How to Grow Mother Bonsai Cannabis Plant?

Stephen Andrews
21 Mar 2022

There are a number of benefits from cultivating cannabis bonsais, especially among growers who are limited with space and need to keep their grow operation concealed. Bonsais are an excellent option when you want to maintain several mother plants and you don't have extra growing space. As a cultivation practice, bonsais can preserve superior genetics, using only a tiny area for the effort. Mother bonsais are also budget-friendly. All you need is a single CFL light and only a small amount of nutrients to maintain the plant. Plus, there's always the aesthetic appeal of bonsais. Who wouldn't love one of these around their house?

An ancient art technique of growing potted trees, bonsai cultivation took off in China and Japan many centuries ago. Modern cannabis growers build on this tradition. Maintaining bonsai mothers can produce many cuttings and serve the household for many years. 

Canna bonsais can produce dozens of cuttings every 3-4 weeks. It's sufficient to expose the plant to a single CFL grow light. Using an HID can accelerate the process, enabling you to take cuttings every two weeks. 

Whether you are about to embark on your own canna bonsai cultivation journey, you need to select a cutting that you will transplant into a tiny seedling pot. In the beginning, you'll need a super small pot, just 2.5 inches in diameter. You need to leave the plant to develop its root system before you start trimming. When you begin trimming, which can be after the first few days of growing, you need to work on the top. Leave only 3-4 side shoots, and your cutting will already begin looking like a tiny bonsai tree.

After some time passes, the plant should begin to form an open "hugging" shape. You can get this shape with a bit more trimming until it starts to grow like that naturally, and this is the best shape you want to maintain throughout.

When the plant forms a hollow center, the next step is to cut off or pinch the two top components at the tips, just above the leaf nodes. Do this when they reach between 4.5-5 inches. This would enable the below branches to catch up quickly. Let a few more days pass and you can pinch those branches as well. In the following days, watch out for any side branches that grow toward the center. You would want to cut those branches, too. 

When you maintain a "hugging" shape for your canna bonsai mother, you maximize the number of clones. Your plant is also capable of growing optimally even in low light intensity. 

You can take the first cuttings when the sprouts are around 5 inches long. At this time around, you can also re-pot your bonsai, using a pot around 4 inches in diameter. And that would be the one and only time you need to transplant the plant.

Other tips on maintaining a healthy and vigorous mother bonsai cannabis plant? You will notice throughout the growing process that the plant develops shoots that tend to move inward — you can simply cut these off, you don't really need those. 

Cuttings need to be taken off every 2-4 weeks, even when you don't really need them. This is done to keep up with the plant's shape, plus it helps to optimize the feeding process. When it comes to feeding, your mother plant will be good to go with a twice-per-month nutrient feed. You only need to give nutrients at half strength. So, don't overdo it and you are on the safe side.

Finally, to get the most from your mother bonsai, replace it with a clone of itself every once in a while. If this is a project you want to undertake for years to come, you can replace it with a clone once a year or once every two years. 

Happy growing!

Stephen Andrews