Cloning your MILC (mother I’d like to clone) is a fairly simple process but one that, if done sloppily, in haste or without some background, can result in weak, disease-prone offspring. If taken with care and patience, the cuttings will grow into mature, healthy plants that please the eye and other senses.
When propagating in an aeroponic cloning machine, the stems will be in their own little environmental heaven, constantly receiving water and air with virtually no light. Preparation first begins with caring for your mother plant â you are, after all, making replicas of her genetics.
Once youâre ready for surgery given that the MILC is at least two months old and in optimal health â get your very sterile tools, rooting gel and system ready (or whatever medium youâve chosen to produce the clones). But first, a few quick tips:
Three to four days before taking cuts, heavily water your MILC to help remove nitrogen (just pH-adjusted water, without fertilizers or other additives). By decreasing the nitrogen in the mother plant, you help her babies root faster.
Choose a sharp, clean, thin-bladed knife, razor or pair of scissors to cut the stems. Using dull, blunt tools increases the potential for damaging the plant tissue during cuttings, and therefore the risk of disease.
If taking clones from more than one MILC, sterilize the blade or scissors between plants to decrease any potential cross contamination (disease, fungus or viruses).
Stem cuttings are what most gardeners take. Choose a stem with at least one leaf node, thatâs at least 2 to 4 inches long, and relatively new (at least from the current season). Cut about 1 inch beneath the node. Some people swear by the 45-degree-angle rule, while others say it doesnât matter, as long as youâre making a clean cut. We have not found a major difference so choose your preferential method.
Then, remove any excessive, large leaves off…but donât clip them all. Leave some and if needed, cut leaves that may take energy away from root growth in half.
Immediately after making the cut, dip the stem in a rooting gel (we recommend our Rooting Compound). Take extra precautions to pour the gel into a separate container (never dip directly into the rooting gel container) to prevent cross contamination. And though some swear by the 60-second rule, the length of time the stem stays in the gel is inconsequential â as long as itâs got some, youâre good to go.
When placing the plant cuttings into the growing medium (in our case, the cloning collars), make sure at least 1 inch of the stem is below the surface. Once youâre done taking cuttings and they are properly inserted into your unit, be sure to promptly plug in your machine to begin the process.
So, be clean, be thorough, be patient and above all, be kind to your mother plant â sheâs the provider in this equation and will only produce what she already embodies. Whether you are a DIY aeroponics aficionado or just starting off, careful cutting practices will give your clones the best chance of rooting themselves into happy plants.