Grafting is basically nature’s hack for growing many different strains of marijuana without having to compromise on growing space. This method is for those experienced growers out there who are looking to experiment with their plants and growing multiple strains on one tree, while maintaining the genetic integrity of the strains. Read more to find out about grafting cannabis.
Grafting cannabis, although it is not an extremely popular growing method, is one of the coolest ways to grow marijuana, because it allows you to grow several strains of the same plant, while keeping all the genetics pure. The grafting method itself is quite ancient, and it has been used in history to join two different plants together to be able to grow different fruits or flowers from what is essentially the same stick.
So what are the reasons for grafting cannabis and using cannabis cuttings?
There are real benefits to this growing method, especially if you are keen to try a lot of different strains and don’t have the room to do so. This process allows you to grow a single branch of a strain of bud before committing to growing an entire plant of it. Therefore, grafting is especially valuable when there is a strain that doesn’t have an enormous yield, and you’re looking to use cannabis cuttings to test it out before having an entire plant.
It also pays to use cannabis cuttings if you live in an area where it is illegal to have above a certain number of plants. This gives you the freedom to grow several different strains without having a high count of plants. This is also a desired way to grow for those who don’t have a lot of space, because you can try several different strains while only using the space of a single plant.
Grafting techniques are a lot like cloning
If you’re familiar with cloning techniques, then grafting is going to be relatively easy for you. The techniques for grafting marijuana are a lot like the cloning techniques used with other plants, such as cloning tomatoes. It is quite a delicate process, and your plants will need a lot of attention during this time, so be sure to have everything you need before beginning the grafting process to ensure the most stable environmental conditions.
What you’re going to need:
- Sharp, clean scissors. Brand new ones are going to work the best for this process
- A scalpel
- A small-sized, lightweight, zip lock bag
- A spray bottle that you’ve filled with a full spectrum vegetative nutrient solution, pH of 6. Having a slightly alkaline solution helps to avoid the problem of damaging your grafts with too much acidity.
- 110 Watts of fluorescent T5 illumination for lighting. They are nice and soft.
- A clean surface for cutting onto
- Grafting tape
What you’re going to do:
Firstly, make sure that all of your plants are in vegetation. You should use the most sturdy plant as the mother to your grafts. The more branches it has, the more space you are going to have for grafting. It also helps if it is a mother plant that is easy to grow, because you need to be able to see this plant right through to harvest for your project to be successful. Finally, have everything you need ready to go and have a general idea of what you have to do before you begin. This process needs to be done quickly and efficiently in order to achieve the best results. Make sure your branches don’t dry out!
Choose which branches you are going to be grafting first. That means knowing which ones you will remove from your mother plant and which ones you will be donating from other plants. Start at the bottom of the mother plant and work your way up. With your grafting clip, put it about 2 cm from the base of the first branch and secure it. From here you will cut the branch. You can use the branches you cut off as clones for other plants if you choose, or it can simply be composted for your garden. Then use your scalpel to slice the branch straight down the middle about 1.5 cm down the stem. Before and after you make any cuts or incisions to the branches, it is a good idea to spray the spot with your nutrient solution. Don’t leave too large a time frame between spraying the location and actually cutting it.
With your donor plant ready to cut, try to remove as much leafy plant material as possible from the base of the stem that you are going to be attaching to the mother plant. When you are cutting it, cut it from both sides so that you form a sharp point that is about 1.5 cm long. This is as long as the incision you made in the mother plant. Work quickly here so that neither of your plants dry out in the interim. Remember to keep spraying your plants! It also helps if you spray the scalpel and scissors before making incisions. Carefully put your clone cutting with the pointy side in the incision made on the mother plant, and move the grafting clip so that it is securing the two plants in place. For good measure, give your plant another spray.
Now what you are going to do is create a moist, warm, and consistent growing environment for your grafted plant. Spray the nutrient solution inside the zip lock bag and secure it around the branch you just grafted on. Ensure that the bag is not touching any of the branches or plant material. The purpose of this is to retain moisture and heat, therefore creating humidity. So the bag does not have to be entirely sealed, just enough to create this kind of microclimate. Remove the bag every day and reapply the spray before putting it back on, again ensuring that the bag doesn’t touch any of the leaves.
It will take about two weeks for the plant to form a knuckle where the two branches have been joined. This means you have been successful at using cannabis cuttings and grafting them onto a mother plant. This will not have any effect on the genetics of the other plant, and both will continue to grow with their own individual characteristics. You can repeat this process with as many grafts as you can successfully get onto your plant!
Knowing which strains to graft together
As a main rule of thumb, choose strains that have a similar flowering time to each other. Just like with growing any strain of marijuana, to flush the plant of nutrients with pure water is essential. In order to ensure none of the strains you have grafted together experience a nutrient deficiency, it is a good idea to ensure that they have similar flowering times. Otherwise, you will have to flush more than once, and this could potentially cause problems for the plant if they are not flowering at the same time.
There is also the option of choosing a mother plant that doesn’t flower at all, in which case flushing doesn’t really matter. You can do it as many times as necessary. This is also a good idea if you’re looking to have the same mother plant for a long time and it is not necessary for it to have flowering space or time of its own. The entire branch can be used to grow all the different strains you like.