Plants have the ability to clone themselves because most of the cells in the vegetative part of the plant possess a quality known to scientists as “totipotency”. This means that they have to ability to turn themselves to every other kind of cell in the plant. In fact, plants commonly clone themselves in nature through a variety of methods. But this fact does not make cloning any easier for the average hydroponic grower. If you do not pay very special attention to all the factors that go into cloning, the best cloning gel in the world is not going to prevent your cuttings from turning into useless dead twigs sticking out of your medium. Here are the steps you need to take to increase your chances of cloning success.
Take an Ideal Cutting – Firstly, you should make sure that your parent plant is in excellent health, if you notice and yellowing or drooping foliage, address those issues before you make the cut. The cut should ideally be from one the newer stems on your parent plant, as the older a stem is, the less likely it will be able to form new roots. It should also have a few large, healthy leaves. In order to form new roots, your stem is going to need to generate a lot of carbohydrates very quickly, so it will need high quality leaves for photosynthesis. If at all possible, choose stems that have young buds. This has been shown to increase the odds a successful clone dramatically.
Get the Right Cloning Gel for Your Needs – Make no mistake: you significantly increase your odds of a successful cloning if you use cloning gel. They are packed with vitamins and hormones designed to jump-start the development of roots. But that doesn’t mean that you should buy the first one that you see advertised. Shop around and ask other growers what has worked well for them. A cloning gel that might work well for one kind of plant might not necessarily be the best for all cuttings.
Adjust Your Environment – When you cut off a stem, you remove its primary source of water. But it will still transpire, which means it will continually be losing water. To make sure that your stems do not dry up, try increasing the humidity of your grow room. If this is not feasible, you can try regularly spraying your planted stems with a water bottle or covering the grow tray with a plastic bag to keep in moisture. You should also make sure that your grow lights are far away or low intensity enough to not char the delicate stems.
Choose the Right Medium – Since the cutting will have little access to water until it forms its roots, you need to make sure that the medium you use will hold water well. So do not make the mistake of trying to grow your cuttings in something that doesn’t hold water very well, such as perlite. Instead, you should use oasis cubes, rockwool, or something else that will give your stems the moisture they need.