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Caring For A Mother Plant

Updated: Dec 8, 2018

Mother plants are a thing of the past for Uncle Pete. All of our strains are now propagated from vegetative plants generation after generation. In the past we had seen what we called a “genetic drift” with this method, or weakening of genetics over time. For some reason, likely related to all the new genetics and hybrids, strains seem to drift the opposite way now. They seem to grow bigger and present stronger traits with each successive generation. Some of our varieties like Double Bubble Berry originated over a decade ago and have been perpetuated in this fashion ever since.

However, mother plants do have a place in some gardens and require slightly different care. Keeping mother plants healthy and ready to give cuttings is the main focus. We do this by growing the plant in a large container and continuously maintaining it by pruning. A mother plant does not require the same feeding schedule as the other plants and doesn't need to occupy a prime position under the lights. There is a balance between maintaining a healthy mother plant and overgrowing it. We prefer nice long node spacing for clones, and multiple nodes makes it convenient to get a nice stature to our plants from the beginning.

Uncle Pete only feeds mother plants once a week with the grow formula and waters them once a week - skipping the Wednesday feeding. Alaska Fish Fertilizer is a great addition to this program due to its high available nitrogen content, as well as the high concentration of enzymes it contains. This is one nutrient that can be useful for many on a budget all around the house in all of our gardens. The larger container accommodates the plant for the extra time - its purpose is not to grow a larger plant. Quite the opposite, maintaining a manageable size over a longer period of time is the challenge. If you plan to take a large number of cuttings from a mother plant within in a week or two, give it a full feeding and place under some prime light for vigorous growth. Keeping a lot of wind on the mother plant during this week will strengthen stalks and make for better cuts.

When we are taking cuts from a plant, it helps to understand the rooting hormones within the plant and where they are found in the heaviest concentrations. This is simple, the closer it is to the roots, the more natural rooting hormone will be in the cutting and the quicker it should take root. That is not the only factor though. A cutting still requires enough “life” or leaf left on it to engage in photosynthesis and develop roots. The cutting also requires enough "strength” to survive the next week or so.

Remember that cuttings are easy to come by on healthy growing plants, and we have little invested into them. Learning to put roots on things can be a challenge for some but do not let it discourage you. Joining our club will ensure a steady flow of free gifts to keep your garden rolling along with fresh genetics and great healthy starters. Take your time when dealing with babies. Be gentle. See the intermediate topic Propagating Clones From A Mother Plant for more information.


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