Cloning plants from cuttings

Cloning plants from cuttings for faster grows

Cloning plants is easy and works for most larger plants. Chilies, tomatoes, cannabis, mint, and tons more clone readily from cuttings and the process is the same in all cases.

We use this to propagate basil, mint, and cannabis when we need to do fast experiments on plants since this is much better than going from seed.

This article covers the easy method for doing cuttings. Stay tuned for more advanced articles on cloning.

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Prepare for taking a cutting

Setup for cloning plants includes cutting implements, a wet environment to clone, and optional rooting enhancersAcquire the following:

  • A clean, sharp, sanitized blade. Sterile scalpels are best, but I tend to use grain alcohol on a new, disposable pen-blade. Or scissors, if I’m lazy.
  • Peat pellets, or a jar with a rag big enough to stuff in the opening so that nothing gets into the water. The peat pellets need a wet environment to sit in, so a container they fit in with room around it will work great. I use 8Oz take-out containers for single plants.
  • A clear-ish cover where the clones will sit to trap humidity. Nursery humidity domes are probably your best bet, but I’ve definitely turned disposable, clear, plastic containers¬† upside-down – because, again, I’m cheap.
  • Water. Distilled or reverse osmosis water is preferred if your tap water is awful.
  • Optional: Cloning gel
  • Optional: Root enhancers like General Hydroponics RapidStart (works great, but holy $%^! it’s pricey), or Superthrive (garbage advertising and will almost certainly not do what it says on the bottle, but contains vitamin B1, and the rooting hormone NAA, so it’s what we need here).
  • Optional: A heating pad. Warmth makes the roots grow faster and develops more humidity.

Taking a cutting

A clean area, and tools greatly improves your chances of success. Ensure your

  • Get your clone water ready. Put 12Oz of water (3/4 cup) in a cup and add a couple drop or your rooting solution (RapidStart, Superthrive, or one of the many others out there) if you’re using it. If you’re going to clone in a jar, mix directly into a 16 Oz jar
  • If using peat pellets, setup the holding container and add the water you just made. They need to expand so cover them in water and let them expand. Keep about 1/4″ of water in the container for the duration of the rooting phase.
  • Find a good place on the mother plant. You to find a growth node with a few inches of stem beneath. Lower on the plant is better (it’s where the rooting hormone concentrates), but we’re going to dump a bunch of rooting hormone on it anyway, so not the end of the world if you take from higher on the plant.
  • Cut at an angle to sever the stem from the plant.
  • Immediately dip it in cloning gel to prevent air from getting in the remaining stem (called an embolism). If you get an embolism, your clone probably won’t take.
  • Stick that in your rooting media. For peat, just press it into the peat. For the jar, make sure the stem is at least an inch in the water (add more if you need to) and stuff the rag around the stem to hold the cutting upright
  • Cover with the humidity dome. If you need to cut the tips of the leaves to get it to fit, go for it. Avoid letting any plant part touch the dome; the plant could rot with that much direct moisture.
  • Keep the water level where it needs to be for a week or two and you will see roots.
  • When you see roots poke out of the peat, or they are an inch long in the water, you are ready to transplant.

Next steps

Once you’ve got the hang of cloning plants, you need to transplant them into their final location and grow them out. Check out our grow methods explainers and see which way you want to grow. Happy farming!

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6 years ago