Cloning Success is in the Details

I have digital thermometers in every different garden space I own- they help enormously in the cloning area!

After many months of struggling, I finally began having some cloning success. What I learned is, the temperature you keep your clones at has a lot more to do with your success than what kind of cloning gel you use. This is the easiest way I have found to clone successfully...

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Pre-Soak Your Rockwool!

I personally use Rapid Rooter plugs and have better success using them. I've also met many professional growers who use and aggressively stand behind rockwool cubes

First step for cloning success is always to soak rockwool plugs in pH adjusted tap water for 24 hours or more before using. Some rockwool has a pH that is not ideal for freshly cut clones. Soaking your rockwool thoroughly in plain water adjusted to a pH of about 6.0 will normally take care of this problem.

Rapid Rooter plugs are a rubber-dirt plugs infused with beneficial micro-organisms. I have a 100% success rate with them on a regular basis

I have found two other good solutions to this problem. The first is to put the clones directly into a container of water without any "plug" to hold them (in the top of a half-gallon milk jug for example). The second is to use rubber dirt plugs instead of rockwool plugs. No matter what method you choose, you should add Thrive Alive B1 to the water you use for your cloning process.

Leave Your Water out Overnight

B1 should be the only thing in the water until fresh clones pop roots

Also, the water you use for your clones should be set out overnight so it is room temp when you use it. The shock of using cold water on top of the shock from the cloning procedure itself just might kill your fresh cuttings. 24 hours sitting out, without a lid on the container, will also allow the water to de-Chlorinate (if you are using "city" water). Finally, a little B1 should be added to any water used on Rapid Rooter plugs or rockwool plugs. The usual application rate is 20ml per gallon, but half of this will do just fine. Always read your containers to find out the recommended application rate!

The Circle of Green

Before you cut anything, choose and prepare your clones. Clones should be 4 to 6 inches long. I have found that slightly thicker branches have slightly better success rates. Something smaller than a pencil but larger than a toothpick would be ideal. For cloning success, clones should have a circle of green vegetation at the top no bigger than the top of a pop can.

Spring loaded trimming scissors are worth their weight in gold when there is a lot of trimming to do

Any excess vegetation on top should be trimmed, and any other vegetation along the stem should be removed. Excess vegetation means excess water loss. If the plants loose more moisture than they can pull up through their tiny rootless stem, then they will die. That is why it is so important to mist the clones once or twice a day until the clones begin growing roots.

The cut at the very bottom of the clone should always be made with a clean razor blade.

Containers for Cloning

Just about any plastic container will do. Ones with a narrow opening support the clones a little better

Next step, gather up some used plastic containers. I prefer plastic half gallon milk jugs. Mix 10 ml of Thrive Alive B1 into one gallon of tap water and fill your containers to the top. B1 is a must have for cloning success in my opinion....I use it in every drop of water, start to finish. B1 constantly drives cell division in the plants, which means faster growth. In the cloning process it also acts as a rooting hormone, helping stem cells at the site of the cut change into root cells and begin growing faster.

Use a Clean Razor

The fine xenophylum inside the plant stem are easily damaged, and easily contaminated. The bottom cut on the clone should always be done with a clean razor blade

The next part is like surgery on your plant. It is important that you use a sharp razor, and it is important that you clean it well! Your cloning success depends on it. Do not use scissors. Scissors tend to crush and damage plant cells, and you will have a much better success rate using a sharp razor to make your cuts.

Wash your hands with soap and water. Pour a little alcohol or hydrogen peroxide on the razor blade, and then rinse it with a little tap water. Make sure your cloning gel is's time to take some clones. Keeping in mind the perfect 4 to 6 inch length, hold the branch just above where you will make your cut. You will want the cut to be at an angle a little bit.

Cloning gels are far superior to powders. It doesn't really matter which gel you choose, but I highly recommend using a gel

With the razor, cut the clone from the branch and immediately dip it into the cloning gel. Swish it around two or three times, then put it into your container of tap water and Thrive Alive B1. Alternately, you could place the clones directly into your Rapid Rooter plugs now. Each container should hold 3 or 4 clones. I usually begin pre-soaking my rockwool plugs now, so I have them for later.

Humidity, Please

Don't let the plugs go bone dry, and mist them once or twice a day with a spray bottle

Place full containers so the plant tops are 2 to 5 inches from your fluorescent light. Do not have a fan on them, they prefer still air at this point. Mist them 2 or 3 times a day with plain water or water and B1. Misting them will help greatly with your cloning success rate. If placing clones directly into plugs, you should have them in some kind of clone tray with a humidity dome.

Shhh, the Big Secret to Cloning Success

An absolutely essential piece of equipment for every indoor garden. This is especially true in the cloning and flowering areas

The most important thing to your cloning success is to keep them at 72 degrees, and to keep the humidity high. Keep them this way no less than 48 hours. The clones will most likely begin to grow their own roots by the time they have had 7 or 10 days of this treatment. I highly recommend a good thermometer for this step. I use a Sunleaves indoor/outdoor thermometer that I picked up for about 20 dollars.

Sterile Medium Helps

That pac-man style cut in the rockwool lets you open it up so you can place a clone inside without damaging the freshly cut stem

By the time the clones are finished soaking, you should already have your pre-soaked rockwool plugs or rubber dirt plugs ready. If you do not already have your clones in plugs, pull each clone out and place it in a plug. You want the stem to be about a 1/2 inch from the bottom of the cloning plug. I always put a piece of tape around the rockwool plug to keep it closed nicely around the clone. I find this is not necessary with the Rapid Rooter plugs....I simply push the clones down into the tiny little hole in the top of the plug after receiving a little cloning gel.

Easiest Way to Water

A squirt gun works well too, and is fun when you start squirting everyone in the room  ; )

Keep misting the clones 2 or 3 times a day until the clones begin growing roots. I usually keep them on the wet side for two or three days, then I start letting them dry out just a bit in between watering. The clones get only water and Thrive Alive B1 until they show roots. Often, the cloning plugs get enough moisture from the frequent misting. Whenever they look like they need it, give the plugs a little squirt of water with a turkey baster.

Never Bone Dry!

A humidity dome preserves the moisture in the air in between misting, and is required if you want a 100% success rate in my opinion

Don't ever let the clones go bone dry, and keep an eye on that temperature. You should see roots in about 7 to 10 days, and you should have nearly a 100% cloning success rate. Happy cloning!

Quick Overview

  • All water gets B1

  • Sharp, clean razor and clean hands

  • Cut and dip clones quick

  • Always spray - every day!

  • Temp - always O.K.

  • Soak everything 1-2 days

  • Rockwool plugs taped

  • Continue to spray

  • Temp still O.K.

  • Never bone dry!

  • Roots in just a few days

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