Flowering your cannabis mother plant

Using cannabis clones or cuttings is a great way to run your grow room: you get a standardized crop which grows with equal vigour and finishes simultaneously. There may come a time however when you decide to change your strain and start again from seed, selecting a new mother plantfrom a batch of seedlings. In which case – is it okay to flower your existing cannabis mother plant?

The short answer is yes: you can flower your cannabis mother plant!

Genetically she is identical to the cuttings you have been using, so you should be able to expect bud exactly the same as from the clones. However there are some points to consider:

  1. Don’t put her in the same area as your latest cuttings if  height and size are an issue – obviously she is going to be larger than they are (unless you cut her right back)
  2. You’ve been snipping her for a while. Visually a mother plant in vegetative growth may be a similar size plant to one say 2 months old but practically she has been subject to an extreme process of meristem pruning or “pinching out“. As our article on pruning techniques explains, cutting a main stem forces the plant to produce two stems from axillary bud points lower down the stem. Every clone you have taken from this plant has therefore had a physical effect on her form. When a mother plant is put into flower, the fast pre-flower growth spurt will force all these small stems into growth, resulting a very bushy plant with an extremely high number of potential colas.
  3. If you’re flowering your mother plant indoors, use a SCROG net to support all those minor stems and multiple buds. Use knuckling to create supportive points in each stem. Set the net high, and flower immediately if its a sativa based strain, wait a week for an indica one.
  4. The lower part of an aging mother plant tends to have older, woody stems. However the latest growth is fresh and just as vital as a cutting grown for the same period of time: and that’s what’s going to be producing your bud. Ignore the older growth below the scrog line – in fact its possibly the one case when we would advise leafing, and let all the action happen in the part of the plant that is only a few months old.
  5. Don’t expect huge sized colas from a plant grown this way indoors: the combination of a confined pot space restricting rootball (potential nutrient uptake is therefore limited), and the huge number of buds forming (the amount of bud is limited by the amount of light you are able to give a defined space) results in a large number of smaller buds but the resulting yield should be as expected for this strain.
  6. Consider the root system of an older plant: growing for a period of time in a confined pot space. Before putting an older mother plant into bud, cut off the top half of the plant, remove from pot and very carefully remove any dead roots that are visible. (you can use Cannazym for a similar effect. This enzyme accelerates the process of breaking down dead root matter and reabsorbing this back into the plant). We’d also recommend using a root stimulator like Rhizotonic at this point. Repot using a good cannabis growing medium into a pot at least 50% bigger than the original one. Leave the mother in vegetative growth for a month to allow her to recover from this.
  7. Be conscious of the fact that your mother plant is more prone to diseases and infection. Entwining branches may rub creating danger spots. Be vigilant throughout the flowering period for any such problems.
  8. If you can, put your mother plant outdoors in June in well worked fertile soil, giving her a month of continued vegetative growth to recover from transplant shock and a little time to spread those pot bound roots deep into the earth. One of the best outdoor cannabis grows I have ever seen was a retired Original Amnesia mother, aged approximately 2 years, that we donated to some friends at the end of May. They put her in a small courtyard area where their pigeons were kept and gave her very little specific cannabis nutrients at all. By September she was probably – and I’m not kidding! – 13 foot in width and 7 foot tall. Unfortunately the family became extremely paranoid towards the end of flowering and cut her down before we could take photos!