Cloning or Taking Cuttings
Cloning or taking cuttings from your plants allows you to increase your plant stocks for free and gives you the opportunity to make a genetic copy of an existing plant, whilst also being easier to overwinter smaller cuttings.
There is more than one way to take cuttings, but it's quick and easy, so here is how.
- Select a healthy, disease free plant, with all the desired characteristics. The healthier the donor plant, the better the success rate. Not all cuttings will survive, so take more than you require.
- Prepare some small pots, ensuring they are clean and filled with a good cutting compost, mixed with perlite or similar. Other rooting mediums can be used, like Jiffy pellets or Root Riots, etc,.
- Moisten the compost, very slightly and make a hole ready to receive the cutting.
- Select a section of the plant that is still green and not too woody, but not new brand new growth. Try and ensure, the selected, cutting material has at least one leaf node and preferably two.
- Using a clean, sterile knife or blade, remove the chosen cutting material, from the plant, making roughly a 45 degree cut, just above a node.
- Remove lower leaves from the cutting, ensuring you leave at least a couple remaining. Work quickly as you don't want the exposed cut left untreated for any longer than possible.
- Dip the cut end of the cutting in a rooting hormone gel or powder. Ensure the entire cut is covered.
- Insert the cutting into the prepared hole, leaving room for roots to develop below, then gently firm the surface and around the cutting.
- Add your label or otherwise identify the cutting for later.
- Place the cutting in a clear plastic bag or alternatively in a heated propagator with a clear lid or dome. This keeps the humidity high.
- Place the cutting somewhere nice and light (14-16 hours a day) and if possible add heat from below, in the form of a heat mat or similar.
- Keep the cutting at around 20-25 degrees C.
- Keep the cutting and compost moist, with regular misting of water. Don't allow the rooting medium to dry out completely and don't overwater the cutting or it will rot! Allow some ventilation, but keep the humidity high.
- You may see some leaves drop. This is normal. If all the leaves drop, the cutting has likely failed.
- Be patient. In a couple of weeks you should start to see new growth. Lift the pots and check for signs of roots at the base. Remove from the high humidity, to your normal grow area.
- Place the selected cutting material in a glass or container of clean water, as you would cut flowers. Don't forget the rooting gel.
- Change the water every other day and keep an eye on the cut end.
- After 2 or 3 weeks, you should be able to see tiny roots forming around the cut.
- When you are happy there are sufficient roots, to support the cutting, remove from the water and pot into your chosen growing medium.