This is a question that many growers tend to ask themselves; why aren’t my clones rooting? There can be many reasons but when it happens and you have no idea why it tends to be down to a small minor mistake that was made when making the cuts or during the rooting process itself.

In this article we’re going to go through a series of mistakes that people tend to make which can then cause the downfall of your clones. We’re going to talk about rooting clones in rockwool, jiffy’s or small flower pots, as all three methods are done in more or less the same way.

Mistakes when taking cuttings:

  • You need to take the cutting from the mother plant in a way so that you can then bury one of the nodes in a flowerpot and still have space between the substrate and the first leaves on the clone, so that there’s ventilation and you don’t get any rot. Taking cuttings that are too small will make it harder to spray them properly.
  • The rooting medium must be humid, having used water with a pH of 6.0, which will immensely help them to root properly.
  • Why Aren’t my Clones Rooting?Make sure you don’t wet the medium too much as the trunk might rot and then it won’t root at all.
  • Another common mistake that people make is scraping the cutting too much when taking it. Cannabis plants have natural rooting hormones under their second layer of skin – if you peal this skin too much they will never root.
  • Cutting at a 45º angle is done so that the stem doesn’t get blocked up, but if you directly submerge the stem into your rooting hormone then it can still get blocked. The trick here is to take a little brush such as an eyebrow shaper or a small, thin paint brush and use that to spread some rooting hormone on the stem.
  • Rooting hormones are alive, and sometimes you can ruin them if you contaminate them with something. Every time you take cuttings, pour a little bit of rooting hormone into a shot glass so that you’re not contaminating the contents of the bottle – keep the bottle in the fridge as it will last much longer without going off.
  • You need to cut the leaves slightly when you take cuttings but make sure you don’t take too much off – leave around 60% of each leaf on the plant.
  • It’s practically impossible to do this without a propagator or small greenhouse, as humidity needs to be at around 90% for them to root. I’ve tried it in all sorts of ways but the best one without a doubt is doing it in a propagator made specifically for rooting cuttings.

Mistakes when maintaining cuttings:

To keep your clones alive while they root you need to follow a series of steps that if not done correctly could cause your clones to die off – if you follow these steps and don’t make any of these mistakes your clones will have a happy, healthy future ahead of them.

  • When planting the cuttings, you need to wet your rooting medium such as a jiffy or rockwool – and then you don’t need to water it again until they actually root, around day 10 after taking the cuttings.
  • Don’t spray them on the top of the leaves, but rather on the bottom of the leaves – if you spray them when they’re standing upright you’ll wet the substrate and they’ll take much longer to Why Aren’t my Clones Rooting?root. You need to remove them from the propagator one by one, spray them outside the propagator and shake the excess drops of water off of them before sticking them back in. If you have them in jiffy trays or rockwool trays you can cut them in groups of 10 (2×5) which you’ll be able to easily remove with one hand, spray upside down and put them back in.
  • You need to keep them at around 22º – if they get too cold they won’t root at all, and if it’s too hot the roots will die off instantly.
  • You need to open the lid once a day so that they get some new air, as well as drying the drops of condensation on the inside of the propagator. If there’s water on the bottom of the propagator you’ll need to dry that too or the substrate will get too wet.
  • You don’t need to water the substrate or use anything in it – once the cutting roots and you can transplant it there will be time for watering and nutrients.
  • You need to spray them every second day, opening the lid every day though.
  • Don’t let them get too hot – there are heating blankets especially made for them, but electric blankets used around the house can easily kill them off.

Whichever way you decide to do it, you should go check out our article on making cuttings as it has a lot of valuable information on the whole process.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to leave a comment and our team of experts will get back to you as soon as possible.

Author: Javier Chinesta
Translation: Ciara Murphy

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Erik Collado

With more than 10 years of background in the cannabis sector, his experience and knowledge are the base of GB The Green Brand’s success

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23 replies on “Why Aren’t my Clones Rooting?”

I need some help, appreciate any inputs!

I’m on the third tentative of making clones from flowering stage, however, it is getting mould/powdery mildew. The 2 previous tentative the plant died and did get any root at all.

Below is the process I use on the 2 tentatives
cut the plant on the 45o, put it in a root solution for 15 minutes and then place the jiffy wet in the propagator, and on the second day I saw powdery mildew on the stalk that killed the clone from botton to top ( I have pictures if you need it).

Now I’m on the 3rd tentative, so before initiate the 3rd tentative a cleaned the propagator one day before of putting the clones there.

In that time I used 2 different methods as I need to get it, otherwise I will lose my genetics.

So the 1st one I did the same process of cutting the plan from the flowered plant, and used the root solution for 15min, and after that sock it on a gel solution and put it on the jiffy.

The 2nd one I did the same process of cutting the plan and root solution for 15min and Gel, after put it in a cup with water ph 6.0 and a peace of coal.

On the 3rd day the clones on the Jiffy showed powdery mildew, I cleaned the stalk and let them there.

On the 4th day, the clone in the water and coal, was showing powdery mildew on the water. So I removed them from the water, took a small cup put the stalk on the gel again a placed the clones into a substrato inert wet. In the 4th day no root appeared.

When I did clones on the vegetative stage, it was so easy, now in flowering it being hard to deal with it.

Hope anyone can help me to fix that.

Hey Grandpa!
Well, the issue you’re having is that we do not recommend taking cuttings from flowering plants. Once your plants have begun to flower, they retain much more moisture. As a rule of thumb, we never take cuttings from flowering plants. We recommend choosing a mother plant and keeping it fixed in the vegetative period with the use of grow lamps in order to be able to obtain as many cuttings as necessary. If you try and root cuttings from a flowered plant, you will almost always run into issues with fungi/mildew/rot.
If you have your heart set on making cuttings from your flowering plant, make sure that you’re reverting them back to the vegetative stage using grow lights and that you remove any buds that have began to form on them. Like I said, it’s not a method that we tend to use but if you do plan on doing it you need to revert the cuttings so that they get some vegetative growth and stop producing flowers.

Hi,
This is a European page, we work in Celcius like most of the world does. You can always google it, there’s an automatic C to F calculator built in to google 🙂
Kind regards,
Ciara

Lol…nice Ciara. I wish the USA would have embraced the metric system back in the 70’s when we had the chance.
Good conversation all. Lots of helpful info.

i need help i have my clones sitting in water because i seen this on google lol its been over a week and no roots today i bought root powder all 5 are still alive but i am not seeing any roots i have lots of house plants and i never have had to use powder before when rooting apparently mariguana is different help me i dont wanna kill theese i have no promblem germinating

Hi Jaimy,

Do you have them in a propagator, and are you checking parameters such as temperature? If it’s too cold they will definitely not root, and that may be the case with the water you’re using. Although some growers prefer this method, we don’t put our clones directly in water as this can cause them to rot pretty quickly. Next time, you should use small rockwool cubes or even soil substrate.

Like I said, the water method works for some people so it may be that your water is too cold, the pH isn’t right (it should be at about 6.0) or you didn’t take the cuttings correctly, they need to be taken from the lower branches of healthy plants and have at least one node in order to root. If your mother plant had been fertilized soon before you took the cuttings, they may contain excess nitrogen which causes them to keep growing rather than root. If it has been over a week and you have no sign of roots, check for rot.

We’ll be able to help more if we have an idea of what your setup is like. If you can, send some pics to info@growbarato.net and my co-workers will see if they can shed some more light on your issue.

HI I’ve tried from seed 2 attempts.

Both attempts have resulted in stem rot / dampening off in the seedling stage *getting the medium too wet?* peat pellet and 3″ RW cubes for transplant on first attempt roots appeared fine but just above the soil line they developed a ring of fungus or rot? I removed anything that I could with cotton buds both times. And on both occasions they pulled back but never completely in part due to my cutting them down and starting again on 1st attempt but second attempt I kept the healthoestrogen looking and took cuts of the meristem *the top* one seems to of taken to my surprise *aloe and honey for rooting hormone* this was just a personal test to see if A meristem would take B if they would carry the stem rot of the mother. And on the meristem cut that took it does not seem to have.

Both occasions I believe I was too slow in transplant and became too acidic within the RW+RW or RW peat plug attempts by my hand watering also causing the dampening off. 2nd time I hardeneed them off better regime and better circulation fan but it came after the seedling stage early veg. Again wetting medium too much maybe by top watering.

I have one mother several weeks in veg now (could move to flower) with the rot semi healed you may say no further rot but still the damage from early stages. 1 thing to add no uptake of nutrient or change in ph last few days I’m thinking the rot is choking it.

My main query now you have the back ground is can I take cuts from that mother. I’m aware I answer my own Q in part with my meristem experiment mentioned above. But I intend to use better proportion methods for the cuts I take and use clonex etc rather than aloe/honey

My fear is that the rot will carry over to the clones.

As it stands I’m having no sucess with seed and that period of damp they need that also encourage’s these pathogens virus etc being able to take clones and jump forward a bit may be the way to go? But do t want the same to happen if it’s highly likely they will fail.

I felt I could possibly leave the mother after the cuts were taken and put her to flower for her 1st say 2-3 weeks while the cuts take in a seprate area then all being well add those cuts to the flower room with he mother so I could harvest the mother then the cuts would be ready for harvest a few weeks later.

But if the stem rot is going to pass on *for fact or high chance* then I would just be wasting my time

Can you settle this one for me and say definitively that the stem rot would be carried over or not.

As the root system is fine NFT so can see them. I also felt by removing veg matter in the for of cutting’s it would give the mother more chance to harden the stem with less weight on her back and more airflow at the trunk?

Any help advice would be greatly appreciated I am medicinal consumer so getting success soon would be great as the wait for a successful harvest is painful in losing the crop cost time effort etc but also experiencing the prolonged symptoms of my condition

Thankyou

Hi Steve
The problem with rot is that it can creep up inside the plant, so there is no way of telling if it would transfer or not, especially if it’s bacterial in origin.
You seem to be having way too many issues with seeds for it to be normal, have a look at this post regarding our germination method and then this post on the entire growing process. If the rot problem is persisting, something isn’t going right with the process.
Regards,

Age of the plant is a big key at times. With a particular plant i grow , i notice clones are extremely unsuccessful – near 100% failure – if they are less than ~50-60 days old, give or take.

I could be wrong, but I actually have more success with a young plant if I switch to bloom lighting schedule and wait for teh plant to be sexually mature. I’m not sure if it is related or simply ~7 days later and now old enough. Is it helped by the sexual maturation or am i simply seeing more consistent uneven nodes due to age and coincidental timing?

both times i had difficulty with a new plant, i kept attempting to clone it into bloom, even though that is not optimal, but I had not other choice to keep these plant genetics. both times the clones would die 100% until 7-10 days into bloom. Then, every single clone taken from that point on rooted. Zero failure and by that time i was exacerbated and simply threw thiem into soil and watered.

You can use a warming mat, greenhouse, root hormone and it simply won’t work with 20 attempts in some contexts. Then, wait two weeks and simply throw some cutting into soil and they root within a week.

All that extra stuff is very likely not to be needed, except for difficult to clone plants. Even a strain within a genetics may be different, but most tomato plants should act like other tomato plants etc. While rooting hormone is a real hormone from the plant or acts similar to one in the chemistry, that doesn’t mean it actually works and most of the time is 100% a waste of money – as with most things where science needs to be applied, but instead we rely on magic and heresay from limited sample personal experiences.

You should definitely try the most simplest and cheapest way, first. then, worry about a greenhouse, $5 root hormone or controlling the environment in precise ways and all the effort that entails. Plus, you can always take more than you need. There’s no reason to be super anal about it unless you are some commercial operation.

Hey dude,

I’m unsure what you’re trying to say here. Clones typically take 7-10 days to root, after which you should flower them, so the times that you’re experiencing are completely normal. Are you setting them under a bloom lighting schedule straight after taking them? We highly recommend cloning and rooting in a propagator, then transplanting to their definitive substrate & placed under a bloom lighting schedule (if you’re cloning straight to bloom).

Regarding the age of the plant, this is of course a factor that varies with different strains, and then again within their different phenotypes. Cloning isn’t nearly an exact science and a lot of it is down to experience, knowing the plant that you’re growing, and not making rookie mistakes.

In as far as simple and cheap, if it works that’s always the best method, however we like to give our readers a bit more to work with.
Thanks!

Hey guys ive got my freshly cutclones in clonex and jiffy and in humidity dome ive got no lights as i do outdoor but can i put humidity dome on windowsill will that work or i have a bedroom lamp with a 60watt t55 ordinary house bulb what is better to help me get roots do bothways work or which is better thanks guys

Hey Ian,
When rooting clones they really don’t need much light, windowsill or 60w bulb should be grand. What I’m worried about here is heat – you need to keep them warm or they won’t root. Do you live in the northern hemisphere? If so, it’s winter right now and your clones need extra heat, plus if you don’t grow inside and don’t have any lights… you’ll be waiting until August next year for your plants to start flowering. I assume you live somewhere in the southern hemisphere if you’re growing outdoors at this time of year. Regardless, you can pop your clones on the windowsill & maybe sit them on a very slightly heated blanket in order to stop the roots from getting too cold.

I hope this helped!

Please help! All my clones seem to die before they can root. I have them in a propagator doom and i use clonex root get and clonex mist. I lightly mist them once a day and humidity stays around 85 to 90. I have a 60 watt grow light about 16 inches above my babies. I live in florida and ambient temp in house is about 76 degrees. I am use coir and perlite or peat. And vermiculite and none of them will root. I would really appreciate any advise at all. It is so depressing to just sit and let them die.

Hi Margaret,
Are you misting them with clonex every day? That’s too much, you should only be misting them once a day, you might be over-watering/feeding them. How are you using the clonex? You shouldn’t be dipping the roots straight into the bottle, this can contaminate the product. Please give us more details as to the process you go through when taking the cuttings. Are you following the instructions in this post?
Kind regards

I have a poor ratio getting clones to take root.
I have a mother that’s over 2 months old. Cut on angle 45% as I can guess, In roottech. I have tried jiffy pucks warm water in a dome water phew to 6.0. In dome vents closed for a few days. I have tried to spry the leafs once or twice a day, also tried to add water to the tray and no water.after a 5 days I opened the vents a small amount for the next few days.t5 lighting is all I used. Lights are on 18/6. Also wiped the dome and not wiping. I am at a loss I just can’t seem to get this right.

Hi Ron
It sounds like you’re doing almost everything by the book. What type of water are you using? How are you spraying the leaves? I’d recommend following the instructions in this post down to the very last detail if you want better results. It sounds like they’re getting much too much water, and you’re not keeping control of the humidity, which by the sounds of it, is oscilating far too much.
Kind regards

Help! I’ve taken 80 cuttings in a x-stream propagator and some of the stems seem to be going soft! Can I cut the soft bit off and put it back in? I’m thinking I might have put to much rooting hormone on them as it’s been almost two weeks and no roots showing? They are still alive and stretching towards the light but no roots?? I’ve got the water on 15 on 15 off and 24 hours seems to be doing nothing. PH is 5.8 and temps of water seems to be 20c.

Hi Elliott
Send some pictures and as much information as possible contacting our customer service.
Our experts should be able to give you a hand!
Regards,

hello, i did a maple cutting in water the cutting managed to grow new leaves and then later on the leaves started to droop and then it starts to wilt and curl…then it never rooted and died later, some of the maple cuttings had rot at the end of cuttings and others didn’t not sure why this is happening i place them directly on my window ledge for some good sunlight can you please help kind of depressing to see all of them die. thanks.

Hi.

For these doubts, it is better to contact us by email, for send us pictures and have a better idea.

Kind regards.

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