Some say it can’t be done.
I say I’ve done it time and time again, and in this article, I’m going to walk you through the steps and the materials needed to take cuttings from a mother (or any other vegetative) plant, prepare them for rooting, and get healthy roots big enough for transplanting in 7 days, or less!
With the right set up, conditions, and care, you can get your cuttings to have plant-able roots in one week or less. We will cover what you need to do after you get those healthy roots in the next article, so be sure to follow along.
Here is a list of the items needed to get started:
- Clonex Cloning Gel
- Clonex Cloning Solution
- Clone King 25 and 36 place clone machine
- Nitrile gloves
- Clean/New razor blade
- Clean and sharp pruning scissors
- 2 solo cups
To begin, you will select the plant you are taking the cuttings from. This can be a mother plant, or any plant you desire from your garden as long as it is not flowering. Clones carry on the traits of the plant they were cut from, so a mother plant is one you’ve chosen to keep and cut clones from to continue on her specific traits. This is the desirable way to ensure that you grow with good genetics time after time.
The first step is to clean! Everything must be clean, before every new round of clones. Clean your cloning machine thoroughly, inside and out, top and bottom. I do this by filling it with hot water and a small amount (less than a cap full) of bleach, then running it through the water pump and spray heads for 5 minutes. Ensure that all spray heads are spraying water evenly and covering the underside of the clone tray. Sometimes roots will grow into the spray heads, so you may need to take the spray heads off and clean with a small fine brush or a paper clip. After this is done, empty the machine and refill with plain hot water, running for another 5 minutes. Complete this process 2 times in total to ensure you get rid of that bleach. Cleanliness is KEY to success in cloning.
Once your machine is entirely clean, including the clone tray and foam sleeves that the clones will be placed in, fill the tub with 80 degree water along with 40-50 ml of the cloning solution (or follow directions on bottle for your particular set up). Ph balance the mixture to 6.0. Next, get a small dish, or the underside of a solo cup) and place a quarter size dollop of cloning gel to get started (you can always add more if necessary). Ensure your razor blade and scissors are clean – remember, cleanliness is the key to success! Take a solo cup full of the warm water from inside your cloning machine – this will be used as a place for the clones to hang out after cutting it from the mother plant.
Once you have all your workspace clean and prepared, it’s time to start cutting. First, select a nice branch to
cut – one that’s at least 8” from the main stalk, not too thin and not too thick or “woody”. With cannabis, it’s preferred to cut your clones from the bottom portion of the plant whenever possible. I personally have never noticed a difference where I take a cutting from, they all grow roots, but “they” say the hormones are better on the bottom half of the plant. You want to be able to take at least a 6 inch cutting, so pick a good sized branch. This will translate into a good clone, and a good young plant that will be healthier when it transplants into the solo cup and ultimately your larger pot. Hold the branch steady in one hand, and use your scissors to cut all the nodes/leaves from the branch down about the suggested 6 inches (or longer if desired) leaving just the very top growth plus 1 node/leaf below the top.
Your branch should now be clean, except the very top leaves. Now, snip just the tips of the remaining leaves off. This stops further growth of the leaves and directs energy into growing roots.
The last step is to cut the branch with the razor, directly above the growth you intend to leave on the plant, always at an angle.
Place the cutting directly into the solo cup of cloning solution mixture that you’ve gotten ready for this purpose. DO NOT DELAY! It’s critical
for the survival of the cutting to get into water quickly, and remain there whenever possible. Too much air exposure can create air bubbles in the root zone, delaying or prohibiting root production.
After you’ve gotten all the cuttings you want from this plant in the described manner, it’s time to get them into the machine. Please ensure your machine is plugged in and water is spraying on the
underside of the foam sleeves. With the cloning gel on a small dish next to your solo cup of cuttings and your cloning machine, you are ready to start turning the cuttings into clones.
With the same clean razor blade, you will select one cutting from the cup, remove it and flip it upside down, so the cut end is now in your hand. With the razor blade, you will carefully splice the end of the stem into 4 quarters about an inch deep, creating a lot more surface area for roots to grow from. Do this quickly, and when complete, return the cutting to the same cup of water.
Next, with your other hand, get the foam sleeve from the cloning machine ready. Remove the cutting from the cup, cover the spliced end with cloning gel, and then place into the machine.
Wash, rinse, and repeat process with all cuttings until machine is full.
PRO TIP: Whenever placing or removing cuttings from the cup, give them a little shake to rid of any air bubbles.
Usually within 5 days I have roots, and within 7 I’m ready to transplant into solo cups. But, there are a few things to do along the way to ensure success:
- Keep the water in the machines warm. At least 75, even 80. I use a seedling heat mat with the thermometer in the water, whenever it’s cold. Keeping the area around the machine warm too is helpful, but not as key as the water temp.
- Get some ph’d water (6.2 or so) in a spray bottle and spray the tops of the clones morning and night. The more often the better.
- Get some quality fluorescent lighting above your clones, about 8 inches away. They are just like your plants – they need food, light, and water to thrive.
- When checking water levels, or for roots, do so quickly. Light is the enemy of roots, plus you get sprayed with water every time. Also, ensure that the water is foamy/frothy/bubbly. I’ve found the few times that mine was not, clones took a lot longer, and I was always short on cloning solution in the water. If this happens, add extra solution to separate water, ph to 6.0, then add to machine. This should do the trick.
Once you get roots, they grow quick so monitor daily. There is no need to have foot long roots, but no harm in them either. When the roots are only a few inches long, they are ready to get out of the machine and you are ready for our next article on transplanting!
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