The feminization technology has been around for close to 30 years now, but some people are still uneasy about this ‘new’ invention. My personal opinion is that, for a casual grower, feminized seeds are better than non feminized, though in some rare cases it’s safer to use genetics that haven’t been tampered with too much, i.e. regular seeds.
Is cloning and keeping a mother plant one of those cases? I think not.
Feminised Seeds Clone as Easily as Regular Ones
Fem seeds are simply those that produce female plants in close to 100% of cases. In most other important ways they are no different from regular marijuana. So, cloning feminised plants works the usual way. What you CAN’T CLONE are autoflowering strains, but that’s a different story.
As for feminized plants, you can take cuttings from them as soon as the side branches are long enough for the procedure to be successful, that is 4 inches (10 cm). After these cuttings root, you can either veg and flower them, or turn one into a mother plant. In short, everything is the same as with regular cannabis.
Feminized Seeds Mother Plants in Professional Projects
For any amateur grower’s needs, today’s feminised seeds have stable enough genetics. But if you want to produce buds or seeds professionally, you may think of building your collection of mother plants with regular seeds instead. We have written a special post comparing feminized and regular seeds. The short version is: fems are great, but regs might have more stable genetics and in extreme situations will be less prone to hermies (it’s when a female plant produces male flowers due to stress).
How to Find a Stable Feminized Plant to be Cloned and Kept as a Mother
In another post, we’ve outlined a strategy (which shall be repeated here) of finding the most stable plant for clones and mothers. You can use this strategy both for feminized and regular seeds.
It goes like this. You germinate a large batch of seeds of a certain strain, grow them till they are big enough, and make them start flowering by switching to the 12/12 light schedule (12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness). For normal flowering, the darkness must be complete and uninterrupted. If you allow light leaks into your grow space during the night, or turn on the lights even briefly, the dark cycle is no longer continuous. This can slow down the process of flowering and often results in hermies, especially in unstable genetics.
So we use this feature to spot those weaker genetics. Once the buds start to form, we begin to disrupt the correct 12/12 light schedule on purpose. Let’s say we turn on the lights for an hour in the middle of the night, and the next day ‘forget’ to turn off the lights completely, and on the third day we make the dark period longer by a few hours etc. All plants that are naturally prone to hermies will sooner or later show male bananas in their female buds. These plants we throw away. And those that remain female despite our best efforts to make them change sex, obviously have a very stabilized DNA and could be used for cloning or making seeds.
Of course, first they need to be reverted back to the vegetative stage (the procedure known as re-vegging), and only then you can take clones. Note that there’s a high-stress method of taking clones from a FLOWERING plant. It’s called monster cropping, and those with advanced growing skills can try this method as well.