Friday, March 28, 2014

How to clone plants

               Cloning -

 the process in which you take part of a plant and get it to grow roots and become another plant without having to grow it from seed. It’s a perfect copy of the plant it came from. This is great for when you have a unique plant that you’d like to grow over and over again. There are many ways to make clones of a plant. We’re going to step through one method that is simple, cheap, and reliable. This technique is for fast growing annuals and not the best for woody shrubs but will work for some things like fuschia.

Here is a list of Items you will need before you start:
  • Gloves: Use gloves to prevent transfer of nasty molds and bacteria and to prevent skin contact with any chemicals.
  • A sterile cutting board: Use alcohol or peroxide to keep surfaces and tools clean.
  • Scalpel or razor blade: A clean sterile cut is needed.
  • A shot glass: Use for dipping the cuttings and the cutting tool in hormone.
  • Propagation trays, seed cells, skeleton trays, or an aeroponic propagator like the EZ Clone:The roots need a place to grow and the cuttings need support.
  • Humidity dome: Venting the dome, taking it off frequently and removing the condensation will encourage root growth. The quicker the dome can be removed without the cuttings wilting the better. Systems like the EZ Clone do not require domes or medium.
  • Hormone: Clonex, Dip & Grow, Rootech, etc. all contain indolebutyric-3 acid and some contain vitamin B. The gels are superior to powders because if you dip your scalpel, the wound is never exposed to air or the pathogens that air carries. For organic growers who do not want to use indolebutyric-3 acid, Azos can be substituted for the rooting hormone and an Endomycorrhizae can be introduced for great results.
  • Medium and pH : Rapid Rooter, Rock Wool, Root Riot, Oasis etc. Try to match the pH to the medium, for example rockwool requires more acidity, pH 5.5 to 5.8 and requires pre- soaking at pH 5.2 for 1 hour before use. Most other mediums are closer to pH neutral and should be soaked between pH 6.2 and 6.5.
  • Medium drench, PPM, and watering: Never use pure RO or distilled water for your cuttings. Water with too little ppm begins to pull nutrient out of your cuttings. Using a drench for your cuttings like Clonex Liquid, Thrive Alive, Rhizotonic etc. will prevent that issue and your cuttings’ leaves and stems should stay greener.
  • Proper watering: Never leave your cuttings in standing water. Warm water will quickly stagnate and become an ideal environment for rot. The root medium should be moist but not saturated. Weight is the only sure way to tell how saturated the medium is.
  • Heat Mat and Thermostat: The heat mat should be set to 80 degrees Fahrenheit until there are roots showing.

To take a cutting, first choose a healthy plant.

Ideally, select the growth tip of a well developed lower branch, as the lower branches are hormonally more viable. You can, though, take a cutting from most anywhere off a plant.
Choose a healthy growth tip to make a cutting from.
Count 4 to 6 nodes or branches down from the tip and cut as far down from the bottom node as possible. Multiple cuts can be taken from a donor plant and stored in a glass of water before going to the cutting board. It is not a bad idea to use a 1% diluted and un-buffered peroxide in the water to prevent infection. Note: It is unnecessary to tape down the cutting (as pictured below); this is just for demonstrational purposes.
Trimming off the lower leaves.
Trimming off the lower leaves.
Trim off the lower leaves.
Somewhere between the 4th and 6th node, in this case the 5th, cut the branch and leaf parallel to and flush with the stem as depicted below. Remember to dip your blade in cloning gel before cutting.clone004
Cut the stem at a 45 degree angle.
½” down from the node, dip the blade and make a cut at a 45 degree angle across the stem.dipped_clone
Dip the cutting into the cloning gel about this far.
Dip the exposed end into the shot glass of clonex, until all wounds are coated with gel . Shake off the excess gel into the shot glass. Too much rooting gel around the stem will inhibit root growth.
Prepare your medium with whichever pH adjusted liquid treatment you prefer. Place the cutting into the medium, burying all exposed wounds ¼”.
Place the cutting under your favorite T-5 or halide light. The light should be on 18-24 hours a day. If you have cuttings under a halide, make sure the light is at least 3 to 4 feet away to prevent damage from too much light exposure.

Tips and tricks:

Try reducing the level of nitrogen fed to your donor plants a week prior to taking cuttings and give them vitamin B.
Lightly scrape the last ½” of the cutting on 3 to 4 sides. You will notice that roots will grow out all along the scrapes.