Cloning is consistently inconsistent for all kinds of growers, from novices to cultivators with decades of grow room experience. Taking cuttings is hit-or-miss for a variety of reasons. Although, to be clear from the outset, the number one cause of death for cannabis clones is the cannabis cultivator. Grower error is responsible for most clone casualties.

To successfully root cannabis cuttings, the grower must be willing to experiment in order to discover the custom formula that works for them. Expect to take losses and stack up a cutting kill count before you figure it out. There is no one way to take cuttings and root them. But no matter which method you use, the biological fuel for root development are rooting hormones.

Sure, you can cut stems at a 45 degree angle with scissors, or cut finely with a razor blade, or cut precisely with a scalpel. But without a dose of rooting hormone and a new home inside a propagator, odds are, plenty of your clones are already done for.

Cloning Cannabis Cutting

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO ROOT CLONES?

Ok, so you’ve decided on a clean cutting tool, invested in a propagator, and perhaps you have some cutting practice, albeit with mixed results. You have three types of rooting product to choose from; rooting hormone is available in gel, liquid, and powder form. It’s best to stick with the cannabis-specific brands. Some square gardening products work and some don’t. Why take the risk?

Using homemade rooting products or those from the garden centre is amateurish and not recommended. High-quality cannabis rooting hormones are inexpensive and will cost you less than €20. If you want a high rate of success and a process that you can repeat, you must match the right tools with the right techniques. And practice, practice, practice until you’ve got it down perfect. The best way to root clones is the way that works for you, again and again.

WHAT ARE ROOTING HORMONES?

Generally, there are five agreed plant hormones: auxins, abscisic acid, cytokinins, ethylene, and gibberellins. When it comes to rooting cannabis cuttings, it’s all about the auxins:cytokinins ratio. In ordinary decent stoner terms, auxins are root juice. The two most important natural auxins are, brace yourself for the science, indole-3-acetic acid or IAA, and IBA or indole-3-butyric acid.

HOW TO USE ROOTING HORMONE PRODUCTS

Typically, rooting hormone products are based on either IBA or a synthetic auxin like NAA (1-naphthaleneacetic acid). There are lots of really effective cannabis rooting products available, both from the grow store and online. Let’s discuss the three most commonly-used forms of rooting hormone by home growers.

CLONING POWDER

Cloning powder is favoured among commercial growers and those planning on large crops. As a powder, it has by far the longest shelf-life of any rooting product; plus, you can root a lot of clones using little powder. After you make your cut, you need to cover the tip in powder. Most growers fill a bottle cap or small cup and tap off the excess. Then, place your cutting in your medium of choice.

CLONING LIQUID

Cloning liquid is pretty versatile. Some growers like to dilute a few ml in 6.0pH water and immerse rooting mediums like coco coir, Jiffy pellets, or rockwool cubes in the solution to promote root zone development. More common is for growers to dunk a fresh cutting in a lid full of cloning liquid for 5 seconds, and then insert in the rooting medium.

CLONING GEL

Cloning gel is probably the most popular form of rooting hormone used by home growers these days. Again, to use gel, it’s more or less the same as the other two methods. You dunk your cutting into a small cup full of gel, only the gel is a gooey consistency and covers more of the cutting base and lower stem. Gel is easy to use and very effective. Dunk and pop your clone in a rooting cube.

Cloning Gel Cannabis

HOW TO PROMOTE SEEDLING ROOT DEVELOPMENT

Some home growers will mix cloning powder with seedling potting mix to make it more auxin-rich. This is most effective with seedlings in small pots or containers. As the plants transition to vegetative growth proper, you need to transplant to a medium with fewer auxins or stem development will be stunted.

Other growers will use a light solution to assist rooting by adding a few ml of cloning liquid with watering, directly after transplant. This is in order to promote root development without building up too many auxins in the medium that will inhibit stem growth later.

ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS

The ideal habitat for cannabis clones is a propagator under an 18-6 light schedule. Cool white CFL, MH, or LED will do just fine. Powerful lamps  are too intense and not needed. 250W is about right for any light system. Don’t be tempted to run 24 hours straight to speed things up. Clones do most of their actual rooting during the dark cycle. So stick with a conventional 18-6 cycle.

Maintaining optimal environmental conditions during propagation is critical to clone survival. Try to keep humidity 60%+ and temps at 24°C. You can occasionally mist plants with pure water if the RH gets a bit too low. Successfully rooting clones can become routine if you can control the climate and master your method.

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