420 Magazine Background

Tips for hard to clone plants?

Smokin Moose

Fallen Cannabis Warrior
Some varieties are easier to clone than others. There are Sativas that will sprout roots so easy, you can (almost) stick them in the ground and forget em. But then there are some early Indicas that you can baby and they will just sit there and starve to death. So there are a few things you have got to look at.

Help the roots grow. Figure out where the roots will grow on your cutting before you actually cut it. Keep this portion of the stem dark for a week or two by wrapping some tape around it. This is called "etiolation" and will encourage rooting. Make the cutting with a sharp anvil pruner or very sharp scissors, and sterilize them after each cut. A dull pruner will crush the stem and it will be harder for the roots to form. A razor blade will make an even cleaner cut, which will also help rooting, but don't blame me if you cut yourself. Try to make the cut at angle to increase the surface area it has to absorb water.

The plant needs air to help the roots form, but don't let any get in the stem. This will cut off the capillary action and make the poor cutting work harder. Immediately dunk the cut end in water or rooting solution to prevent this from happening. You could even take it over to the sink and make a second cut under running water if you're really worried about it. Leave it in the rooting solution for a day or so. If you just leave it in the water, you might get lucky and sprout some roots, but they really need some oxygen. You can actively provide O2 by aeration or passively aerate by using an airy medium.

Another thing that makes the cutting work harder is breathing itself. Use a plastic dome or humidity tent to limit transpiration and keep the medium from drying out, and. Half of a 16 oz plastic drink bottle fits right on top of a 3 inch clay pot. Another way to limit transpiration is to cut about half off of each leaflet. You will still have the same number of leaves on the stem, but the surface area has decreased. This also helps control fungus by preventing the leaves from contacting the dome or the medium.

The proper lighting is also important. Direct sunlight will heat the air in the dome too much, but they're not going to root in the dark either. Fluorescents are ideal for this. An HID is OK if it's not too close, or you could even give them a bit of indirect sun from a window if you can keep them warm.

You've kept an eye on the pH and the nutes, and you see it's starting to grow again, so its safe to assume that it has roots and you can remove the humidity dome. Occasionally a cutting may wilt a little at first, but give it a mist and it should perk up. If none of these tips help, either consider tissue culture or finding a different mother.
 

Botanical

New Member
I actually stumbled upon this by accident. I simply plucked a worthy branch at it's base and then immediately placed the base into the DWC bubbling water the mother is in while being supported by the clay pebbles already in place. I saw roots within four days. I am wondering if it was the available oxygen or the water nutes or a combination of both. Either way, it thrived without skipping a beat. Thanks for reading.
 

RandyL

New Member
I have had some hit-and-miss success with cloning. I'll use scissors or a razor blade, cut the stem, scrape the outside of the bottom 1/4" a little bit, dip it in Clonex gel, and then put it in a 1-1/2" rockwool cube. I try to do it as quickly as possible to avoid air getting in the stem, it usually takes 10-15 seconds.

I pre-make the hole in the cube so as not to crush the stem while pushing it in. I try to leave the tip of the stem about 1/8" or so from the bottom of the cube, so the roots can get out easily.

Sometimes my roots come out good and white and strong, some don't root at all, and sometimes the roots come out looking good, but then turn brown and thin (WTF does that mean? The roots died?).

Overall I'd say about 60%-70% of my clones become good plants.

Someone who has done it for a long time told me to crush up a Vitamin B1 tablet and mix it in the water I dip the rockwool cubes in, the B1 helps rooting. Anyone have any experience with that?
 

Botanical

New Member
If you "push" the stem into the rockwool, do you think it might scrub the Clonex off? Just curious myself. If so, maybe splitting the cube down one side so you can open it like a book and close the stem inside. I am curious what Ph you soak the cubes in. Is there an ideal Ph? Also, I read the Definitive Guide to Grow and it says a good cloning gel will have that Vitamin B1 already in it. There are a lot of forums here though so you could search around. I would ask the garden shop where you got your gel from. They don't have to know what your growing (even though they could probably guess).
 

Botanical

New Member
Oh yeah, about the brown roots. Yeah, the roots got some root rot on them. At least that is what I've read. I started to get some brown roots and then began adding 2 tbs of Hydrogen Peroxide per gallon. That is a lot actually so I would take it easy on clones if at all. But I wonder if the rot comes from the rockwool cubes. There is another product out there that is this white fluffy stuff. Kinda like pillow stuffing they say. It is supposedly pretty awesome. Good luck to you.
 

Jamis

New Member
I have had some hit-and-miss success with cloning. I'll use scissors or a razor blade, cut the stem, scrape the outside of the bottom 1/4" a little bit, dip it in Clonex gel, and then put it in a 1-1/2" rockwool cube. I try to do it as quickly as possible to avoid air getting in the stem, it usually takes 10-15 seconds.

I pre-make the hole in the cube so as not to crush the stem while pushing it in. I try to leave the tip of the stem about 1/8" or so from the bottom of the cube, so the roots can get out easily.

Sometimes my roots come out good and white and strong, some don't root at all, and sometimes the roots come out looking good, but then turn brown and thin (WTF does that mean? The roots died?).

Overall I'd say about 60%-70% of my clones become good plants.

Someone who has done it for a long time told me to crush up a Vitamin B1 tablet and mix it in the water I dip the rockwool cubes in, the B1 helps rooting. Anyone have any experience with that?

i actually have pretty close to 100% success with my clones now. try starting with a decent size cutting (6"-10") cut as close to the lower section of the plant as possible. all the guide lines and advice previously given are good (sterilze your tools, cut at an angle, place immediately in water...etc.) but instead of rockwool try a soiless mix in a 16 oz. cup with holes in the bottom. what you'll do is cut off the leaves up the stem leaving only a couple of leaves at the top. scrape the bottom 1/2" place in clonex gel. while it's sitting in the gel i place some soiless mix in the bottom 1-2" of the bottom, then take the cutting and carefully place in cup and add more soiless mix. tamp down with your fingers firmly. when you've just aboout reached the rim, water til water comes out of the bottom. mist the leaves and place in a tray with the rest. you must mist at least 3 times a day and try and place them under a dome or tent. after 3-4 days you should see some new growth. once you see new growth you can add 1/4 strength nutes for a week then increase to 1/2 then full strength. i've done this with some of the most difficult strains to clone over the years and had great results....good luck
 

TorturedSoul

Member of the Month: May 2009, Oct 2010, Sept 2017
Some varieties are easier to clone than others. There are Sativas that will sprout roots so easy, you can (almost) stick them in the ground and forget em. But then there are some early Indicas that you can baby and they will just sit there and starve to death. So there are a few things you have got to look at.

Two words: air layering. Grow the roots, then cut it loose from the mother. And then plant it in your medium, because at that point it's not a cutting, it's a... plant. Many outdoor growers who've trained their plants to grow along the ground for stealth have learned that a plant can and will grow roots just about anywhere when it is in contact with the medium.

I have had some hit-and-miss success with cloning. I'll use scissors or a razor blade

Scissors are ok for making initial cuts, but as the OP mentioned, sharp razor blades work better because there is no chance of them crushing/pinching the stem. I always liked sterile double-edged ones, myself for doing the "real" cut underwater and for removing a section of the outer layers of the stem. Also for making a vertical cut to give a small split for more exposed surface area.

Like already stated, "pre-drill" your hole so as to not take the chance of damaging the cut area and/or removing any gels/aids that you might have applied. Make sure that you don't leave an air-gap between the bottom of the cutting and the bottom of the hole that you made in the medium and gently tamp the medium around it so as to assure proper contact with the cutting. Dusting the end with a powder that contains a fungicide such as Rootone may help if environmental conditions warrant it; dipping the cutting in Olivia's Cloning Gel definitely will (that stuff would almost grow roots on a picture of a cutting, lol) but usually isn't required if the process is done correctly. Your grandmother's technique of sticking a cutting in a glass of water and placing it on a windowsill where the cutting can get lots of light (but not too strong) works more often than not. Especially if the water is kept fresh and/or aerated. "Hard to clone" can sometimes mean that the person doing so was impatient.

I'm not a fan of misting the sh*t out of cuttings and sticking them under a dome. It can help if you live in the Atacama Desert in South America (no significant rainfall from 1570 to 1971, lol) I suppose but it can also lead to rot or damping off in some cases. And plants are meant to uptake moisture from the bottom up - not the reverse. If you have a cutting and it wilts badly then yes, it (may have) lost too much moisture. But anyone who's taken a cutting and then stuck it in their pocket, on the kitchen counter, in the refrigerator, or <WHOOPS> dropped it beside the couch for a few hours or overnight and had it turn into a complete "wet-noodle" mess and then remembered or gotten the time to deal with it and saw the cutting stand up and look proud within an hour or two knows that even a rootless cutting will uptake moisture from the medium (or glass of water) if the end of the stem is properly prepared. Besides, a hungry/thirsty plant will try to do something about it - grow roots, lol.

For cloning gels, I have had awesome luck with (and generally recommend) Olivia's Cloning Gel. For powder, Rootone or Schltz TakeRoot. For a cloning nutrient, Olivia's Cloning Solution works great.

But when you're really poor or don't have time to run to the store, using none of them can often work just fine too. It just (might) take longer.
 
Top Bottom