What is the process of cutting?
Plant cutting is a specific type of propagation that refers to the process of taking a sample clipping from one, ideal plant, then replanting it in another location, with the aim to nurture it into a brand new plant. This process is also known as cloning and is a great way of cultivating select strains to ensure a superior crop.
There are a number of important factors that can impact on the outcome, standard, and growth of your replanted cuttings, including soil hydration, humidity, temperature,and the proportion and strength of growth hormone used.
Before you take any cutting, to ensure a successful replanting process, the plant you’re clipping should have reached at least 2 months maturity, must be in a vegetative state, and should be adequately hydrated.
So why should you take Cuttings?
Cutting can be a superb way of saving money on seeds, or plants, and can also help you produce more plants, in a much shorter time frame. Because plant cells have the capacity to reproduce every part of the plant, if the host environment is optimum, you could grow a new plant from an ideal strain, speedily, and for a fraction of the cost.
The great thing is, if you have strains that you want to encourage, your new plant will have identical bio-markers as the original, parent plant. Cutting allows growers to selectively propagate, ensuring you retain high value plants, and always produce a high quality harvest.
Tips for making a successful cutting
First it’s important that the plant you intend to clip is in a vegetative state, and that it’s at least 2 months old.
Make sure the plant has been hydrated before you take the cutting.
Your cutting will have more of a chance of successful implantation if you take it from the top of the mother plant, as here there is a higher amount of hormones necessary for growth.
Select a stem that has at least 3-4 sets of leaves, and is between 3-5 inches in length. Your cutting should also ideally be anything up to an eighth of an inch wide.
Take a few more cuttings than you are likely to need, but don’t overdo it. Never remove more than half the original plant.
You should avoid smoking when making cuttings because there are many plant diseases present in tobacco products that can infect your plants and cuttings.
Five stage guide to taking and rooting cuttings
Taking the Cutting
Get a sterile scalpel that has been sanitised using either rubbing alcohol, boiling water, or a flame and make an incision, removing the stem from the source plant at a 45- degree angle. Aim your cut between the leaf joints to ensure a cleaner incision.
The goal here is to take off the lower set of leaves while leaving the leaf nodes exposed, as these are packed with vital cells that will help your cutting take root successfully. Take off any fan leaves and trim down other large leaves, to decrease transpiration and increase your chances of a successful rooting.
Feed your cutting
Take a container and fill with some rooting gel or powder, then get your cutting and dip the end in, making sure you cover the bottom leaf nodes. Never dip the cutting directly into the original rooting hormone container otherwise you’ll contaminate the product and it will be ineffective, or far less effective upon future use.
Place your cutting in a peat based rooting cube like the one’s made by Root Riot, that have been pre-soaked with a potent nutrient formula like Clonex. Ensure you pack around the base to hold the stem in place and encourage it to grow upright. Don’t over soak your cube, instead aim to coat with formula evenly, and shake out the excess before using it to pack. Don’t squeeze as this can release necessary oxygen and deform the structure of the cube, rendering it ineffective.
Propagation, or the environment you create to nurture and encourage the growth of your clipping is an important stage of the cutting process. Humidity is key here, and you should aim to keep levels between 70 – 80%. Keep the plant under a soft fluorescent light, or LED strip, for 18 hours a day, and keep temperature to between 20-25 degrees. Keep the propagator tightly closed, only opening the vents when you need to, and closing them again immediately.
What kit can I use to optimise my cuttings?
There are some useful products you can use to encourage and nurture your cuttings but it’s important to “weed” out the wheat from the chaff, so you don’t end up throwing your money away. Opt for an aeroponics propagator as they are by far the quickest and easiest way to ensure your cuttings thrive, and thrive fast. Use a powerful and proven rooting hormone such as Clonex to seal the cut tissue, provide essential nutrients, and aid growth, and pack with quality peat based Root Riot cubes to ensure your clippings hold firm.
Remember to choose a soft fluro light or an LED based strip to guarantee optimal propagation and a bumper crop in the shortest possible period of time.