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.
What are the different methods of propagation?
There are multiple ways you can propagate a plant, with the most common being seeds or cuttings from a mother plant.
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 surgically 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 great since final mediums, lights, etc are meant for much larger plants. 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. The seedling stage is by far the easiest time to kill your plants, so it’s important to treat them with care.
Germination will take anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks, so patience is a virtue. 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 cutting 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.
Propagating with clone and seedling kits
Regardless of which method you choose, you will need to set up a very specific environment for clones and seedlings.
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.
Clone and seedling kits make propagation simple. These are designed to provide seeds and clones with an optimal environment to ensure a healthy start to life.
These clone and seedlings kits include everything you need to get your grow started, including:
What are hydroponic cloning machines?
Hydroponic cloning machines can 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.
Clone and seedling lights
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
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 are starting from seed, we have you covered! Check out our definitive guide on germinating seeds.