Of course, clones are a great option to multiply your best plants to guarantee excellent yields, but not only that. Clones are also perfect means of introducing new genetics, especially when it comes to the strains that have “clone-only” phenotype.
However, new offspring may also bring new problems. In some cases, clones can even become a reason for a whole disaster that can ruin the entire garden. How come? Clones may be potentially dangerous for many reasons, and to prevent the possible problems or at least to detect them on time, you should follow these three easy but extremely important steps.
No grower in their right mind would want to get some pesticide residue or a bunch of new plant diseases and pests along with a new clone. That is why it is important to know who is to blame if something bad happens. (Pro tip: You are. Do not buy clones from shady dealers).
In most cases, growers buy clones in a local dispensary or a nursery. Depending on where you live, you can also order them online. In any case, we would recommend you to spend a bit more time before purchasing plants and ask the seller about the source of their clones.
Some clones are taken from big growing companies, others from in-house cultivars, yet there are still quite a lot of plants that come from third party sources. Do not be shy and ask your purveyor about the clones' origin. If they cannot give you a legitimate answer, it is better to try buying your clones at another place.
It is also important to keep all the documents about your purchase: Unfortunately, cases of delivering incorrectly-labeled genetics still may sometimes happen.
It is easier to spot a problem (if any) when you are choosing the plants at a store, but even if you get your clone delivered, it is better to inspect them before you introduce them into your garden.
It may be a bit difficult to see the suspicious details on the leaves, especially if you are a novice grower and have never had those problems before. Some diseases or pests may even be almost impossible to spot with a naked eye. That is why you need to know what to look for in advance.
Most of the diseases are difficult to spot without a magnifying glass. Still, even without advanced optics you can check the general state of the cutting and inspect the health of the leaves. The clone should be vigorous and have healthy bright leaves that do not have signs of irregular or mutated growth. As for the color of the leaves, it should be green, though a little bit of mild yellowing is allowed―it may mean that the plant is developing roots. However, any other colors, especially black or white spots, are a dangerous signal. White spots may be a sign of powdery mildew, one of the most common and most annoying diseases. Even the slightest spot can later cause a disaster that may destroy your whole garden.
When you are inspecting leaves, pay attention to small holes or traces of bites as they can be a sign of pest infestation. The most common pests are spider mites and fungus gnats, which can usually be spotted even with a naked eye. Check every leaf, even the smallest ones, and inspect the soil as well. Make sure there are no maggots or any other living creatures.
Unfortunately, pesticides are not as easy to detect as pests, and in most cases, it is almost impossible to detect any residue of potentially harmful chemicals. Modern fungicides and pesticides can have different properties, and some chemicals may be stored in the plant's cells for the rest of its life. The best option here would be to ask the seller to show the documents about the in-house integrated pest management (IPM).
Do not forget to look at the width of the stem. A thin stem may mean that this cutting was taken from a weak plant or branch, and as a result, it will be more prone to diseases. Moreover, thin stems take much longer to develop a root system. If you can choose, take the cutting that has strong and thick stem with bright leaves, ideally with some leave buds as well.
Once you bring the new clones home, do not hurry to introduce them directly to your garden. Safety should always be your first priority. We would recommend you to put the cuttings into a separate room for at least a few days, or even a week.
During this time, you will be able to control any changes with your cuttings and detect any danger before it transmits onto the rest of your garden.
It is also a nice idea to transplant your new clone into a new container. This way, you will be able to inspect the root system more carefully and to use the grow medium that is guaranteed to be clear.
You can also clean your clone with any IPM solution, so you know that your plants will be as clean and organic as possible.
And only after you become absolutely sure that the new clones are safe to transfer, you can bring them to the growing room and introduce them to the rest of your garden.