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How to Top Your Plant and Clone the Tip!


Plant of the Month: Sept 2011, Nov 2012 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2012
How to Top Your Plant and Clone the Tip!
A photo guide to topping your Cannabis plant and cloning the growing tip at the same time!

While everyone loves the look of a Cannabis plant in its natural state, the ultimate goal is to produce as much quality bud per square foot of space as possible!

One of the oldest gardening tricks in the book is the technique of removing the growing tip of the plant in order to force the secondary branches to develop more rapidly and increase the number of growing tips from one to sometimes as many as five depending on the plant and the strain.

When used on Cannabis, the plant puts all of its growing energy into the remaining upper branches and does indeed begin to create multiple main growing tips instead of just the original one. You can use this technique multiple times to turn your previously VERTICAL creeping vine, into a dense bushy looking hedge covered with growing tips!

You want to do this at least FOUR WEEKS BEFORE FLOWERING! Why? You need to allow enough time for the emerging new growing tips to develop and mature before being exposed to the 12/12 flowering light cycle. 4 weeks is about the right amount of time for this to take place. ;)

For our little DEMO we are going to use one of our Grand Daddy Purple clones that are now heading into their sixth week of veg.

NOTE: While this cloning process can be done using traditional Rockwool and cloning gel; Due to the larger size of the cutting and its more demanding need for fluids and a balanced PH level, a cloning machine is recommended for best results.

GDP #3 Measures 37" tall from base of stalk to the top of the growing tip

WAIT! :35:

Before taking the scissors to your plant, you need to prepare your cloner! Fill the reservoir with fresh RO or comparable water. Add 40 ml of Clonex Cloning Solution per gallon to your reservoir. Mix thoroughly and run your pump for about an hour. Check PH and adjust to approx 5.2 to 5.6.

NOTE: If you are using some other brand of cloning solution, strain it through a fine mesh screen to remove any sand or grit that may be in the liquid. Clonex is generally free of these impurities, but I filter it through a mesh screen anyway. Don't want our jets getting plugged up with guck! Monitor water temp and try to get it to stabilize at around 72 degrees F. :smokin:

Now that you have the cloner all ready to go, lets head over to the plant you plan to top!

The first step is to pick the best place to CUT the tip off the main plant. You want at least TWO nodes to be available BELOW the surface of the growth medium for the future clone, and the remaining plant needs two strong secondary branches as close to the cut as possible. Plants in the 4 to 6 week of veg growth range are the best candidates for this procedure.

The cut is made!

Place cutting immediately into a container of PH balanced water containing Vitamin B1 Transplant Solution. This helps reduce transplant shock and in this case, helps prepare the cutting to accept the cloning gel and nutrient enriched cloning machine solution.

The Bulk of the fan leaves are cut away. You don't want any serious transpiration going on since our little friend has no roots to supply all that growth right now!

The main plant AFTER Topping

Two new growing tips will emerge on each side of this cut, and all branches below will also increase their development energy into additional growing tips

Now... Back to the Cloning! :thumb:

Having travelled to the cloning machine room, the base of the growing tip is shown here. Notice the two nodes that will be UNDER the cloning collar and provide the primary source for future root development.

The next step is to take a sterilized razor blade or Xacto knife and slice through the nodes that will now be hosting the root growth when the time comes. By cutting half the node off, you expose more of the tissues to the cloning gel and cloning solution. After enough time has passed, the root spikes will emerge from these two nodes first. We have also put cuts down the stem and scraped them with the knife to expose more tissue around the nodes to the rooting hormone in the cloner's reservoir.

Next we pour a small amount of cloning gel into a narrow glass container to allow us to dip and swirl our cutting around in the gel. This is done to maximize exposure of all future root surfaces to the rooting hormone in the gel. Leave the cutting emersed in this gel for about 10 minutes.

After the cutting has been thoroughly coated in the gel and allowed to rest in it, you can insert the cutting into a clean cloning collar and then into the cloner.

WAIT! :35:

Do not turn on the cloner's pump just yet! You want to let the cutting sit for another 10 minutes to absorb more of the hormone into its tissues. Once that pump comes on, the bulk of the concetrated hormone in the gel will get washed off by your cloner's jets!

In addition to the cloning gel, we have added 180 ml (40 ml per gallon) of Clonex cloning solution to the 4.5 gallons of PH balanced water in the T48's reservoir. The more cuttings you place into the cloner, the more cloning gel will get washed into the water and mixed into it, thus adding to the nutrients being sprayed at your cutting's future root nodes! When running the T48 at capacity for example, there would be plenty of hormone in the water from all the washed off cloning gel. However, with smaller sessions like this, you need to boost your reservoir with additional cloning solution. We will also be adding 3.5 ml of Home and Garden "Roots Excelerator" to the reservoir as soon as root buds begin to appear. (Around day 8-10) :thumb:

After the additional 10 minutes have elapsed, turn on the cloner's pump and activate your lighting system! Depending on your cloning location, you may need to place a humidity dome over the cutting for the first 24-48 hours to avoid it drying out. Don't subject the cutting to fans or any high amount of air circulation for the first few days either.

You're Done!


Well... Not really, but you are done for now!

It needs to be mentioned that growing tips can be a bit tougher to root than typical cuttings, so don't be discouraged if you need to run your cloner longer than the amount of time you normally do. The roots will come!

NOTE: If you are running a timer with your cloner, I suggest letting the pump run for at least 40 minutes on with a maximum off time of 2 minutes. This will give the cutting a good supply of water and cloning nutrients, while still allowing a little time for gas exchange during the off period. After the first 24 hours, you can reduce the pump on time to between 1-5 minutes, and increase the off time to around 4 minutes for the duration of the cloning session.

One more thing...

This lonely growing tip will soon have some company! Tomorrow we will be adding some Blue Cheese and GDP cuttings to the cloner and begin our next Turbo Klone run! You can follow along and watch our progress via our journal linked below in my sig!

Hope to see you there! :thumb:

Cheers. :)


Plant of the Month: Sept 2011, Nov 2012 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2012
Feel free to post your comments and suggestions here! Even though this is a how to guide... Input from other growers and users are most welcome! :thumb:


Plant of the Month: Sept 2011, Nov 2012 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2012
why are the tips of the leaves cut?

Good question! I always wondered the same thing before I started cloning Cannabis.

You trim the leaf tips back in this fashion in order to reduce "Transpiration". By reducing the surface area of the foliage of the new cutting you reduce the amount of moisture that is lost through the leaves, and thus reduce wilting and general ill health of the newly cut plant. This is why a humidity dome and daily sprayings with distilled water are often needed to keep the new cuttings from dehydrating. You gotta remember that this cutting has NO roots, so it can only absorb moisture through the cut and scrapped areas of its stem. Hardly comparable to what it had before it was cut from the mother plant. ;)

Reducing the amount of leaf surface area also helps to stabilize them in their new environment, and after about 3 days, the plants have adapted well enough to the cloner that the humidity dome can be removed and the plants will flourish in the open air with their water supply coming from the cloner. The amount of leaf matter remaining on my cutting here is PLENTY for the plant to subsist on during the 15 or so days in the cloner.

Hope that answers your question! :)

Thanks for checking out my new thread! :thumb:


Member of the Year: 2011 - Member of the Month: Oct 2011 - Nug of the Month: Jan 2012 - Plant of the Month: Feb 2012
Awesome tutorial, awesome cloning machine.


Plant of the Month: Sept 2011, Nov 2012 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2012
Hey GG7 Very nice demo ........ I have always liked to top but, I was probably doing it at the wrong times. :thanks: for that important info.

Thanks Clayhead! Glad you liked it!

I know that a lot of you guys already know all this, but I have never seen a step by step like this on here, so I decided to make one. I had to do the job anyway, so why not snap a few photos of the process at the same time? ;)

The best time to clone or top is smack dab in the middle of summer if you are growing outdoors. A vegging plant reaches its peak at this time, so there is a lot of growing energy there to help promote rooting when you add the hormone to a cutting. Also a lot of photonic fuel for the topped plant to quickly pump the secondary branches up to take over main cola duties! :thumb:

You can do all this indoors too, but artificial light can never provide the energy levels the the sun can, so all of the vegging takes more time

Awesome tutorial, awesome cloning machine.

Hey! Thanks Twelve! I appreciate the compliments very much! :Namaste:

I agree that the Turbo Klone T-48 is a great cloner! I keep hearing rumors that they are about to launch a new 20 site version, for under $200.00! A 20 site would be a perfect size for a personal grower! I rarely clone more than 20 at a time myself, so my 48 is kind of overkill, but that was the smallest model they made at the time I bought mine.

Thanks again guys for checking out this new HOW TO thread! :)


Member of the Year: 2011 - Member of the Month: Oct 2011 - Nug of the Month: Jan 2012 - Plant of the Month: Feb 2012
Oh yeah? I'll be sure to keep an eye out for when they launch the 20 site piece. For the one you have now, what temp do you keep the water at for it to be effective?


Plant of the Month: Sept 2011, Nov 2012 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2012
Oh yeah? I'll be sure to keep an eye out for when they launch the 20 site piece. For the one you have now, what temp do you keep the water at for it to be effective?

If you're interested you might want to visit the Turbo Klone website and send them an email asking about the 20. They were really cool folks when I dealt with them, so I am sure someone will get back to you with the latest news on that new product. :)

As for water temp in my T48...

The manual recommends 72 F as the ideal temp, so I try to keep mine somewhere around that. I've got mine on that cycle timer and once the cuttings have settled in, I set it to about 1 minute on and 4 minutes off. This helps keep the pump from heating the water too much above ambient air temps.

With my location, the temp varies during the day from about 70 F in the morning to 73 to 74 F during the warmest part of the day in that room. I definitely don't pull the 80 degree water temp that the EZ-Clone camp seems to use. I would think you would have tons of problems with stem rot, slime molds and all assorted other creepy crawlies who LOVE 80 degree water with a bunch of rooting nutrients in it! :laugh2:

I also keep a close eye on the look of the stems for any indication of a fungus infection or something that can lead to stem rot. If I were to see such an issue developing, I have learned that a couple of tablespoons of H2o2 3% (Hydrogen Peroxide) to the cloning water will act as a medium strength anti-fungal/anti-microbial. It also helps with oxygenation to a slight degree.

In my travels, I have read a lot of comments from users of Aeroponic cloners who actually add H2O2 to the cloning water from day 1 to help prevent black stem rot and other maladies associated with a high humidity environment.

The vent fan that the T48 has is not running through the cycle timer, so when the pump shuts down, this fan is still aerating the cloning chamber. This could account for the fact that I didn't see a hint of fungal or microbial issues in my last session and I had a 100% success rate! :)



Plant of the Month: Sept 2011, Nov 2012 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2012
GG7, do you still use the tops? or do you use clippings from the bottom 1/3 of the plants?

Oh yeah! I try to clone them whenever possible, but the one major drawback is that growing tips take about TWICE as long to clone as your typical cutting from somewhere else on the plant. BUT!... If you can get the tip to root and grow, you end up with a gorgeous plant that is a dead ringer for the mother plant. Tips BUSH OUT quickly and eventually outgrow your typical clones of the same age and pass them by several inches in height and more importantly, overall bulk. Kind of a Tortoise and the Hair thing. ;)

Check out these progress shots from a Blueberry Kush growing tip I took off one of my two original Blueberry Kush plants.

Attempting to clone the tip with a 1" Rockwool cube (This is before I got my Turbo Klone)

Here is a recent photo of the same tip after it was FINALLY rooted in my T48 and transplanted to soil

The plant today after being topped a week ago

Here is the mother plant the tip came from almost ready for harvest

Instead of one main cola, you end up with four or five of equal size.

Here is the sister plant in the same photo location that wasn't topped

I am now attempting to clone the snipped off growing tip from this tip in my T48 cloner, along with some BC cuttings, and the GDP growing tips that are JUST NOW beginning to develop roots!

I have not been able to find any info on why a growing tip takes so much longer to clone than a typical cutting. I always assumed that it was the bigger stem and the use of Rockwool, but it still takes a lot longer even in a quality cloner like the T48 using Clonex solution AND Roots Excelerator!

Still...Some of my BEST and fastest growing clones are these growing tips once they get going. If you try it, expect 3-6 weeks from clip to transplant!


New Member
Golden as always you do a nice job....she looks great my man they all do...


Plant of the Month: Sept 2011, Nov 2012 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2012
I love the color of her! :goodjob: As you know, my girlies are youngens. I will try to clone if they make it that far! Thanks again, always appreciate the experiences you have. :)

Thanks Greenie! :thanks:

Yeah...The color of the BBKs are really neat. I like the contrast between the yellowing leaves and the almost black green of the newer leaves. These color contrasts during late flowering are a trademark of the Blueberry Kush strain.

One of my favorite moments during the flowering of Cannabis is the day I take the plant out from under the bloom lights and into natural light to see what it really looks like. Often times, the color change is so dramatic that it doesn't even look like the same plant! :11:

You will get your chance to clone eventually. Just be patient.

You don't want to think about doing any cloning until your plant is at least 4 weeks old (I usually wait for 6) and has developed secondary braches with multiple nodes on them. You want at least two nodes on your cutting. The nodes are where the roots will pop from, so the more of those in your Rockwool cube or inside your cloning chamber the better! :thumb:


Plant of the Month: Sept 2011, Nov 2012 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2012
Golden as always you do a nice job....she looks great my man they all do...

Thanks Vince!

Won't be long now for those BBKs! :cheer:

I just checked the trichomes with my loupe and there are still a lot of "clear" ones on the plants. Maybe 30% cloudy and no amber that I can see yet. Week 8 might actually be too early for these to harvest. We shall see on Saturday.

The GDP plant that got moved outside this last weekend is a week behind the BBKs, so it has at least two more weeks. I want it to turn purple too, but with all the hot weather right now, it may not.


Plant of the Month: Sept 2011, Nov 2012 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2012


Plant of the Month: Sept 2011, Nov 2012 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2012
GG7, did you see the photos of my girlies? They sure are skinny, but look good :)

Only those seedling photos in the T5 Lights thread. Did you start a grow journal yet? You should do that and then place the link to it in your signature. That is what most folks do around here and the link in the sig makes it easier for people to find you.

I have to ask, what are rep's ?

Look in a member's avatar at the bottom. See the little "scales" icon in the center of the three? Hover over it and it will refer to giving that member REP "reputation" points. Click on it and you can give them reps for the quality of that post they made along with single line comment about the reason you are giving the rep.

You have a limited number of rep points to give out, so use them wisely! :)
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