Cultivators have been using vegetative propagation, or cloning, throughout history so in order to reproduce the plants that have favorable traits in their grow, such as resilience, size, and resistance to pests. Cloning is achieved by taking leaf cuttings from the plant and growing it into a copy with the same genetic makeup.
This method is beneficial for growers because it bypasses the seedling phase, allowing the plants to mature faster and resulting in a faster turnover in sellable crops!
That being said, there are some important things to keep in mind when creating clones, otherwise your new plants won't survive and thrive. If you've tried to clone your plants without success, here are some tips to help you correct any mistakes in the future.
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.
Introduce a rooting hormone. 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 very sensitive to bacteria. Make sure you use a clean and sterilized razor blade to make your cut, so you won’t contaminate the new fragile clone.
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 early stage, 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 is adequate ventilation. Plants need air to both make and process food. If you have a dome over your growing tray, make sure the ventilation is open and the cuttings are receiving fresh 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.
Cloning can be a fun and rewarding way to extend the life of your plants with new generations. We hope you found these tips helpful with your own experiments.