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How to Asexually Propagate (Clone) a Plant
This week we will be discussing how to asexually propagate plants with nodes, or in other words taking cuttings or clones from a mother plant and re-planting them in a new hydroponic media or soil. Not only is taking clones from a mother plant a much quicker process then planting seeds, it also allows the growers to have a genetically uniform garden.
The materials necessary to clone include:
1. Pair scissors/razor blade
2. Medium to place the clone in, which could be soilless substrate, peat, coco coir, Jiffy pellets, rockwool, neoprene insert (for aeroponic cloning machines) or any other non-fertilized medium that can structurally support the cutting
3. Root stimulating solution, gel, or powder
4. Propagation tray and humidity dome
An easy, inexpensive alternative to the cloning machine seen in the video above is Grodan rockwool. Before taking a clone from the mother plant it’s a good idea to soak the rockwool cubes in water that has been pH adjusted to about 5.5, and let them soak for at least ten minutes. (Soaking is not necessary for other media, just for rockwool due to its natural pH being slightly higher than ideal) For more advanced growers, enzymes such as Hygrozyme or Superthrive in the soaking solution can give your clones that extra boost. Now that the cubes are ready, we can sterilize our scissors and blade and then take a clone from the mother plant.
When selecting a clone, you want to look for branches or tops that have three or more stable nodes (off-shoots from the main stem). Start by cutting below the third node from the top, yet just before the fourth node. The cut you will make here should be at a 45 degree angle as to expose more of the cambium (skin) of the plant to the rooting hormones you will give it later. Store the clones that have already been cut in water until you are ready to place the clones into the rockwool cubes. Once you have taken all the cuts from your mother plant, you will want to cut off the bottom set of nodes as to leave an exposed wound on the plant for new roots to grow out. Next you will want to use your razor blade and gently scrape the cuticle (outer skin layer) of the stem to expose the cambium (the inner layers of the stem). Once this has been done you will want to place your clone in the cloning solution/gel/powder that you have selected and make sure the bottom of the stem is fully coated. You can now place the clone into the pre-soaked cubes. Finally place your clone in the propagation tray and place the humidity dome on top underneath a light source that should be kept on anywhere from 18 to 24 hours per day. Humid environments with more than 60% relative humidity are good for clones, and often humidity domes help achieve this high relative humidity if your ambient humidity is less than ideal. Congratulations you have just cloned a plant.
Once cloned, plants can take from a couple days up to a week to start producing new roots. After about one to two weeks, if you see root growth you can transplant your clone into its growing environment.
This article was written by Tom Feezel, Plant Specialist at Growers House (GrowersHouse.com)