For years commercial horticulturists have been taking advantage of the multiple advantages offered by asexual propagation. These advantages are now being reaped not only by the commercial growers but by hobbyists as well. One of the largest advantages of asexual propagation is the reduced time it takes for a plant to reach maturity or get to a sellable size. This has obvious advantages for the commercial grower but the advantages extend to the hobbyist as well. The faster the plants can reach maturity, the longer the hobbyist can literally enjoy the fruits of his or her labor. Asexual propagation also gives the gardener the ability to create identical replicas of the most prized plants. This can be especially advantageous for the vegetable grower who wishes to replicate the plants with desirable traits. The best tasting tomatoes or crispest cucumbers can be perpetually grown and cloned in a hobby greenhouse and enjoyed year after year. Aside from flavor and aroma, plants can be cloned to preserve other desirable traits like a heightened resistance to stress or disease. Cloning by taking cuttings is the most common asexual propagation technique used by the hobbyist.
This technique is very effective on a wide variety of plants and is also relatively easy to master. The process of cloning some varieties of plants may only consist of cutting a small branch off the plant and placing the stem in water. After a few days roots will begin to form and the plant can be transplanted into soil or another desired medium. The once part-of-a-plant becomes a plant itself; a genetic duplicate of its donor plant. Spider plants, wandering jew, and coleus are a few plants that clone very easily in straight water and with very little effort.
However, not all plants will root as easily as a coleus. Other plant varieties require a little more attention to obtain a high propagation success rate. These varieties usually root better with the aid of a rooting hormone and more precise control over temperature and humidity. Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and many other vegetable varieties clone best in a consistent environment. Geraniums, hibiscus, and some African Violet varieties will root much faster and at a higher percentage within a consistent environment. When cloning these more finicky plants, try to keep the temperature consistently between 72-85 degrees F, especially in the root zone. A seedling heat mat may be necessary to ensure a consistent temperature during the night hours. The optimal humidity for clones during the first stages of propagation is 80-100%. After the plants create their own roots they can be acclimated into the ambient humidity. Humidity domes placed over the propagation trays are a great way to control the higher humidity needs of clones and seedlings without affecting the ambient humidity of the greenhouse. Clones that are kept in a consistent environment will root faster and also have a higher overall success rate.
Tip for the Hobbyist
When taking a cutting off a plant, it is best to do so just above a node site (a site where a branch occurs). A 45 degree angle cut just above a node site is my preferred method for most soft stemmed plant varieties. After cutting, place the clone directly into a rooting compound or water. Not only does this method create healthy clones, it also promotes the donor plant to multiply its shoots.
What Is the Real Difference Between Hemp and CBD Oil?
Although they are similar in a few ways, you should know the main difference between Hemp and CBD Oil, particularly as a consumer. While purchasing CBD or Hemp products, you need to be sure you know exactly what you are getting, however with sites and organizations using the words interchangeably it may become complicated. Here is the easy-to-read CBD vs hemp oil guide, which will certainly make things a bit clearer.
What’s CBD Oil?
CBD means cannabidiol, and it is an organic and natural part of hemp, most of the oil is usually obtained from the stems, buds, and leaves of the plant which contains an important substance of cannabidiol. CBD oil is becoming highly sought after in the health care industry because it can easily be used for the treatment solution of different health conditions and contains a number of health advantages without the typical invigorating effects of cannabis.
What Are the Uses of CBD Oil?
The cannabidiol oil is actually abundant with CBD and low in THC, it’s perfect for those people looking for the healthcare benefits free of the psychoactive side effects. This oil can easily be used in the treatment solution of cancer malignancy and may work as an anti-inflammatory. On top of that, CBD oil has been proven to improve signs and symptoms in stress and anxiety, depressive disorders, neurodegenerative issues, and convulsions. It’s also used in the management of epilepsy.
What Exactly Is Hemp Oil?
Hemp oil, needless to say, originates from the hemp plant and it’s also obtained from the plant seeds which may contain as much as 50% of the weight in oil. Hemp oil can be produced from the seeds of any plant in the CBD family on the other hand industrial hemp is usually used for hemp oil.
What Are the Uses of Hemp Oil?
Simply because of its low level of unhealthy fats, hemp oil found the place in many kitchens. It’s always good for cooking, packed with vitamins and minerals and may add a crunchy and crazy taste to meals (It may act as a great green dressing). It’s also used as a primary ingredient in all sorts of products, from hair conditioners to soap, with producers making the most of its vitamin e antioxidant content.
What’s the Real Difference?
The most important difference between CBD and HEMP oil is usually the particular variety of plant that they’re produced from and exactly what part of the plant is used. Generally, hemp oil is made up of lower levels of CBD- “less than 30 parts for each million”- while CBD oil is usually as much as 15% CBD. Both oils have a place in day-to-day health practices, but it’s important to bear in mind they do have their variations.
Although CBD is proving itself to be a medicine with many uses and the scientific research to support it, hemp oil is usually packed with nutritional value, and it is making its way into the world as a good health supplement or food.
How To Start With Growing Cannabis Hydroponically
In the recent years we have witnessed the rise of cannabis industry. The plant species has finally received full recognition for its amazing qualities, and the research is still ongoing to find out more about its traits. As well as that, cannabis production is being seriously studied, and hydroponics seems to be one of the best ways for growing cannabis.
As the name suggests, hydroponics is all about water. The roots of the plants aren’t in the soil, but they rather take all the nutrients they need from the water. If you have limited space, hydroponics is extremely practical, as you can have more plants in this way. In case you haven’t got a green thumb, this method will provide you with big yields anyway. Cannabis grows faster with hydroponics, and some of the reasons are the absence of weeds (apart from the one you’re growing, of course), and less pests and disease. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Therefore, let’s see how it’s done.
There are several types of hydroponics systems: DWC (Deep Water Culture), Wicking, Drip, Ebb and Flow, Aeroponic and NFT (Nutrient Film Technique). The most recommendable for beginners is the DWC (Deep Water Culture), as it is the easiest for maintenance, i.e. it requires the minimum level of expertise and the least supply of materials.
For starters, you will need to fill up a reservoir with the nutrient solution, and then lower the pots with plants into it (roots should be in the liquid). The water also needs to have a constant air supply, which can be provided by a simple air pump and airstone for pumping bubbles (just like the one you use in aquariums). In this way, your plants’ roots won’t rot, as they will be getting the oxygen from water. But remember, your cannabis will also be getting nutrients from the air, too. As for the plants, it’s best if you “clone” them since you are just starting. That means you should get yourself some live plants instead of seeds in order for them to thrive.
To make sure everything runs smoothly, you will have to supervise the balance of nutrients and react promptly to any odd situations. For this purpose, use pH and PPM meters. The ideal pH value is 6.00, whereas the level of nutrients is measured by a PPM-EC or a PPM-TDS meter. If you have too many nutrients, that can destroy the plants. Too few, however, will result in them dying. There are plenty of really good nutrients out there, and you can expect for more cannabis hydroponics products to emerge bearing in mind the current situation. Globally, cannabis market is expanding and the industry is simply blooming as we speak. For example, it is estimated to be worth over $30 billion by 2021.
Your cannabis cannot grow without some proper lighting, too. Professionals are more and more turning to full spectrum LED lights as they use less electricity. In addition, they give away less heat. You have to be very wary about the timing, though. Make sure you strictly follow the instructions for the light cycles. Depending on the growth phase, you will have to adjust the lights accordingly. For instance, simply by switching to a different light cycle (12 hours of light followed by 12 hours of darkness), you will entice the flowering phase.
With hydroponics or not, you still have to pay special attention to harvesting. Doing it at the right moment will enable you to gain the maximum amount of active substances. Therefore, monitor your plants and wait for those big, fat buds to appear. For the biggest level of THC, wait till the trichomes start to cover the bud in the last week of the flowering phase. Fully developed look like small crystals, and they are a sure sign it’s harvest time.
Finally, get ready for drying and curing.
As for the equipment required for hydroponic growing of cannabis, apart from the reservoir, air pump, meters and light we have already mentioned, you are going to need a lot of other things, too, but they can be easily found: ventilation and oscillating fans, timers, temperature gauge, odor control filters, dry nets, dehumidifier, scissors and a magnifying glass. Once you start growing cannabis with hydroponics, it is most probable you will never go back to the old-fashioned way. It’s easy, and it guarantees bigger crops. Some effort is needed, of course, but much less in comparison to the traditional method.
Tips To Help You Grow Good Quality Medicinal Cannabis
Cannabis is highly profitable for both the farmers and the entrepreneurs. This is due to numerous medicinal benefits of the plants. This article will guide on how to produce high-quality cannabis plants. Growing this plant is pretty easy, anyone can do it. However, growing the high-quality plant is tough. Here are ways to grow high-quality cannabis plant:
1. Consult First
In most countries, marijuana is considered a drug that has no medicinal value. Before you start growing the plant, you need to ensure that the plant is legal for planting and use in your country.
2. Quality Seeds
Just like any other crop, the quality of the plant is determined by the quality of the seeds planted. Ensure that you legally buy the planting seeds. Consider the reliable places like CBD Flower USA when buying the seeds. Although every cannabis farmer has their own desires for the crops, you should always to get high-quality seeds. For example, if you want to get plants with a high concentration of CBD, for medicinal purposes then look for seeds that have the genetics for producing high CBD. The type of genetics you pick also depends on the climatic conditions for it to do well.
3. Avoid Using Clones
Growing your crops using clones is a risky affair. This is because, with clones, you cannot really tell the quality of the mother plant. The clones will produce the exact genetic traits of the mother plant. Unless you are really sure of the genetic traits of the clones you are planting, then avoid using them. Additionally, if the clones are from an area with different climatic conditions, it will take a lot of time to adjust in the new environment.
4. You Have To Invest Time And Money
Ensure you have enough capital and time to grow this plant. You can hire specialists to help you grow the crop. A high-quality medicinal cannabis should have a lot of terpenes and cannabinoids. This is why you need the specialists to ensure that the plants have the right temperature, airflow, and humidity.
5. Quality Soil
Every plant needs the right amount of nutrients in the soil to thrive and give high-quality produce. You can apply manure to the soil if it does not meet the nutritional requirements for growing the plant.
6. Control TheGrowing Environment
This is important if you are growing the plant in the greenhouse or indoors. Make sure that the temperatures are not too high or too low. Control and regulate the humidity for the well-being of the crops. The plant will require more humid during the vegetative stage and less humid during the flowering and fruiting stage.
With proper knowledge, growing the cannabis plant is easy. Ensure that you meet all legal requirements to avoid getting in trouble with the law. Get the necessary licensing for growing cannabis.
Cannabis Anatomy and Growth Tips
Cannabis or more typically known as weed is the hottest item on the market right now. Since its legalization, the product has become one of the most demanded commodities around countless states. Cannabis growth was declared a criminal act and therefore, the wisdom regarding it couldn’t be passed on. But the experts and experienced folk can let us all into a few secrets regarding cannabis growth that can help potential businesspeople be successful in growing great cannabis.
Making Sure You Know the Product:
It is the first rule of business to know your product. You need to be able to tell how your product is and what it takes for it to be at the best of what it can be. In this case, you should consider monitoring the cannabis plants closely and observe for every change in their growth patterns. Of course, not everyone can be an expert with plants but there are ways you can tell whether or not your weed is growing great.
Seeds of Marijuana You Need to Know of:
There are a lot of famous strains of weed that are the result of careful growth. Different sorts of seeds result in different strains and as the growth environment changes, it also has an effect on the strain. Here are some of the common seeds of marijuana in the market that everybody should know of:
- Northern Light Automatic
- Special Queen 1
- Royal Dwarf
- White Widow
- Amnesia Haze
Plant Structure and Cycle:
Cannabis plants are usually identifiable with 3 types of leaves. They are Sativa, Indica and Ruderalis. What weed plants need to grow is a room with a temperature of 24-30 degrees Celsius and just enough water on a regular basis that is not too acidic.
Weed growth usually starts at the germination of seeds in the ground. 2-3 weeks later, a seedling sprouts up. This is when it requires a significant amount of time inthe light. After 8 weeks, it becomes a vegetative plant that should be separated from its female counterparts to avoid producing seeds instead of trichomes. When the plant comes to a flowering stage, reduce the light. After that, all that’s left is harvesting the plant.
Leaf Septoria is an infestation in plants that can be mistaken for a more common and less-critical growth problem. It’s actually developed by a fungus that appears in the form of spores at first. This is usually observed when the leaves start developing yellow spots followed by brown and yellowing of the foliage. This kind of microorganisms can destroy the whole crop quickly if serious care is not supervised.
You can find a lot of reviews like mSpy reviews and cannabis professionals to explain in detail how you can deal with problems and monitoring situations. Beyond that, it’s all about how much you can care for your plant to help it grow to its maximum potential.
10 Must Know Facts for the Cannabis Beginner
If you are at the beginning of your wonderful journey into the universe of cannabis, welcome. There is a lot going for cannabis; there is a good reason literally hundreds of millions of people do it. But there are a few things it is good to know before you begin, so relax, put the doobie down and follow us through.
- The first thing you have to know if you are getting into cannabis is whether it is illegal in your country. Get to know the law and try not to break it. Happily for everyone, cannabis is becoming legalized across the world, if very slowly. Ignorance is no excuse in the law, so if it is illegal and you get caught doing it, saying you didn’t know won’t help you. The best assumption is that it is illegal until you can find out for sure. Go from there, be safe.
- Cannabis can screw you up. It is a drug, and like any drug, if you take too much of it, it will harm you. For young people, males in particular, there is a risk of triggering schizophrenia and psychosis. This is generally through heavy use but even a little can have long-lasting effects on the mind. It also affects memory and reasoning skills; heavy use might knock a few IQ points off if you take lots of it over a long period.
- A little goes a long way. If you are starting out eating/smoking/vaping weed, you probably won’t be able to keep up with your friends who have been smoking it longer. Modern weed is strong, it has been bred to have high concentrations of THC and other delicious cannabinoids, so chill out, have a little and see how you feel. Weed is meant to be enjoyed or used as a medicine, so if it isn’t helping you or you aren’t enjoying the effects, don’t do it.
- Most of what you read about medical cannabis is probably wrong. The studies into the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis are unfortunately small and not very representative. It is hard for solid conclusions to be drawn about long-term risks and the actual way cannabis works because it has not been studied very much. This is because of the continued prohibition of cannabis around the world.
- Medical cannabis can help with immune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s and MS. Other benefits include relieving nauseated chemotherapy and AIDS patients, helping to increase the appetite of people with eating disorders like anorexia, can help treat schizophrenia (not just trigger it) and PTSD, is effective against neurological pain and some forms of cancer. Bear in mind that those benefits are only just better understood than anecdotal evidence as the science is in general pretty terrible.
- CBD, or cannabinol, does not get you high but can have some cool benefits. It is the part of cannabis that seems to help with mood, epilepsy, some forms of autism, psychosis, eating and even breast cancer. It is early days to know exactly what it does and how it does it, but CBD appears to be something of a wonder drug, if you are to believe the hype. Certainly, the initial results of trials show it is safe, non-toxic, non-psychoactive and particularly effective as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
- Regardless of what governments like to say, cannabis is one of the safest drugs known to humanity. Nobody has ever died from taking it (it is essentially impossible to overdose on cannabis), long term use is associated with some cognitive deficits, and if you smoke it, it can give you cancer (not nearly as badly as tobacco). Humans have been smoking dope for at least 3,000 years and there have been few negative effects, especially when compared to alcohol and tobacco.
- Start by vaping or eating it. Cannabis when eaten takes longer to start having effects, and can be a much gentler and enjoyable experience. Vaping is just much better than smoking, so if you can avoid smoking anything, that is obviously a benefit. When eating, be very sure you know your dose. Start small and give it at least an hour before you take any more, or you might end up in the hilariously unfortunate position of having taken a double dose when one was good enough. This is funny for everybody else, but not necessarily for you.
- You don’t need all the gear. A cheap vape and a good grinder will do to begin with, alongside some excellent ganja, of course. The grinder will make cooking and vaping your dope much more consistent and enjoyable, and the vape will stop you from having to bong or smoke it in a joint, both habits well worth avoiding. Try get a vape with a few temperature settings and a good battery life, it will pay for itself.
- Untaxed marijuana funds cartels and organised crime. When countries make cannabis illegal, it pushes the production into the hands of criminals, who use that money to invest in their other criminal enterprises. These include human trafficking, prostitution, extortion and murder. When it is taxed and regulated, the revenues of cartels criminal outfits are significantly reduced and the amount of violence and organized crime in a regulated area drops. If you are buying weed that you don’t know where it comes from in a country where it is illegal, there is a chance it was grown by slaves and the profits will be used by gangsters. Ethically, cannabis can be a terrible choice to make. The case for legalization had been made when they first prohibited it, but now the evidence is overwhelming for the legalization and regulation of cannabis being both a benefit to the government and to society as a whole. The UK estimates it can raise up to £1 billion a year through taxing cannabis but the government refuses to decriminalize or legalize it, against popular support.
Tips for Cloning Success
Most of these tips will work for traditional cuttings as well as hydroponic cloning.
Select the plant you plan to clone. Select only plants that are in good health and are at least two months old. New growth is best if it’s available, however, any healthy stem with at least two or three healthy sets of leaves will work. Only take cuttings from well hydrated plants. Plants that are dry will not perform as well as cuttings.
Hygiene cannot be stressed enough. Disease, fungus and viruses spread quickly and are a primary cause of failure. Luckily, a few easy steps will ensure healthy cuttings. It may be tempting to skip the cleaning steps, but you will be rewarded with quick healthy cuttings by spending a few extra seconds.
- Gather your tools: A sharp craft knife or razor blade, cutting shears, container with water, rooting hormone, clean cutting mat, cloning system.
- Prepare the water bath in the cloner. Measure nutrients carefully.
- Select a 2”-3” stem of plant, ideally with new growth. (Note: fall is the ideal time to find new growth, but cuttings will work in spring) cut below the intersection of leaves on the stem. Immediately place cutting into water until you are ready to process all cuttings.
- Remove lower leaves by carefully slicing them at the stem. Leave several leaves at the top of the stem. If leaves are too large for the cloning space, cut then lengthwise.
- Place cutting on a clean cutting mat. Sterilize blade with alcohol and carefully cut the stem diagonally at a 45° angle to expose as much of the plant’s cambium as possible. Be careful not to crush any tissues. Dip knife in alcohol between each cutting.
- Place a small amount of rooting hormone in a small Dixie cup or small glass and dip cutting into hormone. Do not dip the cutting directly into main container to avoid contamination. Throw the excess compound away; do not add back to the original container. Note: Commercial growers typically use liquid rooting hormone because the plant absorbs the liquid faster than the powder.
- Secure the cutting in the basket and place in cloner.
Check your cuttings frequently. In a few days you will start to see nodes forming just prior to root development. Change the water once a week or per the manufacturer’s instructions. Once roots are formed, transplant into 4” pots. Placing them in a cool greenhouse with bottom heat will encourage healthy root growth while keeping top growth compact and healthy.
A Consistent Environment is a Key Factor in Successful Plant Propagation
Although germination and rooting techniques vary depending on the specific plant species, there are some general guidelines that can be followed for propagating the majority of greenhouse ornamentals and vegetable plants.
From Seed (Sexual Propagation)
A plant started from seed receives its genetics in a manner similar to the way humans receive genetics. Just as we are made up of a combination of our father and mother, a plant started from seed is made from the genetics of its father and mother. As with humans, some traits can skip generations and there is no guarantee that a plant started from seed will inherit specific traits from its mother or father. This is the main reason the majority of commercial plant propagation is done by clone or tissue culture. Starting from seed is unpredictable but it is also a chance to start a completely unique plant that will add more biodiversity to our wonderful planet.
Temperature and Humidity for Starting Seeds
Germination is the process in which the plant emerges from the seed to start its life. For most plants germination is best done in a very moist (high humidity) environment at a reasonably warm temperature, usually around 75-85 degrees F (the exception to this would be seeds that are generally planted in early spring when the ground temperature is much cooler). Propagation trays with humidity domes are great for starting seeds because they create a microclimate that is more easily controlled. Seeds can be placed directly into a moist medium in the tray and covered with the humidity dome. If the environment is not at least 75 degrees F consistently, it is advised to place a seedling heat mat under the tray to keep a constant temperature. Plants, in general, respond better to consistency and this is especially true with seeds or clones. Keep the top portion of the medium moist until all of the seeds have sprouted. Once the seedlings have broken the surface, lift the dome off periodically to bring in fresh air and also acclimate the seedlings to the lower humidity of the environment. Slowly increase the amount of time each day the dome is removed until it is removed entirely. Most varieties of plants can be acclimated in a matter of a few days. Follow the seed packet’s instructions for thinning, spacing, and transplanting.
Another popular germination method is the wet paper towel technique. Place your seeds in a damp paper towel and fold the paper towel over the seeds. Put the paper towel in a ziplock bag and place it on top of your refrigerator (toward the back; this keeps the seeds at a consistent temperature). Check daily by gently unfolding the paper towel to examine the seeds. Keep the paper towel moist; adding water if necessary. In a few days you should see the first root coming out of the seed (radicle root). Gently, using a tweezers if necessary, place the seed into the soil with the radicle root facing downward. Cover the seed and keep the top layer of soil moist until the plant breaks the soil’s surface. The paper towel technique is a fun way to teach children how plants start from seeds. This technique works best with larger seeds (melons, cucumbers, squash, corn, sunflower, etc.). Most smaller seeds, such as lettuce, are best planted directly into the soil.
From Clone (Asexual Propagation)
Starting a plant from a donor or mother plant is a form of cloning or asexual propagation. Some plants naturally propagate themselves this way; a good example is the inch plant (wandering jew). Cloning has become the most popular method among commercial growers because the offspring are identical to the donor plant so the growers know exactly what they are going to get. It also allows the gardener to replicate plants with desirable qualities such as a certain fragrance, color, resistance to pathogens, or any other trait that could be deemed as beneficial.
There are two popular types of cloning techniques: cuttings and tissue culture. Hobbyist gardeners generally take cuttings to replicate their favorite plants because tissue culture is a more involved process that requires special equipment. African violets, pothos, gardenia, crepe myrtle, cyperus, geranium, wandering jew, coleus, impatiens, spider plants and hibiscus are all easily propagated by cutting. Many vegetables, including peppers, tomatoes, cucumber and squash, can also be propagated by cutting. Some vegetables, like cabbage, can be cloned via their root. Although there is a slight variance in cloning techniques (depending on plant species) the majority of the focus should be on environmental conditions as they are usually the determining factor in cloning success.
Temperature for Cloning
Like plants started from seed, plants propagated from cuttings respond best to consistent temperatures. Ideally the root zone (or potential root zone) is kept at a temperature of 75-85 degrees F. If the environment where the clones are kept has fluctuating temperatures it is best to utilize a heat mat or heat cables to rectify this problem and maintain consistent temperatures. For most species of plants, if temperatures are too low or continually fluctuate below the desired range, the plants enter what I refer to as a state of suspended animation. In other words, they remain green and healthy looking but fail to create roots or carry out any vital functions needed to stimulate new growth. Eventually these clones will die without ever creating a root.
In cases where humidity levels are high and temperatures are low a cutting or seedling will dampen off. Damping off is a horticultural disease caused by pathogenic microorganisms which destroy a seedling or cutting before it has a chance to grow. On the other end of the spectrum, clones that are kept in temperature ranges above the desired range will commonly wilt or rot and turn into mush long before they develop a new root zone. An inexpensive digital thermometer is a great way to monitor the temperature of the root zone. Make sure to monitor the temperature during the coldest and hottest points of the day to ensure you stay within the desired range even when the atmospheric conditions are the most volatile.
Humidity for Cloning
Humidity levels for cuttings should be kept high for at least the first few days. Although they are not yet established plants, cuttings still transpire moisture through their stomata and without the ability to absorb replacement moisture through a root zone a cutting can quickly wilt in lower humidity environments. Ideally, the humidity level for cuttings should be kept at 80-100% for the first few days. Humidity domes, plastic bags, or any way you can temporarily enclose the cuttings to retain a high humidity environment will suffice. I prefer the humidity domes sold at local gardening centers because they make it very easy to acclimate the plants to their future environment.
After you take your cuttings, lightly spray the inside of the humidity dome with water and place it on the tray. In the subsequent days remove the humidity dome for a few minutes each day to give the cuttings some fresh air; very similarly to the way you would acclimate seedlings. After four days, you can incrementally increase the amount of time you remove the dome each day until the cuttings are completely acclimated to their environment. Although some plant species are more finicky than others, generally speaking, the cuttings will have created their own roots in 7-14 days and at that time should be completely acclimated to the environment.
Seedlings and cuttings are more sensitive, not only to environmental conditions but also to pests and pathogenic microorganisms, than adult plants. Before planting seeds or taking cuttings completely sterilize all the equipment you plan on using. Diluted bleach or hydrogen peroxide are great ways to effectively sterilize your propagation equipment before each use. Make sure the medium you choose is sterile as well. Prepackaged propagation mediums offer the peace of mind of a sterilized medium and ensure the seedlings or cuttings aren’t being placed in a compromised medium.
There are many products on the market designed to aid the propagation process. Rooting hormones, seedling heat mats, aeroponic clone machines, humidity domes, sterile disposable scalpels and numerous prepackaged mediums are all products that can help achieve successful propagation. Just remember, there is no magic product that will automatically guarantee propagation success. These products teamed with sound environmental conditions are the keys to thriving seedlings and clones. Stable environmental conditions are the foundation for making any aspect of greenhouse gardening flourish and propagation is no different.
A Stable Atmosphere Equals More Success with Plant Clones
Unstable atmospheric conditions may be the biggest cause of failure in cloning by novice gardeners. Some plant varieties are resilient and will not be adversely affected by large temperature or humidity swings. However, many plant varieties require uniform atmospheric conditions during the initial rooting stage.
A temperature range of 70-80 degrees F for clones is generally accepted. If this is not possible in your greenhouse or indoor garden it may be necessary to create a small sub-climate elsewhere. Uniform temperature is probably the single largest factor for cloning success. If the temperature gets too hot, the clones will wilt and die before creating roots and if the temperature gets too cold, the clones will enter a state of suspended animation and never create the root systems they need to become individual plants.
Seedling heat mats are a great way for horticulturists to maintain the proper temperature during the cloning process. Humidity is also a large contributing factor to successful cloning. Many plant varieties do best with a high humidity (80-99%) during the beginning stages of cloning.
The cutting, once removed from the donor plant, has no root system to bring in moisture. It is, however, able to lose moisture through the surface of its leaves. This makes the cutting rely heavily on the moisture in the surrounding air to maintain health, especially for the first few days. Humidity domes or humidity chambers are great ways for a gardener to maintain a higher level of humidity for the initial stages of cloning. Generally speaking, it is a good idea to acclimate the clone to the ambient humidity after three to seven days. This can be done by taking off the humidity dome each day for a few minutes and then increasing the duration of removal each day.
What to do With a Fresh Cutting
After selecting, inspecting, and preparing the donor plant, a gardener may begin taking cuttings. Generally speaking, it is best to make a 45 degree angle cut just above a node site (the place where a leaf or branch attaches to the main stem). There are some varieties of plants that create roots very easily. Those plants can be placed directly into a cup of water after being cut from the donor plant. For example, spider plants, wandering jew, and coleus can all be easily rooted in a cup of water. However, some plant varieties need a little extra care to ensure rooting success. For these plants it may be necessary to use a rooting hormone or cloning gel. These products aid in speeding up the cloning process by immediately providing the cutting with the hormones necessary for root production. When using a rooting hormone or cloning gel, the freshly cut end should be dipped into the hormone right after it has been taken from the donor plant. After dipping the cutting, it can be placed into the chosen medium.
Some plants can be rooted directly in water and do not require a special medium for rooting. Many plant varieties clone best when placed in some sort of inert grow medium designed for root development. Stonewool, coco fiber, peat moss, perlite and clay pebbles are all examples of inert media that gardeners commonly use to root clones. Some gardeners even choose to place the freshly cut clones into a light soil mix for rooting. In many ways the medium chosen is personal preference. As long as the medium has the ability to hold some moisture and provide oxygen to the developing roots, it will work just fine. Nutrition is not as important in the medium during the early stages of root development. In fact, soils rich in nutrients (especially high nitrogen soils) can slow or inhibit early root development. Most gardeners use no fertilizers during the cloning process; although I have had more than a few people swear by using a very diluted blooming fertilizer (less nitrogen) until the clone has developed a healthy root system.
Selecting a Donor Plant for Plant Cuttings
One of the most important aspects of cloning by taking cuttings is selecting an appropriate donor plant. The idea is to select a plant variety that has the traits a grower wishes to replicate. However, it is also very important to select a donor plant that is in good health. If the donor plant has diseases, pest insects, or other pathogens chances are good that any clones taken from that plant will have those same problems. Always inspect a potential donor plant carefully before taking cuttings.
Once a donor plant is selected, it can be prepared for the cloning procedure. One technique that helps to increase cloning success rates is to limit the donor plant’s exposure to intense light for 24 hours prior to taking clones. The plant does not need to be moved into complete darkness. Moving the donor plant to a shaded section of the greenhouse or removing the plant from direct horticultural lighting will help to prepare the plant for cloning purposes. It is also important that the donor plant is not showing any signs of environmental stress. In other words, it is not wise to take clones from a donor plant that is wilted due to heat or lack of water. If possible, try to make sure the donor plant is at the highest level of health before taking clones.