How to Tell If Clones Are Dying

Cannabis cloning is a popular method for propagating plants, allowing growers to reproduce genetically identical plants quickly and efficiently. However, clones can be delicate and prone to stress, which may lead to their death. Recognizing the signs of dying cannabis clones is crucial to identify issues early on and take appropriate measures to save them.

How to Tell If Clones Are Dying

Signs of Dying Clones

Determining whether your clones are dying is essential for taking corrective actions and ensuring healthy plants.

The following are some common signs of dying clones:

Visual Indicators

Clones exhibiting visual signs of stress and decline.

Some visual indicators of dying clones include:

  • Yellowing leaves: Healthy clones have vibrant green leaves, while yellowing leaves can indicate nutrient deficiencies, overwatering, or other issues.
  • Hanging or wilting leaves: Clones with drooping or wilting leaves may be under stress from dehydration or other factors.
  • Discolored or damaged leaves: Damaged leaves, such as those with spots, holes, or tears, can be a sign of pest infestations or diseases.
Visual Indicators

Growth Stagnation

When clones stop growing or display slow growth, it may be a sign of stress or clone death.

Factors contributing to growth stagnation include:

  • Insufficient light exposure
  • Inadequate nutrients
  • Rooting issues

Root System Issues

A healthy root system is vital for the survival of clones.

Root system issues that may indicate dying clones include:

  • Poor root development
  • Discolored or slimy roots
  • Roots not appearing after 10 days or more

Causes of Clone Stress

Understanding the causes of clone stress can help you address issues promptly and prevent further decline.

The following factors can contribute to clone stress:

Environmental Factors

Environmental conditions play a significant role in clone health.

Factors that can cause clone stress include:

  • Inappropriate temperature or humidity levels
  • Poor lighting conditions
  • Inadequate air circulation
Environmental Factors

Improper Handling and Transplanting

Clones are delicate and require gentle handling.

Improper handling and transplanting can cause stress, leading to clone death.

Some issues related to improper handling include:

  • Damaging the main stem or lower parts of the stem during trimming or cutting
  • Using an unsuitable cloning agent, such as an ineffective cutting gel or hormone agent

Pests and Diseases

Pests and diseases can quickly overwhelm and kill clones.

Common pests and diseases affecting clones include:

  • Spider mites
  • Fungus gnats
  • Powdery mildew
  • Root rot

Preventing Clones from Dying

Preventive measures can help ensure healthy clones and minimize the risk of death.

The following tips can assist you in maintaining clone health:

Creating the Ideal Environment

An optimal environment is essential for clone survival.

Consider the following factors:

  • Maintain an ambient temperature of 72-78°F (22-25°C)
  • Keep humidity levels between 70-80%
  • Provide appropriate lighting using a T5 fixture or similar light source
Creating the Ideal Environment

Proper Handling and Transplanting Techniques

Gentle handling and proper transplanting techniques can prevent clone death.

Consider the following tips:

  • Cut clones at a diagonal angle to maximize rooting surface area
  • Use a suitable cloning agent, such as Clonex Rooting Compound
  • Transplant clones into a suitable medium, like rockwool or coco coir

Pest and Disease Prevention

Preventing pests and diseases is crucial for maintaining healthy clones.

Follow these tips to minimize the risk:

  • Maintain a clean and sterile growing environment
  • Inspect clones regularly for signs of pests or diseases
  • Quarantine new clones to prevent the spread of pathogens

Reviving Dying Clones

Sometimes, clones may still show signs of stress and decline despite your best efforts.

In such cases, acting quickly to revive the dying clones is essential.

The following steps can help you save your clones:

Identifying and Addressing the Cause

Determining the cause of clone stress is critical for their revival.

Once you identify the issue, take appropriate measures to address it.

That may involve adjusting environmental conditions, treating pests or diseases, or changing your handling techniques.

Adjusting Environmental Conditions

Modifying environmental conditions can help revive dying clones.

Consider the following adjustments:

  • Ensure proper temperature and humidity levels
  • Adjust lighting conditions, providing bright but indirect light
  • Monitor water levels and adjust as needed

Caring for the Root System

Promoting healthy root growth is essential for reviving dying clones.

Follow these tips to care for the root system:

  • Keep the rooting medium moist but not overly saturated
  • Use an air pump to provide oxygen to the roots in an aeroponic system
  • Maintain a water temperature between 68-72°F (20-22°C) in hydroponic systems
Caring for the Root System


How do you save clones from dying?

To save clones from dying, identify the cause of stress or decline and take appropriate measures to address the issue.

How long can you keep clones alive?

With proper care, clones can be kept alive for several weeks. However, it is best to transplant clones after they have developed a healthy root system, typically within 10-14 days.

How long do clones wilt for?

Clones may wilt for a few hours to a few days after being cut. However, if wilting persists beyond this period, it could indicate an issue that requires attention.

Why are my cuttings not rooting but still alive?

Cuttings that have not rooted after 3 weeks or more but are still alive may be experiencing inadequate environmental conditions, poor handling, or the use of an ineffective cloning agent.

What percent of clones survive?

With proper care and technique, clone survival rates can range from 75-90%.

How often should you mist clones?

Mist clones daily or as needed to maintain a moist environment. 

What happens if you clone a clone?

Cloning a clone is possible, however, successive cloning can lead to genetic drift and reduced vigor over time, so taking new clones from a healthy mother plant is generally recommended.

About the Author

Share the Love: