Autoflower Clones: Don’t Try to Find Them for Sale. Here’s Why

Cloning cannabis is a very convenient way of plant propagation. And buying clones, where it’s legal, is probably the easiest way to start a grow. The other thing that makes the life of an amateur grower so much easier is using autoflowering genetics. You put two and two together, you want autoflower clones. But does anyone sell them?

While autoflowers CAN be cloned, what you can’t do is keep them from flowering. Autoflower clones may begin to flower even before they have rooted. And, once in flower, you can’t revert them back to veg. As a result, autoflowering clones will stay small and yield very little.

autoflowering clones: a very small autoflower in a pot right before harvest and a dry resinous bud held between fingers
This is what your harvest will look like if you grow your weed from autoflowering clones. © GrowDiaries

So your best bet is to grow autos from seeds. Luckily there are enough online vendors that will deliver them right to your door. Click this link if you want a reliable seed shop that has shipped close to a million orders to practically all the countries in the world, including the U.S. and the UK.

Why Buying Autoflower Clones is Virtually Impossible

The reason is that you want two mutually exclusive things from these autoflowering cuttings:

  • you want them to flower automatically,
  • you DON’T want them to flower automatically, at least not till they’re big enough for your needs.

Autoflowers are a special kind of cannabis. The presence of Ruderalis genes in their DNA makes them ignore the light cycle. It doesn’t matter if you’ve planted them in spring or summer or fall. They simply don’t care for how long the days or the nights are.

And indoors, they don’t care for the light schedule. Whether 12/12 or 18/6 or even 24/0 or anything in between, it doesn’t change their timeline. They come up out of the soil, have short but vigorous veg, and then enter the flowering stage which doesn’t last very long either.

And when you take cuttings and root them as autoflower clones, the transition to flowering doesn’t slow down. Well, maybe for a couple of days compared to the main plant. So your autoflowering clone will be nothing but a rather small branch with a handful of flowers on it. It will never have a chance to develop into a large multi-branch bush.

a small flowering weed plant in a plastic pot and its trimmed buds on the scales
Another example of a small autoflower with very little yield. © GrowDiaries

Compare this with the results of a most unremarkable, run-of-the-mill Gorilla Glue Autoflower grow. You simply don’t want to purchase clones if you can buy seeds like these.

Cloning Early Versions and Fast Versions

When browsing seed shops, you may come across varieties that have ‘fast version’ or ‘early version’ added to their names. These strains are photoperiod-dependent, but they have enough autoflowering genes in them to start and finish flowering (outdoors) a couple of weeks earlier than normal photoperiod strains. A very handy feature for climates with short summers. You CAN clone these genetics and keep them in veg indefinitely. We’d say offering fast/early version clones for sale would make sense.

Taking Autoflowering Cuttings from Superautos

Superautos isn’t an official term or anything. These plants are supposed to be normal autoflowers, but, for some reason, they don’t start to flower automatically. When dealing with a superauto, the grower may need to change the light schedule to 16/8, 14/6, or even 12/12 before the plant transitions to the flowering stage. You can clone such genetics, too.

Well, that wraps it up. Stop looking for autoflowering clones. Nobody sells them. Or if they do, they shouldn’t. Autoflowers are a kind of genetics that are only grown from seeds, not clones.

All images in this post were taken from GrowDiaries, the world’s largest weed-growing community.

 

Can Autoflowering Plants be Cloned? Is It Worth It?

Cloning feminized seeds is a quite simple procedure, and many growers know how to do it. But what about autoflowers? Can autoflowering plants be cloned?

Technically, autoflowers can be cloned. You just choose a side branch that is long enough to take as a cutting and then root it. But the clone will start flowering soon after, so you can’t make it big and productive. And you can’t turn it into a mother plant.

Related Post  Autoflower Clones: Don’t Try to Find Them for Sale. Here’s Why

All this makes cloning an autoflower rather impractical. Why take a cutting if you can get better results just leaving the branch on the plant? Well, if you have extra room and some small containers to spare, you can try cloning an autoflowering plant in the following two scenarios:

  1. Your autoflower is too bushy, and you have to prune some of the branches. You can just throw them away, or you can root and grow them next to the main plant.
  2. You have accidentally topped an autoflower while training it. It will certainly put a dent in your final yield, but, if you make the cutting root and flower, you may redeem a few grams.

Can Autoflowering Plants be Cloned? This Grow Says They Can

A grower from the Growdiaries community who calls himself StickyFingah420 kindly shared his experience of cloning an autoflower. He resorted to this technique because he had accidentally broken a branch on his FatsBuds Zkittlez Auto.

In his case, the result was spectacular. But most probably, his overall yield would be better if not for this accident. Just check out this Gorilla Glue Autoflower grow journal to see how modern autoflowering genetics perform if nothing goes wrong.

So, the grower fimmed his Zkittlez Autoflower in week 3 from seed. This resulted in 8 potential side shoots from the main stem. The accident happened in week 5 from seed as the grower put too much strain on one of the branches in the second pair and it snapped. So instead of 8 potential side shoots, only seven remained on the main stalk.

zkittlez auto fimmed in week 3
zkittlez auto growing 6-8 side branches in week 4
Can Autoflowering Plants be Cloned: The site of the accidental topping in week 5
zrittlez auto getting dense and bushy in week 7
zkittlez auto pre- and post-harvest

Fimming in the third week. 4 side shoots are there, another 4 have yet to develop.

The 4th week. 6 bigger branches and 2 mangled and tiny (in the center).

Week 5. Out of three shoots (left, central, and right) at the 2nd node, the right one broke off.

Week 7. A lot of secondary branches and a very dense canopy.

Zkittlez Auto in week 11 and after the wet trim. (Click here to buy these seeds.)

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Swipe to see all images in the gallery. © Growdiaries

The plant recovered from the stress, grew many more side shoots, got dense and fat, and produced 42.7 g (1.51 oz) of dry bud. Now let’s look at how the cutting was doing.

The Cutting

The grower put the cutting into a yogurt cup filled with soil. He cut the fan leaves in half to reduce their evaporation area. Zkittlez Auto seems to have very strong genetics because not every strain would root in soil.

Can Autoflowering Plants be Cloned: Zkittlez Auto clone in week 6, rooted and repotted
can autoflowering plants be cloned: zkittlez auto clone starts filling out in week 8
Can autoflowering plants be cloned: Zkittlez Auto clone at harvest in week 11

Week 6. The clone rooted and transplanted into a bigger pot.

Week 8. The buds are starting to form.

Week 11. The Zkittlez Auto clone at harvest. (Click here to buy these seeds.)

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Swipe to see all images in the gallery. © Growdiaries

When it became evident that the clone was alive, it was transplanted into a 2.5-3-liter plastic pot and kept in the same grow tent as the main plant. It was in the pre-flower mode soon after re-potting and then began to flower and finished just a few days later than the main plant.

The grower didn’t say what the yield was, but you can guess it by just looking at those fat and seemingly dense flowers. The broken branch certainly didn’t go to waste.

To Recap

This is for those of you who like to scroll down to the end of the post to see the bottom line.

Can autoflowering plants be cloned? Yes, they can. Just don’t do it on purpose. Because it won’t increase the yield. And there’s no way you can keep the autoflower genetics you liked by taking a clone and making it into a mother plant. Autoflowers simply don’t work that way. You’ll need feminized seeds for this.

 

Can Feminized Seeds be Cloned and Kept as Mother Plants?

The feminization technology has been around for close to 30 years now, but some people are still uneasy about this ‘new’ invention. Our personal opinion is that, for a casual grower, feminized seeds are better than non-feminized. It’s true that in some rare cases it’s safer to use genetics that haven’t been tampered with too much, i.e. regular seeds. But cloning and keeping a mother plant isn’t one of those cases.

Feminized seeds can be cloned without any issues and kept as mother plants and a source of more clones. They will be the exact copies of the parent plant, including its ability to produce only female buds. Feminized clones may ‘hermie’ on you due to stress, but so can regular genetics. Read on.

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 (or, rather, don’t want to clone) are autoflowering strains. But that’s a different story.

Related Post  Can Autoflowering Plants be Cloned? Is It Worth It?

As for feminized plants, you can take cuttings from them as soon as the side branches are long enough. When they reach 4 inches (10 cm), the procedure has every chance to be successful. 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.

Can You Clone Feminized Seeds for Professional Projects?

For any amateur grower’s needs, modern 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 from regular seeds instead.

We have written a separate post comparing feminized and regular seeds. The short version is: fems are great, but regs might have more stable genetics. It means that in extreme situations they will be less prone to hermies. Hermies (hermaphroditism) is a situation when a female plant produces male flowers due to stress.

Finding a Stable Feminized Plant to be Cloned and Kept as a Mother

In another post, we’ve outlined a strategy—which we shall briefly repeat 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.

First, you germinate a large batch of seeds of a certain strain. Then you 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, you disrupt the dark cycle. This can slow down the process of flowering and often results in hermies in unstable strains.

We Use This Feature to Spot 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. So you can use them for cloning or making seeds.

Of course, first you need to revert them 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.

 

Monster Cropping Weed Plants: Everything You Need to Know

For an advanced grower, monster cropping is another powerful weapon in the ongoing battle for every additional gram per watt. Read on and decide for yourself whether this unconventional method of weed growing suits your needs and is worth trying.

Monster Cropping Definition

Monster cropping simply means growing cannabis from clones that have been taken from a flowering plant.

Most of you know that taking cuttings from a plant you like is a great way to keep its genetics. You simply cut off a branch, make it root, and thus get a true copy of the original. Some of you also know that cloning should normally be done during the vegetative stage, before the flowering begins. Clones that are still in veg are very easy to root, and even beginners can use this technique successfully on their first attempt.

A monster cropping clone, on the other hand, is taken from a pot plant that has been in the flowering mode for 2-3 weeks and already has some noticeable bud growth. This results in some difficulties: mostly with rooting, but also with reverting the clone back to veg.

WHY going to all this trouble then is an altogether different question, and we’ll answer it presently (see below), but for now let us explain what the word ‘monster’ means in the name of this method.

Well, first of all, your cuttings will look like ugly little monsters once you have reverted them back to veg. They WILL grow new leaves, but they’ll look like mutants: single leaflet, with round shape, and smooth edges. Only after some time, leaves of normal shape will appear.

Another monstrosity is the number of side branches. Some people say that every pistil (female hair) on the bud transforms into a separate side shoot. It’s hardly true, but certainly seems that way.

monster crop cropping early flower

And finally come the monster harvests that you’ll (hopefully) get if you use this technique.

Does Monster Cropping Work All the Time?

Monster cropping does work for skilled and experienced growers, but the results depend on the genetics of the plant. Some are very difficult to monster crop, and others impossible.

Monster Cropping Autoflowers

This is the case where the method doesn’t work. The reason is that once autoflowers have begun to flower, they cannot be reverted back to the vegetative stage. There’s simply no way to make them do it.

For photoperiod plants, you can change the light cycle from 12/12 to 18/6 and thus signal them to stop producing flowers and resume the vegetative growth. Autos, on the other hand, don’t have any inbuilt mechanism to react to light schedule. No matter how many hours of light you give them each day, they simply do their thing according to their own inner clock.

For the same reason, it’s not worth your while to clone an autoflowering strain BEFORE it begins to bloom. If you manage to root your cutting, it’ll never grow into a big plant, but rather stay the same size, with no side growth, and very few bud sites. The yield from such a clone would be even smaller than if you had simply left the branch on the parent plant.

Click on the link to learn more about the difference between autoflowering vs normal (photoperiod) weed.

Monster Cropping Sativa vs Indica

Sativas and sativa-dominant hybrids clone more easily than indicas and indica doms. Just put a sativa cutting into a glass of water (or stick it into soil), and it will probably take root in no time. Indicas require much more time and effort. Also in terms of your convenience it’s much easier to monster crop plants with open structure and long internodes (sativa strains again).

So, you may experiment with any photoperiod variety (not autoflowers though), but keep in mind that the ease and the success rate will be very much different for different genetics.

Monster Cropping Pros and Cons

Pros

Your second chance to save the genetics you like. Suppose you didn’t expect much from a plant until it began to flower. Now you see that it smells and looks awesome and has more promising buds than the rest, and so you want to have another go with exactly the same genetics. It’s too late for normal cloning, but monster cropping gives you another chance.

No need to keep a mother. Normally, a grower who prefers to work with clones rather than seeds has to keep a collection of mother plants to take cuttings from. This requires a separate grow space which not everybody can afford. Monster cropping allows you to have a perpetual growing cycle where you take cuttings from your current plant and use one of them for the next grow.

Take as many clones as you need. Monster cropping plants makes them so branchy that you can trim and prune them without affecting their health, growth rate, and yields. Note that this will work only starting with the second generation (in the first one, you’ll have just an ordinary plant, with a ‘normal’ amount of side shoots).

Numerous bud sites and insane yields. What does monster cropping do is it makes clones develop an intimidating amount of branches. You have a perfect opportunity to make each of them covered with buds, and thus your harvests could be spectacular.

cannabis plant with multiple branches with a huge yield potential

Compact, bushy plants with an even canopy. As an indoor grower, you know the importance of keeping your tops at an equal distance from lights. This is rather difficult to achieve with tree-like plants, but if your marijuana is a short and wide bush, your gram-per-watt ratios will skyrocket.

It works in hydro as well as in soil. You can try monster cropping in almost any setup, including soil, coco, hydroponics, and even outdoors (see below).

You can use any method of training. Once your clones have rooted and returned to veg, you can start to shape the canopy using your favorite training technique: LST, topping, fimming, supercropping, lollipopping. The best method (in terms of yields) seems to be ScrOG because you will have so many branches to fill your net with.

Bigger harvests with fewer plants. This is especially important where there are legal limits as to the number of plants that you can grow for your personal needs. With monster cropping, a single plant has the potential to fill your whole grow space.

Cons

YOU CAN’T DO MONSTER CROPPING WITH AUTOS. We’ve already covered that (see above).

Not all your clones will root. As we have already mentioned, flowering branches need more time to root, and the conditions must be close to perfect. The success rate will never be 100%. So, depending on your skills and the genetics you work with, take at least 25% more cuttings than you intend to keep.

Rooting and reveg take time. With regular clones, rooting may take anywhere from 5 to 7 days, and then you can veg them like regular seedlings. With monster cropping clones, rooting itself takes longer. And then the cuttings need to change gears from budding back to vegging which takes even more time.

Short and dense varieties are difficult to work with. We’ve already touched upon this subject while discussing the difficulty level of monster cropping sativa vs indica. This method makes any strain more dense and compact. With shorter varieties, this tendency can be too much .

There’s a risk of stress and hermies, as a result. This is a high-stress technique, and if your plant is predisposed to hermaphroditism, as some feminized genetics unfortunately are, you risk seeing some male bananas in your buds.

Is Monster Cropping Worth It?

This method is definitely not for every situation, nor every setup. Read carefully the pros and cons above and choose the best course of action. Don’t think that monster cropping AUTOMATICALLY means monster harvests. It may be so in some contexts, but not every time.

Monster Cropping Yield

Your yield per plant will definitely be spectacular because every plant grown this way will be huge, but not tall at the same time. As for grams per watt, there’s no guarantee. With so many branches and bud sites, and an even canopy, the potential for better yields is definitely there. However, you’ll have to go an extra mile to match this potential with good growing practices.

monster cropping many fat and dense colas

Monster Cropping Step by Step

  1. Choose a plant to be cloned, make it start flowering at 12/12 for 2-3 weeks. Some people say that even one week after the 12/12 flip is enough, but probably it isn’t. After just one week, all you see are only hints of future buds on plant tops, and you need real flowers for monster cropping to be successful.
  2. Choose a branch closer to the bottom part of the plant. These branches are usually better for cloning than the ones on top. The length should be at least 4 inches (10 cm). Shorter branches work, too, but the success rate is lower. Cut off the chosen branch with scissors and immediately put it into a glass of water, the colder, the better. Your goal is to prevent air bubbles from forming inside the branch, or else it could rot.
  3. Cut every leaflet in half, the same way as you do with regular clones. This helps reduce evaporation from the leaves. If the leaves are left intact, they will droop, especially under low humidity conditions. As for the buds, some people say that they should be removed, but better leave them be.
  4. Take a sharp knife and make a long, diagonal cut just above the original cut. This is the place where roots will appear, so the more surface area the cut has, the more potential roots you’ll get. Some people also scratch the surface of the stem above the cut. Or make shallow vertical cuts with the tip of the knife. New roots can grow from these damaged places as well. It’s best to perform all these procedures underwater.
  5. Quickly dip the cut into a rooting gel (or powder) and stick the clone into its rooting medium. It can be a rockwool plug, 1x1x2 inches (2,5×2,5×5 cm) or a bit bigger. Of course some clones can be rooted in a glass of water, but probably not the flowering ones. Besides, rooting in a glass of water generally takes more time and has a lower success rate.
  6. Keep the clones under a humidity dome and reduced light (T5s or CFLs would be perfect) until you see new roots appearing through the sides and at the bottom of the rockwool plug. Don’t let the rockwool dry out. From Day 1 of cloning and all the way through the reveg, the lighting schedule should be at least 18 hours of day and 6 hours of light. This will signal the plants that they should switch from the flowering mode back to vegging.
  7. Wait till the ‘mutant’ growth is finally replaced with normal leaves and veg the plants until they reach the desired proportions. At this step, you do what you would normally do with vegging cannabis: transplant it into containers of appropriate size, feed it nutrients with a lot of nitrogen, train it until you get a flat and even canopy. Or better yet install a ScrOG net and weave the branches through the mesh.
  8. Flip to 12/12 and don’t forget to take another batch of cuttings in 2-3 weeks (if you want yet another cycle of monster cropping).
unknown indica monster cropped grow diaries
An unknown indica strain monster cropped and put into the flowering room. See the journal on Grow Diaries.

These are two clones that were monster cropped off the plant in my first dairy… They were revegged for probably 3 months under insufficient light… I did some extensive pruning to remove the crazy growth near the main stems and small bud sites that won’t develop. Because of the spread out structure of the plants I didn’t have to top them.

Thanas_Garden

Using This Technique on Outdoor Plants

You can do monster cropping for outdoor weed as well, but only in those mild, warm, and sunny climates where the growing season is extra long.

You should start the first generation of plants some time at the end of winter: when days are still short, so your cannabis can start flowering.

In spring, when days get longer, you can take some flowering cuttings and make them root. Then your goal is to induce revegging. Depending on the time of year, it can either be done under natural light, or you can extend daytime to at least 18/6 with artificial light. By the time the clones are vegging again, days will already be long enough so that there is no danger of any premature flowering.

The flowering will actually start at the end of summer and will be over in fall (when you get your second harvest).

As you may guess, monster cropping outdoor plants is very tricky: too much depends on the correct timing, so you’ll probably need some trial and error before you come up with a perfect schedule for a particular strain.

How Long Does Monster Cropping Take?

Let us compare the timeline of monster cropping with that of regular growing from clones. The process of rooting takes up to 7 days for normal clones and a bit more – for clones with buds on it. Let’s say 10 days.

Monster Cropping Reveg

For normal clones, you can start vegging them as soon as they have formed roots. With monster cropping clones you can’t do that right away. You must first let them reveg for 2-3 weeks or more.

Monster Cropping Veg Time

This stage is no different from any other cannabis plants grown from clones or seeds. It all depends on the final size that you aim for. Since the goal of monster cropping is usually to grow a big plant with a lot of girth, the vegetative stage will probably take you several weeks, 3 at least. Note that if you decide to top your plants to make them bushier, each topping instance will extend the veg by 1 week or so.

Monster Cropping Flower Period Duration

Again, it is exactly the same as with other growing methods. There is a small difference between plants grown from seeds and from clones. Clones are more mature (genetically) than seedlings of the same size and so they start to flower sooner after you switch to 12/12. They also probably finish a bit faster. However, the difference isn’t really significant.

So, compared to regular clones, you’ll need about 2.5-3.5 weeks more which is the time mostly needed for re-vegging.

Now You Know Enough to Decide if This Will Work for You

Though no magic bullet, this method can work miracles in some situations. In others, it will just make things harder for you. So weigh in all advantages and disadvantages before you decide to use this unorthodox and rather complicated technique.