STRAIGHT FROM THE MOTHERSHIP (OR JUST MOTHER)
HINTS AND TIPS FOR KEEPING A MOTHER PLANT
With Mother's Day around the corner (here in the U.K.) we thought they'd be no better to time to talk about Mothers and why they are incredibly essential to any indoor horticultural operation.
Just like your actual Mother, a Mother Plant is the 'parent' plant for subsequent clones or cuttings, what ever your preferred way of describing your babies. It's a plant kept in a perpetual vegetative state to provide you with the most pristine plants imaginable to grow onto the flowering stages and harvest.
This short post about Mothers is by no means exhaustive, it simply details some key facts and helpful tips to the process of having a specimen Mother Plant that you can produce award winning crops from time and time again.
WHY START A MOTHER PLANT?
As you know, there are two ways of starting each cultivation project, either from seed or from clones. Growing from seed each time can be a costly business, not only that, it also takes longer and your always at the mercy of the seed bank.
So when you've found just the right plant genetics for you, you'll want to preserve them superior qualities for as long as possible and keep producing top quality plants time and time again. This 'Keeping It In The Family' approach works far better with plants than it does with people. Plants can successfully pass down the key characteristics that make the strain and genus great, people on the other hand develop weird abnormalities from excessive inter-breeding. Not only that, your clones will root faster, eliminating germination times and keeping your grow room in constant production.
HOW DO YOU START A MOTHER?
Mothers are best grown from seed, and kept based on their attributes (or phenotype in plant-talk) which will consist of things like growth vigour, bud production, flowering cycle duration, hardiness, taste, flavour and aroma to name a few. As each individual plant is different, each seed germinated will have it's own unique set of characteristics, even if they're the same strain!
Selecting a Mother based on what essential qualities you want from your plant will make your whole growing operation all the more consistent and predictable in terms of outcome. Below are some pointers on sorting the wheat from the chaff and how to go about it:
Germinate Your Seeds
Wait until your plants show their sex in the vegetative stages (easier with feminised seeds!!) and take some clones from the female plants. Label the clones and plants so you know what came from where.
Grow your first clones onto flowering and harvest, make sure you keep your original plants (the ones grown from seed) in a constant veg cycle.
Take note throughout the entire growth and flowering cycles of how your plants develop. Importantly, make sure you harvest in a way that you can distinguish each plants fruit or flowers.
With all this information you now have, as well as some great crops, you can now select your Mother from the original seed-grown plants based on what characteristics worked best for you and what produced the best results.
KEEPING YOUR MOTHER HAPPY
Something we all want to do in real-life and in the grow room. When it comes to your plants though, maintaining a Mother plant is easier than you might think.
Some growers like to keep their Mother plants strictly organic, there's a lot to be said for this as it helps build up their immunity and natural vitality without the use of harsh nutrients and additives that are designed for high-yielding, heavy hitting plants.
Nitrogen rich fertilisers can be great if you want explosive growth, but for Mother plants you want to keep them small and dense. Explosive plant growth can thin the cell walls and overall structure of the plant, so to keep them cells dense and compact you want to look for a nutrient with a high percentage of calcium to keep your Mother STRONG.
INVEST IN A MOTHER TENT SETUP
Keeping a Mother doesn't take up much room or resources at all. You can get your hands on a small tent to keep her in and put a lower powered light setup over her and keep her hand watered.
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