Hydroponic cloning is the technique of taking a cutting from a mother plant in order to grow a new plant (a clone). Cloning occurs much faster hydroponically than in traditional gardening. Cloning is a great way to carry on the genetic makeup of a healthy plant that has favorable qualities.
Keep reading to discover what hydroponic cloning is and how to do it yourself!
What is a Clone?
Hydroponic clones are when you grow a new plant from the fresh cutting of an adult plant. Clones are genetically identical to their original plants, commonly referred to as mother plants.
Cloning is a popular method to produce a lot of plants with the exact same characteristics.
One pro of cloning is that the plant will grow up more quickly than if you started it from seed. The other main pro is that you know exactly how the plant will end up.
It’s very rewarding to watch the growth from cuttings into plants!
Can Any Plant Be Cloned?
Basically any type of plant that create roots can be cloned.
Nearly all vegetables and flowers can be cloned. Some kinds of plants even clone themselves naturally without human assistance.
How can you tell when a mother plant is ready to be cloned?
Mother plants are ready to be cloned when they’re far into vegetative growth, roughly a month or two into growing.
If you see a shoot of growth with at least six nodes on it, that’s a good sign.
Flush your mother plant by not feeding her for a couple of days so there won’t be much nitrogen in the cuttings.
Without nitrogen, the cuttings will put all their energy into rooting instead of growing vegetation.
Taking A Cutting
Cut beneath a growing node with a pair of scissors.
Strip all the leaves besides the top set.
Your cutting will immediately begin to lose moisture. As quickly as possible, put the cutting into your growing medium or wrap it in a damp cloth. You can also put it in a plastic bag.
Should you score your cutting?
When you score the basal node, you increase cambium layer exposure. This is the layer that grows new roots.
Many people are successful when they score their cuttings. Others warn against it because of the increased handling time and for adding another exposed area. Both of these things can cause contamination.
Likewise, scoring doesn’t make that big of a difference, so unless you’re really struggling to get roots, it’s likely not worth it.
Why use a cloning gel or root enhancer?
Cloning gels and root enhancers are hormones that tell your plant to root. They’re also often antibacterial and antifungal. This will fight off against plant pathogens and harmful root toxins.
Cloning gels and root enhancers greatly speed up root growth and encourage healthy roots. They’re a great idea for hydroponic clones.
Pruning your clones
Once you’ve transplanted your hydroponic clones into their growing medium, take off any large leaves. This way the hydroponic clones won’t try to photosynthesize and will instead focus on root development.
Just remember that the plant does need at least a little bit of foliage to aid in the process of root formation.
Fastest Way to Root Clones
Once you’ve made your cutting, it’s time to put it into the growing medium. There are many mediums you can choose ranging from wool to water to compost.
Let’s talk about some of the most helpful things to know if you want to root your clones quickly.
Cloning Plants In Water
Perhaps the easiest, and simplest, way to root your plant clones is to put the basal node into a glass of water. Using a glass of water is the purest form of hydroponic root growth.
[H3] Using cloning and rooting solution with your cloning system
Rooting solutions strengthen and enhance your clones’ roots. They also reduce mineral buildup in your hydroponic system.
Rooting solutions also replace the nutrients that you would usually feed your clones for their first few weeks.
Best Medium for Cloning
Let’s go over some of the best grow medium for cloning.
Peat is a popular cloning medium. It tends to be sold in pellets held together with mesh.
When you add water to the pellets, they expand and become ready.
Peat is well-known for its neutral pH. It doesn’t have many nutrients and dries out pretty quickly.
Be sure to cut off the netting when you plant or else your roots will get strangled.
Rockwool is created when you combine chalk and basalt rock under high heat. It doesn’t cost much money and is readily available.
Rockwool is very compatible with hydroponic cloning because it absorbs water incredibly well. This makes it easy to provide your clones with nutrients.
One drawback of rockwool is that it doesn’t decompose. In addition, it sheds thin fibers and dust that can irritate your lungs when you first get it.
If you’re using rockwool cubes in large quantities you should wear protective equipment.
Coco coir is made out of coconut hairs and husk.
It’s lightweight, cheap, and retains moisture pretty well. It’s a very common hydroponic medium.
Coco coir sometimes has salt residue which can affect its pH, but that’s only if it’s not processed correctly.
Perlite and vermiculite
Perlite and vermiculite are often used together. They’re both great for aeration. They work well together because perlite doesn’t hold almost any water, but vermiculite can hold onto moisture well.
At times, the most effective medium is soil. Although it’s not as precise as hydroponic cloning, composted soil has many microorganisms to help roots grow.
How long do clones take to root?
Clones take about a week to root, generally speaking. Some plants root more quickly and others take much longer.
Root production speed also depends on how ideal the conditions are.
Is aeroponic cloning faster
Aeroponic cloning is usually faster than hydroponic cloning. Aeroponic clones can create new roots within three days and have developed root systems in a week or two.
[H3] What is the pH of aeroponic cloning
The pH of aeroponic cloning should be between 5.5 and 6.5.
[H3] When should I start giving my clones nutrients
Start giving your clones nutrients when the first young roots form. Start at one-quarter strength. Increase to half strength as your clones develop.
Hydroponic cloning is a simple, easy way to grow more plants with a guarantee of what they’ll grow up to become. It’s a good idea to know how to clone plants as a grower in case you end up with a favorite plant that you want to clone!
Read up on more hydroponic topics by exploring the rest of our blog!