Everything You Need To Know About Cannabis Bonsai Plants
5 min

Everything You Need To Know About Cannabis Bonsai Plants

5 min
Growing Seedshop

Cannabis bonsais have recently become quite popular, especially among growers looking to maintain discreet, high-quality mother plants. Taking the process of cloning to the next level, here is everything you need to know about cannabis bonsai plants!

Cannabis Cultivation Techniques: Why Should You Grow Bonsai Mother Plants?

There are some very good reasons why you may want to grow a mother plant. By taking clones from a high-quality mother, you save money on seeds and save time by skipping the seedling phase. Then again, saving money isn’t the main reason growers take clones in the first place. Instead, it’s to preserve prime cannabis genetics. If you have a favourite plant, you can clone it and turn it into a respectable mother. You can then take cuttings to grow clones, where each plant will have the exact same great characteristics. With cannabis bonsais, you can take cloning to the next level!

Keep Good Cannabis Genetics While Saving Space (And Money)


If you’re growing indoors, it’s likely you don’t have a lot of growing space to keep a number of mothers around. Since bonsais are very small, you can maintain a nice selection of good genetics, even in a very small space. You could easily store dozens of miniature cannabis mums in tiny 5–10cm containers. Yet another advantage of these tiny mums is that you will save electricity, as a single CFL light can be all that’s needed to sustain them.

Each of your mini bonsai mums will be good for many cuttings, and you can, in principle, keep them around for many years. For optimal results, however, it can be best to replace the mothers with clones of themselves every year as this will benefit their health. Then again, there are some growers who have kept their mothers for 10–15 years without problems.

Keep in mind that this technique is not for the novice, and should only be attempted by those with some previous cloning experience.

How To Set Your Bonsai Mother Plant Up For Success


So let’s get straight to the matter: how to create a bonsai mother plant! When all is said and done, the cannabis bonsai mother that you’re about to make can render dozens of cuttings every 3 weeks under a CFL grow light. If you're keeping them under an HID, they’ll grow even faster, and you can take cuttings every 2 weeks.

Choose A Prime Specimen


Cultivators know that some mothers are simply better than others. So pick a nice, healthy-looking one that can give you clones for a long time! Put the cutting into a small (5–7cm) seedling pot. Square pots work best for this as they make trimming the roots of the bonsai much easier later on.

Trim And Train


Allow the plant to grow for a few days so it can establish roots. Then, start trimming the top back, leaving only 3 or 4 side shoots. There’s still a little while to go, but you can already see that your cutting is starting to look like a small bonsai tree!

As your mum is growing, the side branches that you left should grow into an open “hugging” shape for a nice, symmetrical plant with an open centre. When the two top branches have reached about 12cm, cut them off or pinch them at their tips just above the leaf node. This way, the branches below can catch up quickly. After a couple days, pinch these off as well. As more side branches develop, cut those that want to grow toward the centre.

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Maintaining our “hugging” shape maximises the number of shoots you can take for cloning, and makes it so your plant can grow optimally even in low light intensity. When the shoots have reached a length of 10–15cm, you can take them as your first cuttings!

How To Take Clones From Bonsai Mother Plants


To take clones and root them in containers, you need a few things:

  • Sharp pruning scissors
  • Alcohol wipes (for disinfecting)
  • Rooting hormone
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • Small container for your clones (8–10cm)
  • Plastic bags (used as humidity domes)
  • Perlite
  • Potting soil

1. Disinfect your scissors with alcohol wipes (this prevents harmful microorganisms from possibly infiltrating your mother plant). Choose a shoot for cloning. Cut the shoot just below the node you want to root at a 45° angle, then trim off any side shoots. Only leave the main node behind. Quickly dip the trimmed node into rooting hormone.

2. Fill a planting pot with a mix of half perlite and half potting soil. Pre-soak the mix in the pot with water and 10–12ml of 3% hydrogen peroxide per litre. Add some rooting nutrients as well for best results.

3. Stick your prepared cuttings into the pot. A square pot with 8–12cm-long sides can hold 9–12 cuttings if you space them evenly. Use the same mix of water, hydrogen peroxide, and rooting nutes to water your cuttings.

4. Use a plastic bag to cover the cuttings so humidity stays inside the pot. Place the container with the cuttings in a location with an ideal temperature of 25°C under a 24-hour vegging light. Make sure the light is low-intensity, especially in the first few days.

5. After about two weeks, the cuttings will have developed a strong root system all throughout the container. As soon as they have fully developed roots, you can move your cloned plants into bigger pots.

Move Your Mother To Her Final Pot


At about the same time your mother plant is large enough to take cuttings, you should also move her to a slightly bigger pot. If you started with a 5–7cm seedling pot, you can now re-pot one size up—so choose one with a diameter of about 10cm. This will be your final pot for your bonsai mother. As we’re growing tiny plants, we won’t need any bigger containers.

Keeping Your Bonsai Cannabis Mums Healthy And In Good Shape


1. Remove shoots that grow into the centre

As your plant is growing and you notice shoots that look like they want to grow inwards, you can just cut these off. This supports the open structure of your plant for a maximum amount of nodes to take clones from.

2. Regularly take cuttings

Make sure that you take cuttings every 2–4 weeks even if you don’t actually need them (you can just toss these). This way, you can maintain an open shape and minimise the amount of nutrients you need to administer.

3. Light feeding

You don’t need to feed your mothers a lot. If you give nutrients at half strength twice a month, this should be sufficient to keep your plants growing healthily.

4. Root pruning

If you want to keep your cannabis bonsai around for a long time, they will need root pruning. The good thing is, they only need to be pruned once or twice a year.

Before you prune the roots, you need to cut back most of the top growth of your mother plant. Generously trim the plant back to the basic bonsai shape, leaving just one or two small shoots on each branch.

Next, take your trimmed plant out of the pot. With a large knife, shave off about 25% from each side of the root ball. Also shave off about 25% (~3–5cm) from the bottom of the root ball. Basically what you're doing is shrinking the root ball to a third of its original size.

Once you’ve trimmed the root ball, use fresh potting soil and fill the same pot you took it from with a 2–3cm layer. Place the trimmed root ball on top. Now, fill in the sides and top of the root ball, and tightly pack the soil so there are no gaps for air. After you’ve finished, it should only take a few days for roots to become re-acclimated to the soil.

Which Strains Are Best For Making Bonsais?


Naturally, plants that grow shorter and more compact are likely to make better bonsai candidates. The Zamnesia strains below already grow fairly squat, so keeping them “bonsai size” is much easier.

Purple Punch by Zamnesia Seeds is a great indica to make into a bonsai mother. This sweet and succulent girl grows vigorously, yet stays nicely compact. In addition, she has good resistance to pests and isn’t picky with nutrients. This makes her a good strain for intermediate growers who are still learning the ropes. Her powerful effect is extremely relaxing, which makes the girl great for chilling and stress relief.

This fruity sativa-dominant hybrid stays fairly small, so keeping her mini won’t be an issue. Pests, mould, and beginner mistakes don’t really faze the girl, which makes her a good choice for those with less experience. Blue Widow doesn’t just shine with a sweet and dank taste, she delivers an awesome high that is mainly cerebral, but clear, inspirational, and uplifting.

Have you already grown cannabis bonsai mother plants? Do you have some tips to share? Let us know!


Written by: Georg
Based in Spain, Georg spends a lot of his time not only geeking out at his computer but in his garden as well. With a burning passion for growing cannabis and researching psychedelics, Georg is well versed in all things psychoactive.

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