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Introduction Successful cloning
requires cleanliness, warmth, healthy stock, and a
little TLC. Clones are sensitive to their environment;
harsh conditions (ie. cold & damp) will delay
rooting and increase mortality.
Rockwool? Rockwool is an excellent medium for
cloning: sterile, cheap, biodegradable, and portable,
rockwool can be transplanted into any system with
minimum transplant shock.
How many clones
should I cut? There will always be natural
differences between clones; sheer numbers will
compensate for poor performers and mortality. The
fastest rooting clones have the most vigorous vegetative
growth and usually the best flowering potential. I
suggest taking 50% more than you need.
Fresh razor blade(s) / quality trimming scissors
1" rockwool cubes
Slotted tray / solid tray / High hat humidity domes
SuperThrive (@ 1 drop/gal)
No Damp (@ 5ml/gal in a spray bottle)
Heating mat (40w GroTek mat on a cycle timer)
Tray inserts: (I used Grodan 77 inserts - 55
clones/tray) keep cubes upright, evenly spaced, and
slightly raised off the slotted tray.
always use "high quality water" when watering clones -
distilled, reverse-osmosis (R.O.) or 24 hour tap water
left for 24 hours to dissipate chlorine. All water
should be at room temperature.
mothers The moms should be healthy, pest/disease
free and fully into vegetative growth. Clones can
be taken off moms up to 2 weeks into flower; however,
these flowered clones experience shock and are often
difficult to root.
I like to foliar feed the
mothers with Growth Plus (A Nitrozyme kelp extract
containing growth hormones and vitamins) 3-4 days prior
to cloning to encourage lush and healthy shoot growth.
It is recommeneded to reduce the amount/ratio of
Nitrogen in the mother's nutrient solution 3 days prior
to cloning (flush soil mothers with water). Nitrogen
inhibits root growth; reduced N levels in the mother
should help the clones root faster.
do not like to top their moms, preferring to take clones
from lower shoots to maintain vertical growth. Lower
shoots contain more stored starches, giving the clone
more stored enemergy. Top shoots contain higher levels
of growth hormones (ie. auxins) for faster root
Prepping the rockwool
Remove plastic wrapping from cubes (The plastic can
Prepare some pH 4.5 - 5.5 water + SuperThrive (1
Immerse cubes for 24hrs.
I use plastic
"Grodan77" inserts (11 cubes per insert, 5 inserts/tray
for 55 clones/tray); keep cubes upright, evenly spaced,
and slightly raised.
I find the standard 1" cube
too big; it remains damp and cool (even on a heating
mat). I prefer to cut the 1" cube into 2 halves; the
sized cube dries out faster, stays warm, air can reach
all sides, roots exit faster, and you get twice as many!
Cutting a cube into 4 makes even more...
Labeling your clones Labeling your
mom and the clones taken from a particular mom is a good
idea to backtrack on a monster mom.
to cloning Exposed clones will wilt within a few
minutes, so it is best to have all materials ready
before you start to take cuttings.
Dip scissors and razor blade into alcohol (Grease is
used to separate razor blades). Wipe cutting board with
Drain cubes, place into tray.
Poke a 1/8" hole halfway into the center of each
Cover prepped cubes with dome until you are ready to
start (I like to pre-warm the rockwool by putting the
filled tray on the heating mat for hour before I start
to take cuttings).
Clone types Actively
growing tops are preferred, as they contain the most
growth hormones. Clones taken lower down are often
spindly and less developed. I prefer 3" top clones with
a 1/8" stem, 2-3 fan leaves and a slightly firm (but not
yet woody) stem.
I prefer short clones (no more
than 2-3 nodes), otherwise the newly forming roots must
support a large leaf and shoot. The clone should also be
'mature',with alternating leaves. Immature clones have
leaves opposite each other and are usually pale and
Avoid stem cuts (no node) and plug
cuts, as they do not root nearly as well (Roots form
primarily at the nodes). Trim large fan leaves in half
to minimize the leaf area the newly forming roots must
clone (Where do I cut?) Select a vigorous
growing top on the mother, cut the main stem just above
a fan leaf / auxiliary shoot node about 2 nodes down (as
shown in red in the image). The cut can be done with
trimming scissors or razor blade.
shoot and fan leaf on the mother allows the remaining
shoot to continue growing and another shoot to grow from
Pre-Trim the raw
clone: (Removing lower nodes) Once the growing
top has been selected and cut from the mother, trim
shoots and fan leaves from the lowest nodes (as seen in
the image). The lowest node will be inserted into the
Cut " below the lowest node with the
razor blade at a 45 degree angle on the cutting board
for a clean cut.
clone: This 'ideal' trimmed clone was taken from
a vigorous top. A fan leaf and shoot were both removed
at the lowest node. The clone will soon be inserted
dipped into gel, then inserted into a rockwool cube.
Trim large fan leaves in half (Reduces transpiration;
the newly forming roots don't have to initially support
as much leaf).
Plant the clone
Dip the trimmed clone into the cloning gel, make
sure the lowest node is also thinly coated with gel.
Remove any excess on the cut surface itself (So the
cutting does not suffocate).
Gently push the stem into the rockwool. If the hole
is too big, gently squeeze the rockwool around the stem
to seal it.
dome and beyond
Spray inside of humidity dome with No-Damp solution
(Do not spray clones directly, as this can encourage
Rotate edge clones to keep their leaves inside of
the tray. Cover the freshly cut clones with the dome.
Put the clone tray + dome under "warm white"
fluorescent lights (Unrooted clones require low light
levels. Do not blast them with direct HID lights!).
The humidity dome should be left on for 2 days,
lifted daily for air exchange. On the 3th day I like to
prop up the dome " (slightly) on one side to
acclimatize them (If wilting occurs, leave dome on for
another day and try again). On the 4th day I remove the
dome. Roots should begin to exit the cube 5-10 days.
Daily Maintenance 1.
Air exchange Lift the dome at least once/day
(for first 3-4 days, then remove dome). Breathe inside
the dome to increase Co2 levels.
Watering I water every second day when the
clones are under the dome, then once/day thereafter.
Once roots show, you may have to water twice a day to
keep the roots moist.
The pH of the water inside
of the rockwool will rise slowly; re-hydrating @ 5.6-5.8
will restore proper pH levels inside the root zone.
Allowing the cubes to dry slightly will force roots to
search for water and encourage vigorous rooting (But
dont allow the cubes to completely dry out!)
Mix 5.6-5.8 pH "24 hour" water and fill solid tray
about halfway with water. Note: After the dome has
been removed, add small amounts of nutrients -Micro +
Bloom + 1drop/gal SuperThrive.
Dip clones + inserts + slotted tray into the
filled solid tray. Make sure all clones are getting
water by 'swirling' the edges of the tray.
Lift clone tray out and allow to drain. Shake tray
to remove excess moisture.
Place clones back under fluorescent lights, and a
Root check Roots should begin to exit the cube in 5-10 days. A
gentle upward tug on the clone will tell you if
it is rooted (only do this after 5 days). Unrooted
clones will pull out. Roots may be present, but not yet
exiting the cube. If in doubt, carefully open the
Clones will draw their nutrient needs
internally from it's fan leaves, which may turn slightly
pale. This is a good sign, as it is proof the clone is
actively growing. Adding weak nutrients is recommended
at this point. Unrooted clones often appear healthy and
green (and will stay that way for weeks!).
prefer to sort out the clones (unrooted, few roots,
vigorous) into their own trays. Roots should be white
and fuzzy. If a clone has not shown roots in 2 weeks,
I'd consider removing it. Brown roots indicate rot.
Occassionally, root tips will become air burned: a sign
to water more often!
Weak nutrients (50-200ppm)
should be started on the rooted clones, and watered more
frequently to avoid drying the exposed root tips out.
You could also try a weak foiliar feeding with Growth
Plus (or any kelp extract). Begin to increase Nitrogen
Once the clones have fully established
roots, they can be put under weak HID light and a weak
(250-500ppm) nutrient regime, or outplanted into soil,
hydro or aero systems.
Do not put the clone tray directly onto a heating
mat. The heat will cook the roots, even on a timer. It
is better to raise the tray off the mat. I use 2
coroplast strips to sit the tray on, raising the tray
A low-level continuous heat is
preferred, but a timer may be required to reduce
temperatures. I run my mats 5 min on, 10 min off, 24/7
on a cycle timer. The heat will dry out the clones
quickly, and daily watering will be required.
Occasionally, fresh cloning gel will be very thick.
Add some water to container, shake. The gel should pour
easier. Some cloning gels have no fungicide (ex.
Rootmax); fungicides inhibit root growth somewhat, but
prevent damping off.
If you are using rooting powder, take care to remove
excess powder from the stem cut as you plant the
cutting, as this can inhibit the uptake of water.
Give your rooted clones a foliar feeding with Growth
Plus (or any Kelp extract) to give them a quick growth
boost once they have shown roots.
Don't forget to ventilate the cloning space
Cut many tops at once to speed up the cloning
Mark and date all trays, so you know when to expect
roots. Try to keep different strains organized in their
own trays, watered seperately.