In total there may be 30 potential clones, or more. Any really thin ones or any growing into the center, either cut back to one node or remove altogether instead of taking cuttings. Has had 2 sets of cuttings taken off and is more than ready to move to a 3 inch pot. As you can see it is a little short of Nitrogen, which is why it’s better to transplant to fresh soil after the first set of cuttings.
12 cuttings have been taken with 2 left on to show where to cut back to. This is a five year old Mum that has just had 32 cuttings taken off and could do with some more small twiggy bits removed. She is in a 1 liter pot and has been since she was 3 months old. Note how all have an open center; this allows light to both the center and the outside. It will fill in between taking cuttings but if pruned back to this form, makes better and more even growth giving more good cuttings each time. The mother plants need just enough nutrients to keep them healthy. This keeps them in good general health but doesn’t over feed them. If you want faster production at any point change to a full strength feed once or twice. Every 2 to 4 weeks a new batch of cuttings are taken even if they are not needed and just put in the worm bin.
You can think of it as being like having to mow the lawn and keeps the mum the same size and form for years. Because so much is taken away they can get short of macro nutrients so every month or so give them a foliar spray or light dose of nutrients. Judge this by how the plants are looking not by a time table. One of the main things that all growers need to learn is regular close observation. To know when they are healthy and notice the first signs of deficiencies appearing. Part 2: Root Pruning (Renovation and Maintenance) Bonsai mother plants will need root pruning once or twice a year to stay healthy. The frequency depends on how intensively they are fed and how good your water quality is. Note: The root pruning method stays the same whether it’s being used for routine maintenance or renovation of a sick plant. Here we are dealing with a 7 year-old mother plant that hasn’t been root trimmed for nearly a year and was deliberately neglected for the last 10 weeks so you could see the recovery. First, trim back nearly all the top growth back to the main framework of branches. Leave one or two tiny shoots at the tip of each branch to draw sap and keep the branch alive. Don’t remove all the shoots and buds because this often causes “die back”. Once that starts the whole plant usually dies within a month or two. But you’re good as long as you leave a few small shoots, even if they’re yellow from lacking N. They will soon start to grow and green up as the new roots start forming! Next the rootball should have 3/4 of an inch cut off each side and an inch off the bottom. This reduces the 4.5 x 4.5 x 4.5 inch rootball to 3 x 3 x 3.5 inches high after the loose soil is scraped from the top. This means that two-thirds of the soil is being replaced. A good full strength organic compost is used when repotting and it only takes a day or two for the roots to really start growing into the new compost. It is very important to make sure there are no voids or air gaps left when packing the sides, use a pencil or small dibber, fill slowly and firm lightly. Set the bottom of the rootball on about 3/4 of an inch of compost then pack out the sides and finally cover the top with a 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch. This means the mother is planted 1/4 inch deeper every time root pruning is done about 1/2 an inch a year. In a couple of years from now I will cut down vertically and split the plant in two as the side branch will have a root system of its own. Using this method the roots are constantly being replaced and as well the main trunk replaced slowly.
This seems to keep the bonsai mother plants healthy for many years. The last picture is 12 days under an HPS light after the root and top pruning. Already there are enough nice leaders to make 10 good cuttings. The second mother of our selected “ES” line lasted for just over 15 years using this method. I have also kept prized males for breeding (bonsai father plants) in this pot size and some are over 5 years old. You should have all the info you need to make and root cuttings in compost the make and maintain bonsai mother plants. Part 3: How to Take Clones from Bonsai Mother Plants. This section covers my cloning system in detail, along with a brief outline about our mother plants. Every grower can get the same results by imitating this easy organic system. Mother plants are kept so their roots are restricted using standard bonsai methodology and techniques.
It is an excellent method for keeping mother plants long term and has proved a very reliable system since we developed this method 24 years ago. The longest I’ve kept a mother like this without having to be replaced is just over 15 years. Replace pure indicas every 3 years Replace hybrids every 4 to 5 years Replace pure sativas every 6 to 7 years. Of course it depends on the care they are given, and every strain is different.