Howdy Skunkers! Today I have a simple little helpy-helper article for you growers out there. As a breeder, I track all my cannabis clones and plants throughout their lives. I realize many of you aren’t breeders, and that’s all good, these techniques will help you guys to run down the best clone(s) in a batch of females. That’s something we can all get onboard with, ya?
Keeping your grow room(s) pest free is a HUGE dealio. A big part of doing that well, is not starting from clones that you acquired someplace, like a shop … or a friend, etc. Better that you start from seeds, find your favorite individual female plants, then clone the hell out of those plants yourself. This is (highly) rewarding for several reasons—duh—but one of the best is that your killer female clones will be all yours, and unique. Let’s rock and/or roll…
Tracking Cannabis Clones
This is the easiest and the best way I know of to track your clones while they’re rooting. You don’t need to have an aero-rooter cloner like I use. As long as your cuttings have fixed positions you can just draw out a template on a dry erase board in permanent marker (Sharpie); as in the above photo. Use the dry erase pens to fill in data as it changes.
As you can also see in the photo above, I can track pertinent details regarding individual plants (cuttings) that are rooting. In order to track your plants from sprouting, you need to assign them some type of ID, like a number within their first week or two above ground. In the template you simply use the plant ID to keep track. This system is highly adaptable, as are dry erase boards in general for tracking things.
You will develop your own kind of shorthand over a little time, being able to fit in quite a bit of abbreviated data within the template’s (cutting’s) position markers. As a quick example, for purple expressions I use the letter “P” in caps for purple calyxes, and the letter “p” in lower case for purple expressions in general, leaves, stems, etc. This tracking method is the greatest of ease, for keeping track of cannabis clones while they’re rooting—try it out, and watch it become smooth.
Tracking Cannabis Plants
I just use those “craft sticks” in the photo above to track the ID of each plant, and every clone of those plants down the line. Let’s say I was tracking a batch of 8 Blue Rhino seedling plants, using a ball point pen I would just label them BR 01 through BR 08, and it’s as easy as that. I use the sticks to track, ID, strain/variety name, and general favorability. I would normally assign “01” to the most vigorous of the sprouts, and “08” to the least—Rev rule of thumb.
As your plants grow up from sprouts, even before the first time you flower those cannabis plants, or cannabis clones of those plants, you can notice a lot of things about the plants, regarding differences genetically. It all starts with determining sex, and after that, you can note things like heartiness, vigor, root mass, node spacing, extreme terpenes (smells), and overall size. In the photo above you see some of my favorite markers, color coded for the most part.
Within a batch of decent genetics, like the Blue Rhino example I used above, out of 8 plants, 4 to 6 of them should end up being females. Finding a truly superior female plant out of this seemingly small batch is fair, and if you started with say 16 sprouts rather than 8, it would almost a given that you could isolate at least one wicked superior female. Not just good, truly superior.
Finding True Killers in Your Own Cannabis Clones
Keeping clones of your selected plants, properly tracked, observed, and noted via markers, you will observe some plants that just have “bad habits” while others have “good habits” (habits mean tendencies). To select true winners, you need more than high resin production, for reals. Over the course of the time (less than a year) that you should be observing and selecting, let’s use some guidelines to help dial you in.
Some Guidelines for Selecting Superior Cannabis Clones
- Different individual plants within any variety of cannabis, including IBL type lines, will express different tendencies, they always strike me as “personalities” and as an example… Some will get, store, and metabolize their (or certain ones) nutrients better than others.
- Plants that show extra high vigor should be shown special attention. Extra high vigor is not only a rapidly growing plant, but one that keeps up that growth rate even after being topped a couple of times. These plants almost always carry very high resistances to stress, the potential yield and resin production for a plant like this is ginormous.
- Kill obvious weaker plants, along the way, removing the clones from your dynamic as you narrow the field of females. Don’t really start taking down (killing) questionable females until after harvesting and smoking them all, the first time.
- ALWAYS take your potential females through at least two full flowering cycles, before making the final cuts to the litter. By this time, you will be well acquainted with these plants, specifically their “personalities” (tendencies). Any true gems will shine brightly by this time and will be somewhat obvious to you at this point.
Using Color Coded Markers
My colored markers that I stick right in the pots next to the wooden ID marker sticks, have floating definitions, depending upon what I am looking for, good or bad, and from what genotype. As I start to see interesting things about the plants, I will drop-in color-coded markers. Rather than rely on my brain to remember what each color means during any given cycle, I use a small dry erase board as my key.
Label your cannabis clones (plants) all the way down the line, even after dried. and keep them separated plant to plant. Bud density, and plant vigor have a lot to do with larger yields, per plant. It’s often not the size of the buds that make the biggest yielding plants, but more like the number and density of those buds, on a per plant basis. To this day, plants that look like smaller yielding ones to me will often prove to be the largest yielding.
Stand out genetic traits will shine brightly for you to see. More subtle unfavorable tendencies can be noted over the course of a couple full runs to harvest. You will sometimes find plants that just don’t get their potassium, and/or calcium well. They often can’t store much and run through whatever they do get/store, causing potential problems—consistently. Really bad traits will also shine brightly over the course of your adventure, things like a tendency to express hermaphrodites when stressed mildly late in flowering.
Rooting your own cuttings takes very little space actually. A 36 Site Clone King Aero Cloner at Amazon will get the job done well, and reliably. Being able to clone allows you a ton of flexibility, along with that whole staying pest free part, using your own clones to grow. Learn cloning skills, there are a lot of ways to do it, here’s an article I did on cannabis clones and cloning: Cloning with Rev, Baybee!
Tuesdays with Rev
Hey so, I write one of these digital articles here at SKUNK every week. I almost always publish them on Monday evenings, so grab you some quick Rev babble every Tuesday if ya wanna, here.
When using the color-coded swizzle sticks and sandwich spears, you will give the colors various values regarding obvious differences between plants. Go for two full runs to harvest before making the final selections, always. Go through waves of seedlings if needed, to find something truly amazing if you only have little space.
One of my olden mentors from Medo, in NCali, always said, you only needed 16 sprouts of anything to find that special female. That’s magically delicious thinking right there, heh heh. Cheers homeskillets, and thanks so much for the awesome support. I’ll catch ya back here next week—L8r G8rs.
- REvski ????
I'm The Rev, and I have been with SKUNK for about a decade now. I hail from Southern California, spent mucho time in Northern California, and now reside in Southern Oregon; always coastal. I am an all natural style cannabis grower and I have written a couple books on the subject - check out True Living Organics 2nd Edition on Amazon - I have been growing for over 45 years, and I have been breeding cannabis for over 30 years. Check out kingdomorganicseeds.com to see some exotic selections. Growing connoisseur cannabis is what I teach mostly, growing it in living soil without using liquid organic nutrients to feed the plant. I am also a highly skilled synthetics grower, hydroponics, aeroponics, DWC/SWC/NFT, Ebb and Flow, and soilless, but I cringe when smoking synthetic grown herbs, so for the last 15 years or so I preach the artisan style of all natural growing, specializing in container growing. Cheers and welcome aboard.