Consider cloning your high value crops from mother plants instead of seeds. This results in an early harvest of buds and above all, you can skip the germination process which takes considerable amount of time. The strain you develop will undoubtedly be of superior quality because you will be selecting the mother plants with only good genetics. Let us go through the steps on ‘How to Clone high-value crops’.
Before you clone your plants, you need to have these things ready viz. a pair of scissors, a razor or blade (sharp and new), water, conversion lights, rooting hormone (powder or gel), growing medium (rock wool, coco fiber, vermiculite and perlite mix, etc.), trays, spray bottle and of course the mother plant. Decide the cloning area and then proceed with cloning.
1. Choose the Mother Plant
Choose a strong, healthy, disease-free mother plant with good genetics and growth. It could be at least two months old and in the stage between vegetative and flowering.
2. Set up the Cloning Area
Clean and disinfect the work area with alcohol. Make sure the tools like razors, scissors, and other equipment are also sterilized. Adjust the humidity and temperature of the grow room. Set up the lights (usually HPS or MH) and fix the light cycle. Install fans for air circulation and use a CO2 generator for the additional supply of CO2 gas. Also, prepare the rooting solution with the hormone following the instructions mentioned on the label. Remember the points below:
- Maintain the temperature between 72 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit for maximum root growth
- Keep the lights on for 18 hrs or 24 hrs a day
- Keep the cuttings at a distance of 4-6 feet and 2-3 feet away from a 1000 and 400-watt bulb, respectively
3. Prepare the Growing Media
The easy choice for growing mediums are rock wool, perlite and vermiculite mix and coco fiber. Fill the cloning trays with growing media and pre-soak in pH balanced water before transferring the cuttings. Use distilled water for this purpose and maintain the pH in the range of 5.5 to 6.5. Now make holes of the size of the stems in the top of the growing medium to insert the cuttings.
4. Take Cuttings
Rub your hands with alcohol before you take cuttings from the mother plants. Look for a growing tip of the plant, i.e. 3”-6” long with at least one leaf internode. Snip off one or two leaves from the lower end of the stem with the sterilized blade. Now make an incision at an angle of 45-60 degrees from the point where you trimmed the leaves.
5. Dip in Rooting Solution/Gel
Immediately insert the cutting into the rooting hormone. Soak for 30-60 seconds. If it’s a rooting gel, you can just dip and remove. Follow the instructions explained on the products.
6. Transfer to Growing Medium
Take out the cuttings from the rooting medium and insert into the growing medium very carefully. Make sure that cut site is in proper contact with the growing medium. Your clones will now grow in the tray till they begin rooting. You can mist them with a spray bottle. Water the cuttings every two days and make sure that the growing medium is adequately wet (neither too dry nor too wet).
Cloning needs to be done with care and precision. An important thing is – maintaining sterile conditions throughout to avoid fungus and bacterial attack. It takes about a week for rooting and once you observe fully developed roots you can further transfer the cuttings to a full-fledged hydroponic system with all viable conditions.
In our next article, we shall cover ‘How to select mother clones and its characteristics’. Stay tuned for more updates from our end. Meanwhile, drop your comments or contact us if you have any queries to enhance your plant growth rate. We are happy to help you as always.