Cloning Problems

by Ash
(VIC, Australia)

After planting at 2 weeks with roots, the leaf stems turned purple. Are they still alright as far as cuttings are concerned? And what's the problem causing it to happen? And how can I prevent it happening?

Answer: Ash- purple stems are usually caused by one of two things...sometimes it is simply in the genetics of the plants you are growing; other times it can be the result of a nutrient deficiency. After taking clones, it is usually the practice to give them plain water (or water plus B1, but not any nutrients). The reason: the presence of nutrients tends to inhibit the growth of roots in new cutting.

You indicated that the clones were already two weeks in when you transplanted them. This would be long enough to cause purpling if they were not given nutrients during this time. It is very possible the coloring is normal and harmless and simply due to a lack of some nutrient. If this sounds like your situation, your clones are probably just fine. Once they have been given some nutrients they may "recover", but I would not be too worried if they do not. As I mentioned before, some plants are simply genetically disposed to purple coloring....especially in the tiny stems going out to the leaves (I have had this same condition myself in many plants over the years).

I'm not sure that there is anything you can do to prevent the condition....clones tend to root much better when nutrients are withheld. Just make sure they get a dose of fertilizer once transplanted and give them a little time and they should be just fine. If you are still concerned, I suggest looking up a complete list of primary, secondary, and micro-nutrients and comparing it to the nutrients you are using. I have a partial list on this page, but most of the 42 micro-nutrients are not listed there at this time.

If the condition is nutrient related, the biggest suspect would be one of the micro-nutrients. The simple fact that your clones survived at all is a good indication that you are doing something right, not necessarily anything wrong. My advice is to not worry about it. If your leaves develop discolored spots or dead spots, than that would be a different story. I sure hope this helps you out Ash, and Happy Growing!

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