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Have you ever cloned a plant?
Do you have a favorite houseplant you would love to give as a gift, or a favorite flavor of heirloom pepper, and a limited number of seeds? With a little knowledge and materials you could turn one plant into many. We’ll go over a few options and methods to help you understand more!
Establishing a Mother
First and foremost, to begin to clone anything we need to have an established “mother plant”.
This simply means that the plant is at least 2 months old, and has already shown sex (male or female pre-flowers).
Waiting two months for a plant to show sex can be inconvenient. It is possible to take a cutting from a plant under two months old and place it into 12/12 light in order to induce flowering and show sexual characteristics quicker than the mother.
The health of the mother plant weighs heavily into the health and vigor of the clones it will produce. Make sure your mother plant has been well kept in at least 18-24 hours of light and in an adequate climate.
The most important facet to cloning is hygiene. Make sure you are using clean and fresh trays, inserts, blades, hormones, etc. Your cleanliness is equally important.
This is when the cuttings are most vulnerable to viral, bacterial, and insect infestation.
A diluted mixture of alcohol (5% or so) and water kept close by to dip the scalpel into between cuttings will keep the potential for infection down. A second clean glass of water (ph 5.0-6.0) is handy to have nearby to store freshly taken cuttings in, while you continue to take new cuttings from the mother plant. This helps minimize the risk of an embolism becoming trapped inside the plants stem.
- rooting hormone – our favorites are Clonex, RhizoGel, Rootech, Hormex, Olivias, and Dip’n’Grow
- glass of clean water(to hold cuttings)
- scalpel/razor blade
- glass of alcohol/water(to disinfect)
- cloning vessel (machines/peat/coco/rock-wool)
Get Your Cutting
Now that we have an established mother plant, and clean materials we will start cutting!
Find and isolate a healthy stem that runs to a tip (we call this a node). Cut the node at an angle (ideally 45) where it is roughly 1/8” thick and roughly 4-6” long.
Remove all but the top 3-4 leaf sets.
It is also advisable, however not necessary, to cut the remaining leaves tips off, leaving half of the remaining leaf attached to the clone. This minimizes transpiration (moisture lost) through the leaf during cloning.
Store this cutting in the glass of water and continue cutting until you have the desired number of clones.
Prep Your Cuttings
Once you have the desired number of cuttings, you are ready to expose them to rooting hormone and introduce them to a substrate. Dip each cutting into a rooting hormone of your choice following the directions, and then introduce to the media!
Light them Up
Now that we have filled our vessel with the clones, they are ready to go under light.
Clones respond best to 18-24 hours of low energy fluorescent or plasma light.
If you are in a situation where you must put your clones under HID lights, keep them on the perimeter and if possible use a cloth of some sort to filter out some of the intensity.
Do your best to keep the humidity above 90% during cloning. This is easily achieved with a lot of the cloning machines on the market, however a humidity dome may be necessary to achieve ideal conditions. With the use of standard plugs and rock-wool humidity domes are a necessity in most applications.