Before you even start growing, you will be faced with an important decision. Will your plants be grown from seed or from clones?
Regardless, you will need propagation supplies to start your grow. If you are looking to germinate seeds, you’ll need seed starting supplies. If you plan on taking cuttings, you’ll need cloning supplies.
Let’s clear up exactly what the difference between these two methods are, and what you’ll need for each.
What are the two different methods of propagation?
You can either start your grow from seeds or clones, and there are pro’s and con’s to each style. Here is what you need to know.
Seed starting propagation
Starting plants from seed will take longer, and a little more work. Seeds contain the entire genetic makeup of the plant that generated them, and growers can select the best genetics for their grow room.
When seeds are hydrated, an enzyme is activated and the germination process starts. That’s the reason keeping seeds sealed in a container with low humidity is the key to storing them long term.
There are a lot of ways to germinate seeds - from simply sticking them into their final grow medium to providing them with their own unique environment that’s designed for high germination rates and getting seedlings off to a great start.
Seedling trays, for example, are designed to air-prune the roots, and building a strong root system is the key to successful propagation whether your germinating seeds or cloning.
Germinating seeds in a setup designed for them is far more advantageous that putting them in the grow room and turning your standard lights on. It’s very easy to provide too much light and water, which can easily kill seedlings when germinating in setups designed for the later growing stages.
Germination will take anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks, so just be patient and check on them a few times a day to ensure they’re hydrated and warm, and watch for that taproot to emerge!
You’ll also want high humidity (60% and up) and a temperature range of 65°F to 75°F, so make sure to check out humidity domes and heat pads if you live in a dry or cold area.
Plant cloning propagation
The more popular method of propagation, especially with growers who already have plants in their growing space, is taking a clone from a mother plant. This is known as cutting propagation, or vegetative propagation.
By cutting a clone off a mother plant, you are able to jump start growth and skip the germination process. This cuts down time to harvest, and growers are able to watch how a plant grows to determine if they want to grow more of it before taking a cutting.
For clones, you can follow the same guidelines for lights, temperature, and humidity as you would with seeds and seedlings. Cloning is a fairly easy process as well, because in essence you simply cut off a stem with leaves from a mother plant, stick it into a grow medium, and then wait for roots to grow from the stem.
Most growers improve their cloning success rate by taking a cutting from a mother plant that is in the vegetative stage as opposed to flowering, and dipping the cutting’s stem in a rooting gel before planting. Learn more about how to use rooting hormone in our blog.
What Are The Propagation Supplies You’ll Need To Get Your Plants Sprouting?
Regardless of which method you choose, you will need to set up a very specific environment for clones and seedlings, and you’ll need a few different propagation supplies.
Clones and seedlings need humidity levels higher than during veg and flower, up to 75%. You will also need to closely monitor temperature. During propagation, plants need temperatures of 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Most Important Seed Starting Supplies
Seed starting supplies make propagation simple. These are designed to provide seeds and clones with an optimal environment to ensure a healthy start to life.
These seed starting kits include everything you need to get your grow started, including:
Not sure which one is for you? Check out our year-end review of the best seed starter kits of the year, where we offer an option for every type of grower. Once you have these, you have the basic seed starting supplies you need to begin the germination process.
You can use all these to create warmth and humidity for your seeds, and they’ll be growing into huge, heavy plants in no time!
The Most Important Plant Cloning Supplies
If you’re going to take cuttings and attempt to root them, you’ll need some special plant cloning supplies to get the job done.
Hydroponic cloning supplies make it easy to harden off cuttings and prepare them for transplant in half the time of other methods.
It is not uncommon to see a 100% success rate when using a hydroponic or aeroponic cloning machine. If you want to learn about the best cloning machines, visit our blog and read our complete guide!
Other Essential Cloning Or Seed Starting Supplies
More than likely, you will have separate areas for propagation and veg/flower, since the environments differ so much. Typical grow lights will be too powerful for propagation purposes
Common Questions About Cloning & Seed Starting Supplies
We know you likely have some questions still before buying your propagation, cloning, and seed starting supplies.
We’ve compiled some of the ones we get frequently, but if you don’t see your question here, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our expert growers - we’re here to help you get the seed starting supplies you need!
How long do plant cuttings take to root?
This will differ from variety to variety, but generally, you will see roots within 10 days of taking the cutting. This can be expedited using our cloning gels and rooting solutions.
When you take a cutting from a mother plant, you need to apply a rooting gel immediately, and then place it in the propagation tray or cloning machine. To further encourage rooting, supplement your clones with mycorrhizae and root enhancers.
How old should a mother plant be before cloning?
To ensure the best cloning process, cut a mother plant when she is 2-3 months into veg. By this point, she will have enough growth to supply you with clones without stressing her too much.
For a higher success rate, hold off on feeding nutrients to the mother for a week before stripping clones from her. A flush like this forces the clones you cut to focus more on rooting than vegetative growth.
If you have any questions about propagation, our expert growing staff is available at 888-815-9763 to answer your questions!
If you want to learn more about propagating plants, stop by our learning center and check out our full guide on cloning plants!
Why Is Hydrobuilder The Best Place To Buy Seed Starting Supplies Online?
There are so many places to buy seed starting & sprouting supplies online, so why choose Hydrobuilder?
Nobody has a more extensive collection planting supplies, ranging from bubble cloners for our hobbyist crowd to commercial seed starting equipment for professional growers, and everything in between.
But aside from that, our customer service is unparalleled. We help you get the job done right, recommending the sprouting supplies you need and nothing more - so you can stretch your budget further than you imagined.
With the top brands at the best prices, what more could you ask for? We don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk!
We’re growers ourselves, and have a blog filled with plant grow guides, how-to’s, and reviews. If you’re in the market to upgrade any aspect of your grow room, we likely have a buying guide to help you choose the right product!
Are There Any Other Planting Supplies I Might Need?
If you are worried about what other sprouting or planting supplies you might need, consider checking out our collection of soils & containers.
You can also grab your garden pots while you’re here, and that way, you can easily transplant your little babies into a new container when they’re ready.
While you’re here, ask yourself what else you’ll need to bring your plants from seed to harvest. You have the planting supplies covered, but do you have your nutrients & fertilizer? Do you have your harvest supplies?
We are your one-stop shop for all things growing - so if you need anything related to horticulture, chances are we have it here! And if not, we can help you get it.