Having a mother plant is a fantastic way to shorten the growth cycle and have a high-quality yield, especially for indoor plants relying on grow lights.
Growers can easily grow fully developed plants with the help of cuttings or clones.
Growing from a mother plant is not only cost-effective but can also be a helpful trick for beginners who aren't good at growing plants from seeds and want to have the same high-quality produce consistently.
Think about it: instead of spending money on seeds, you can use cuttings from your plant and have fully developed plants.
In this article, we'll explore mother plant meaning and also dive deeper, and learn how to grow a mother plant.
What Is A Mother Plant?
The main motive of a grower, whether they're growing plants for themselves or commercial purposes, is to have high-quality crops that are the right size, have a high yield, and have great taste.
A mother plant is a plant that is used to grow 'offspring' or clones. It is referred to as a mother plant because it allows a grower to have similar or identical 'offspring' or clones that resemble the mother plant. Mother plants are typically healthy plants that are free from infestations and diseases.
It must be noted that mother plants shouldn't be confused with the mother in law plant, the mother of thousands plant, or the mother of millions plant.
Think of a mother plant as the perfect specimen of a particular group of plants. For instance, the perfect guava plant would have huge, ripe, and juicy guavas.
The mother plant has distinct characteristics that separate it from other plants and it is known to consistently produce high-quality crops.
Growers aim to grow similar mother plants so that they can consistently have high-quality produce. They may opt for cloning for numerous reasons.
In certain cases, cloning is the only option available to the farmer because some plants don't produce seeds.
In other cases, they may produce seeds but those seeds may be sterile and may not develop into plants.
Also, there are varieties of plants that produce their own clones; they have a great number of shoots that you can replant somewhere else.
Just as humans have children who resemble them, mother plants have offspring or clones. Any diseases or infections that are present in the mother plant will automatically be present in the cuttings.
The mother plant provides a grower with healthy branches or cuttings that they can replant. Once they have a suitable environment and proper nutrients to support growth, they will grow roots and eventually grow into a developed plant.
Growers can make ANY healthy plant their mother plant to have phenomenal results with future produce.
The biggest advantage of having mother plants is that they do not require any additional equipment or special supplies, and one can get started with tools that they can find in their backyard.
Growers can have better produce by putting in the same amount of effort as they would for a regular crop. This allows them to have genetically identical produce and also notably have a shorter growing cycle with cuttings (as opposed to growing plants from seeds).
In the next part, let's take a look at how you can grow a mother plant.
How to Grow A Mother Plant: Step By Step Guide
Choosing the right plant which will be your mother plant can be tricky. It requires regular monitoring to understand exactly which plant offers the perfect crop.
Growing The Mother Plant
●Firstly, choose a variety of plants that you want to grow.
If you are a beginner, make sure to choose hardy crops that can survive in harsh weather conditions. For instance, you can start by growing tomatoes as they are relatively easy to clone.
●Any plant, be it a fruit or vegetable plant, can be cloned.
Since the cells of a mother plant contain the DNA of the plant, the offspring of the plant is a genetic copy with similar traits or characteristics.
●Find good quality seeds of the plant, sow them and give the plant the right nutrients required at different stages.
Alternatively, you can grow a mother plant from a cutting. Ensure that the growing environment is optimized to meet the plant's requirements.
●The mother plant must be healthy.
To do this, growers need to set up the perfect growing space for their plants. There should be adequate space and lighting so that the plants can grow well.
●Even though it may take a few weeks or months to grow your plants from seeds after which you can pick a mother plant from the group, it is the most crucial part of the process.
Allow your mother plant to go through at least one growth cycle before you start using its cuttings.
●Once the plants have been fully developed, inspect them carefully.
Go ahead and pick a mother plant (AKA the perfect specimen) from the group that offers the best crops in every growth cycle.
Here's how you can choose the right mother plant from the group of plants. The mother plant should have the following features:
●No diseases, infections, bacteria, or infestations.
●Should be a perfectly healthy plant
●Goes through the appropriate stages of growth steadily and at the right time.
●Offers a high yield.
●Offers delicious, good-quality crops.
●Has a sturdy stem and system of roots.
Some growers may have other preferences apart from the ones mentioned above.
Taking Cuttings From The Mother Plant:
●You can take the cuttings once you think the branches are capable of surviving without the mother plant. Ensure to use a pair of clean, sterile scissors, garden knife, cutter, or razor.
●Use a sharp cutter or garden knife to make a slanting cut of 45° on a healthy branch.
●Remove the lower leaves from the branch and place it in the potting soil or medium. This encourages the plant to focus its energy on developing roots.
●Several growers like to use rooting hormones in the form of gel, liquid, or powder to encourage the growth of roots. You can use it by immediately dipping the end of the cutting in the rooting hormones, right before placing it in the soil.
Alternatively, you can place the cuttings in grow trays or cubes.
●After doing so, you can cover the cutting with a humidity dome to trap moisture and prevent the cutting from wilting. Some growers use plastic baggies or wrap to create their dome for this step.
●Keep in mind that not all cuttings will be able to root and grow into fully developed plants. Some plants may die before they develop roots and that is completely okay too.
This period is all about cutting, replanting, and waiting to see if the branch can thrive on its own.
As years pass by, you would notice that the mother plant is not able to offer the same high-quality clones as it did earlier. This is a sign that you need to find the healthiest clone and make it the new mother plant.
In the next part, let's take a look at mother plant care and what are the needs of your mother plants and clones.
Caring For Your Mother Plants And Clones
Mother plants require exceptional care so that they can continue to offer crops of the same high quality.
Mother plants are constantly in the vegetative stage, unlike other plants which are allowed to go through the stages of the growth cycle. They live for several years, much longer than other plants, and therefore, their nutritional requirements are different from regular plants.
A mother plant stays in the vegetative stage of growth and continuously grows branches or cuttings that growers cut and grow into new plants.
This is why the amount of light that a mother plant gets needs to be just enough to allow it to grow new branches but not too intense that it makes the plant flower.
Growers need to find out the photoperiod of the plant, which is the period during which the plant receives light. Plants need a balance of both night and day times to grow.
Indoor gardening makes balancing these periods easier as you have much more control over the amount of light that is dispersed.
LED grow lights are suitable for indoor growing and some of them even come with switches that allow you to switch the lighting as per the different stages of growth.
While growing cuttings, it must be ensured that your cuttings don't get too much light which confuses them into producing leaves.
Growers need to ensure that the cuttings focus their energy on growing a sturdy root system and then go into the vegetative stage. Keep in mind that the light is not too intense for the cuttings.
It is important to have balanced light: lack of light may delay the roots from successfully developing while too much light can cause stress to the plant.
Cuttings are prone to catching diseases and dirty equipment can easily infect the plants and make it very difficult for growers to save them.
Make sure to use clean equipment including garden knives or cutters and sterilize them after every use.
It is also recommended to use sharp tools for the cuttings.
3.Nutrients and Fertilizers:
Plants must get the right nutrients to support their development.
Even though mother plants do not require as many nutrients as typical flowering plants, they require a balanced diet approach to keep their immunity strong.
Some plants may need fertilizers, supplements, or nutrient formulas to make up for any deficiencies.
Growers can also provide their mother plants with rooting hormones to ensure that they have a strong network of roots that allow them to easily absorb nutrients from the soil.
Since the needs of a mother plant are so different from an average plant, it needs a fertilizer that is developed to help strengthen the cell walls of the plant and allow it to retain more water.
Additionally, it should also help the plant stay immune to diseases and manage stress better.
4.Pruning and Trimming:
Damaged leaves and branches of the mother plant need to be pruned regularly to facilitate the growth of new, healthy branches.
Since new branches can be cut and replanted, it is important to have as many new branches as possible to have the opportunity to replant them in your growing area.
If you have a small area or a grow tent, it can be helpful to trim your mother plant regularly so that it stays the appropriate size.
You can also use stakes as support so that your plant grows into a particular shape or size and you have more control over the direction of growth. Likewise, you can use wires or nets to control the direction of growth of the branches.
While taking cuttings, make sure that your cuttings are not too big in size. Cuttings don't have a sturdy root system in place, so it can be difficult for them to support a big branch.
Growers like to save dying or unhealthy mother plants by taking healthy cuttings and growing them into a new plant. If this is the case, make sure to provide them the perfect environment in terms of lighting, nutrients, humidity control, watering, etc.
If you think the plant is too unhealthy, it is recommended to let it go, as an unhealthy mother plant would only pass on its traits to the new branches.
Humidity is an important factor for clones - some may prefer a humidity of a whopping 90-100%!
However, as a general rule of thumb, the ideal humidity should be 75-90% to prevent fungal issues from developing.
Humidity allows them to retain the moisture to root perfectly. Growers use a humidity dome and keep the soil moist to trap the humidity inside.
Additionally, it can be helpful to have holes at the bottom of the plant pot or container for drainage.
Cloning is a hassle-free, time-saving, and budget-friendly way to have new plants. It allows growers to have offspring that will possess the same genetic makeup as the parent plant.
A mother plant is the basis of your garden and can help you get multiple cuttings to kick-start your garden. You can then consume or sell the fruits or vegetables or give them as a gift to your friends and family.