“Plants clone” may sound like a bad term. In reality, making clones of your favorite plants, is another good method of starting your hydroponic garden in a totally organic way!
To begin, a small “growing tip” is taken from a healthy “mother” plant so it can develop its own roots and grow by itself.
This new plant will be genetically identical in all aspects compared to its “mother” plant. For this reason, the new autonomous cutting is called plant clone.
Cloning plants is very popular because it helps to preserve the characteristics of a particularly favorite strain. In this way, many growers, can select the most resistant and productive plants, trees and vegetables and clone them to preserve these positive characteristics.
In few words, many growers choose to start their hydroponics farm projects from clones for these main reasons:
– Cloning is a quick easy and cost-saving method of making new plants compared to starting from seeds.
– Cloning is the best way to keep the best genes as the new plants will have the same genetics qualities of the mother plants.
Conditions necessary for cloning plants
The following “rules” must be observed:
- Maintain a root zone temperature around 22 – 25 ° C.
- Maintain air temperature around 18 – 25 ° C and 90-100% humidity.
- Indirect, low intensity light
- Root feeding with dilute 25% strength nutrient solution.
- Rooting hormones help cuttings root faster.
- spray nutrient solution on leaves – optional.
How to clone plants
How to clone plants procedure:
Essentially there are three types of cutting: Herbaceous cuttings, Semi-woody cuttings, Wood cuttings.
For each of them the preparation of the cutting is the same.
- Select a healthy growing tip from a plant you wish to clone. This new cutting should include no more than two sets of leaves. Always select the best and strongest “mother plants” for the healthiest cuttings.
- Use a sterile knife or razor and practice a 45-degree angle cut. Immediately place the tip into a bath of dilute nutrient solution. The 45-degree angle cut assure no air bubbles are trapped in the stem. This could in fact not allow the uptake of water and nutrients. Remove all the unnecessary leaves:
- You can also dip the tip cut end into a cloning gel or powder to facilitate roots developing.
The new cutting is now ready to be enclosed in a nursery cloning tray with humidity dome under a soft light source. Maintain air temperature around 18-25 ° C and 90-100% humidity until roots develop in 7-15 days.
After this range of time, when the cuttings will show their new roots, they are ready to be transplanted to the final hydroponic system.
Basically, there are 2 kinds of cuttings propagation method: Steam Cuttings or Leaf Cuttings.
It’s the procedure we just saw above. Immediately after the cut, you can decide to rooting plants in water or in soil.
List of plants that grow from cuttings
Here following you can find just few examples of plants which can grow from cuttings: Aster, Butterfly Bush, Chrysanthemum, Hydrangea, Rose, Salvia, Dahlia, Gardenia, Azalea, Camellia, Honeysuckle, gooseberries, geraniums, jade plants, lavenders, penstemon, rosemary, and veronica.
Leaf propagation is much faster and easier than propagating plants from seed. Many plants with soft foliage have developed the ability to reproduce themselves from leaves.
Plants growing from leaves
Here following you can find just few examples of plants which can grow from leaves:
Violet, Begonia, Basil, Cactus, Ivy, Salads, Sinningla, Smithianthas (Temple Bells).
Leaf cuttings propagation is quite simple. All you need to do is take a leaf from your favourite basil plant. Be sure you r favourite leaf has the leaf stalk. In fact roots will propagate from here!
Make sure the leaf cutting comes from a plant that has not flowered yet.
Your leaf cutting can then be placed in a glass of water near a window, so it gets good sunlight (but not too strong).
Use a clear glass so you can watch growing your leaf cutting roots. Change the water every few days and leave your cutting roots to grow to about 3-4 centimetres. This can take two to four weeks.
After this range of time, the cuttings are ready to be transplanted to the final hydroponic system.
Benefits of cloning
The advantages of cloning plants are several.
The new cuttings are genetically identical in all aspects to their “mother” plant. This helps to preserve the desired characteristics.
Some plants, vegetables or trees are difficult do not produce seeds, others have seeds that are dormant for long periods. Cloning these particular plants, help them to reproduce quickly and in a easier way (example: banana trees).
The big disadvantage of cloning is that it is not possible for every plant species. On the other hand, when you can clone a plant, vegetable or tree, it is a faster process to move from a cutting to a small plant compared to start your plant from a seed.