A cutting is a branch, cut from an adult plant.
A clone is a plant, made from a cutting.
One of the biggest buzz words of the past few years has been clone or cloning. Everyone is familiar with the story out of Great Britain about Dolly the Sheep. Dolly was the first animal created asexually, created without sperm and egg. The idea of reproducing life this way is exciting and can help you propagate the very best of your plants.
Cloning is experimental when it comes to higher life forms, but with plants it’s nothing new. Plants can be cloned easily with the help of CLONE KIT™. In one way cloning animals and plants is much the same– One is not creating new life, instead, existing life is being duplicated.
The following information will help any gardener be successful at cloning his favorite plants.
Taking cuttings is a rewarding and very efficient ways of propagating plants. Almost all flowers and vegetables can be reproduced sexually (with seeds) or asexually (with clones).
Plant sexual propagation is done with seeds. Seeds are created when the pollen from one plant fertilizes another. This means that each seed plant is new and unique, sharing the genetics of the pollen producer and the seed producer.
Plant asexual propagation or cloning, is done with cuttings. A living plant branch with a growing tip is cut from a “mother” plant. This cutting is rooted and changes from a branch into a new plant. Actually it’s not a new plant but a copy of an old plant.
When growing with seeds (nature’s way) all the plants in your garden will be similar but no two will be exactly (genetically) the same. Growing with clones is something else. When growing with clones, the cloned plant is exactly the same genetically, as the plant (mother plant) the cutting was taken from. The appearance of the cloned plants won’t necessarily be the same. Human identical twins are genetically the same, but there appearance can differ due to external factors such as diet- one twin might be fat, the other thin. There appearance differs because of what they eat or don’t eat. Just like higher life forms, plants also face the “nature” – “nurture” dichotomy. Good plant genetics “nature” is the starting place, and using clones, a gardener can have total control over plant genetics. By taking cuttings from a favorite plant, every clone will be a “favorite” too. But remember part two-”nurture”, a plant must have good light, and nourishment and a good environment to survive and be healthy. The best genetics in the world can’t help a plant that’s in a poor environment.
What is good about cloning is also what’s bad, but the bad can be controlled. Remember that the clone will be just like it’s mother. So pick a mother plant that has the traits you desire, i.e.. fast growing, good producer, nice color. If you pick a mother plant that is not resistant to insects or drought, all the clones will share these undesirable traits.
Cuttings require an airy soil mixture. Some gardeners use sand or pearlite, but success can be achieved with a 50/50 potting soil pearlite mixture. An easy way to mix soil is with a clean 5 gallon pail with cover. Fill the pail half way up with 50% soil and 50% pearlite. Put the cover on and give it a good shake. The mixture should have an even mix of soil and pearlite- no lumps. Put this mixture into small cups or pots with drain holes. Lightly pack the medium down and make it wet. Sometimes this can be difficult because the soil may resist the water. You can speed up this process by poking the soil with a small stick. It is important that all the soil in the plant cup is completely wet. Try lifting the pot, it should feel heavy if all the soil is wet.
Many gardeners prefer to use rockwool cubes as opposed to soil. Rockwool comes cube shaped with a hole in the middle for the cutting. The cubes must be soaked in water for 24 hours before use. The water they are soaked in should be pH balanced. This balancing act can be done with a pH balancing kit. These kits come with two chemicals- pH up and pH down and a tester. Test your water and adjust it by adding the appropriate chemical. More complete instructions come with the pH balancing kit.
Let’s talk about your mother. The great thing (and not so great thing) about propagating with clones is that the cloned plant is exactly the same, genetically, as the plant (the mother plant) the cutting was taken from. This means that if the mother plant produced the “perfect shade of red” flowers, so will the clone. This also means that if the mother plant is not very resistant to drought or insects neither will the clone. If you find a plant that is “perfect” make it your mother. Clone this mother and clone the clone again and again. Using this method the same plant (genetically) can be grown forever.
Follow the assembly instructions that came with the CLONE KIT ® or click here . turn the light on, and position it in the lighthood with the foam blocks. Run the light wire out the corner of the light hood and close and fasten with the plastic wing nut.
Find an out of the way place like the corner of the basement or garage with access to a electrical outlet. The ideal temperature for cloning is 75 degrees. You can expect about a 4 degree increase in temperature due to the light. If more warmth is needed you may need to purchase a propagation heating mat. Often you can get the warmth you need by covering the CLONE KIT® with a layer or two of bubble wrap. Another way is to put the clone kit up 4 inches on some wood blocks, and put a low wattage (25 watts) light bulb underneath.
THE CLONING TRIFECTA
- TENDER LOVING CARE
Check out our video page for tutorials to help you with your clones.