If you don’t live in a medical marijuana or legalized marijuana state like California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, and you’ve heard of clone-only marijuana strains, it’s a little frustrating because usually you can’t get those clones unless you travel to those states and qualify as a permitted clone buyer under the state’s marijuana regulations.
However, that’s changing too.
A single, legit commercial clone of a top-shelf, clone-only strain like Girl Scout Cookies or Cherry Pie can sell for as much as $140. But ultra-elite cuts shared in the top ranks of marijuana breeders and clone developers can sell for thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars each!
Why so expensive?
Unlike cannabis seeds, every clone from a premium marijuana plant is guaranteed to be a female cut from a unique motherplant.
If the clone seller is ethical and professional, and if you’re a professional grower, you’re guaranteed that your clone will grow, smell and stone you just like the seller says. And it will of course be a female marijuana plant.
As I’ve tried to buy top-shelf cannabis clones across North America, I’ve only found a handful of commercial marijuana clone producers who are reliable, honest, and willing to be interviewed by a marijuana magazine.
The majority of marijuana clone sellers aren’t legit. Some take people’s money up front, and then don’t send or provide the clones. Or the clones are inaccurately advertised.
Or the clones include male plants that ruin your marijuana garden. Rip-offs happen in the marijuana seed industry too. It’s not easy to be sure you’re getting the marijuana clones or cannabis seeds you actually wanted.
There are a few ethical, professional marijuana clone-makers and clone sellers, and this article gives you the inside story on clones from a commercial, respected marijuana clone businessman named Trey, who’s based in Colorado.
As we’ve noted in articles about other Colorado marijuana businesses, Colorado’s regulated legalization framework has allowed rapid development of specialty research into marijuana seeds, clones, and strains.
That’s one reason High Times runs a Colorado Cannabis Cup: Colorado is more happening than Amsterdam right now when it comes to development of top-shelf marijuana and marijuana retail options.
Trey is part of that vanguard of the Colorado marijuana juggernaut. His marijuana clone service is called “Mountain Trees,” and he was kind enough do an exclusive interview with BigBudsMag.com:
Big Buds Magazine (BBM): Trey, I’ve heard lots of compliments about your marijuana strains and clones, but I’ve heard lots of complaints about other commercial clone businesses. Why are marijuana growers happy with your clone company?
Trey: I’ve been growing cannabis for 15 years and have a staff of horticultural experts who help with the motherplants, cloning, after-care, and tech support. Our focus is on helping growers get the highest level of clone performance.
I have a bachelors and masters degree in horticulture, specializing in controlled environment growing, essential oil extraction, and horticultural consulting. I’ve done university-level plant research, and have worked in the commercial greenhouse industry, and at the science level in the hydroponics industry.
By putting scientific horticultural knowledge together with the best cannabis strains and a commitment to grower satisfaction, Mountain Trees has achieved its solidly positive reputation.
BBM: Some people are suspicious of buying marijuana clones, so they prefer to grow cannabis from seeds. What would you say to someone who has the choice of buying both marijuana seeds and clones…why buy clones if you can get good cannabis seeds?
Trey: Some seed producers make good seeds, but even the best seeds have variability. When it comes to consistency, there’s no substitute for a clone!
Clones provide exact replication of the parent motherplant’s DNA, provided no mutation happens, but a seed is a mixture of two different sets of plant DNA. This means the seed is never going to be exactly the same, even if the seeds are from the same strain.
BBM: I know a lot of people buy cannabis clones, then discover to their horror that the clones have mites, thrips, or diseases. Or people buy healthy clones, ruin them with overwatering or a bad grow room environment, and then blame the clone seller. How do you make sure your marijuana clones will satisfy customers?
Trey: For us, one main selection criteria for creating a clone line is that a cannabis strain must be easily grown to produce high quality buds. Our strains are not hard to keep alive.
If we carry cannabis strains that are difficult to grow, we tell you ahead of time and let you know we cannot guarantee your results because of the high potential for grower error. We find out the skill level of our customers, so a clone that is only for an advanced grower isn’t sold to a rookie grower.
Another thing you should know is the strains we sell have all been selected as the very best phenotypes of the highest-quality marijuana. We select based on quality, first and foremost. Other factors are size, structure, and how easy or hard they are to grow.
If we can’t help you get the very best out of our strains we would rather not sell them. But we rarely have to discontinue a strain, because we select the best marijuana motherplants to begin with, and we’re always testing new ones to see if they meet our elite standards.
BBM: Please tell us about your clone strains.
Trey: We offer an AK 47 that has an uncharacteristic amount of Indica so it grows short and bushy, with massive, very dense buds. This has the wonderful fruity aroma and taste of a true AK, but it has the extra touch of couch-lock Indica. This marijuana finishes in 60 days.
We have a Blueberry that’s one of our custom hybrids. It started with a DJ Short original that we crossed with a choice Sativa. It now has a beautiful flavor, and intense potency.
Blue Cheese is one of our most popular strains that grows easy, fast, and large—with huge dense buds that have an overpowering odor of Cheese. We started the project for this line by using the original Big Buda Blue Cheese genetics.
Our Jack Flash is a Sativa-dominant hybrid that finishes perfectly in nine weeks. She’s an in-house cross of Northern Lights #5 and an original Jack Herer. You get thick buds, but the branch diameter tends to be thin so you might have to support the branches because the buds are so large!
Big fan of Subcool seeds, and our Purple Urkel is grown from his seeds. It’s a phenotype chosen from 20 strong females and has the purplest nugs we’ve ever seen. If grown properly all nugs will be completely purple and only the stems will be a bright green. It looks like it’s dusted in sugar.
We have an OG Kush, but we are not selling clones of it at this time because we are in negotiation with the original breeder and we respect breeder’s rights to their strains. The OG Kush motherplants are very happy. This particular OG was started in Los Angeles and is currently one of the highest value marijuana strains at any California medical marijuana dispensary.
One of my favorites is Pandora’s Box. It’s a vigorous-growing 50-50 hybrid that’s very easy to grow, and you’ll love the yields and the buds.
BBM: As a marijuana cloning professional, what marijuana clone lines do you want but don’t yet have?
Trey: One of the best clone lines I’ve ever seen is Lemon G. It’s a cross of G13 and Lemon Kush. We’re testing these genetics right now. This strain gives you a seriously overpowering strain with the flavor of a sour lemon drop.
I’m trying hard to acquire Girl Scout Cookies, the strain that’s swept the nation. It takes some skill to grow it, but the fact that it’s a High Times Cannabis Cup winner pretty much says it all.
Tangerine Dream from Barney’s Farm is another set of genetics I’d like to acquire and work with. The Tangerine Dream genetics are a crossing of G13 with Neville’s A5 Haze and the resulting plant again crossed with G13 so you get Sativa-dominance along with citrus flavors. It’s a 10-week strain, which is pretty good for a Sativa-dominant powerhouse.
BBM: Man, I look forward to growing some of these. Speaking of growing, one of the big problems in the marijuana clone industry is the lack of quality control some marijuana clone producers have. What can you tell Big Buds readers about how motherplants and clones should be grown and handled?
Trey: We have a strict process in place to ensure that our motherplants are healthy because marijuana clones are only as healthy as their motherplants are. If we aren’t sure a motherplant is in tip-top shape, we won’t clone from it. Period.
In the weeks before we do cloning on a specific motherplant, we run a specialized nutrients feeding program designed to get her growth rate and vigor into top form. Our feeding program for mothers goes in cycles. When the timing is just right, we lower the nitrogen levels just before we take the cuts.
We do this because our research shows that marijuana motherplants that are a little low in nitrogen tend to root faster. We never cut more than 25% of a motherplant’s vegetation at one time. This tactic keeps them healthy so they grow fast and we can get a lot of healthy clones from them.
We have an integrated pest management system that monitors and controls pests using only organic horticultural soaps as a control. All plants are sprayed once per week minimum. Beneficial predator insects are introduced two times monthly. Flowering plants receive only beneficial insects as protectors, not sprays.
Finally each batch of cuttings is quarantined once they are cut. This ensures they stay clean and safe. Our facility is located 8000 feet above sea level, so there’s a lower insect and disease presence to begin with.
If something does go wrong, we do not allow any defective clones to leave our facility. We destroy them.
We encourage our customers to inspect clones immediately upon receiving them to ensure they are perfect. Anything less than perfect we will replace on a case by case basis. All large orders are sent with a few extras free of charge, to allow growers to cull any bad apples.
Cuts are given pure water until roots are present. Once rooted they receive 400-800 ppm hydroponics nutrients solution, depending on strain. Our cloning environment has high humidity, lowered light levels, ambient clone room temperatures around 75F, and root zone temps of around 78F. These are specific conditions only for clone propagation.
BBM: Sounds like a perfect cannabis clone cultivation process and environment.
Trey: We do our part to ensure that growers get the healthiest clones and the best genetics. Then it’s up to the grower to make the grow work well.
The main way people harm their clones is overwatering and overfeeding. We send out the best marijuana clones in the world, but we can’t protect those clones from what people do to them after they receive them.
We clone in rockwool, but work cooperatively when growers want clones rooted in other media or for specific types of hydroponics systems. We try to accommodate special requests when it comes to clone size, root zone media, or specific grow systems.
For each clone order, we take 30% more clones than you ordered so we can cull inferior clones and give you only the best. If you spend $200 or more, we give you a free phone or email consultation to talk about the best growing techniques and materials you can use. We give recommendations for moisture management and feeding with every clone we sell.
BBM: I’m glad I had a chance to interview a commercial-scale cannabis clone seller who has an excellent reputation. How much do your clones cost, and how can people contact you?
Trey: We offer the highest-quality clones in the country, and they’re priced from just a few dollars to thousands of dollars per plant. Most of my strains have taken me ten years to get to the point where they have incredible potency, are easy to grow, are beautiful plants, and are unique genetics. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re looking for the best marijuana clones in North America.