In the previous three marijuana motherplants articles, we’ve talked about root pruning, grow room lighting, feeding, environment, and other factors that keep motherplants healthy and create healthier cuttings.
One goal of caring for marijuana motherplants is to keep them healthy as long as possible while minimizing the amount of materials, care, and space you dedicate to them.
The most important goal is to care for marijuana motherplants so they give you large amount of cuttings that are as sure to root as possible.
This process includes what you do with motherplant feeding and other factors immediately before you take cuttings.
If you do things right, your cannabis cuttings are loaded with moisture and nutrition so they’re more likely to root faster and root well.
Lighting is also an important factor. Most of the time, you use T-5 fluorescent lighting or LED lighting.
But you put your motherplants under a metal halide HID a couple of weeks before and after you take cuttings.
HID’s extra light intensity, and the right light wavelengths, stimulates the kind of tissue growth and vigor that your cuttings need, and helps your marijuana motherplants recover after cuttings are taken from them.
There are many theories about feeding motherplants, mostly related to alleged effects of nitrogen on cuttings.
The common practice is to give cannabis motherplants as little nutrition as you can get away with most of the time, but increase nutrition for the three weeks before you take cuttings and then use only reverse osmosis water in the four days just before you take cuttings.
In my marijuana garden, I run a grow phase feed program at 40% recommended strength most of the time.
Starting three weeks before I take cuttings, I run my feed program at 75% recommended strength.
The feed program includes potassium silicate in the form of Rhino Skin and it also includes extra carbs in the form of Bud Candy.
Potassium silicate strengthens marijuana motherplants and helps armor cuttings against drought stress and other hardships.
It’s a good idea to slightly overwater your cannabis motherplants three days before you take cuttings.
This helps you have water-fattened plant tissue so your cuttings can survive better until they create a root system.
There are special strategies for what you do directly after you take cuttings from your marijuana motherplants:
Be sure to trim away weak, spindly, growth that inevitably shows up a few weeks after you take cuttings.
Use hydroponics supplements such as B-52 and Bud Candy to rehabilitate marijuana motherplants after they’ve been shocked by having cuttings taken from them.
You use those products at half strength every feeding for the two weeks after you take cuttings.
Then you flush your root zone and go on a light feed program using high quality veg phase hydroponics base nutrients such as Sensi Grow pH Perfect.
Motherplants are unnaturally kept in a perpetual grow phase. Their roots keep growing, so you might have to give them increasingly larger containers, and/or do root pruning, to keep the roots healthy and under control.
You want to feed beneficial root zone microbes using products like Voodoo Juice, Piranha, and Tarantula, which are fueled by carbohydrates in products like Bud Candy.
I also suggest using an enzyme product like Sensizym every three waterings.
Enzymes are catalysts that assist in breakdown of root zone debris and nutrition so your cannabis plants can more easily absorb nutrition and water.
Because deep water culture, aeroponics, and other hydroponics water culture systems require lots of monitoring, controls, and equipment, and can easily fail if you have electricity outages or equipment failure, they’re not ideal for marijuana motherplants.
Most professional marijuana growers put their marijuana motherplants in soil, coco coir, or soilless mix.
The reason for giving motherplants low light and less nutrition most of the time are that you don’t want them overfed or overlighted so they provide vigorous root and top growth.
If you ran your marijuana motherplants just like any other grow phase marijuana plant, they’d get too big.
You give them slightly lower than average grow room temperatures (about 70F), which slows down their growth.
Think of it as your cannabis motherplants are being held in “suspended animation” so they don’t outgrow your motherplant room or their containers.
By providing a bare minimum of light, water, nutrients, and temperature (except for the periods just before and just after you take cuttings), you’re keeping your marijuana motherplants at a manageable size by scaling back their metabolism.
The final topics in this 4-part marijuana motherplant series are controversial: How long should you keep a motherplant? Does a marijuana motherplant have a shelf life or expiration date?
The answer varies from strain to strain, and from plant to plant, depending on how often you take cuttings and how well you care for your motherplant.
The longevity of your marijuana motherplant is also affected by the hydroponics nutrients you use, and the motherplant grow room environment.
As a marijuana grower who kept a cherished rare cut of a phenotype of Durban Poison alive as a motherplant for 5 years, I report that after three years, the rate at which the plant generated new growth for cuttings started to slow.
I also noticed a gradual decline in the quality of cuttings, especially in years four and five, which meant a decline in the percentage of successfully rooted cuttings and the speed they rooted.
On the other hand, one of our BigBudsMag.com marijuana growers had an original Neville’s Haze motherplant that generated healthy cuttings for 9 years!
Signs that your marijuana motherplant is wearing out: cuttings don’t root as well as they used to; chronic problems with motherplant roots or aboveground plant structure; slow recovery after cuttings taken; cuttings grow poorly and/or produce low quality bud or small harvest size.
Definitely look at the first three articles in this series (the links are below).
We’re also providing links to two articles on how to choose the best marijuana plants for use as motherplants and for breeding seeds.
We know you’ll have great success using BigBudsMag.com articles to get the most from your marijuana motherplants!