What is cloning?
Cloning within horticulture is the practice of taking a cut (cutting) from a desirable plant, propagating new root growth from the cutting which will be genetically identical to the original (mother) plant, thus making a clone of the original plant.
Why should I clone my plants?
The reason cloning is preferred over germinating from seed is simply that seeds are like fingerprints, they are all unique to themselves expressing many different characteristics (traits) within a generation. When you buy a 10 pack of seeds, don’t just plant one, plant them all. By starting off this way you’ll see the genotype and any phenotypical difference, they are generally considered the keeper plants or great parental stock for future breeding projects.
How can you tell if you have found a good mother plant?
Find the variety you wish to grow, and germinate as many of the seeds as you can.
Once they have all germinated, the correct practice is to vegetate them all until they reach sexual maturity, once sexual maturity is achieved a ‘backup’ clone/s can be taken from each stock plant and labelled. Now you can go through the plant's flowering phase to its completion to see what kind of flowers each plant produces. Most of the seeds you plant will be quite similar in character with subtle differences. The phenotypes usually express recessive traits or something not previously seen in prior generations, it may be plant height, bud density, size, colour etc. the list of traits/alleles goes as far as your knowledge reaches.
Advantages of Cloning:
- Genetically identical plants
- Consistent Vigor
- Shorter vegetation growth phase
- 5 grows a year instead of 3-4
What tools do I need to start cloning?
Taking clones is actually quite easy, using the wrong tools can make it a bad experience so just make sure to use a scalpel instead of scissors and you make your final cut underwater and you’ll be good to go.
Cloning item list:
- Dosing Pipettes 1ml
- Jug 1-2L
- Ryzofuel or Cloning powders like Azos
- Heat mat for winter
- Propagation dome
- Link to full propagation kits
Once you have a clone that has formed roots (usually 6-14 days) it is time to transplant the cutting into your preferred medium, I’d suggest coco coir or coco blends then feed a weak nutrient solution. Never give them any food until the roots are present, the reason we do not feed them during the rooting stage is because the cutting is focused on transporting the necessary carbohydrates and sugars to develop new roots.
Roots need Oxygen to form, so don’t drench your cubes completely, always give them a little squeeze to be sure, the aim is about 80-90% holding capacity.
The A-Grade How to Clone Technique
1) Soak propagation cubes in preferred rooting solution, if you don’t have one id suggest Ryzofuel, add 1ml of Ryzofuel to 1L of water and soak appropriate amount of cubes, if you plan on germinating a lot of seeds then maybe start with a bucket of water and soak in there for approx. 15 mins, if your bucket is 10L then 10ml of Ryzofuel per bucket of water.
2) After the cubes have soaked give them a quick pinch so they’re not saturated and place them on the propagation tray.
3) Remove cuttings from mother plant and place in a jar or glass of water, take your scalpel and make the 45 degree cut ‘underwater’ this will prevent an air pocket rushing into the incision, which usually delays or inhibits roots.
4) Place cuttings into the pre-soaked grow cubes, placing a humidity dome over them and closing vents for 2-3 days to maintain a high humidity environment.
5) If on day 3 you still have no roots forming, mist them with a week micro solution like Humiboosta, by day 5-7 the cutting if kept in the right environment should have roots. Now we can transplant this to Coco or a hydroponic system and watch them thrive!