Cloning on a budget

Stinkypotman

New Member
Although we are relatively newbies, we have had good success with a make shift cloning system. We at first tried the rock-wool method which does work but is high maintenance and we were only getting a 50% survival rate.

So, we bought a small storage container, placed 8 holes on the top to fit 8 small baskets which were cut off so only the rims remained to hold neoprene inserts. To mist the cuttings underneath, we pulled out the mister we use for the witch's cauldron on Halloween which works very well. Now we have about 90% success rate.

Also, I experimented with a product I found at Menards called Gel 2 Root. It comes in a package of two and costs about $3.60. I took a cutting from a seedling in veg so that I could put it in the flower room to determine the sex of the plant. Simple, just cut and insert into the gel, no cloning gel needed. The cutting survived well without being in a humidity dome. Also, you can move the cutting anywhere you want and forget about it. Ideal for those who do not want to build or pay for a cloning system. One drawback is that it takes longer to see root growth and when we removed the clone to transplant, some of the roots stayed in the gel.

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Stinkypotman

New Member
You can buy the Gel 2 Root online but I found it in the garden dept at Menards.
 

Android

New Member
I tried using cloners, but came back to the old and proven Sunleaves' plugs (made of compressed bark). And now I am averaging (!) just a week for roots to pop through a plug (5-10 days) with ~100% success rate. Lo-tech FTW! Cheap, easy and low maintenance - the only thing to remember is to lift the dome every 2-3 days and spray some. Once I see some yellowing on the newer growth - it's a good tip-off that its time has come to transplant the plant to a 6x6".

The key to my success in cloning was having a low dome, plus it has to mate well with the surface it sits on. Otherwise clones don't stand a chance in 10%rh winter climate
 

Stinkypotman

New Member
Android: the Sunleaves sound great, have not seen or tried those and 100% outcome in about a week. There are definitely several ways to raise a clone!
 

Android

New Member
Couple more things: right now is a good time to stock up on "36 cell greenhouse seed starter kit"s (made by Planters' Pride) sold everywhere at little markup during the spring (got mine at Menards - big box type hardware store). I think it costed something ~$2 a piece, so I grabbed 6. I dispose them after I am done with them
These low-domed trays are long and narrow and I placed two under one fluorescent bulb side-by-side. I soak plugs in RO water with root hormone/nute (I use Rootbastic from ATAMA) and in the meanwhile cut the clones, trim long leaves, and throw the clones in the same concoction in a different dish. When done cutting, load trays with plugs and squeeze excess water out of plugs from the bottom by hand. I also found that you get better results cloning when cuttings sit in plugs tighter. For that, I deepen the hole a little on every plug using a wooden pencil (or anything similar) - this way they seem to hook up better and don't fall out of socket as easy.
Once a tray is prepared, I make a second cut to the clone (just enough so the exposed tissue is removed), dip it in Clonex gel right away and in a plug it goes.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that a half of the clones had roots galore just after 7 days. I use needle-nose pliers (sprayed with isopropyl alky) to pull plugs out for inspection and transplanting -pliers are awesome fo this job - much better than other ways I tried. Hope this helps

My current grow is soil, but I am also getting ready to start hydro experiment(tubes and sprayers) in parallel with the soil , and with SOG - I am planning to continue using these plugs in both cases. I will simply drop clones to 2" net cups when roots are showing and flower them right away.
I also leave a top of each plug exposed when planting in soil, it helps in many ways compared to aero-grown roots put in straight dirt. The plugs must be lessening a trauma of transplanting.

IMO things that have noticeable effect on cloning success:
- tray+dome volume - domes should fit snugly and be of low height
- transplanting fragile roots is a very delicate business, a clone recovers quicker when protected from root shape damage by a plug.
- sooner is better than later. Sometimes I don't even bother waiting for roots to show up. Dead clone is better outcome than an empty spot under the light
 

Stinkypotman

New Member
Great advice Adroid. I have stayed away from plugs as we are strictly hydro and I was under the impression that you cannot go from soil to hydro but you can go from hydro to soil (which I have done to separate 2 male plants from the females because I wanted to harvest pollen from them). I suspect, however, that your plan will work with new clones and plugs. It will be interesting to see how the clones do in net cups and put in flowering right away.
I agree about the tray being snug, I had a problem with cloning in a dome that was not tight it was a pain to mist the leaves several times a day. Also, I agree with sooner is better although I have had a few clones take after letting sit awhile but I am only a small cultivator. If we were in a serious production mode then I would definitely be more aggressive and get rid of the ones that don't take right away.
 

Android

New Member
Thanks, man, I am not a pro grower - let's say I am a novice amateur, I am just fascinated with biology and herb at the same time - so I spend too much time and money experimenting...
Anyways, the part you said about plugs being soil - it is not true, Shredded compressed bark is more like coco coir, but with more stable ph. And it does not fall apart that easily (pump pre-filters should take care of any; I am also thinking rigging an simple aquarium filter for any sediment that gets its way to under-res (which will be underbody storage bin - that's as tall as I can go. The main res (bar garbage bin for bottles- Slim Jim) will sit outside in nice 65F ambient temp and should be free of any possible debris, which are very rare. That's the whole point behind 30min soaking- get a plug wet and lose any debris. After that it usually keeps its shape with no problem - it sort-of resembles a sponge-like material of sorts - brown sponge mostly consisting of air bubbles. Good stuff and not too expensive either. And I would not call it soil - it is a soilless medium.

I was also thinking going aero for clones, but would rather mess with rockwool cubes of different sizes. I heard about rockwool being prone to harmful bacterial growth and unstable on ph, though, like it needs to be pre-soaked for at least several days in ph-adjusted water. (Plus handling rockwool gives me shivers and itch. So I might just continue on with plugs. I have a new motto in life: Things that do not work should have priority over things that do work, when it comes to fixing/upgrades :)
 

TorturedSoul

Member of the Month: May 2009, Oct 2010, Sept 2017
Cloning on a budget (grandma style): Cut clone. Stick into a glass of clean water. Place on the kitchen windowsill that gets a lot of indirect light. Wait. Wait some more (lol). When roots appear, plant the sucker.

Anything over and above the glass of water undoubtedly helps shorten the time (usually). But it's generally not required.

Most strains of cannabis are pretty easy to clone. You can often whack a cutting off, re-cut the end at an angle under water to make sure there isn't an air-bubble there, and stick it into wet medium. A mix of perlite and vermiculite works well, as does a mix of perlite/vermiculite/soil. Or you can stick with the glass of water but add a small air stone.

I'm a big fan of Olivia's Cloning Gel and Olivia's Cloning Solution (very mild rooting nutrient). They've always done well by me. But when I've needed to root a cutting and didn't have any supplies or devices... I still managed.
 

Xlr8

Member of the Year: 2012 - Nug of the Year: 2012 - Member of the Month: May 2011, Mar 2012 - Nug of the Month: Sept, Dec 2012
Couple more things: right now is a good time to stock up on "36 cell greenhouse seed starter kit"s (made by Planters' Pride) sold everywhere at little markup during the spring (got mine at Menards - big box type hardware store). I think it costed something ~$2 a piece, so I grabbed 6. I dispose them after I am done with them
These low-domed trays are long and narrow and I placed two under one fluorescent bulb side-by-side. I soak plugs in RO water with root hormone/nute (I use Rootbastic from ATAMA) and in the meanwhile cut the clones, trim long leaves, and throw the clones in the same concoction in a different dish. When done cutting, load trays with plugs and squeeze excess water out of plugs from the bottom by hand. I also found that you get better results cloning when cuttings sit in plugs tighter. For that, I deepen the hole a little on every plug using a wooden pencil (or anything similar) - this way they seem to hook up better and don't fall out of socket as easy.
Once a tray is prepared, I make a second cut to the clone (just enough so the exposed tissue is removed), dip it in Clonex gel right away and in a plug it goes.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that a half of the clones had roots galore just after 7 days. I use needle-nose pliers (sprayed with isopropyl alky) to pull plugs out for inspection and transplanting -pliers are awesome fo this job - much better than other ways I tried. Hope this helps

My current grow is soil, but I am also getting ready to start hydro experiment(tubes and sprayers) in parallel with the soil , and with SOG - I am planning to continue using these plugs in both cases. I will simply drop clones to 2" net cups when roots are showing and flower them right away.
I also leave a top of each plug exposed when planting in soil, it helps in many ways compared to aero-grown roots put in straight dirt. The plugs must be lessening a trauma of transplanting.

IMO things that have noticeable effect on cloning success:
- tray+dome volume - domes should fit snugly and be of low height
- transplanting fragile roots is a very delicate business, a clone recovers quicker when protected from root shape damage by a plug.
- sooner is better than later. Sometimes I don't even bother waiting for roots to show up. Dead clone is better outcome than an empty spot under the light

Great tips - almost exactly how I do it, too. I buy Rapid Rooters usually, but there are similar plugs. Near 100% for me now, also. +rep for a great post.


Great advice Adroid. I have stayed away from plugs as we are strictly hydro and I was under the impression that you cannot go from soil to hydro but you can go from hydro to soil (which I have done to separate 2 male plants from the females because I wanted to harvest pollen from them). I suspect, however, that your plan will work with new clones and plugs. It will be interesting to see how the clones do in net cups and put in flowering right away.
I agree about the tray being snug, I had a problem with cloning in a dome that was not tight it was a pain to mist the leaves several times a day. Also, I agree with sooner is better although I have had a few clones take after letting sit awhile but I am only a small cultivator. If we were in a serious production mode then I would definitely be more aggressive and get rid of the ones that don't take right away.


As android shared too, the sunleaves plugs/ rapid rooters work great in hydro OR soil. I like your DIY cloner, great creativity! The important thing is what works best for you and your situation.


TS is right, old school glass of water works often too!
 
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