Cloning Plants


Cloning plants brings up visions of laboratories and geneticists fooling with DNA but it is nothing more than propagating a plant from a cutting.

xacto knife When I was a kid and growing plants in the basement under fluorescent lights I would 'clone' plants by snapping off a stem, dipping it in rooting hormone and placing it in potting soil.

I would water haphazardly meaning I let it dry out before watering which was not a good thing to do. I lost a lot of cuttings that way.

My way of cloning when I was small still worked but with a somewhat high failure rate. There is a better way to do it - a way which will almost guarantee success.

The key is to cloning plants is to take your time, gather and assemble your tools and approach the task slowly and precisely:

  1. Prepare a small pot with a mixture of vermiculite and potting soil and make it moist but not drenched with a mixture of half strength nutrient solution and rooting hormone,
  2. Select a plant from which to take the cutting and water it well before the operation,
  3. Using a sterile xacto knife as in the picture, slice the cutting off at a 45 degree angle to maximize the surface area of the cut. Cut in one slice with a sharp edge, slicing at a point where there are 2 stem nodules on the cutting and at least 2 left on the donor plant,
  4. Place the cutting immediately in warm water out of direct light. This will prevent an air bubble from forming at the base of the cutting blocking water from entering the cutting. This is otherwise known as an embolism,
  5. Poke a hole into the rooting medium, the vermiculite/soil mixture, coat the base of the cutting with rooting hormone and place into the vermiculite mixture,
  6. Place the clone out of direct light for a few days watering it with a cut-down nutrient and rooting hormone mixture. Also be sure to spray the leaves with water to help prevent dehydration,
  7. In a few weeks a root system will develop and the clone is now another plant and can be transplanted into a hydroponics system.

Cloning plants is not a hard thing to do; just pay attention to the details and you will be fine. Liquid rooting hormone is much better than powdered rooting hormone, keep the leaves wet while rooting and never let the rooting medium dry out.

Good luck!

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