• Indoor Seed Starting

    The key to a successful garden is getting your plants, before they are even full-fledged plants, off to a great start. Seeds, seedlings, and cuttings are all times when a plant is at its most vulnerable and specific care is needed for them.

    At Hydrobuilder, we offer everything you need for plant propagation. Whether you’re looking to increase your seed germination rate or want your prize plant’s genetics beautifully passed down from generation to generation you can rest assured your plants are in good hands.

    Seed Propagation

    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.

    Tools Needed for Germinating Seeds

    • Grow Media - Plugs & rootcubes
    • High humidity - Humidity domes
    • Seedling Tray
    • Fresh / Healthy Seeds
    • Low-Intensity Light - Fluorescent bulbs

    Plant Cloning

    The most obvious reason for plant cloning is to keep the genetics that you love from plant to plant, but cloning comes with a lot of other perks.

    • Reduce Grow Time - A cutting/clone will take a week or two to take root after it has been removed from the mother. After that you can continue to keep the plant in the vegetative state or you can jump straight to flowering which cuts down on weeks of grow time.
    • Indefinite Supply - Never buy seeds again.
    • Always Have Female Plants - Cloning means an exact copy and that means every cutting taken from a female plant will be female as well.

    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.

    Tools Needed For Cloning

    • Cutting Tool - Preferably sterile
    • Grow Media - Rockwool, plugs & rootcubes, etc.
    • Rooting Agent / Cloning Gel
    • Mother Plant
    • Cloning Machine / Seedling Trays
    • Low-Intensity Light - Fluorescent bulbs

    Find All of the Propagation & Cloning Supplies You Need at Hydrobuilder!

    Cloning Machines - Creating a strong root system is the key to successfully cloning a plant. Cloning machines make the whole process easier, can cut the cloning process down by half, and pushes your cloning success rate close to 100% every time. A cloning machine is essentially a mini hydroponic system, and if you’re planning on cloning your plants it’s highly recommended to use one.

    Clone & Seedling Lights - Cuttings, seedlings, and young plants are often stressed by the high-intensity light that is needed for later growth phases. This is why many growers have a different lighting system setup for the early stages. After the initial cost of a purchasing separate lighting system, most growers see returns on their electric bills, and with the speed and health of the young plants.

    Trays, Domes, & Root Cubes - Propagation trays and domes allow you to shrink down your plants’ environment giving you easier control and management over them. This results in better germination rates and healthier plants. Root cubes provide the ideal media for creating stronger roots system, and helps seedlings and cuttings from drying out.

    Seedling Heat Mats - New growers often forget that soil temperature is just as important as the temperature outside the soil/media. Heat pads and digital thermostats ensure that seedlings receive an even temperature both under and above ground which promotes faster germination and growth.

    Cloning Gels & Root Enhancers - You know that root health is the biggest factor in successful propagation, that’s why we offer a wealth of rooting hormones and enhancers, and cloning gels that offer the optimal levels for stimulating strong root develop fast. We offer gels, solutions, sprays, and powders giving you your preferred method of application.

    Cloner & Seedling Packages - When you’re first learning about growing it can feel overwhelming because of all the different systems and components that make them up. You need to figure out a lighting setup, a grow media setup, what your nutrients are going to look like, etc. That can be a lot to handle and leave you with a headache, so that’s why we offer complete cloning and seedling packages that give you everything you need to get off to a successful and stress free start.

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  • Clone & Seedling Kits

    There are several reasons why gardeners set up a growing system dedicated to propagating seedlings and clones. Let’s look at few:

    Reason number one: Seedlings and clones are very delicate, small, and don’t have a strong root system yet, and this means they can easily be killed. Grow rooms set up for the vegetative and flowering stages are fine to use for propagation, but they require modifying, and even then you’ll have to more careful because they is more room for error. Grow media for adult plants are too large, the lights for are too intense, you get the picture.

    Reason number two: The success rate of cuttings taking root and seeds germinating varies on a lot of factors. Many professional gardeners will germinate more seeds and take more cuttings than they ultimately need because they expect some to not make it. And if by chance all the plants do end up making it, you will have the opportunity to pull runts that just aren’t cutting it, giving you the ability to grow the strongest plants. Our kits are designed to create the best environment for propagation, insuring your seeds germinate and your cuttings take root.

    Reason number three: Cuttings taken from a mother plant in flowering, cannot share the same grow room as they have different needs such as light, humidity, etc.

    Take the Work Out of Gardening

    So it’s clear why it’s a good idea to have a dedicated propagation setup, so the next question is do you put it all together yourself or just buy a kit. So here is why an all-in-one kit is a great idea.

    • When you’re first getting started, you’re focusing the majority of your attention on building a system that is best suited for the vegetative and flowering stage. Which is good because that’s where the plant is spending the majority of its life. Learning how to put together a great propagation system while simultaneously learning how to create the main veg/flowering system, may leave you overwhelmed and feeling like you could have better spent your time solely on the latter system.
    • Next, while there are a lot of great and complex ways you can grow adult plants, with propagating that’s not really the case. A successful propagation system should be simple, and our kits have everything you need for getting your garden off to a perfect start.

    Seedling Kits & Propagation Supplies

    Humidity Dome - A high humidity is needed for clones and germinating seeds. It’s easy to drown seeds, seedlings, and cuttings and with a very high humidity, you won’t have to worry about watering as much. And by the same token, you’ll have to worry less about under watering.

    Many gardeners aim for humidity levels that are at least 80%. Unless you’re living in a very wet climate, that’s next to impossible to do unless you're working within a small and confined space/environment. Humidity domes give you that confined space and will lock in humidity.

    Grow Media - Your grow medium needs to be simple. You just want an inert medium that’s good at staving off mold, fungus, and other dangerous pathogens. Our kits give you just that and are designed for easily moving the individual seedlings in and out of the system.

    Heating Pad - Most vegetables will germinate at “room temperature”, but peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes are just a few vegetables that germinate better in warmer soil. Typically, heating pads will raise soil temperature 10 to 20 degrees over ambient temperatures, and once the seeds have sprouted it’s recommended to remove the pads to not scorch the roots.

    Clonex - Don’t be fooled by the name, Clonex is great at giving seedlings a formulated boost of nutrients that will get them off to a strong start promoting root development and minimizing transplant shock.

    Cloning Kits & Cloning Supplies

    Cloning Tent - Young plants need a home to call their own. The tents in these kits will provide the perfect amount of room you’ll need for clones, seedlings, and plants in the vegetative stage. Their size and design make them perfect for controlling temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors.

    Grow Media - Aeroponics is the up-and-coming hydroponic system that gardeners are loving as an innovative way to grow plants. They work by spraying the roots with water at regular intervals. Aeroponic is a great way to clone plants and the mini-systems that come with our kits is a great introduction to aeroponic technology. How cool is it to grow plants that are essentially suspended in air.

    Ventilation - Since the lights in our cloner systems will be inside the tent, unlike our seedlings kits, we provide you with a small duct fan that is perfect for extracting excess heat.

    Cloning solutions - Cloning solutions will make sure your clones are happy and healthy with a strong rooting systems that will soon rival their mother’s. As well, they will protect the cuttings from pathogens and contaminants.

    Propagation Grow Lights

    Wait, you didn’t think we forgot about the lights for this kits, right? All of our kits come with a T5 grow light and here’s why.

    • Intensity - HID and LED grow lights are incredible for adult plants with high lighting demands, but there are a few issues that make them a poor candidate for seedlings and clones. Considering how much larger full size plants are compared to their younger selves, it’s no surprise that they can’t handle anywhere near the same amount of light intensity. HIDs and LEDs are a fast way to light burn and kill your plants, and bring along other issues like temperature.
    • Temperature - HIDs commonly produce too much heat for seedlings, while LEDs don’t produce enough. LEDs do produce some heat, but because of light intensity, they have to be hung very high above the young plants to not cause light stress, to the point that they generate no real heat for seeds, seedlings, and cuttings.
    • Light spectrum - LEDs and to a lesser extent HIDs, are often designed for the flowering stage and will produce too much yellow and red light for seedlings. Seedlings and clones grow best with light in the blue spectral range. Blue light will promote the development of leaves while keeping the plants short.

    Enter the T5 fluorescent which emits a brilliant blue light, generates just enough heat, and has the perfect intensity that will get your seedlings and clones off to a fantastic start without burning them. The T5 grow lights that come with our seedling kits are designed to stand over them, while the T5 fixtures that come with our cloner kits easily hang inside the tents.

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  • Cloning Gels & Root Enhancers

    They might be usually out of sight, but if you forget about your plants’ roots systems, then you will be in for a world of problems that will ruin the fun of gardening and make the entire process a headache that you wish could just be over.

    Diagnosing plant issues and deficiencies are never fun, but it becomes a nightmare if the issues are stemming from a root based problem. Root based problems will display themselves however they please. One second it could look like you have a nitrogen deficiency, then the next it looks like you’re giving too much calcium. This leads gardeners to freak out and flush their plants, which rips out vital nutrients that weren't causing an issue at all -- but surely will now that they are gone.

    This isn’t to scare you but instead, to show you the importance of building a strong root system. Because not only are root based issues a nightmare to diagnosed and fixed, a strong root system is vital to growing the biggest, tasty plants that rule your garden.

    Here is even more reasons why it’s vital you create a strong root system:

    • Roots act as a lifeline to your plants
    • They greatly affect how nutrients are uptaken
    • They offer protection from disease and dangerous pathogens
    • They anchor your plant in place.
    • Secrete compounds that encourage a relationship with beneficial microbes

    How cloning gels and root enhancers work

    Root enhancers commonly come in three main forms: gel, powder, or liquid, but regardless of the form they all contain a class of rooting hormones called auxins, which promotes root development, growth, and provides them a shield of protection.


    Rooting gels are most frequently used when cloning plants. The easiest and most common way to clone is by taking a cutting from a mother plant -- preferably in the vegetative state. The cutting will form a mass of cells at the point of separation called a callus. The goal of the grower is to have the callus grow, divide, and form specialized cells such as root cells. And you guessed it, these class of hormones known as auxins promote the callus to do just that.

    Using a root enhancer for cloning is simple, and all you do is dip the part that was directly separated from the mother plant in the gel before planting it.

    The one thing you’ll want to remember when cloning with rooting agents is do not stick the cutting directly into the bottle as a sick clone can contaminate the entire rooting solution. As well, the moisture from the cutting will slowly degrade the solution.

    Do I only need a root enhancer when cloning?

    Yes, and no. No, you do not need a root enhancer when propagating from a seed, but root enhancers can get your plant’s roots off to a stronger start and this sets you up for that long road ahead.

    More important however, root enhancers can greatly help prevent transplant shock. Because seedlings and seeds are so tiny, professional growers often use a dedicated propagation system and grow media to get them off to a strong start and then transplant them into a larger container/media.

    Obviously, ripping your plant out of their media is going to upset them, but the benefits truly outweigh the negatives, especially if you give a rooting agent that will protect the roots when transplanting.

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  • Seed & Propagation Trays, Domes & Root Cubes

    As growers we need to face the truth, It’s way too easy to make mistakes when starting plants off in grow rooms and setups designed for adult plants, and we could benefit so much more if spent some time and money on setting up a system solely dedication to propagation.

    That’s why at Hydrobuilder we provide you with everything you need to create a mini-environment that’s perfect for protecting the tiniest of plants, and making sure they get off to a successful start with a bright future ahead.

    Seedling trays and domes make the perfect environment for seeds, seedlings, and cuttings ensuring that they get off to the best start possible, successfully setting you up for the next several months of growing. Let’s face it, plant issues happen, but nothing is worse than dealing with them when your plant has just started to really develop. Fortunately, setting up a propagation system is fairly easy, so let’s dive into what you need and why.

    Seedling Grow Trays & Inserts

    Trays and inserts provide the base of your propagation setup and keep everything tidy and protected. Inserts are great because they allow you to control the nutrient needs of each individual plant as inserts will contain a number of cells - each cell holds one plug/plant.

    When picking a tray you’ll want to decide if you want a durable material that will last you multiple grows or one that can be cut apart and planted along with the plant. This is an easy and safe to transplant plants, which commonly done in indoor growing operations but is a common worry for gardeners that have never done it before.

    If you want to cut up your tray and plant it into the soil just make sure it’s biodegradable. We offer small inserts and trays starting at 12 cells – great for the new growers. As, well you can find rather large trays with more than 72 cells – perfect for the commercial grower.

    Seedling Humidity Domes

    Seeds, seedlings, and cuttings love high humidity, and a 70-80% humidity provides the perfect environment for promoting strong root development fast. With a high humidity you’ll water less, and this is a big relief for beginners that afraid of over and underwatering, which happens quite a bit when you first start gardening.

    Seedling Plugs & Root Cubes

    Plugs & root cubes couldn’t be easier to use. All you do is place one into the insert’s cell, pop your seed or cutting in, and give a little water from time to time. Plugs are designed to provide the perfect amount of airflow and hold moisture. Plugs can be made out of various materials, so let’s take a look at what material and plugs you can expect to see.

    Rockwool – One of the most popular materials for propagation is created by spinning molten rock and other raw material together until it resembles wool. These packly tight fibers hold an abundance of water and air making it a perfect plug for propagation.

    Grower Foam – These plugs are dense and have low drainage and have been used in the agricultural world for over 50 years, and were designed for the sole purpose of propagating plants.

    Peat Moss – This material is often used in potting soil to break up the heaviness of the soil. It also can be used as a fantastic root plug because it holds several times its weight in water.

    Rapid Rooter – These plugs are designed for an optimal air to water ratio and are made out of composted material – peat moss may be in it along with other materials, such as tree bark.

    Our recommendation is try to not get too caught up and panic about which material/plug is best. All of them do a fantastic job and you can’t go wrong with any of the plugs you see on Hydrobuilder.

    Put together your seed starting setup the easy way

    There is no easier way to get a propagation system up and running than by purchasing an entire kit that has everything for you. We feel choice and providing you with great equipment within your budget is important, so you’ll find kits with various features to choose from such as cloning gels, T5 lights, etc.

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  • Seedling Heat Mats Buying Guide

    Propagation and seed heat mats are an important part of the growers toolbox. It’s easy for beginner gardeners to forget about the temperature of their grow media and how it affects the plant’s root system. Usually, forgetting about the temperature of your grow media won’t cause any notable issues for adult plants that already have a strong root system in place.

    Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for seeds, seedlings, and cuttings that have barely developed a root system, if one at all. Even worst, young plants don’t have anywhere near the light demand that adult plants do. As such, this requirement for less light will translate into less heat building on and warming the grow medium.

    Why Heat is Critical to Seed Germination

    The temperature of the grow media will play a vital role in both the success and time seeds germinate at. In fact, many vegetables and fruits have an optimal temperature for germinating that is quite high.

    Beets, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, cabbage, and radishes are just a few that have an optimal temperature of 85°F. Corn, cucumbers, squash, watermelon, and beans all prefer an optimal temperature of 95°F – you’re most likely not keeping the temperature in your house anywhere near that, nor will your propagation lights come close to warming up the grow media to said temperature.

    Fortunately for gardeners, especially ones of the outdoor variety, seeds have a much lower practical temperature they can germinate at, however, this results in poorer success rates and reduced germination speed.

    Set Your Plants Up For Long-Term success: Pros of Seedling Heat Mats

    Why getting a seedling heat mat is a good idea:

    • Most seedling mats will raise temperature 10 to 20 degrees over ambient temperature providing the perfect environment for your roots to take off.
    • Seedling mats are affordable and durable – they will ultimately save you money with each successful propagation after successful propagation.
    • They come in a variety of sizes working with your preferred propagation setup.
    • They provide the root zone with an optimal temperature that decreases production time and increases germination rates.
    • They give outdoor growers, who experience a colder spring or an environment that experiences harsh temperature fluctuations, the ability to germinate in their greenhouses earlier in the year, and give them the choice to have their propagation setup outside.

    Cons of Seedling Heat Mats

    The benefits outweigh the cons by a significant amount, however, there are two issues you need to watch out for:

    • First, heating mats tend to dry out the grow media faster – experience gardeners will not find this to be an issue as they’ve developed an eye for telling if the media is properly watered. But it’s common for new gardeners to over and underwater in the beginning, so more diligence is recommended when using a heating mat.
    • Second, it’s always a smart idea to have a way to monitor the temperature. Remember, these heating mats can raise temperatures 20 degrees above ambient temperatures and this can burn seeds, especially if they have a low optimal temperature such as spinach, lettuce, and parsley.

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  • The Best Garden Pots For Hydroponics and Traditional Growing

    Think all pots are the same? Think again! Learn about root pruning or air pruning to prevent root circles, improve aeration and drainage, and more.

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  • How to clone a plant with a cloning system

    Learn about cloning supplies and complete cloning systems for getting started fast. Cloning gels and root enhancers to improve clone success.

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