Colorful Cannabis Guide

Have you ever seen pictures of cannabis plants with beautiful, exotic colors and wondered how they did it? Do you want to grow cannabis flowers that transform from drab greens and browns into bright purples, yellows, oranges, and even reds and blues? This guide will teach you the tricks you need to know to get the most vivid colors in your cannabis garden.

Most often, cannabis coloration is pretty predictable: bright green on new growth, darker green on old growth, and then fading into a dull yellow as the plant flowers. Sometimes though, flowering cannabis plants can put on a spectacular color show in late flowering, displaying a spectrum of colors that can light up your garden. A couple of factors can impact your plants’ coloration and determine whether it will follow the normal progression of green-yellow-brown or take on vivid coloration. We’ll compare cannabis to the fall display of deciduous trees to look at these factors.

Factor 1: Genetics 

Coloration is the same for cannabis as it is for trees; the genetics of the specimen will have much to do with the final coloration. Maple trees are a good example; some varieties have red leaves at the end of the season, while others have yellow or orange. With cannabis plants, some strains will be prone to produce bright colors, while others will not.

This Dark Devil has beautiful coloration in late flowering.

Factor 2: Environment

Several environmental factors impact how bright or vivid their fall displays with deciduous trees. The amount of water available and what time of the growing seasons (early or late) that drought conditions hit can cause brighter or lighter displays. The temperature throughout the growing season can also impact the autumn display. Temperature, available water, soil acidity, and nutrients all play off one another to determine how bright and vivid the show will be. The same is true of cannabis.

Step 1: Pick the right genetics

There is a surprisingly easy way to find genetics with nice coloration since many strains that produce excellent color shows are named for their coloration. Just search for the color you are looking for, like purple, blue, or orange. Other strains are known to produce good coloration. Here are a few strains we have found to deliver the best color shows:

Purple Fem by Pyramid Seeds is a cross between multiple purple types and produces beautiful purple buds and coloration.

Raspberry Cough by Nirvana Seeds produces beautiful reddish-colored foliage in late-season flowering.

Dark Devil Auto by Sweet Seeds has dark red foliage with a dark purple flower structure. It is a truly striking plant.

Chemical Bride by Greenhouse Seed Co has pinkish-red foliage that stangs in bright display against the powder-white crystals on the bud structure.

There are plenty of other strains that have beautiful coloration. Once you have the best strain, it’s time to set up the best environment for a good color display.

This Raspberry Cough is developing dark purple and red leaves in late flowering.

Step 2: Setup the right environment

To optimize the environment to result in the best color display, we need to understand how different environmental factors impact cannabis coloration during late flowering. Cannabis changes colors for the same reasons as deciduous trees change colors in the fall: it is chemical.

What makes cannabis change colors?

Leaves get their colors from pigment molecules. Most leaves have multiple pigments, but the dominant pigment present is chlorophyll, a chemical the plant uses to convert sunlight to energy during the growing season. Chlorophyll reflects green and masks the other pigments. Towards the end of the growing season, the plant will stop producing chlorophyll, and as the pigment molecules break down, the other colors that the chlorophyll masked now become visible.  

Deciduous trees go through this process every season as they stop producing chlorophyll for the winter and focus on storing sugars in their root structure for winter. In cannabis, the end of the flowering cycle starts this process when the plant focuses its energy on flower development and reduces chlorophyll production in older leaves. As the green reflecting pigments fade, other pigments become visible. Often, the underlying color transition is to light yellow to brown, but under the right conditions can be spectacular.

These cannabis plants are finishing flowering in relatively low temperatures.

What chemicals impact cannabis colors?

Several chemical compounds impact the coloration of cannabis, including

  • Chlorophyll: Used for sugar production, pigments produce a bright green color while active and a darker green color as the leaf ages.
  • Carotene: Carotenoid terpene that produces yellow and orange colors
  • Lycopene: Carotenoid terpene that produces orange and red colors
  • Flavanol & Flavone: Flavonoids that produce yellow coloration
  • Anthocyanin: Flavonoid that produces red, blue, purple, and magenta colors

The colors your plants present will be mostly dependent on what combinations of these chemicals are present at a given part of its cycle.

How does my plant get the right chemicals?

After chlorophyll production ends, your plant must contain carotene, lycopene, and anthocyanin to produce exotic coloration. You can increase carotene and lycopene availability by adding terpene enhancing supplements to your feeding regimen. 

Anthocyanin production requires sugars, so your plant must have access to carbohydrates. Use compost tea as part of your feeding regimen to provide the right balance.

The final step to assuring that your plants have access to the proper chemical compounds is to ensure that the pH is balanced correctly and that you provide it with the right amount of water so that it can carry out the chemical processes it needs to generate anthocyanin.

This Jack Herer developed beautiful orange and purple coloration.

How does temperature affect coloration?

With trees, cooler temperatures at the end of the season can cause more brilliant displays, which is also true for cannabis. The cold temperatures cause the plant to transition away from chlorophyll production more abruptly as it senses the season’s end. Lowering the temperature to under 60F (~15.5C) at the end of the growing season can improve the color display dramatically.


Cannabis is a beautiful plant, and with just a few steps, you can make its display even more dazzling. Just pick a strain that is known to produce nice colors, increase the terpenes and lower the temperature, and you can grow beautiful cannabis gardens.

Organic Cannabis Gardens

You don’t have to sacrifice yields to grow cannabis organically and in this guide, we will walk through everything you need to know to grow all-organic cannabis.

What Is Organic Cannabis?

There are a lot of reasons to grow organic but at the end of the day it’s better for the environment and it’s better for you. But what does it mean to grow organic cannabis? Modern farming uses chemical fertilizers and other synthetic inputs to optimize plant growth, but leave behind salts, heavy metals, and other harmful residues. Organic farming, on the other hand, focuses on using all-natural inputs to create a living system similar to natural conditions that allow the plant to thrive.

To grow cannabis organically, there are 3 primary inputs to consider; growing medium, nutrients, and pesticides. With growing mediums, you will want a natural material where you can create a living ecosystem that will work in conjunction with your plant to create a fertile environment. Nutrients and other supplements provide the all-natural ingredients to feed the ecosystem and provide your plants with building blocks for growth and flowering. Finally, protecting your crop organically is about tipping the balance towards beneficial conditions for your plants and negative conditions for pests through natural means.

Organic Growing Mediums

The main idea with organic mediums is that you want to mimic the natural biome that the plant would thrive in under natural conditions. Whether you are growing in soil or an inert medium like coco, you want to create a full ecosystem of microbial life that will break down the organic matter and provide nutrients directly to the plant’s roots.

The first step to organic cannabis farming is to select an organic growing medium. The primary goal is to create an environment for your roots that will retain water but not stay waterlogged so that beneficial mycorrhizal fungi and microbes will thrive. We recommend a mix of soil, perlite, and coco coir if you are mixing your own. If you would rather start with ready-to-use organic growing mediums, here are some that we’ve used successfully in the past:

No matter what growing medium you select, make sure it is organic and that it doesn’t contain time-released nutrients (like Miracle Grow). Time-released nutrients are not good for cannabis because cannabis needs different nutrient ratios at different times during its lifecycle.

Organic Nutrients and Additives

When synthetic fertilizers are added to the soil they are immediately available for uptake and use by your plant. They are produced in a laboratory through a chelating process. This wraps chemicals like phosphorus and potassium and makes them easy for roots to uptake. While this helps the plants grow, these types of synthetic processes leave behind salts and heavy metal residue and can negatively impact the taste and smell of the flower.

Organic nutrients, on the other hand, are raw organic ingredients, like bat guano, earthworm castings, and compost. The problem is that these nutrients are not immediately available for uptake and use by your plants. They have to be broken down first from their raw state into usable components. This is where a growing medium that can support a biome of microbial life comes into play.

With synthetic fertilizer, you feed the plant directly. With organic fertilizers, you feed the soil and it will feed the plant. The microbial life consumes the organic matter and outputs usable nutrients. Mycorrhizal fungus help deliver nutrients directly to the roots. Through complex relationships that have been refined for billions of years, the plant’s growth is naturally and safely boosted.

The same general rules apply as with synthetic nutrients: in the vegetative state, you will want higher nitrogen availability and in flower, you will want high levels of phosphorus and potassium and decreased levels of nitrogen. Since you are relying on a natural process, it takes time to improve the soil. You will want to start before you begin the actual grow so there is plenty of nitrogen available to start.

Cannabis thrives in organic gardens.

Improving Organic Soil

One of the best ways to speed up the process is to use microbial and mycorrhizal additives. This will help form your biome of helpful organisms that will boost your plant’s growth. Most of these are sold as dry soil amendments that you add to the soil or added to water. Mammoth P provides beneficial soil bacteria and microorganisms to make phosphorus other nutrients available. Great White is a mycorrhizae based additive that helps with water and nutrient uptake

Organic Pest Control

The very first solution to most pest issues in cannabis is organic anyway: cold-pressed Neem Oil. Neem oil is derived from the Neem tree. It has been used in India for centuries and has become the standard for organic farmers all over the world. Made by pressing the oil from seeds and fruits of the Neem tree, this is a pure vegetable oil that has all the advantages of the tree’s natural pest resistance. It’s also safe for most beneficial plants. Just spray a neem oil solution lightly for preventative measures and heavy treatments if you have an outbreak. You can also water with it to help with root and soil pests. We have a guide dedicated to Neem Oil, the organic wonder treatment for cannabis.

For severe outbreaks, there are stronger organic options available. There are a range of treatments based on essential oils and extracts and often work on contact.

We have had success with Bonide Mite-X spray treatment. It’s an organic solution made of botanical cottonseed, clove, and garlic extracts and works like a broad-spectrum pesticide that eliminates a wide range of insects including spider mites, aphids thrips, broad mites, russet mites, and whiteflies. Unlike with neem oil alone, spider mites die on contact. Eggs are suffocated within 12-24 hours.

Cannabis Loves Organic

There are plenty of great reasons to grow cannabis organically. It’s good for the environment and it’s good for you. One of the best reasons though is that cannabis loves organic gardens. They have thrived in a nutrient-rich natural environment for millennia. It may seem like more work on the surface, but it’s really not once you know the basic tricks of how to create a healthy biome for the plant to thrive in.

Grow Kinder

Cloning Guide

Cloning cannabis is widely used for propagating cannabis, and while the name might make the…

Screen of Green – Illustrated in 5 Steps

In this article, we’ll show you the basic screen-of-green (SCROG) process in 5 simple steps and then follow that up with examples from a full-sized tent and one from a cabinet SCROG.

Why Screen of Green?

If left to grow naturally, cannabis will grow with the shape of a traditional Christmas tree. This structure is very efficient for capturing sunlight, where the light is large and far away. In a grow tent though, we use much smaller lights that are much closer, so the cannabis plants natural structure doesn’t work as well.

The image below illustrates the effect: the plant’s cola is bathed in light, but the bottom branches remain in shadow.

Natural cannabis growth doesn’t make efficient use of grow lights because the bottom of the plant is left in shadows.

The purpose of a SCROG setup is to provide your plant with a horizontal lattice ( the screen) to grow against so that the plant does not take its natural Christmas tree form, but is manipulated into a flat canopy that receives even lighting in your tent.

Step 1: Ready the Plant(s)

You’ll want to begin you SCROG with one or more adult plants that have been topped at least once and are still in the vegetative state.

Depending on the size and shape of your grow-space and how long you vegetate, you can grow a single plant or multiple plants in each screen. One of the advantages of SCROG technique is that a single plant can stretch out to optimally use a very large space over time.

During the vegetative state, plants can be manipulated more easily and easily recover from injuries. Plants that are in flower become more woody and difficult to train and there is no time to recover from any injuries.

To allow your plant to cover the most surface area, it will be best if your plant has been topped multiple times. Topping the plant breaks apical dominance by removing the top growth tip, causing the plant to divert all of that energy into side branching.  Effectively, topping results in forking the plant’s main growth stem into two, which will allow the plant to get better horizontal coverage after you put it under the screen.

Step 2: Build screen structure

The goal when building a screen is to provide a flat latticed structure that will even out the plant growth.  The type of structure that you build will be dependent on your setup.

If you are dedicating an entire tent to your SCROG, the easiest solution is to make a frame of PVC pipe that can be anchored to the tent’s upright poles. After the frame is anchored, just stretch plant netting over the frame. You can also use wire or stiff rope in place of the PVC frame.

If you are only using part of your tent, you can use the same approach, but add PVC legs to support the frame. In any case, make your screen easy to raise and lower to help with the next step.

If you are using the whole tent, use the tent uprights to anchor the frame.

Step 3: Put It Together

This part can be a little tricky, but you will want to be careful to not hurt the plant. If you try to put theThe best approach is to raise the netting and then put the plant in place before lowering the netting, being careful to not let the netting fall on the plant. For best results, lower the netting a few inches shorter than the plant and then pull longer branches under the screen to start with a flattened look.

Lower the screen to below plant height and carefully pull longer branches under the screen.

Step 4: Vegetate

Now we wait for the plant to cover the entire horizontal area. You can help this process along by training the plant as it grows. As stems stretch up towards the light, redirect them under the screen towards areas that don’t have as much growth. In this way, you can get that even layer of growth that makes the SCROG process worthwhile. You can learn more about topping and training here.

At the end of vegetative state, you want a flat canopy with even light coverage.

Step 5: Flower

All the hard work has been done and you should have flat growth that can be evenly covered by your grow lights. For now, kick back and let the fruit ripen!

In most strains, the plant will stretch towards the lights when first put into flower. In the final stage, treat the plant the same way you would in any other flowering plants and training should end once flowering begins in earnest. The plant will become woody in later flowering and branches will snap if you try to adjust them too much.

Example Grow 1 – Full Sized Tent

In this example, we start off with two vegging Accupulco Gold females that were 8 weeks old and had been topped multiple times to provide a ‘bush’ effect.

For this grow, we used a simple rope lattice that we purchased at a hardware store attached to the tent-uprights. This worked well enough, but in retrospect, it would have been better to attach it to a rigid frame to keep the right levels of tension on the upward growth.

By the time we put it into flower, it had great coverage across the whole space.

For the final harvest, we did much better than if  we had left the plant to grow a single large cola in a Christmas tree shape.

Overall, the SCROG approach was very effective and maximized the potential for these plants.

Example Grow 2: Cabinet Mini-SCROG

For this grow, we used a very small cabinet and 4 Sweet Soma females all planted in a single container. The cabinet is only 18″x18″ and 36″ tall, so we put the plants into flower after only two weeks.

They started growing so fast that it became clear that the plants would outgrow the cabinet if we didn’t take action. Despite the risk of high-stress training, we FIM’d the plants to slow the vertical growth. It sure didn’t hurt the plant, because they already were hitting the lights a few weeks later!

We tied the plants down using coated gardening wire and that helped with the height a bit, but in the end, that wouldn’t be enough either. Rather than abandon the high-density experiment, we added a wire screen to hold the plants down.

In almost no time, the plants adapted to the screen and grew between the openings nicely.

The way these girls kept growing shows that without the screen, we would never have been able to keep the grow contained to the small cabinet without the screen.

After the initial flowering stretch, the girls settled in nicely, turning a nice color due to the cold winter evenings.

The view from the underside shows how the plants were manipulated to address height and to fill in all the spaces.

When we removed it from the cabinet, you can see that the canopy formed a mass of buds.

We had to cut the buds away from the screen, they were so tightly packed. In the end, we harvested 2 ounces of dried bud from the small cabinet.

Grow Kinder

Cloning Guide

Cloning cannabis is widely used for propagating cannabis, and while the name might make the…

Transplanting Cannabis

While you can grow from seed to finish in one large pot, there are great arguments in favor of transplanting the plant into appropriately sized containers as it grows.

If the plant is too small for the pot, the roots don’t reach much of the container, and the plant does not drink a lot. Overwatering becomes more likely in this scenario and leads to root and nutrient problems. If the plant is in a container that is too large, do not saturate the entire pot. Instead, water in a ring around the plant that is roughly along the perimeter of the canopy.

If the plant is too small for the pot, it will need to be watered frequently and will be prone to drying out. Eventually, the roots will become tangled and matted (rootbound), and will no longer be able to uptake nutrients and water – resulting in significant problems for the plant.

The act of transplanting can be shocking to the plant for a short time if not done correctly. When done correctly, transplanting promotes a rapid growth explosion as it gives an opportunity to unmat and untangle roots before seating the plant in new soil.

For the best results, start in a small pot after germination (8 to 16 ounces/ .2 to .4 liters) and work up as the plant transitions through its growth phases. Flowering plants generally need at least 2 gallon pots if they spent little time vegetating and more like 5 to 10 for large plants.

When Should I Transplant Marijuana

The short answer is that you should transplant marijuana plants before the roots overgrow and become bound in their current container. The longer answer depends on what phase your cannabis is in and the type of container your using.

Germination Phase

This is your first transplant, and when and how will depend on your seed starting method.

Method: Starter Plugs
If you germinate in peat moss or other starter plug, transplant seedlings when the roots begin emerging from the plug. See our Peat Moss Plug Germination Guide for more details.

Method: Paper Towels
If you germinated using the wet paper-towel method, transplant your seedling as soon as they have a root structure.

Method: In Soil
You can also germinate directly in the growing medium or soil. In this case, transplanting is not required.

Transplant To:

For best results, transplant into a solo cup or 8-16 ounces (.2 to .4 liters) tradepot to support the plant throughout the seedling phase. Alternatively, you can choose to skip ahead to a 1/2 or 1 gallon (1.9 – 3.7 liter) tradepot or plastic grow bag that will last into the vegging phase, but these will be more susceptible to over-watering.

Seedling Phase

The seedling phase begins when the young plant first emerges from the seed and extends for the first few weeks of life. Within the first days, it will start forming its first true leaves and will begin to build a root structure in the growing medium rapidly. For more information on caring for seedlings, see our seedling care guide.

Method 1: Watch the roots
If your container has drainage holes (like trade pots, solo cups and grow bags), you can monitor the drainage holes for roots. Once you see roots at the bottom of the container, you know that they’ll soon turn inward and become matted at the bottom of the pot. Once you see roots at the bottom, you will want to transplant within the next week.

Method 2: Watch the canopy
Once the leaf edges have reached the sides of the container and are overhanging, it’s time to start looking for the next container.

These seedlings are hanging far over their containers and need to be transplanted.

Transplant To:

For best results, transplant into a 1 gallon (~2 liters) trade pot or plastic grow bag. Alternatively, you can choose to skip ahead to the final container size of 2-5 gallons (~4-19 liters) that will support the plant through flowering but will be more susceptible to over-watering.

Vegetative Phase

The vegetative stage begins as the young seedling begins putting on adult leaves, and continues until the plant is put into flowering. For more information on caring for vegging marijuana plants, see our vegetative care guide.

Important: Since it can slow flower development to transplant a flowering plant, you will want to have your plant in its final container by the end of the vegetative phase.

Method 1: Watch the roots
If your container has drainage holes (like trade pots, solo cups, and grow bags), you can monitor the drainage holes for roots. Once you see roots at the bottom of the pot, you know that they’ll soon turn inward and become matted at the bottom of the container. Once you see roots at the bottom, you will want to transplant within the next week.

Method 2: Watch the canopy
For seedlings, you want to transplant once the leaf edges have reached the sides of the container and are overhanging. This is not as clear-cut with vegging plants though, since they can be affected by training, topping, and pruning. You can still use this method, but give more tolerance for overhang before transplanting.

Method 3: Watch the height
If you transplanted seedlings at the right time, you could use height gain to gauge when it’s time to transplant generally.

These cannabis pants are too big for their 1 gallon (~4 liters) containers. They need to be transplanted,

Method 4: Watch the water
Vegetative plants that are getting too large for their containers will dry out more quickly. If you find that your plants need watering more than twice a week, it’s probably time for a larger pot.

Transplant To:

For best results, you should at least double the size of the container with each transplant in the vegging phase. If you started vegging in a 1-gallon container, you would want to move to a 2 gallon, then 4 gallons, and so on. For the final transplant before the flowering begins, make sure that the container is your desired final size since you should not transplant a cannabis plant in flower.

Flowering Phase

You should always avoid transplanting in the flowering phase if at all possible. Transplanting can disrupt flowering (lowering production for up to a week), and flowering plants are more rigid and less resistant to damage.

What size do I need for the final container?

Unless you know what you are doing, flowering plants need a minimum of 2 gallons to have healthy flower production. More than 4 gallons (15 liters) is ideal for growing larger plants and allowing them to stretch in flower. If you are space constrained, you can use smaller final containers to restrict the plant’s size.

How to transplant

Step 1 – Gather materials

Get your growing medium ready; you can use a pre-bagged solution or use our guide to mix your own.

Get your destination container ready – it should be at least twice the size of the current container. Fill it with medium up to the point where the bottom of the rootball sitting on top of the dirt will bring the base of the plant stalk to the top of the new container.

Step 2 – Remove the plant from the old container

In this step, we want to get the plant out of the old container. If using a trade pot, squeeze the sides of the pot to free the rootball. Hold the plant at the base of the stalk and gently lift it from the ground, then gently push down on the pot to make it slip off the root ball. Wetting the soil before removing the plant can help free it from the container. If you are using a cloth or plastic bag, pull the bag off the rootball like a sock off of a foot.

If it is difficult to remove the container from the rootball, you should cut the container off instead of forcing it. This is where plastic grow bags excel.

Step 3 – Work the roots

This step depends on how rootbound the plant is, and what kind of container you are using. If the roots have filled the bottom of the container and are starting to tangle and matt, you can use your hands to loosen the roots. If you know what you’re doing, you can also use shears to cut the roots back.

If roots have become tangled and matted, gently remove the matted roots.

If you’re moving from a fabric container, this should not be an issue since the roots will have been air-sheared.

Step 4 – Put in the new container

We filled a base layer of the medium at the right height in Step 1. Still holding it by the stalk base, lower the rootball into the new container. You want the base of the stalk (top of the rootball) to be slightly lower than the top of the new container.

Step 5 – Fill with Medium

Lightly pack medium into the container, making sure that there are no void spaces under the rootball or along the sides. Only fill to the top of the old rootball (to the base of the stalk).

Step 6 – Water

If you are planting into a commercial soil with nutrients, you should not use nutrients for the first few weeks after you transplant. If you are in coco or another inert medium, use a light nutrient feeding (like a compost tea) with your first watering. Give a full watering (water until ~20% has run off).

Does it matter what time of day I transplant?

This question comes up on lots of forums, but the science isn’t clear. While you should generally water in the morning, since drying throughout the day helps prevent mold, mildew, and rot, on the other hand, general gardening shows that transplanting on cloudy days or before night gives the plant a better chance of avoiding shock. The reasoning is that it provides the plant with some time to adjust before being subjected to heat and a strain caused by bright lights. Based on that, I generally perform all stressful activities just before lights out – including transplanting, topping, pruning, and training.

What size container should I transplant cannabis into?

It depends on what stage of growth your plant is in: seedlings can be transplanted into quart-sized containers but a mature plant will need several gallons. A general rule of thumb is that if you are going to transplant, the container you transplant into should be twice the size of the container you are transplanting from.

Grow Kinder

Cloning Guide

Cloning cannabis is widely used for propagating cannabis, and while the name might make the…

Cloning Guide

Cloning cannabis is widely used for propagating cannabis, and while the name might make the process sound complicated, cloning is essentially just another name for taking a cutting from the plant and allowing it to grow roots. In this guide, we will cover cloning and show you an easy way to make your own clones.

What is Cloning?

Cloning simply means to make a copy of a living things genetic code into another living thing. Cloning animals is a very complicated process – remember the triumph that Dolly the Sheep was? With plants though, it can be very simple. You have probably cloned a plant before, or have seen others do it.

Cloning a plant is as simple as cutting a small branch off the plant and then putting it into water, dirt or some other wet medium to grow roots. This is a very common practice with household plants like geraniums.When the cutting grows roots, it becomes a genetic copy of the parent

Why Clone?

When choosing starters for your cannabis crops, there are only really 2 options: start from seed or start from clone. While seeds have their own advantages, there are a number of reasons why you would choose to start with clones.

Cost: Cloning is much cheaper than growing from seeds because you can start with one plant and end up with hundreds of clones.
Time: Cloning can be faster than growing from seed if conditions are right for the clone.
Uniformity of size: Since they share genetics, if clones grown in similar conditions will grow in a similar structure. If all the plants in your tent are clones of the same plant, you will get more uniform growth which will allow you to optimize light and space.
Uniformity of effects: Due to shared genetics again, clone’s flowers will produce similar effects. With seeds, THC and CBD may vary considerably across a strain, while clones are more likely to have very similar makeup.
Seeds Are Not Always an Option: There are some important strains in cannabis history that have only existed as clones, like the original God, Bubba Kush and Amnesia strains. While these examples were eventually recreated as breedable versions, they originally were only propagated through clones.

Overall, when growing multiple plants from seeds of the same strain, you are much more likely to see broad variations in size, quality and output than in clones. On the downside though, this means that they also have the same vulnerabilities. If the mother plant was prone to mold, so will the clones.

How Do I Make A Clone?

There are a lot of techniques for caring for clones, but at the basic level, it is always some variation of the following:

  • Cut a branch with at least 3 nodes on it
  • Put the branch into growing medium
  • Keep the plant in humid conditions until it grows roots
  • Once the clone reenters vegetative growth, grow it like any plant

We will show you a method that is very simple and leads to great results. Over time, you can refine it to work better for you.

Step 1 – Prepare your Mother Plant

There are a few considerations on picking the right mother plant. First off, make sure it’s a plant you like, because you are about to make copies of it. You’ll also want to make sure that it’s big enough to take the clones from.

Topping an unruly plant is a great opportunity to take clones, since you are cutting them off the plant anyway. For this guide, we used an adult female plant that had grown lopsided and needed a hard cutback anyway.

You can take cuttings from adult plants in any stage of life, but it takes much longer to root cuttings that are taken out of flowering. The resulting plant also has crazy bushy structures, making the process of cloning be known as ‘Monster Cropping’. For beginners, we recommend taking cuttings from adult plants in the vegetative state.

Topping an unruly plant is the perfect opportunity to get clones.

Step 2 – Prepare the Containers

Use a solo cup sized or smaller container for clones. We use clear plastic drinking cups with holes in the bottom. After planting the clone, we will put the clear cup inside a regular solo cup to block light, and then pull it out to check on root growth. You don’t have to do this, but it is handy to know when it’s time to transplant.

Fill the cups with growing medium and water it to be fairly saturated. We use a coco and perlite mix for clones, but you can also grow them in soil just fine. Get a glass of water ready to, you will want to put the clones in water immediately after cutting.

Use clean equipment when taking cannabis cuttings.

Step 3 – Take the Cuttings

For best results, take cuttings that are at least 4 inches (10 cm) long. Since first roots form in the cut area of the clone, cut at a 45 degree angle to maximize this root growth surface area. Make sure you use sterilized and sharp equipment to cut so that you don’t pass disease to the mother or the clone. Put the cutting into water immediately after cutting, or air bubbles can get into the plant and prevent root growth.

Before planting them in their containers, cut lower leaves off while the cutting is still in the water. Minimize the amount of time that the plant spends in open air.

Rooting hormones can speed up root growth drastically in clones. They are available at most gardening stores and come in a powder form. If you want to use rooting hormones, pour the powder onto a clean surface and then roll the cut end in the powder before sticking it into the moist soil. Put the cutting about half way down into the container.

Step 4 – Keep them Warm & Humid

After being cut and stuck into a growing medium, the new clones will be in shock and take a number of days to start developing roots. After a week or so, it should start developing roots that can help sustain it, but in the meantime, it won’t be able to draw moisture and nutrients from the soil. Instead, you will need to provide water and nutrients to the plant through the air. To accomplish this, we need to keep the clones in a high humidity environment so that water is available in the air. We will also use a foliar feeding spray to get them nutrients.

You can buy humidity domes for cloning cannabis, but we just use two plastic bins – one on the bottom and one placed upside down on the top to form a lid. Then we place the homemade dome on a plant heating pad and keep it between 80F-85F (26.6C-29.4C). Using the heating pad under the bins to generate heat will encourage the roots downward growth. Spray the plants frequently with a fine mist that they can absorb through the leaves. This will also increase the humidity in the dome, which will make more water available to them for consumption through the leaves.

Clones need humid, warm environments to sustain and encourage root development

After a few days of seeming stasis, with droopy leaves and stems, the clones should begin coming back to life. The leaves and stems should become more turgid, showing that they are consuming water through the leaves and maybe even developing small roots. The overall color should become more green, showing that photosynthesis is happening. Once you are sure that the roots have grown enough to help with the plant’s intake needs, lower the humidity levels over time to encourage more root growth.

For lighting, start with fairly low levels of light (like a compact fluorescent) and then ramp up as the plants develop roots. Without roots, they can not keep up with the water and respiration that heavy photosynthesis requires.

Step 5: Transplant

If you use the clear cup method, it will be clear (pun intended) when it’s time to transplant them: you will be able to see the roots encircle the cup and begin forming a root ball. It can take anywhere from 10 days after the cutting to a full month before you reach this state. Using a humidity dome and heating pad will make sure you stay on the lower edge of this timeline.

This clone has formed a root ball and is ready to transplant.

At this point, the plant itself should be growing new nodes and new leaves. You will see bright green in the new growth, while the older growth keeps the dark green colors. The plants below took about 14 days to reach this state from new cuttings.

The clones have started new growth and are ready for transplanting.

Transplant them the same way you would any plant – we have a guide to help with that. Once transplanted, you can treat and care for them like any plant in the vegetative stage – which means that you can top them and train them like any plant. Its been my experience that clones have a bushier growth pattern than seed-grown plants, which can help with sea-of-green, SCRoG and other training methods.

Transplanted clones can be cared for like any plant in the vegetative stage.

Cloning Produces Results

There are lots of reasons to use clones, in fact, many commercial grow  operations use cloning exclusively. Luckily, the process is fairly simple and easy to be successful at. The end result gives a uniformity of plants that allow you to optimize your indoor grow space and produce predictable and repeatable harvests. The four clones we took for this guide ended up filling the whole tent in a Screen-of-Green grow.

Clones tend to grow uniformly to one-another – allowing you to use your space and light effectively.

Grow Kinder

Cloning Guide

Cloning cannabis is widely used for propagating cannabis, and while the name might make the…

Topping Guide

In this guide, we’ll walk through the steps for topping your marijuana plants to improve yield. Apical dominance is a tendency, found in many plants, to put the majority of their energy into the top-most growth. In natural settings, it helps them reach precious sunlight in crowded environments. It’s also what gives cannabis its natural Christmas tree shape, with one large bud growing at the top (the cola) and much smaller buds on the side branches. The problem with this is that plants can grow very tall and the shape does not make good use of indoor lighting.

Since cannabis naturally puts most of its growth into the top cola due to apical dominance, If you want to control the height or spread growth energy, you need to alter this natural tendency. One way to break apical dominance would be to pull the growing tip down so that it’s no longer the top-most growth. This causes the plant to distribute energy more evenly across the side branches, as illustrated below.

What is topping?

Topping uses a different technique to accomplish this. Topping is simply the act of cutting or pinching off the main growth point with the goal of breaking the apical dominance and encouraging side branching. Repeating the process will encourage the plant to spread energy across even more bud sites. It will start to branch out and take on a bush form. We made this animated video to explain how topping and pruning are used to create a flat canopy for larger yields:

The final goal of topping in most cases is to get bushy growth that makes the best use of available light and space.

This Jack Herer would have grown into a tall Christmas tree shape, but topping kept its height manageable. 

Why should I top?

Topping does take some effort and care, but in many cases it is the right move – especially for the indoor grower. The primary reasons to top your cannabis is for height control and increased yields.

Cannabis is too tall!

Many cannabis strains naturally grow taller than your ceiling – topping reduces vertical growth and encourages horizontal branching.

We want more bud!

If left to grow naturally, marijuana plants produce only one main cola – topping improves yield, since branching causes the plant to produce multiple large colas. Each cola won’t be as large as the single cola would have been, but the overall yield can be considerably larger.

Grow lights aren’t the sun!

Left to grow naturally, marijuana plants will take the shape of a Christmas tree. This shape works well with the sun, a large light source that’s far away. The entire exterior of the plant can be coated in sunlight. This doesn’t work as well with grow lights since penetration and power fall off rapidly from a small light source, leaving the bottom of the tree without enough light to fully develop. Topping and training your plant to have a flat canopy will make better use of indoor grow lights.

Cannabis’s Christmas tree shape works great in sunlight, but doesn’t make efficient use of indoor lighting.

Should I always top?

There are a couple of circumstances where topping isn’t the best option:

You want one big bud: If you are looking to grow a single large bud for bragging rights and don’t mind an overall decreased yield, you shouldn’t top. For this, just let the plant keep its apical dominance to focus energy on the main cola.

You’re doing 12/12 from seed: If you’re skipping straight from seedling to flower, you won’t have time to top before it’s in flower, and you should never top a plant in flower.

You’re growing a fast auto-flower: Autoflowering plants are on a timer from germination to flowering, and many are specially tuned to have a very short vegetation stage. Since topping can be traumatic to the plant and slow growth, autos that mature in less than 90 days can be stunted and reduce production. For fast-autos, you should skip topping altogether. If you have some experience, you might try FIM’ing since it is less traumatic for the plant.

Step 1 – Break Apical Dominance

Count up five leaf nodes, and then cut or pinch the growth tip. Cutting the growth tip will cause the side branches to increase growth, balancing more evenly across the plant.

Step 2 – Repeat and Train for a Flat Canopy

Use low-stress training to pull down the highest growth tips continually. Keeping growth tips, horizontal growth spread evenly across the plant, while encouraging a flat canopy to make better use of indoor lighting. Visit the Low-Stress Training Guide and learn a technique to combine topping, training, and pruning to maximize yields.

Why do the stems change after topping?

In normal cannabis growth, the main stem is tapered all the way up, since the plant has a single primary channel to direct water and nutrients up the center of the plant towards the primary cola. After you top, the plant morphs to distribute water and nutrients to the side branches. The plant will need more nutrients and water to support two colas, so the plant will beef up the stem joints significantly, developing bulges, or knuckles, at the joints. This morphing action allows the cannabis plant to direct the additional nutrients and water to side branches, ultimately swelling the buds to create multiple colas.

After topping, the plant will form bulges at the joints to increase water and nutrients to the side branches.

When do I top?

Top after the plant is a few weeks old and has at least five leaf nodes. Only top when the plant is in the vegetative stage – do not top when plants after they have transitioned to flower.

Where do I cut to top?

Count up five nodes and cut the growth tip just above the 5th node, like in the illustration below. You can also cut after the 6th or 7th node if you want, but you should not cut before the 4th node or the plant may not recover.

Cut about 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) above the 5th node

What’s the difference between topping and FIM’ing?

FIM stands for ‘Fuck, I missed’ and is similar to topping, except rather than cut below the growth tip, you pinch the actual growth tip itself. While topping causes the plant to branch in two, FIM can create 2-4 branches. While FIM’ing is less traumatic and can lead to even better results, it isn’t as reliable as a topping and can result in no branching.

This fast auto (Afghan Mass from 00 Seeds) was FIM’ed and is producing three main colas

What should I use to cut?

Any sharp scissors or small pruning shears will do. Make sure that you clean and sterilize the blades so the plant can heal quickly. We like this set by Vivosun, because they are super sharp and super cheap.

Where do I pinch to FiM?

After the plant has grown at least five modes, pinch the growth tip as shown in the illustration below.

Pinch the middle of the growth tip to FiM

Can I top or FIM Side Branches?

Yes. Cutting or pinching side branches will cause them to fork just like it does to the cola. The overall effect will be a bushier plant with even more bud sites. This is an important part of training to a flat canopy, since you want the side branches will catch up to the top in height.

How do I top or FIM multiple times?

Topping is a continuous process while the plant is in vegetation. After the branches or any growth tip has at least four nodes, just cut or pinch off the growth tip to create a new branch. Only take a few each day, so the plant doesn’t go into shock.

Visit the Low-Stress Training Guide and learn a technique to combine topping, training, and pruning to maximize yields.

Combine topping, training, and pruning to produce a flat canopy full of fat buds!

These LSD plant (left) and Acapulco Gold (right) – both strains by seed breeder Barney’s Farm – have been topped multiple times, and were trained to produce a flat canopy with many large colas each. These plants produced 6 ounces each of high-quality bud after 60 days vegging and 65 days of flowering. Learn how to do this yourself in our Low-Stress Training Guide.

Grow Kinder

Cloning Guide

Cloning cannabis is widely used for propagating cannabis, and while the name might make the…