One of the most commonly asked questions is whether or not you can clone an autoflower, and while it is certainly possible to take a cutting from an auto and get it to root, the question becomes more about whether it’s worth it.
The Risks of Cloning Autos
The biggest risk when cloning an autoflowering strain is the stress to the plant that the cutting is taken from. Fortunately, autoflowers today are stronger than ever and there are a number of skilled growers who use defoliation as a method to increase their auto yields. Despite the notion that cutting anything off an auto will do more harm than good, the debate still rages on and results seem to mostly be anecdotal at best.
With that said, there is still the fact that a cut plant will need to heal itself, and in order to do that it needs to take energy away from growth. The question then becomes whether or not the adjustment of plant focus is enough to cause more harm than good, or whether it will actually result in a larger yield.
Then there are the traditional cloning risks, that being the infection of a wound area from where the clipping was taken. To avoid this, make sure to use sterilized equipment and sharp cutting utensils. A surgical scalpel is often considered the best tool to use for the job, though there are also knives on the market made specifically for the cutting of clones.
When Is It Worth The Risk?
As mentioned above, for the most part cloning an autoflower is not recommended. However, are there any cases where it may become viable to perform an autoflower clone?
The best option when cloning an autoflowering strain is to know the strain well. Autoflowers are extremely variable with some strains taking just a couple weeks to flower, while others can vegetate for up to 5 weeks. The best strains to clone would be what are often considered “Super Autoflowers”, autoflowering genetics that tend to have long vegetative times and lead to larger plants. If you have a stable strain with a long vegetative period, cloning can become viable.
For a plant that is going to start flowering into week 5, you could consider taking a cutting of a thriving individual at around week 3 of veg. This will give enough time for both the cut strain to heal and for the cutting to root before it moves into flower. Remember that rooting a clone does take time, and in that time the cutting is going to remain stagnant. It is essential that you first master cloning before you attempt to clone an auto, as sloppy cloning that results in longer rooting times could mean a drastic reduction in your yield.
If done correctly however, you could have your plant rooted with more than a week of vegetative time still left in it. In these cases your autoflower will be able to establish enough of a root system to undergo a successful flowering stretch and in turn yield some decent bud. There’s a few guys who have documented their auto clone harvests, and when done correctly – have shown some pretty good results.
In summary, cloning autoflowers is not typically recommended. But for those who are confident in their growing, cloning and genetic selection; you’re certainly able to still clone. It may take some time to find the strains that it works with best, but if you have space to spare and are looking to experiment with some atypical growing methods, give it a shot!