Cloning - We carry a variety of supplies to clone the old school way and ensure healthy plants. We carry trays & dome lids, Grodan mini rockwool blocks, Clonex cloning and rooting solutions, Superthrive, Dip & Grow kits and Liquinox Vitamin B1.
Here are 10 easy steps (adapted from the The West Coast Masters Clear Cup Method) to produce healthy, robust and vigorous clones.
1. Sanitize - Before doing anything else, sanitize the area in which your tray will sit, as well as all other surfaces within your workspace. Be sure to sterilize all of the tools and equipment using a clean paper towel soaked with 99% alcohol. As a final precaution, sterile gloves should be worn throughout the entire process. Please remember that cleanliness is the key to successful cloning.
2. Setting Up - Plug in a heat mat and place it beneath the propagation tray. Vigorously shake the cloning gel and pour it into a small glass, filling it halfway. This is a better alternative to placing the cut branches directly into the bottle, which can cause contamination. Position your glass dish, shot glass, cloning gel and blades as near as possible to the dome. Keeping everything close within the sanitized area will help reduce stress and the risk of infection for the clones.
3. Preparing the Cloning Solution - The cloning solution is a low-level nutrient mixture that provides the necessary elements for the clones to thrive while developing roots. Using it can cut down on rooting time and result in much healthier, more vibrant clones. Should you decide not to use it, the clones will likely be fine—just less vigorous at first. If the clones have no source of energy to get them through the week or so that it takes to form roots, they will be forced to consume their own stored energy.
4. Setting Up the Cubes in the Tray -Seperate the rockwool cubes one by one and space them equally along the inside of the tray. Give them plenty of space, as you don’t want the cuttings to touch each other while they’re in the dome. Overlapping leaves will form condensation between them, which could lead to mold and mildew problems.
Pour half of the remaining clone solution into the glass dish (for use in step 6) and pour the other half directly into the propagation tray. This liquid will provide the moisture needed to keep up the humidity levels in the dome and give the roots something to look for.
5. Labeling -Countless strains can blame their extinction on faulty labeling. No matter how good your memory is or how well you think you can identify each of your strains, mistakes are made from time to time. The best policy is to label everything. Write the name of the strain directly on the sides of the rockwool cubes and label the outside of the tray using pieces of duct tape. Just to be extra sure that everyone is well accounted for, make a diagram of their arrangement in a journal.
6. Choosing and Removing Branches From the Donor Plant - Not all branches are created equal. The branches Look for these four characteristics:
Once a suitable branch is chosen, remove it by making a single cut as close to the main stem as possible using a sterile blade. This is the first or primary cut of the two you’ll make to create the clone. Place the severed end of the branch into the solution-filled glass dish immediately after the primary cut is made. Exposure to air during this time will cause the cells within the cut part of the branch to oxidize and die. To prevent this, the second and final cut must be made while the branch is submerged in the cloning solution.
7. Making the Final Cut -The final cut should be made through the center of the fifth node from the tip of the branch. The cut should be made at approximately a 45-degree angle to increase the surface area of the wound from which the roots will grow. Once the cut is made, quickly remove the cutting from the water, gently shake off the excess water, and place the cut end into the cloning gel contained in the shot glass. Let the cutting sit in the gel for about 15 seconds and then transfer it into its corresponding rockwool cube.
Resist the urge to push the cut end of the clone down beyond the bottom of the hole in the cube. If the diameter of the cutting’s stem is equal to or greater than the diameter of the hole, it will fit securely enough. Pushing it down into the rockwool can harm the stem and stress out the clone. Until the clones have developed roots, they will rely heavily on their leaves to absorb the water vapor they need to stay healthy and hydrated.
8. Set It and Forget It - Close the vents on the dome lid and place it back over the tray once all the cubes have been filled. Make sure none of the leaves are pushed up against the dome and that they are not being pinched in between the lid and the tray. Condensation will begin to appear on the inside of the dome as the heating mat increases the temperature and humidity to optimum levels. Be sure to open the vents on the lid after condensation has covered the inside of the dome.
Remember: Don’t mess with the clones. They will be fine without you manhandling them. Just leave them alone until you see roots emerge from the bottom of the cubes. Once the roots are between a half-inch and 1 inch long, the cuttings are ready to transplant.
9. Transplanting - It is crucially important to transplant your cuttings before their root tips dry out or they become root-bound. The health of the roots during the clone stage will determine the strength and vigor with which the plant will continue to grow. Either you transplant a cutting on time and the plant continues to thrive, or you miss it and the plant spends the next couple of weeks with hindered growth while trying to recover. Start by cutting drainage slits around the bottom edges of the plastic cups.
Label the cups with the permanent marker. Include the name of the strain and the date of the transplant.
Fill the cups halfway with organic soil. Sprinkle a small scoop of mycorrhizal fungi over the soil to help the roots quickly acclimate to their new surroundings.
Place the rooted clone in the center of the cup and, gently but tightly, pack the soil to just above the top of the rockwool cube.
10. Watering -Since the soil already contains plenty of nutrients, it isn’t necessary to add any fertilizers to the first watering. The clones are very sensitive at this stage and can easily be shocked by overfeeding. It is also very important that you do not overwater the clones during their root development. Aside from structural stability, the main reason that plants form roots is because they are looking for water. If you overwater the cups, the roots won’t be in any hurry to grow larger. Also consider the fact that there are only a few roots to consume the water at first anyway. You are better off watering less, but more frequently.
If everything is done correctly, in about a week’s time the roots will hit the bottom of the cup and the cuttings will be ready for transplant into larger containers.