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Air Layering: Cannabis Cloning Made Extra Easy

What’s all the hype around cloning? Well, if you love a certain strain or want to preserve certain genetics, cloning gets you what you want for future cannabis generations. Most of the time, when you hear discussions about cannabis cloning, people are talking about plant cutting. However, that isn’t always the case – there’s another, simple cloning method: air layering cannabis.

What Is Air Layering?

Propagating cannabis refers to any method in which new plants are grown from an existing parent plant – for example, by taking cuttings. Air layering is another propagation technique that often has better results than other methods and is perfect for cloning marijuana plants. The clones maintain a connection with the parent plant, while also establishing a healthy root system and taking in nutrients without causing any damage.

How To Clone Plants

The Science Behind Air Layering

This process goes by several names: air layering, air cloning, air layer propagation. Before being combined with cannabis, air layering has been a popular practice in gardening for a long, long time. Fruit-bearing trees, for example, respond very well to air layer propagation. You’ve certainly already seen the results of air layering out in nature: if you’ve ever noticed a tree with a large branch dipping to the ground before reaching back up again, chances are it’s probably rooted itself into that spot as well. We can use this knowledge in home growing by sealing off cannabis branches in a dark, moist location with moss and fertilizer so that new roots can grow on that section of the plant.

Pros Of Air Layering

What makes air layering better than other cloning methods? First of all, this technique is by far the easiest, quickest, and most successful method of cloning. If you play your cards right, new roots could sprout within as little as two weeks. The mother plant’s genetics get preserved in the clone without incurring damage herself. Air layering also takes up less space than cloning from trimmings, which means fewer pots for seedlings. Cannabis enthusiasts without a lot of grow space can definitely appreciate that point!

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Cons Of Air Layering

Of course, there are drawbacks to any cloning method. It is, after all, a wound that you are inflicting on your mother plant. That means it’s a potential site for infection, not to mention the cloning site will take more nutrients from the mother, which could add to her stress. Bottom line: if, for some reason, your air layering project doesn’t work out, that’s a branch of your mother plant that will suffer in production from being cut into.

How To Air Layer Cannabis

Some quote the success rate of air layering at over 95%, so it would be foolish not to give it a try! Before you get started, you should also know when to air layer: your female plant needs to be big and strong, but still in the vegetative stage.

Feminized Cannabis Seeds

Equipment For Air Layering Cannabis

You’ll have to visit your local gardening store for this one! To start air layering, here’s what you’ll need:

  • A sharp, clean blade
  • Rapid Rooter/Root Riot (optional)
  • Rooting/cloning gel
  • Sphagnum moss (otherwise known as peat moss) or rooting blocks
  • Plastic wrap, opaque or black
  • Rubber bands, twist ties, cable ties, or tape
  • Cotton swabs

Step 1: Soak Your Rooting Material

Whether you’re using moss or rooting blocks, soak it in water for a while. Before you use it, squeeze it out to eliminate any excess water.

Step 2: Pick A Branch

At this point, you should already have the branch that you want to clone picked out. If not, choose a strong branch with lots of vegetative growth. Locate the lowest, most visible node on the branch you’ve chosen. It may be necessary to trim back some leaves to make room for the cloning site.

Step 3: Prepare The Clone Site

At the site where you plan to start the clone, score the branch by running the knife at an angle. You don’t want to cut through the branch! Think of it more as a peeling motion – your aim is to scrape away the top layer of the branch to expose the moist interior layer. The wound should be about an inch long, or 2.5 centimeters.

Step 4: Rooting Gel (And Rapid Rooter)

Next, use a cotton swab to apply the rooting gel to the area you’ve just scored. Spread a thick layer all over the area. Optionally, you can follow this step by adding Rapid Rooter. Cut halfway through the Rapid Rooter (like a hotdog bun), dip it in room temperature water, and wrap it around the clone site.

Step 5: Seal In The Moss

Now it’s time to get the moss involved. Wrap the moss (or rooting block) around the scored part of the branch as well as the surrounding area. Wrap it in plastic and tie off the ends with rubber bands or whatever you’ve got handy. The idea is to seal in the moisture to encourage root growth.

Step 6: And Now We Wait!

It will take around two to three weeks for the clone to develop roots. Once you’ve noticed that the branch has developed several healthy roots, it’s ready to be transplanted. Undo the plastic. Using a sterilized, sharp knife, cut the branch away from the mother plant. Prepare a pot of soil, plant your new clone, and water her lavishly over the next several days.

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Cannabis Cloning Made Easy

Who knew it could be so simple? For growers low on space as well as those new to cloning, the air layering technique is undoubtedly the ideal way to clone. Have you expanded your growing interests into cloning as well? Which methods have you had success with? Let us know in the comments below!

For growers low on space as well as those new to cloning, the air layering technique is undoubtedly the ideal way to clone. Here's our guide for air layering technique

How To Air Layer Cannabis In 7 Simple Steps

Looking for a fast way to create big, healthy cannabis clones? Air layering is a simple propagation method that allows you to make clones directly on a live mother plant.

Propagating cannabis is a great way to grow multiple plants from strong parent specimens. The air layering method is a particularly good way to propagate cannabis, often producing better results than other propagation methods. Read on for a closer look at air layering and how it works.

HOW AIR LAYER PROPAGATION WORKS

Air layer propagation, also known as air cloning, works on a variety of plants. It seems to work particularly well for woody plants like figs, yuccas, as well as fruit-bearing trees. It allows you to propagate branches from a plant while they are still attached to the parent stock by sealing them off in a kind of makeshift chamber with moist moss.

In doing so, the branch starts developing its own roots and can later be cut and planted independently. Air layering can actually happen naturally in the wild when a branch touches the ground. Over time, the branch can develop its own roots that grow deep below the surface.

THE BENEFITS OF AIR LAYERING

There are many ways to propagate plants, but air layering is by far one of the easiest, fastest, and most effective. When done properly, air layering can produce new roots in as little as two weeks. Plus, you can air layer mature branches from plants that have been vegging for weeks to create large, mature clones.

Best of all, air layering allows you to preserve the genetics from your mother without damaging her until the clone is ready to be transplanted and grow on its own.

HOW TO PROPAGATE CANNABIS PLANTS USING AIR LAYERING

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

To air layer your cannabis plants, you’ll need the following materials:

  • Durable plastic wrap/cling film, preferably opaque or black
  • A piece of sphagnum moss (rooting blocks can also work)
  • Some rooting/cloning gel
  • A sharp, sterilised knife
  • Rubber bands or bread ties

INSTRUCTIONS

Air layering is a simple process.

  1. Start by soaking your moss or rooting block, then squeeze it to remove any excess water.
  2. Next, select the branch you want to clone. For best results, pick a strong branch that shows good vegetative growth. You may need to remove some leaves from the branch to make room for the moss/rooting block.
  3. Score the part of the branch where you’ll put the moss. You can do this by just running the edge of your knife a few centimetres along the branch in a kind of peeling motion. Aim the blade slightly downward so it cuts into the branch, but does not break it nor go too far through.
  4. Apply the rooting/cloning gel to the scored part of the plant.
  5. Cover the scoured part of the branch and surrounding area with the moist moss/block.
  6. Wrap the moss or rooting block in plastic and tie off either end with the rubber bands/bread ties. You should create a kind of seal to trap the moisture around the branch and encourage it to develop roots.
  7. Let the branch sit in the air chamber and check regularly for roots. Once the branch has developed a few healthy roots, you can cut it from the parent stock and plant it like a regular clone.

Air layering, also known as air cloning, is a simple way to create cannabis clones on a live mother plant. Click here to find out how it works.