Cloning a plant may sound a bit sci-fi to those unfamiliar with growing, but plants in nature do it all the time. The clearest example can be found with strawberries – when a strawberry plant sends out a runner, a new plant grows where this modified stem takes root, and it’s identical to the plant that sent the runner out to begin with; it’s a clone! Plants like potatoes and onions do the same thing in order to continue their line.
Agriculturalists have been using vegetative propagation throughout history so they could continue cultivating the plants that have favorable traits in their grow – these traits can be hardiness, size, and pest resistance. This is done by taking leaf cuttings from the desired plant and growing it into a new plant, this creates a clone of the original plant because this new plant will have the same genetic makeup.
This form of cloning is favored by growers because it bypasses the seedling phase, allowing the plants to mature faster, saving the grower money as it allows for a quicker turnover in sellable crops!
If you think vegetative propagation will up your growing game, here are 7 tips to getting started that will help your clones thrive:
Make sure the mother plant is healthy! The plant you plan to take a cutting from is the ‘mother’ for the clone – you want to be sure the plant is healthy enough to remove the leaves without causing undue stress.
Invest in some hormones. Plants naturally produce the hormones that help them establish roots when a cutting is taken, but that process can be sped up significantly by adding the rooting hormone. If you grow organic, willow extract or honey will work. Synthetic rooting hormones are generally easier to apply and can be purchased in gel, powder, or liquid forms.
Sterilize your tools! The cuttings are going to be really, really sensitive to bacteria. Make sure your razor/blade is clean and sterilized before starting the cut, so you won’t contaminate the cutting.
Keep water at the ready. You should place the cutting into a glass of water immediately to prevent oxygen exposure. The cutting is extremely vulnerable at this point, so moving quickly is key. When you’ve made all your cuttings, then you can move them over to your preferred medium; plugs, rockwool, soil, or hydroponics tray.
Make sure light is available. Clones need plenty of natural light, so either make sure it’s readily available during daylight hours, or that you’re using the right grow lights to mimic sunlight.
Make sure there’s ventilation. If you have a dome over your growing tray, make sure the ventilation is open and the cuttings are receiving fresh air. Plants need air to both make and process food, so to grow a healthy clone, they need that air!
Keep nutrients on hand. As with rooting hormones, clones do best when they get a little help. If they have nutrients supplied, they can get all the essential vitamins and minerals they need to grow.
Vitathrive by Green Planet is one of the best propagation fertilizer to use with your clones to help reduce plant stress while supporting essential functions. Vitathrive contains a full complement of B vitamins, and vitamins A, C and D, coupled with NAA (Naphthaleneacetic Acid, a plant propagation compound). The formulation increases cellular activity and relieves shock and stress resulting from over- and under-watering, excessive heat, transplanting, or heavy fruit and flower load – you can even use Vitathrive in any aeroponic cloning machine to stimulate root growth, negating the need to buy a separate rooting hormone. Only a few drops are needed per cloning cycle, which is a big money saver!
Have a hydroponic or garden supply store? Left Coast Wholesale has you covered with wholesale pricing available on Vitathrive. If you’re looking for Vitathrive near you, call 800.681.1757 today to find a local Vitathrive retailer!
Tribus Microbes Original™ is the product you can use that will get right to the ‘root’ of what you’re looking to improve in your grow. Tribus Microbes Original™ is a highly concentrated, targeted blend of three growth-promoting rhizobacteria that can be used with organic or conventional growing practices to increase crop quality and quantity.
For new gardeners, over- or under-watering are easy mistakes to make that can negatively affect the plants and cause them to wilt, reduce their yield, or even die. Luckily, irrigation has made it possible to remove this problem for a lot of growers, and systems like the Octo-Flow 8 Port Irrigation Manifold have made dialing in the right amount of water at the right time the easiest part of the season! With add-ons like the Octo-Flow Flexible PVC Tubing to help build out the system, your garden irrigation system can be completely built out with high-quality components.