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  Cloning and Propagation
What is cloning? What are cuttings?

Can all plants be cloned?

How do I take clones?
What kind of light do I need for indoor cloning and seed starting?
What kind of nutrient should I use for cloning and seed starting?
What temperature should I keep my clones at?
How do I start seeds?
What is the shelf life for Olivia's Root Clone??
 
  What is cloning? What are cuttings?
 

Cloning is a form of plant propagation that has been around for a very long time. It's basically taking a growing portion of a plant - a stem with some leaves attached, and helping it to become a brand new plant that is genetically identical to the plant from which the clone was taken. This is often easy to do because plants often clone themselves in nature. It's called asexual reproducation. The methods currently used today include taking cuttings, layering, division, grafting, budding and tissue culture. Gardeners often trade cuttings and divisions as a way of sharing plants with their friends.

A stem cutting is a terminal growing point on a plant. It is 4 to 6 inches long and is cut off at a node. A node is the point on a stem where a leaf is attached. The bottom leaves are removed from the nodes and the lower end is inserted into the rooting medium. Some plants are excellent material for cuttings; others never survive. Both woody and herbaceous plants may be used for cutting materials.

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  Can all plants be cloned?
 

Most plants can be cloned, although it takes different methods to do so. The kind of cloning performed most often in greenhouse situations is to take cuttings.

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  How do I take cuttings?
 

The biggest requirement for taking clones is a healthy parent, or stock plant. A parent plant should be in excellent health and should posess the characteristics wished for in the new plants. It should be at least two months old and it should still be in the stages of vegetative growth. Besides that you need

  • Extremely sharp, sterile razor blade for cutting off leaves and foliage
  • Rooting Hormone or solution
  • A Tray and Clear Plastic Dome
  • Growing media, such as a sheet of Oasis®, Rockwool or other hydroponic media.
  • Prepared nutrient solution
  • Spray bottle
  • Heating Mat

First, you'll want to prepare the humidity tray by soaking the growing media with your prepared nutrient solution. You will use this same nutrient solution to water the clones in a few days. Once your media is wet you should polk holes in the media with a pencil if it does not already have holes. Place the tray on a propagation heat mat, and cover with the plastic dome to warm the rooting medium. After you have prepared your tray, you are ready to begin to take cuttings.

Generally the gardener cuts a short piece of a growing stem with several branch points on it. These branch points are call internodes. Usually these point will only have leaves coming out of them . The point at which the stem is actually growing is called the Apcial Meristem. The goal of cuttings is to cuyt that apical meristem and grow roots on it. It will then become the top of your future plant to be.

Using your sterile razor you should cut the stem off with a precise and clean cut, cutting through cleanly without causing any extra damage. The cut should be made at a 45 degree angle. For absolute best results, make a first cut and then make the second cut at a 45 degree angle under water. You should strive for clones that will have one or two internodal spaces under the growing media. Cut off this extra leaf matter and dip the cut part in rooting hormone or solution (follow directions on the bottle for correct dilution rates etc.) Immediately place the cutting into the previously soaked growing medium. The cutting should be about 1/2" deep in the growing medium (when doing this be VERY careful not to bend the stems!)

As you continue to take cuttings, be sure to keep them moist by spraying them frequently with the spray bottle - get the undersides of their leaves. If you are worried about wilting clones, you should check on No-wilt which prevents transpiration and helps prevent wilt.

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  What kind of light should I use for indoor cloning and seed starting?
 

Seedlings and clones require bright light for healthy growth. Most growers use special spectrum fluorescent lights for these early stages of plant growth. These can burn in the same kind of fixture you find at the hardware store, but the bulbs themselves provide more lumens of the correct growing spectrum than do ordinary hardware store bulbs. They are slightly more expensive, but they will result in a much helathier start for your plants. Click here to see the ones we carry.

Fluorescent lights should be placed no more than 6 inches above the dome. Some growers choose to use H.I.D. lights, but these should be hung higher up from the plants so as not to fry them (3, 4 feet away should do the trick.)

Most clones and seedlings benefit from 16 to 18 hours of light.

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  What kind of nutrient should I use for cloning and seed starting?
 

Olivia's, B'cuzz, InstaGreen, Or any diluted bloom solution (say 6-700 ppm). Kelp and Chitosan will promote root growth. and B1-Vitamin is great for repairing stress damage at transplant time and helping plants with a healthy start. SM-90 is also a great way to ensure healthy root growth, although it should not be used in conjunction with other products.

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  What temperature should I keep my clones at?
 

Keep seedlings in a well-ventilated, cool location. The temperatures should be about 70 to 75 degrees F in the air around the plants, but the bottom heat from the propagation mat should be supplying heat of about 80 degrees. Bottom heat encourages root growth. The humidity level should be kept at or near 90%. These conditions encourage compact, bushy, vigorous growth while minimizing disease.

Plants do require air circulation and your clones will benefit if you remove the dome once a day. Some folks say to leave it off for a few minutes each day, but we have found the trick is to turn it upside down and alow the hot air to escape. This airing will help to prevent disease.

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  How do I start seeds?
 

Sow very small seeds by sprinkling on top of the medium and pressing in. Use a fine mist of water to gently wash seed into the growing medium. Sow medium-size and larger seed in rows 1 to 2 inches apart, and 1/8 to 1/4 inches deep. If no depth is specified on the seed packet, use the general rule of planting the seed at a depth twice the diameter of the seed.

When sowing in a tray or flat, sowing in rows works better than simply scattering seed. planting in rows provides for better air circulation. Be careful not to plant seeds to thickly as when seedlings are crowded, they may become tall and spindly. (It's often said it is better to have several healthy plants than many spindly unhealthy ones.)

To avoid the need to transplant seedlings from a seed flat to pots, you may sow seeds directly into small rockwool cubes. Plant two or three seeds per cell or pot. When they germinate, remove the two less vigorous seedlings. The General Hydroponics Rockwool Starter Tray is a great choice for this kind of sowing.

You may use a variety of growing mediums to start seeds, but whatever you use, you'll want to keep it moist, not wet. You can do this by keeping the container inside of a plastic bag, or use a clear plastic dome over your tray. The idea is to keep the moisture in, but allow air exchange, so be sure to leave a little air opening. If you do this correctly, your seeds should not require any further watering until germination. Provide proper light and temperature conditions.

Once seedlings germinate, remove the container from the plastic bag. Place the container in a location that has high light intensity and cooler temperatures.

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What is the shelf life for Olivia's Root Clone?
Olivia's Root Clone says that the product is good for one year after being opened. As long as you have kept it in a cool dark place and haven't opened it then it should be good for over a year. If you open a bottle of any rooting solution and refridgerate it then it should be good for over a year. However if you have had a bottle sitting out for over a year better be safe then sorry and just toss it.
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