Sometimes you might feel like you’ve truly optimized your grow. You have cloning down to an art. You’re getting great yields from your plants. Your mother plant is in beautiful condition.
What if it turned out that you didn’t need that mother plant, though? They do take up an awful lot of space in an indoor grow, after all. What if you could just clone your current crop to get started on your next one?
Every so often, a new technique comes along that shakes up the growing world. Monster cropping is one of those techniques. If you clone your plants, monster cropping can save you time and room. Instead of using one mother plant and losing that space and those nutrients, you can use clones from your flowering plants. In fact, these clones are even more useful than those from a plant in the vegetative phase.
What Is Monster Cropping?
One major goal for most growers is getting the biggest, bushiest plants possible. That’s the goal of topping, fimming, and even low-stress training. The bushier your plant, the more “tops” for bud to grow on. Monster cropping makes it easier to get a monster plant from a clone.
Clones taken from plants in the vegetative stage grow like a single stalk. They can be convinced to grow into bushy forms, but it takes the same kind of work as training a regular plant. However, clones taken from flowering plants are different.
When you take a clone from a plant in flower, you then have to revert the clone to the vegetative stage. This hormonal switch triggers something in your plant: instead of growing flowers at the bud points, it will grow new stems. With this method, even sativa strains will grow huge and bushy.
Equipment Needed for Monster Cropping
To successfully monster crop your plants, you need the same tools as you would to clone a vegetative plant. To make the cut, you need a razor. Even the sharpest sheers tend to crush the stem a little bit. That makes it harder for your plant to root once you’ve made the cutting.
When the cut is made, you can place the cutting in a cup of water with rooting hormone. Follow the instructions on the rooting hormone for the ratios of water to hormone you combine. You can place a plastic bag loosely over the cutting in the cup, to prevent water from evaporating.
You also need to have a rooting medium, to transplant the clone into once roots are developed. This can be soil, Rockwool, or whatever else you’re using. Just make sure it’s clean and ready for a new plant.
How to Monster Crop Cannabis
Monster cropping is not that different from typical cloning. If you have done some successful clones in the past, monster cropping should be easy. The primary difference is the patience necessary to revert the clone to the vegetative stage.
During the third week of the flowering phase, examine your plants. You want to take cuttings from different plants, so that you aren’t killing one plant in particular for your next crop. Look for branches with three or four leaf nodes that haven’t yet become woody. Flexible branches that are still green are ideal for cloning. To avoid affecting your harvest, choose a branch lower on the plant.
When you’ve made a decision on a branch to cut, take your razor and make a 45-degree cut just above the main branch. As soon as you’ve cut the branch, place the stem in water. This prevents air bubbles from developing anywhere in the stem. An air bubble in the stem acts like an embolism in humans, blocking the flow of nutrients from the rest of the plant.
Once you have all your cuttings, you can dip the ends in rooting hormone. Powders, gels, and liquid hormones all work perfectly well; choose what you prefer. Then you can place the cuttings back in water, with rooting hormone as necessary. Change the water every three days. That keeps it oxygenated and prevents the buildup of toxins.
Once your cutting develops roots between two and five inches long, you can transplant it into a rooting medium. Whether your plant is growing in soil, rockwool, or something else, you can transplant it easily.
If you don’t want to root in water, you can also root in your chosen growth medium. This requires more rooting hormone than does rooting in water. Simply place your cutting gently several inches into your growth medium, and water lightly as necessary. Once your clone is growing new vegetation, you know its root system has developed. That’s a sign that you can carefully transplant the clone into its final pot. This will take longer for a clone taken from a flowering plant than a vegetative plant, so don’t worry if it takes time.
Once your clones have a solid root system, you can treat it like a plant grown from seed. The big difference is that you’ll need to convert it back to the vegetative stage. All that takes is exposing the clones to your preferred vegetative light cycle.
Many growers swear by combining monster cropping with ScrOG growing. Using a screen above your monster cropped plants helps you make the most out of the huge number of stems you’re about to get. The screen keeps you canopy even, so all your buds get the same amount of light. You can use any other style of training you like, too. Once your clones are rooted, you can treat them like any other cannabis plant.
When to Monster Crop Cannabis
If you’re a fan of cloning and bushy plants, monster cropping can get you both. Cloning from the flowering stage is no harder than cloning any other time. The biggest stress of monster cropping is the risk of having your clones fail and having to start your next crop from seed without a mother plant.
If you’re new to cloning, monster cropping might not be the place to start. The risk of cutting a plant in flower is higher than working with plants in the vegetative stage. You are likely to face more failed clones in monster cropping than with regular cloning, so it can also be discouraging.
How to Choose the Right Plants
Take clones from the healthiest plants in your current crop. You want your current plants to recover quickly for harvest. You also want your cuttings to be in the best condition possible to develop a good next harvest. You can monster crop any strain of cannabis, as long as you can clone it.
That means that you can’t monster crop autoflower plants, unfortunately. Since they don’t use light to trigger their flowering phase, you can’t revert them to the vegetative phase. Autoflowers are best grown from seed, no matter what.
Monster cropping is one of the simpler methods of getting big, bushy plants. It combines the best of cloning and high-stress training. If you want to keep growing your favorite phenotype, monster cropping is a great way to clone your plants and keep your grow rolling. Once you find a strain you want to grow for a long time, monster cropping will help you maximize your plants and your yields.