6 Things To Think About When Creating Clones
Some people prefer to propagate using seeds, some using clones. Following on from ‘6 Things To Know When Germinating Seeds’, we have a handy guide to taking cuttings, with everything you may possibly need to know about when trying to clone your plants.
1. Why Make Clones Instead Of Using Seeds?
Just like us humans, plant seeds all contain different DNA. As a result you never know for sure what the subsequent plants will grow like. Parent plants and cuttings share the same DNA, so you can choose the healthiest and strongest, keeping the characteristics that you want growing in your crop. For example, cutting from a plant with yellow flowers will result in another yellow flowered plant.
Something else to factor in is timing. Starting from clone is simply much faster than starting from seed in most cases. The majority of plant species will root from a clone before the seeds of the same species can even sprout, saving a lot of time.[product sku="Clonex"]
2. Look After Your Mother!
Your mother plant’s health is vitally important for propagating healthy plants so you need to make sure she is well looked after, especially in the run up to taking cuttings. If you're planning on using a mother plant for long-term cuttings, it's a good idea to keep her in a separate grow tent so you can easily keep the conditions constant. The Bay 6 Dual Room Tent is perfect for keeping both your mother plant and your cuttings in the best environment.[product sku="BAY2430"]
3. Steps To Taking A Cutting
The most popular kind of cutting method is stem cutting. This involves taking a stem from the plant to make a clone. It should be a couple of inches in length and have a few healthy leaves at the top to maximise photosynthesis. We recommend taking the cutting from near to the top of the plant, where there will be a greater concentration of growth hormones. Ensure the mother plant chosen is at least two months old and in the vegetative stage. Your preparation is vital to keeping the cutting alive and growing.[product sku="CTN5223"]
Make sure you are using a sterilised sharp scalpel or scissors (cleaning with Isopropyl Alcohol will do the job!) and take cuttings at a 45° angle. The cutting will ideally be around 3-5 inches in length, and have some leaves near to the top. Trim down any leaves that are too big to help reduce water loss.[product sku="CTN5225"]
Then carefully scrape the last inch of the stem before generously covering the end with a rooting hormone such as Clonex before placing the cutting into the prepared rooting medium. Try to be quick once you have removed the cutting from its mother; the longer the cut stem is exposed to the air, the more chance it has of catching an infection. The cutting is essentially an open wound and needs to be protected as such so, if taking a few cuttings, you can place them in a glass of water whilst you work on each individual one to minimise any risk.[caption id="attachment_2342" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Taking a cutting with a sharp & sterile scalpel[/caption]
4. Which medium?
You can clone cuttings in either a soil or hydroponic set-up depending on which medium you want your resulting fully grown plant to be in. It makes no sense to root a clone in soil and then later move it to a hydroponic system for the long-term.
If using Rockwool or plugs such as Root Riots, you should pre-soak them in room temperature water with a light seedling feed such as Formulex or Katana Roots for around 15-20 minutes. Gently shake the cubes or plugs to remove excess water before inserting the cutting. (Do not squeeze!)
If using soil, make sure you are using a light mix. The medium should be pre-wetted so it is moist but not soaking. Create a hole deep enough to support the clone and gently pack the soil around it.[caption id="attachment_2344" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Rooted out clones ready for transplant[/caption] [product sku="Rockwool-Trays-Cubes"]
5. Getting The Conditions Right
You need to give your cuttings the right environment to get the best out of them. A warm temperature (approx. 20°C) and high humidity (80-100 RH) as well as the correct lighting is needed. T5, CFL or LED lighting is recommended as the lights give off the spectrum of light required to encourage root development and can be positioned quite close without harming delicate young plants.
Keeping the clones in a propagator will help to keep your environment constant. In the cold winter months, you may want to use a heated propagator or a heat mat to keep the temperatures up. To keep humidity and moisture levels high in propagators you can mist the inside of the lid.[product sku="TLED-26w"]
[product sku="Propagator"] [caption id="attachment_2343" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Cuttings rooting out in a propagator[/caption]
6. Patience Is Key
Now you just have to wait for the cutting to do it's thing. Don’t be tempted to take any cuttings from the propagator too early. Let them grow a good amount of roots before moving them and your final plant will thank you!
With so many different products needed to really get the best out of your clones, we know it can seem intimidating to start. To make life easier, we've got a range of bundles specially designed for propagation. You can choose from either a cloning kit with Rockwool or Root Riots, or go the whole hog and get a propagation tent bundle including everything from lights to a propagator, from nutrients to a scalpel and more.