Making clones of your favorite plant
A second method of starting and restocking your garden is cloning. In this procedure, a small growing tip is taken from a mature healthy plant and made to grow its own roots. This method is independent of the plants reproductive system and thus eliminates the possibility that future generations will continue to evolve, as cloning results in plants which are exactly alike in all aspects. Cloning is very popular with indoor growers - and sheep :>) - that wish to preserve the characteristics of a particularly favorite strain. In order for cuttings to root properly, the following must be observed:
- Root zone temperature 72-76 degrees.
- Air temperature 70-78 degrees and 90-100% humidity.
- Indirect, low intensity light (20 watt florescent).
- Root feeding with dilute solution. Rooting hormone may be used as it will help your cuttings significantly.
- Foliar feeding with dilute 20% strength nutrient spray. Procedure:
- Select a healthy growing tip from a plant you wish to clone. The tip should be approximately 3-6" long and include no more than three sets of leaves including the tip. Using a sterile razor, sever the tip and immediately place into a room temperature bath of dilute nutrient solution or prepared cloning solution such as Olivia's. Saturate a rockwool cube, some cocofiber/vermiculite or one of the new soil free sponges with the cloning solution or 1/2 strength nutrient if you are using a cloning gel or powder (powder shown at right).
- Make a fresh cut at a 45 degree angle just above the last cut (end) - keeping the cutting immersed in solution. This will assure that no air bubbles form in the stem which would impede the uptake of nutrient solution. Insert the cut end into the cloning gel or powder and quickly but gently insert the cutting about 1/2 to 3/4" into the moistened medium. The cutting is now ready to be enclosed in a flat with humidity dome under a soft light source. See bottom of previous page.
- Maintain a bottom temperature of 72-76 degrees Fahrenheit, humidity of 95100% and soft lighting (20 watt fluorescent) until roots develop in 7-14 days.
When your seedlings or cuttings are ready to be transplanted, you will need to use a large diameter (8-16mm) gravel-like medium to support them in their respective growing cups. We recommend using the expanded clay pellets (GroRox) as they are reusable and do not alter the pH of your nutrient solution. You can substitute clean gravel or lava rock for this purpose.
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