When you are looking for ways to expand your revenue stream, one avenue to consider, in states that allow it, is a wholesale clone program. If you have already set up a greenhouse where you cultivate a large number of plants of various strains, cloning them for wholesale purchase is a logical and savvy business move.
Preparation for the wholesale market is key: You may be asked for several hundred to a couple thousand plants, so the first step is to make sure you have the capacity to grow that many in your cultivation space.
To get your clone-centered operation started, use healthy plants that are designated mothers, though you should let them flower periodically and replace them on occasion to freshen things up. To make sure you have top-quality, clean clones, you first need to confirm that the mother plants are clean.
The clones themselves are small and vulnerable — you’re not going to want to spray them until right before handing them to the customer, which is when you should apply a preventative spray with a state-approved product to protect them from pests and powdery mildew as they adjust to their new growing space.
You’ll need to have a couple of specialist staff members on hand who can focus their attention on the task ahead: A clone cutter and a clone sitter.
A clone cutter is someone who knows how to assess a mother plant to strategically cut the best clones with an eye on consistency. This person also maintains the moms, to make sure they stay clean and healthy.
The job of a clone sitter is to take care of the cuttings as they get established. This person is also in charge of the hardening-off process. Clones initially should be housed in a domed environment because they need the high humidity to root. The hardening-off process involves taking the dome off on a regimented schedule for longer and longer periods of time, until the plants can live outside the dome without wilting.
When it comes to our wholesale setup, we root a batch of 50 clones at a time; each clone is placed in a coco-based plug and surrounded by a fine-mesh wrap that will decompose once planted. Your clone sitter should “air-prune” the roots when they attempt to exit the wrapping, which encourages root branching. Once transplanted, the roots penetrate through the wrap. This is a big advantage over plastic pots, which are terrible for the environment and result in the plants becoming root-bound.
The process, from cutting to rooting to hardening off takes at least two weeks. You want the plants to have a strong root mass, so they are ready to grow quickly into mature plants once they are placed in the customer’s growing medium of choice, whether that’s coco, potting soil, peat-lite mix, hydroton or rockwool.
If you properly care for the mothers and the clones, you will be able to build a reputation as a go-to place where wholesalers can get clones that survive transplanting and thrive in their new (green) homes.