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What is Plant Cloning?
Unlike propagating plants by seed, a form of sexual reproduction, you can reproduce seeds asexually by taking cuttings and cloning them. Cloning is cutting a growing branch tip and rooting it. When you root the cutting of an existing plant, an exact genetic match of the plant is reproduced. Take cuttings from your best performing plants to have similar positive results with new plants, instead of the genetic “crap shoot” of propagating seeds.
Why Take Cuttings?
Growers take cuttings from one plant that be large, have an abundant amount of fruit or flowers, be a specific color, or contain any other desired replicated. Propagating by cloning also reduces the time it takes for the crop to mature.
How to Take Cuttings
The process of cloning is a very stressful process on the cuttings. The plant’s chemistry completely changes when developing from a cut branch tip to a rooted plant.
Take the following precautions to reduce the stress:
- Keep the work area clean; wash work surfaces and tools before starting
- Have grow medium ready
- Prepare mother plant (host plant)
- Take cuttings
- Store unused cuttings
- Insert (stick) cutting in growing medium or aeroponics system
- Place cuttings under humidity dome
- Look for root growth
- Transplant when roots emerge from root cube or medium
- Harden off by gradually exposing to new environment
The Success of Taking Cuttings
Increase your chances of success by using a product with rooting hormones. Root-inducing hormones include napthalenaecetic acid (NAA), indolebutyric acid (IBA), and 2, 4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2, 4 DPA). These hormones are available in liquid, powder, or gel products. If you use a gel, seal the cutting to prevent an air embolism—a bubble of air that can get trapped in the hole of the stem. When this happens, the flow of fluid is stopped and the cuttings die.
Maintaining pH is another way to ensure success. Cuttings root should be within a pH range of 5 to 6.
To grow more roots on your cutting, split the stems to expose more of the cambium layer just under the “skin” of the stem. Cuttings root fastest when humidity levels are 95-100% the first two days and are gradually reduced as the cuttings begin to root. Initially, the cutting has no root system and can only pull in moisture and nutrition through the air. As the cuttings begin to root reduce the humidity to push the cuttings to use their new roots to pull in water and food.
Enjoy the Results
Taking cuttings to create more plants from a single plant isn’t difficult. The secret to success is to understand plant growth and provide a secure sealant once cuttings have been made.
Want to know more tips about plant cuttings? Contact Root Grow Bloom at [email protected] or visit our Orlando store.