If at some point in your career as a cannabiculturist you plant marijuana seeds that end up transforming into a spectacular plant, you can always consider the highly recommended option of cloning it and saving this genetic gem in your collection for future crops that are just as good or even better.
What do you need to fulfill this mission? To have what in botany is called a mother plant, that is, a reference from which you will be able to continuously take cuttings to grow your crop with the best of the best. Of course, it is a very special plant within your cultivation and that is why you will have to give it specific care if you want this mother to bring you many returns.
What is a mother plant good for?
You may have unintentionally come across that special strain or it may have been the result of experimentation. One thing is clear: each seed is unique, because despite sharing the same genetics when developing, they can present different phenotypes. However a cutting of a plant is an exact reproduction of its genetics, a clone. The objective of maintaining a mother plant is to be able to tear it off sons (cuttings) to always have in your crops the opportunity to reproduce that same spectacular variety.
Whether you have started from a cutting or if you have made it from a seed, the maintenance of a mother plant will be the same. The only thing that will have changed substantially will be the selection process. Obviously, getting a mother plant from seed will take longer than starting from a well-rooted cutting (a clone) of which you already know its quality and its peculiarities, but in any case in this post we are going to focus solely on the care of mother plants. That is, we start from the basis that you have already gotten yourself a good mother whose genetics more than meet your expectations as grower and as a smoker. So get to work.
5 Keys for the maintenance of a mother plant
Pot choice is important for mothers
The fact that they are square or round will only affect the arrangement in your grow space, but it will not have a real impact on the development of your plant. The important thing is to choose the type of container that allows you to have the amount of soil (and therefore water and nutrients) that the plant will need. In this sense, choosing a pot is not far from that of any other marijuana plant. Only since the mother plant is going to be used only for the production of cuttings, you can afford to develop a kind of mother bonsaiIn other words, a plant of smaller dimensions, using smaller pots so that the plants grow in proportion to their container (without going overboard!).
Substrate type in mother plants
Generally, a mother plant has a half-life of around 12 or 18 months, but with proper care you could keep it for much longer, even indefinitely. One of the keys to promoting this is in the choice of the substrate. We must always resort to a type of substrate that guarantees good support for the roots, regardless of whether you use soil or coconut fiber. In the case of land, it is best to use a complete substrate that it already comes to us with a mixture of peat, fibers, humus and mineral fertilizers so that the plant pulls well, especially during the first weeks. If you grow with soil and want to keep your mother plant for a long time, you should renew the soil at least once a year, as we will see in a later section. The cultivation with coconut wool does not differ much from that of soil, but you have to be more aware of the use of fertilizers in each watering so that the plant is well fed.
Fertilizers and additives for this type of plant
With the exception of crops with inert substrates that do require the use of fertilizers in each irrigation (as we already mentioned with coconut wool), a mother plant planted in the ground does not need this type of product in a particular way unless we have noticed that a nutrient deficit is actually occurring. In these cases we will try to solve the situation by always using very low doses of fertilizer and increasing them little by little as we see what the response that the plant is offering. In young mother plants it is necessary to emphasize the growth of the roots and stimulate the microbial flora of the substrate. In adult mother plants, more emphasis is placed on everything related to vegetative growth and the balance between auxin and cytokine, the two hormones that, thanks to nutrients such as calcium or nitrogen, work on the development of the plant. If at a certain moment we intend to take many cuttings, it would be advisable to prepare the plant with some type of foliar fertilizer so that its macronutrient needs were well covered during that pruning season. Also in the moments of extraction of cuttings it is necessary to be very aware of the bacterial life in substrate and leaves and do not skimp when using products to improve the defenses of the plant in such a delicate situation.
Illumination of the mother plant
Low consumption equipment with LED lights are perfect for mother plant maintenance. Since the goal is not to develop a plant for harvest, you are not interested in consuming a lot of light for the plant to grow, but simply keeping it stable. You will save unnecessary electrical expenses and you will have a marijuana plant with the necessary dimensions to take out the cuttings that you really need.
Pruning and renewal of the substrate of the mother plant
As you prune your marijuana mother plant, the chances of obtaining cuttings increase as the branching increases. It is a process that must be done progressively, patiently pruning branch by branch and leaving in each of them 2 or 3 lower shoots so that when you return to your plant a few weeks after pruning you will find that the branches have tripled. Once a year and to free the plant from the exhaustion of being giving birth every so often, it is advisable to renew the substrate, which is a very similar process to transplanting, but getting rid of part of the root ball and renewing the nutrients. In the event that you find that the plant is already very exhausted, it may be more advisable practice general pruning and also carry out a root pruning, considerably reducing the height of the root ball.