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cloning - cheapo aero cloner

Crazy Composer's Soil Cloning Method

    Items you?ll need:

1. A very sharp blade.
2. A container that can be covered in a clear membrane (plastic wrap or something like that).
3. A clear membrane or lid.
4. A planting medium. (perlite mixed with vermiculite, or just vermiculite, or sand, or in my case FoxFarm Light Warrior mix) As long as it holds water and doesn't dry out too quickly you're all set.
5. Distilled water, or let the water sit out for at least 24 hours, before using.

The angle of the cut is important. Check the image to read about why it's important. Also, water and feed a few hours prior to taking the cut, this will ensure there is plenty of resident water and nutrients for the week or so without roots, also prevents air from entering into the stem.

Your new clone has no root system, therefore it has begun a balancing act between having enough leaf surface to continue photosynthesis (how a plant produces it's food) and having too many leaves to support while having a reduced ability to take up water.

I can't perfectly explain how I decide when a clone has too much leaf, that's an instinct that you'll learn as you become more familiar with cloning. But from what I have noticed, when a clone becomes droopy, it?s either from too much light, or the leaves are too big, therefore I will trim some of the leaves. A clone doesn?t need a lot of light, if using fluorescence, a 20w will be fine. How far, anywhere from 6 inches, to a foot will be fine. If using a compact fluorescent, and a higher wattage bulb, than anywhere from 1foot to 2 feet will be fine. If using H.I.D. lights, then around 3 or 4 feet from the bulb will be fine, also depending on the wattage, the higher, the farther.

Here is a picture of what I do (sometimes) when there's too much leaf and I don't want to get rid of an entire leaf. I just take a couple of leaflets from a large leaf, instead of sacrificing the entire leaf.

This is what the leaf looks like after loosing a little weight. Notice the gap in the leaflets where there use to be more leaflets. This extra leaf surface was not necessary, and could have demanded more water than the 45-degree cut at the bottom could provide.

So, now we have our clone ready to plant. If you'd like, you can use a cloning hormone. I like to use Rootech. A cloning hormone sort of gives your clone a beneficial cancer. It causes the plant's cells to rapidly divide and become callused. The roots will appear out of these calluses. Make sure to cover at least 1 inch of the bottom of the stem, and roll it around in the cloning gel. If you cut below the node, and cut the set of lower leaves, make sure to cover the freshly cut side-shoots with the cloning gel as well, and put the stem far enough into the soil, so at least 1 side-shoot node is covered in the soil.

 If cutting above the node, make sure to get at least 1 inch covered as previously told. To determine how deep to put the clone into the soil, there comes a lot of factoring in. How big is the clone, and where the clone was cut. But anywhere from ¾ of an inch to 1½ inches (Dipping right into the rooting hormone jar should not be done. It should be dispensed into a separate container and used from there.

Excess hormone should be discarded to avoid contaminating your jar stock with any virus or other diseases. Also make sure to sterilize the razor blade and or scissors with peroxide or alcohol).

Now make a hole to place your clone into. You can use a nail, pencil, anything that will make a hole.

Just make sure your medium is nice and moist before you plug your clones into it. We don't want the ends to dry up and close before you do your final watering.

Now just tamp the medium around your new clone. Don't press too hard, but make sure that the medium is tight enough around the clone's base to hold it up straight when it is watered.

Some tips while waiting for the clones to root:

Use a spray bottle to soak the medium and the clones when the medium starts to dry out. Be careful! Don't let the medium dry out while the clones are without roots. There's no faster way to ruin a cloning project than to let the medium dry out. Clones love extremely high humidity, and temps from 75-82 degrees (water vapor on your clear cover is a good indication that things are humid enough). The temps can vary slightly from ideal and you can still be successful, but try to keep everything ideal.

Try to keep the leaves from laying on or in the medium, this may cause your leaves to rot, causing a plethora of unwanted results. If taking a clone from a mother plant, make sure to take the clone at the second node on the side-shoot, so new growth will begin on the mother plant, if cut below the first node, no new growth will begin.

Some people have a hard time knowing when root development starts, while cloning in a soil medium. Here?s a picture of a clone, in which root development has just started. You can tell by the leaves, which turn upright.

Here?s a picture of a clone with good root development, and is about a week from the start of root development, also notice the new sets of leaves on this clone, this is a good marker for knowing the roots are developing, and growing within the soil. At this stage, they should no longer need to be covered, gradually taking them out of the humidity dome or plastic wrap. Start at 1 or 2 hours a day, after a few days, they should be ready to go.