The World of Plant Cloning Machines
Whenever the topic of plant reproduction come up I find myself with no lack of enthusiasm to participate. The whole idea of just how plants reproduce is so amazing when you take a moment to really think about it.
Plants are not confined to one way of reproduction like every other living thing on this planet, they have over a dozen different ways that they can procreate. Unlike every other advanced organism plants can even clone themselves.
While cloning of animals requires vast scientific knowledge and genetic experience, plants can clone themselves just by bending a branch to the forest floor. A nursery person with no scientific background at all can clone a plant with the expertise of an advanced geneticist.
We are all part of a very, very interesting industry.
This is the heyday of advanced horticultural science and thanks to technological progress the nursery person can do more today than they even could ten or twenty years ago. One of the great advances has been in how successfully we are able to reproduce plants through cloning.
Years ago, it was often hit or miss as all we had was a greenhouse, planting medium and clear plastic that we tented with to raise humidity. All that seems rather primitive today with the introduction of plant cloning machines. To compete, today’s horticulturist needs to embrace the combination of modern hydroponic cloning with conventional methods of cultivation.
The basics of cloning machines
Cloning machines maximize the success rate by creating conditions that are optimal for growth development.
They range from the very simple models which operate basically as an improved hotbox with especially formulated rooting compounds to the highly advanced hydroponic models utilizing optimal temperature and a nutrient solution.
There are two central types of hydroponic cloning machines available which are the deep-water culture (DWC) and the EBB or EAF and flow. The EAF is the preferred choice of professionals and is the more complex machine when it comes to dry-loving plants while the much simpler DWC is probably best the route for the beginner.
When you first purchase a cloning machine, you will need to go through several simple steps.
- Set up – fill with water, install the pump and misters and adjust the temperature to around 64-70 degrees. Follow the instructions with your unit as you don’t want it too warm or too cool.
- Enhance cloning environment– make certain the nutrient solution is the desired temperature, place grow lights slightly above the unit. Adjust the humidity level to above 60%.
- Place cuttings– after the unit is completely set up you can place in the cuttings according to manufacturer instructions.
Preparing the new cloning machine is just as simple as that.
Cloning machines help roots develop faster
Let’s explore the two types of cloning machines a bit deeper.
Deep water culture cloning
DWC is an extremely simple cloning system that even the most inexperienced will find simple to use.
Just as the name implies DWC cloning machine consists of a nutrient solution contained within a deep tank. The cover plant collars which hold the cuttings securely in place. While DWC does not require a pump, it does oxygenate the nutrient solution.
Algae growth is not a problem in the nutrient solution tank because it is oxygenated, and it is a self-contained dark environment that is not conducive to algae growth.
With this system a grower can expect a healthy root growth in 4-5 days. Do not let the fact that DWC is a hydroponic system because once the roots are fully developed the plant can be transplanted into starter pots in a regular soilless mix.
When looking to purchase a DWC cloning machine be wary of the multitude of cheap versions the internet offers. Many of these are nothing more than a large Rubbermaid tub with holes on top. Buy from a reputable supplier with a proven record of hydroponic equipment excellence.
The EBB & flow system
The EBB and flow system utilizes the most advanced plant cloning technology on the market today and operates as a true hydroponic system.
It includes a holding tank of nutrient solution typical of hydroponic growing, advanced pump technology and solution temperature control and monitoring. The higher output pump combined with microjet sprayers deliver consistent oxygenated mist along with a rooting hormone directly to the cutting or stem.
The cuttings themselves are well-supported by a neoprene collar which securely anchors the cutting in place while at the same time suppling it with nutrient solution from the reservoir.
The EBB flow system eliminates a growing medium and suspend the cutting directly and accurately in the nutrient solution which maximizes the exposed surface area. This important factor increases the actual root zone surface area which all adds up to more rapid root growth and development.
The advantages and features of the EBB & flow system are very impressive.
- High pressure sprayers
- Ceramic air stones
- High pressure pump
- Durable, long-life reservoir tank
Another excellent feature with the EBB/EAF flow system is that they work extremely well with space saving commercial cloning grow stations. These are sleek wall units are designed specifically for cloning systems.
This enables the grower to save valuable greenhouse space while utilizing the wasted wall space which in the past was of little use.
The greatest advantage is that you will begin to see healthy root development over the course of an amazing 3-4 days and within 10-12 days healthy plants are ready for transplant. This alone is worth the investment. The nursery business is a seasonal gig and the sooner we can bring our product to market the more profit we gain.
I know what some of you old-timers are thinking.
You’re thinking this is all a lot of complicated bunk and you want to keep tenting and sweating over plant cloning as you have the past 30 years. Let this fellow old-timer share with you all you need to know about cloning machines- they will make you more money.
The blending of modern hydroponic cloning and conventional cultivation is a harmonious and beneficial relationship that growers will profit from.
This technology is advanced, simple to learn and use, successful even after prolonged use over the course of seasons, has a much higher rate of healthy root growth and most importantly, produce a better and healthier plant.
In the end, that is the name of the game. If you need any help, give us a call or shoot us an email!