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Plant Propagation

Plant propagation is an important thing to learn for gardeners. This process saves you the time of having to buy or germinate new plants to supply your garden. In addition to cutting clones to save time, propagation can also be used to keep much loved or coveted plant cultivars around. If anything were to happen to your much loved plant, it’s ok – you have a copy and that will turn out identical to the “mother” or “doner” plant that the cutting came from. Taking a clone, or a “propagule”, is relatively easy once you get the trick down. Very few propagate cuttings with a 100% rooting rate their first few times taking cuttings. Don't get discouraged with tehe learning curve, it's a bit steep. After the first few rounds of clones, you will begin to get the hang of it, and your success rate will quickly go up.

The process of actually taking a cutting (no matter the selected growing medium), is relatively simple, if you follow these simple guidelines. Before you take your cutting, select a healthy looking side branch on the plant, and get your cloning gel ready and open. Pour about a teaspoon into a clean spoon or bowl for every 10 cuttings. (Don't dip directly into the clone gel jar. It will contaminate your gel). The lower on the plant you take the cutting, the better the chance it will root. Make sure that where you plan on making the cut, the selected side branch is at least 4 inches tall (or at least two leaf sets).

Use a sharp utility razor blade, disposable scalpel or a sharp and sterile knife to make the cut. Do not use scissors, as they have a tendency to pinch/crush the plant stem, not making a clean cut. Cut the side shoot quickly and cleanly and then promptly stick it in the cloning gel. The purpose of putting it in the gel quickly is to prevent air embolisms (air bubbles) from getting inside the plant cutting and killing it. Let the cuttings sit in the cloning gel for a few minutes. Finally, place the cuttings quickly into your chosen propagation method, whether it is an aeroponic system or some sort of plugs.

There are mainly two ways that people use to propagate new plants. They are the dirt plug/rockwool cube method or the other way is the aeroponic cloner method. The easier method is with an aeroponic cloner. Fill your cloner with tap water (or reverse osmosis water) to just below the spinning water sprinklers, plug in your machine to power it up, then place your cuttings into the round neoprene inserts. In anywhere between a week to two weeks, the plant cuttings should be shooting out bright white, hairy new roots! At that point, they will be ready for transplant into any growing medium. One disadvantage of using an aeroponic cloner is that you need to keep it somewhere where the water will not overheat or roots will not develop.

If you want to propagate cuttings using the dirt plug/rockwool plug method, it requires a little more care and attention than the aeroponic cloner. That is the disadvantage of using plugs. Once you go through the motions of selecting/cutting a new propagule, cut, dip the cutting in clone gel, stick it into the dirt/rockwool plug, then put the plug into a standard garden flat with a humidity dome over it. Generally, leave the dome on the tray, closed for 4 days. On day 5 start opening vents and check the moisture of the plug. At this point, you will need to keep an eye on these babies to make sure that the plugs are lightly misted (they can’t absorb much water through the roots yet – there aren’t any), and also make sure that the humidity is just right inside of the propagation dome. Keep the plugs moist, but do not over-saturate them.

Regardless of which way to go, put the cuttings under a brighter light to root faster. The faster the plants root. The faster your sea of green will flow.