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Understanding Cannabis Propagation

The Basics of Cannabis Propagation


Cannabis propagation is the process of creating new plants, whether it be from a seed or a cutting from an existing adult plant. There are two types of propagation: sexual and asexual. Sexual reproduction is the old school way, the union of pollen and an egg, drawing from the genes of two parents to create a new, third individual. This involves the floral parts of a plant. Asexual propagation takes a cutting from the parent plant and causes it to regenerate itself into a new plant. The new plant is genetically identical to its parent. Asexual propagation involves the vegetative parts of a plant: stems, roots, or leaves.

There are four main methods of propagating cannabis tissue. It can involve the most rudimentary cuttings to naked cell regeneration. Each method serves a different purpose and is highly effective when used in the right conditions.

Stem Propagation: The majority of cannabis propagation is done through conventional cloning techniques. Cloning is the most straight forward and reliable way to create genetic replicas of the mother plant through relatively large cuttings.

Micropropagation: Micropropagation is still a manual cutting process but at an amazingly more accurate level. With this method you can potentially create thousands of genetic clones from a small mother plant, using only a few cells from the stem.

Meristematic Culture: Meristematic culture is the newest trend in the cannabis industry. It takes propagation one step further, by using shoot-tip dissection to target the cell-dense, activated meristems specifically. Meristematic culture is also effective at removing any viruses.

Protoplast Culture: Achieved through an entirely non-mechanical process, protoplast culture is the most challenging and least likely to be useful for most producers unless you are explicitly getting into biotech applications. It relies exclusively on chemistry, and a method called naked cell regeneration, for tissue propagation.



The Process of Cannabis Micropropagation

The process of micropropagation can be separated into four steps:

1. Initiation: A piece of plant tissue is cut from the stem and cleaned to remove any surface contaminants. Then it is placed in a medium which typically contains mineral salts, sucrose, and a solidifying agent such as agar. The objective of this stage is to achieve an aseptic culture. JEWEL can be used to prepare your stem for the cut.

2. Multiplication: By including a cytokinin in the medium, the cutting can be induced to produce vegetative shoots. A cytokinin is a plant hormone that promotes cell division. JEWEL’s active ingredient, Kelp, is full of naturally occurring cytokinins.

3. Rooting: Growing shoots can be encouraged to produce roots by including an auxin in the medium. Auxins are plant growth regulators that promote root formation. Our cold pressed kelp product Jewel contains ample amounts of naturally occurring auxins, cytokinins, and gibberellins which will stimulate stem elongation, germination, and flowering.

4. Acclimatization: A growing, rooted shoot can then be placed in soil. When this is done, the humidity must be gradually reduced over time because tissue-cultured plants are extremely susceptible to wilting.

Cannabis Micropropagation is Easier than You Think

It’s a no brainer that cannabis producers of a certain size should think about transitioning to a micropropagation method of genetic preservation. There are some myths out there about the complexity of micropropagation, but it’s a lot simpler than it sounds. In fact, micropropagation has been used for decades in horticulture, from the production of ornamental plantain lilies to banana plants and even giant redwoods.

Micropropagation requires minimal investment in infrastructure. Most indoor operations already have an HVAC system, which can be tweaked to create the perfect environment for micropropagation. Even a small space can easily become a clean, functional workspace for micropropagation with the right HVAC system. One of the key features is the separation from the grow rooms, and you’ll also need to create a positive pressure work zone through the use of HEPA filters.

Actually, the biggest investment will go towards operation requirements. Sometimes, just implementing and following the strict protocols can be a challenge for most growers. Record keeping and labeling are a time-consuming process, which needs proven protocols to ensure functionality at scale. However, no matter how much you invest into a state-of-the-art growing facility, the perfect HVAC system, the most efficient protocols, and procedures, it will all be in vain if your crop does not get the nutrition it needs to succeed. If you choose to skip supplementing your crop with the proper nutrients you will fail.

cannabis micropropagation

Benefits of Cannabis Micropropagation

Micropropagation is much more accessible to the commercial producer. Meristematic and protoplast cultures require sterile, laboratory-like conditions and a high level of scientific knowledge.

There are three main benefits to micropropagation:

• Uses significantly less space
• Reduces risk for microbial infection
• Reduces labor when compared to conventional cloning procedures

Whether you’re growing trees, herbs, vegetables or medicinal plants, growers share a universal desire to acquire hearty plants of known genetics, free of pests, and disease.

Cannabis cultivation relies on the influx of new genetics, and the output or product derived from those genetics. With the introduction of new seeds, clones or transplants, growers run the risk of introducing a new fungus, pest, virus, or undesired genetics into their gardens. Even with the most dedicated integrated pest management (IPM) program, pests and diseases can be transmitted unknowingly using traditional propagation methods. Micropropagation is a way to protect existing crops from disease, trade genetics and incorporate new ones. Our plant nutrient, JEWEL, also works to protect your cannabis from pests and diseases.

Possible Complications with Cannabis Micropropagation

Most growers will make the same three mistakes when they undertake the transition towards more advanced forms of tissue cultivation:

It Takes Time to Establish Stock

To build up a genetic stockpile, it may take much longer than most expect. The producer must first develop protocols and become efficient in the techniques and procedures.

Longer Timeframe

Growing from a tissue culture adds weeks to the production schedule. It can take anywhere from eight to fourteen weeks to grow a plant from culture through vegetative stages.

A New Method Is Not Always the Best

Sometimes the old school way is the best way. The newest technology may not be the best option for all growers from all different stages. Cannabis producers tend to ignore the benefits of cloning because micropropagation sounds like the newest, best way to grow. It’s equally risky to overestimate the benefits of the newer methodology. Rudimentary propagation methods still have usefulness.

Micropropagation: Is it the Future for Genetics in Cannabis?

Micropropagation sounds like the next best thing, and it might be, but its important for growers to understand the benefits of each method before abandoning traditional practices. When it comes to micropropagation, it’s a critical step towards better plants, better cannabis genetics, and therefore better production. It’s a step towards the future of the industry. Using JEWEL during propagation leads to better results. Order Now

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