Hydroponic cloning is a vital process that transfers the favorable genes of a mother plant into a clone. Cloning is used by plant breeders, farmers, and home gardeners alike. If you have a huge plant that’s done very well, you may want to consider cloning it!
Read on to learn everything you need to know about hydroponic cloning.
Why is hydroponic cloning important?
Hydroponic cloning is important because it’s the best way to pass favorable plant genes onto the next generation of plants.
Clones have exactly the same genetic material as their mother plant. While seeds are in the same ballpark, clones are the only way to guarantee an exact replica.
This comes in handy when you’re breeding plants and found a characteristic that you want to keep. It’s also a great way for farmers to pass on the genes of their healthiest plants.
Even if you’re just a gardener, you probably have a favorite plant that you wouldn’t mind having a replica of.
So let’s talk about how to clone hydroponic plants!
Hydroponic cloning step-by-step process?
First, identify the mother plant you want to be working with. The mother plant should be the healthiest out of all your plants, or perhaps one with a unique trait that you would like to keep.
This is important- cut right beneath a node! Nodes are little bumps where roots like to grow. Most plants have noticeable nodes, but if you don’t know what they look like, it’s easy enough to look it up.
Make sure your cutting is 4-5 inches long.
Trim all the leaves where your cutting will be in the water, leaving a few at the top for photosynthesis.
Dip the cut part of your clone in cloning powder or gel. Some people like to use a spoon to apply the rooting hormone in order to avoid contamination.
Now put your clone in some water and you’re all set!
Important things to get hydroponic cloning right.
It’s important to be armed with as much information as possible when cloning a hydroponic plant. So let’s discuss what you need to know in order to get hydroponic cloning right!
You can buy a cloning machine or make a cloning box, but unless you’re working with a large number of clones it’s not necessary.
Simple equipment that you definitely need includes:
- Sharp shears or another sterile cutting tool
- A healthy mother plant
- A hydroponic system or cup with water
- Rooting hormone
- Liquid fertilizer
So long as you’re not going crazy with your clones, you shouldn’t need more than that!
Mother plant health
The health of the mother plant is one of the most important aspects of cloning, if not THE most important. Why would you take a clone of an unhealthy plant?
The purpose of cloning is to create a splitting-image genetic replica of your mother plant. This means you want to pass along favorable genes, hence choosing an excellent mum plant.
Nutrient solutions are vital in hydroponic systems, for obvious reasons. Your plants aren’t getting any nutrients from soil! If you want healthy plants, you need to provide the right nutrients.
Let’s talk about how and when to give nutrients to plant clones.
When should I start giving my clones nutrients?
Start giving your plant clones nutrients when they show signs of developing roots. Otherwise, they have no way to intake the nutrients anyway!
Start at one-quarter strength and increase to one-half strength as roots and vegetation begin to grow larger.
Although it may seem extreme, clones do best with a high humidity their first day- as high as 100%!
This keeps moisture in the cutting and prevents it from withering.
In addition, since there is no root system yet, it’s important for your cutting to be able to absorb moisture from the air in the meantime.
You can lower the humidity by 5% each week during the vegetative stage.
Your clones won’t thrive if they’re not at the right temperature. To add even more to your plate, the recommended root area temperature differs from the ambient air temperature.
Time to dive a little deeper.
The recommended air temperature for hydroponic cuttings doesn’t differ much from the air temperature preferred by most hydroponic plants. Keep your air temperature between 72 and 78 degrees F.
Root area temperature
During hydroponic cloning, it helps to have a root area temperature that’s higher than the air temperature. Root area temperature can range up to 80 degrees F! Heating pads help with this.
Just be sure not to go so high that oxygen gets starved out of the roots.
Hydroponic clones don’t like intense light. HIDs probably aren’t your best option during this stage.
Although they may not like intense light, clones do like a lot of light. 18 hours of light with 6 hours of darkness in between is a good cycle for hydroponic clones.
How do you use hydroponic clones?
You use hydroponic clones the same way you would use any other hydroponic plant!
As discussed earlier, clones are often produced when someone is breeding plants and finds a desirable trait.
Clones are also common if you have a large, healthy mother plant whose genetics you want to duplicate.
Hydroponic clones allow you to essentially copy a mother plant, for whatever reason you may want to do that!
How long does it take to clone a plant?
It takes anywhere between a week and a month for roots to start forming on a plant cutting. Don’t be worried if roots don’t show up right away- be patient and let nature do its thing!
How to tell if clones are rooting?
You can tell if clones are rooting when you see little white roots growing out of the node. It’s important to take a cutting at the node so roots can form.
Can you grow cuttings in hydroponics?
You can grow cuttings in hydroponics. In fact, most people clone plants hydroponically even if they don’t realize it! When you take a cutting and put it in water to root, you’re growing a cutting hydroponically.
How do you make a clone plant?
To make a clone plant, take a cutting of a healthy mother plant. Make sure the cutting is right below a node so roots can form. Use rooting hormone and then put your cutting in a glass of water or directly into your hydroponic system.
How much should you water clones?
Add water to your clones if you notice that the water level is dropping. Water levels drop if your clone is uptaking the water or if water is evaporating. It’s important to keep a consistent water level.
Can you clone from a leaf?
Some plants can be cloned from a leaf, but not all. Clone from a leaf the same way you would clone from any other cutting.
Can I clone a plant without rooting hormone?
You can clone a plant without rooting hormone. That being said, the chances of it developing roots are slimmer than if you use the hormone.
Hydroponic cloning has been the key to many of the crops we’ve come to know and love today. Not only that, but it’s allowed gardeners to grow more of their favorite plants with a much higher rate of success due to choosing a healthy mother plant. Don’t discount cloning! It’s a powerful tool, and now you know how to use it.
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