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Cloning powder is an indispensable tool for every hydroponics grower. But any tool is useless without the knowledge on how to use it. Cloning successfully is not necessarily a complicated process, but it is a somewhat delicate process, and attention to detail may be the determining factor in how successfully your clones will thrive. But through following a few simple guidelines, every grower should be able to use cloning powder for maximum benefit.
Materials – To make successful clones you will need a sterilized razor blade, cloning powder, a suitable medium, and a tray to place your medium. It is essential that you sterilize the razor blade with isopropyl alcohol before you make your cut. Removing the stem from the plant will already weaken its immune system, so you do not want to make matters more complicated by introducing outside viruses or bacteria. The cloning powder is designed to increase your odds of success and create healthier clones after rooting. They are packed full of hormones to promote the rooting process and vitamins to help the health of the clone. A suitable medium is one that holds water well and is preferably small enough to accommodate your stems. Popular choices include oasis cubes and rockwool cubes.
Making the Cut – Choose a stem that appears healthy and has a couple of large, green leaves. Make a clean cut with the razor blade about two or three inches long. Make certain to handle the stem very gently. Any unnecessary scrapes or bruises will decrease the odds of the cloning success. If your plant is particularly difficult to clone, it might be a good idea to “wound” the bottom of the stem after it is cut. This is where you use your razor blade to scrape off the epidermis of the bottom quarter inch of the stem. Make sure to dip the edge of the stem into the cloning powder shortly after you make the cut. After thoroughly coating the bottom of the stem in the powder, place the cuttings in the medium. The medium should have some holes poked into it to make the insertion easier and less stressful on the stems.
Caring for Your Cuttings – The environment in which you place your cuttings is just as important as how you make the cut. Since your leaves will require a great deal of environmental moisture, you should increase the humidity of your grow room if possible. Otherwise, you should regularly spritz your cuttings with a spray bottle or cover your cuttings with a humidity dome or plastic covering to keep in moisture. It may help to keep your root zone a bit warmer than the rest of your grow room to encourage root production. This is why many choose to place a heating mat under their medium to keep their root zone at about eighty degrees Fahrenheit. After about two weeks, check to make sure that the roots have taken hold. At this point it should be safe to remove the plastic covering or humidity dome.