning may sound like a complicated genetic experiment, but it’s actually a simple technique for asexually propagating plants that dates back thousands of years.

To create a clone, a piece of stem or root is cut from a source plant and placed in a fresh growing medium such as soil or rockwool. The cutting produces a new stem or root system, forming a new plant that’s genetically identical to but independent of the original parent plant.

Growing Cannabis: Seeds or Clones?

When growing cannabis, either commercially or as a hobby, there are two ways to propagate new cannabis plants: from seeds or from clones. Here’s how these two methods differ.


Using seeds more closely mimics how cannabis reproduces in the wild. When a male plant pollinates a female plant, the female will produce seeds. While this process is usually much maligned in the cannabis industry—nobody wants cannabis flower riddled with seeds—it can be important for intentional cross breeding to create new strains with unique characteristics like higher cannabinoid or terpene concentrations.

To generate new plants, seeds must be germinated and transferred to soil. Each young plant then needs to be sexed. If you plan to harvest the cannabis flower, it’s important to separate the males from the females as early as possible to avoid pollination of your female, flower-producing plants.


To propagate cannabis by cloning, a cutting is taken from a mother plant. Your mother plant should be female and maintained in the vegetative growth phase.

Mother plants are almost always grown from seeds. That’s because cannabis plants grown from seeds tend to have more robust root systems and will produce sturdier clones. Growers often maintain one or more dedicated mother plants for creating many clones throughout the growing season.

Growers often use a non-soil growing medium like rockwool for fresh clones. A rooting hormone applied to the cut end of the clone can help quicken the formation of new roots. After the new roots reach an inch or two in length, they can be transferred to soil.

Cloning is a widely popular technique in the cannabis industry. In our next installment on cannabis cloning, we’ll explore the many advantages and some of the drawbacks when it comes to relying on cannabis clones versus growing cannabis from seeds.

Regardless of the method you choose, commercial growers need a way to ensure their plants are producing consistent, quality flower. Encore Labs offers comprehensive cannabis testing services including cannabinoid potency testing.