Traditional cloning methods may soon become a thing of the past with the latest advancement in cannabis agriculture sciences. Plant tissue culture cloning may be the next best thing for home growers and professionals alike thanks to its unique ability to preserve genetics and increase yields while also maximizing the space in your garden. Here’s everything you need to know about plant tissue culture and how you can implement it into your own garden.
Enter the plant tissue culture cloning method
Traditional cannabis cloning involves taking a cutting from a cannabis plant and sticking it into a cloning powder to encourage it to grow its own roots and become a copy of the original mother plant. In this process, a lot of things can go wrong. Sometimes the plants simply don’t root properly or take a very long time to do so. Other times they succumb to disease or other problems and never make their way into the veg or flower room.
This can be a problem, especially for growers who have rare genetics in their gardens who want to preserve them. A problem during the cloning process can kill a whole batch of clones and make it so that you lose those genetics from your garden forever. Additionally, cloning plants traditionally can be a time-consuming endeavor that also takes up quite a bit of space in the garden.
But that’s where cloning with plant tissue culture comes in. Also known as micropropagation, plant tissue culture cloning is done by using small plant samples of tissue to grow the clones. Tissues from the mother plant will be collected and placed into a sterile environment with a gelling media that provides the developing plants with the hormones, vitamins and nutrients they need to become plants. As the media grows the plants will begin to develop roots and shoots, after which they can be transplanted into the standard growing media in your garden for vegging.
With tissue culture cloning, you’re using a much smaller cloning setup than a standard EZ Cloner, which saves space in the garden, not to mention time. Clones made with tissue culture become whole new plants without the stress of being cut from the mother and growing new roots from leaf nodes. The environment is sterilized as well, making it much less likely you’ll lose clones to the environment, disease, or nature itself. Much like traditional cloning, this practice also makes a copy of the mother plant, allowing you to preserve your coveted genetics more easily.
How to clone cannabis with plant tissue
Right now, to do tissue culture cloning on a large scale you’d need a whole laboratory, but this method has been around since the 1960s with many other species of plants and can still be done on a small scale — as long as you know what you’re doing and you keep your environment sterile. Using tissue culture and a bit of science, you can trick the tissue into multiplying and growing into thousands of new plants from very small amounts of plant materials.
Doing it is relatively simple. First you’ll take a few small samples, known as explants, from the parent plant. This is typically accomplished with pieces of water leaves from the mother plant you’d like to clone. The explants will then be transferred to sterile plates filled with gel containing hormones, nutrients and vitamins crucial to the plants survival. The hormones will cause the plant cells to divide and grow rapidly into small masses of plant tissue. Then more hormones are added to stimulate roots and stems, at which point the plant culture will become plants. From there, the plants are placed into potting trays and sent into the veg room where they will grow like any ordinary plant.
With specialized equipment, using the plant culture method can be more expensive and difficult than simply taking cuttings in traditional cloning methods. However, you can also bank plant tissue cultures to help preserve genetics and keep them on hand for many more seasons moving forward. In the end it pays for itself in time saved as well as many of the other benefits we’ve outlined below.
Why cloning with plant tissue culture is worth doing
Don’t get me wrong. Tissue culture is very scientific and involves complicated chemical reactions, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a pretty straightforward process. Even though traditional cloning is easy, plant culture clones are cleaner. This gives you pesticide, disease, and pest-free plants right from the get go. Starting with a clean slate saves time and money, but also helps prevent taking a loss from nature while yielding a higher quality plant. Plant culture clones are more disease-resistant and tend to branch better, grow fuller, and yield higher. Best of all, the method saves space in the garden and preserves genetics for a perfect run every time.
Whether you’re a homegrower looking to make a superior product or you’re a large commercial garden looking to optimize your methods and yield higher, plant tissue culture cloning is the way of the future. At the end of the day we can all benefit from cleaner, more sustainable cannabis, and this is a method that benefits everyone who grows or enjoys cannabis as a whole.