Cloning Plants

Why Do People Wear Shamrocks On St. Patrick’s Day? …Because Regular Rocks Are Too Heavy!

Spring is coming but it sure feels like it’s taking it’s time. The snow is slowly receding but I am not seeing any of the signs that makes me feel like spring is close. There are no crocuses growing and few of the shrubs and trees are budding or even showing that change of colour that precipitates budding. The weather is warming gradually and the following week promises double digit temperatures during the day and nights that are above zero. We sprung forward time wise and I really would like to think that we will stay on this time. The change I find hard to adjust to especially when we fall back. Unfortunately the snow in California is melting too fast and the atmospheric river that is hitting their area has been substantial and unrelenting and is adding to the problem. Australia too has had torrential rains leaving many people’s homes in water as high as their roofs. They, unlike the Californians have an additional problem that includes Crocodiles in the water. Now doesn’t that add an additional fear that near drowning and massive loss doesn’t cover.

Many of us start our plants by seed but there is another method that is easy and quicker in the face of germinating seeds and waiting for them to grow to a decent size. Cloning is a method of taking a part of a plant and replicating it exactly leaving the host or mother plant intact. Almost all plants can be cloned although some do better than others. Plants with thicker and multiple stems (Dicots) do best Tomatoes, Peppers, Herbs, Roses, even some trees and shrubs can be cloned. Plants like Spinach and Lettuce cannot and plants that only have one stem (Monocots) like Onions, Corn and Asparagus can but there is little point when the original plant is no longer viable. There is several ways to Clone a plant. Root Division, Cuttings and Pups.

Root Division is done by lifting the plant from the soil and separating the stems with roots from the main plant and replanting them. If the stems will not separate easily from the mother plant cutting them with a knife will work 

Cuttings are a method that also work well. Take a cutting from the mother plant near the tip where most plant growth occurs there should be a minimum of a few inches but should have a minimum of 4 leaves visible and be from a healthy plant. Longer cuttings can be taken but they must show new leaf buds along the stem. These cuttings should be cut at an angle to allow the maximum surface for root growth and after you have cut them they should be dipped in Rooting Hormone and placed in warm moist soil, rock wool or planting pods. This will protect the cut end from oxygen exposure. Rooting Hormone increases the chance for the plant to produce roots while minimizing the chance of fungal infections even though most plants will produce enough hormones on their own. Many plants can be placed in water that is at room temperature and has a PH of 5.5 to 6.0 and they will produce roots but I find this method less successful. Rooting Hormones can easily be purchased and Organic types are available however you can also use Raw Honey, Aloe Vera Gel, Coconut Water (best harvested from fresh, mature Coconuts and Willow Water Extract which can be made by soaking Willow twigs in water for a couple of days. Keep your cuttings under a dome and mist daily to ensure their medium does not dry out. Use sterile methods and tools as cuttings are susceptible to bacterial and viral infection.

Pups are found on plants like Strawberries and Spider Plants. They can be cut off when they are a few inches in size and placed in potting Soil.

Happy Gardening and Happy St. Patricks Day!
Samantha Nason
BS Ranch & Greenhouses
250 547 6567