Plant cloning refers to the process of creating similar genetical plants from the cutting or clipping of the mother plant. Within just a few weeks, new roots emerge from the cutting for marking the start of a new life. Although the term plant cloning might sound a bit heavy-weight, it is actually very simple and should be tried out at least once by all gardening aficionados in their lifetime. Various cloning methods are available for plants. But today we are going to discuss about the means of cloning a plant with water. So, read to know more about this unique gardening concept.
Requirement Of Cloning Plants
Cloning serves as an extremely easy way of creating new plants. It is also cost-effective in nature and this helps in retaining similar genes amongst the new plants as that of the mother tree. As a result, it inherits all the same characteristics, properties and qualities of the mother plant. Cloning also doesn’t inflict any adverse effect on the health of the mother plant. You can clone multiple cuttings simultaneously if the original plant has numerous branches. However, all clones do not necessarily mean that they are going to incubate new life in the form of plants.
Plant Cloning History
Plants have created multiple copies of themselves since time immemorial. You can take the example of different land areas, forests and parks which have resulted from cloned trees and plants. These plants spread out their roots naturally which then take the form of new sprouts. Humans have also been trying to clone plants since the last thousand years to come up with more modified plants. F.C. Steward cloned a complete carrot in 1964. Scientists have cloned numerous other plants for more supply, money and even environmental purposes.
Plant Cloning Benefits
Cloning a plant is a lot more advantageous than seeding. For starters, you don’t need to invest on seeds. Even when you purchase seeds, they might not always germinate and this doesn’t makes seeding a highly bankable option. Cloning also helps in growing superior quality plants which are rich in terms of nutrition and also resistant to a variety of diseases. Let us now take a look at some other potent benefits of cloning:
- Cloned plants have a faster growth rate than other plants.
- Cloning serves as the best bet for plants which do not produce seeds.
- Cloned plants are more resistant to various diseases.
- Cloning helps to deal with the scarcity of seeds in an efficient manner.
- Cloning is not dependent on different factors which are otherwise required for pollination.
- Cloning can hike up the yield without adding to its overall cost.
How to Clone a Plant With Water?
Plant cloning is comparatively easier than animal cloning. For doing this, you will simply have to cut a shoot from willow or geranium before placing it in a vase. Within a few weeks’ time, new roots start growing from that cutting. Plant cloning has also received the nomenclature of rooting a cutting and this is treated as the best alternative to planting seeds. This method is pretty simple and this has led to its popularity amongst amateur users. But prior to cloning a plant, you need to take care of some other things which we have lined out below:
- Firstly, you will have to choose the correct mother plant in terms of its quality. Here you need to actually examine the quality of its stem, leaves, fruits and flowers. You can easily choose the best one amongst the available options after scanning through the different options. The mother plant chosen by you also need to be resistant to diseases. But if you wish to grow the mother plant, then you should ideally start from the seeds. Germinating several seeds will offer you with ample options to take your pick amongst the same. The plants need to be 8 weeks old while making the selection.
- Now gardeners will have to choose the stem which they shall cut. For best results, they need to opt for a branch which is adequately young as these branches help in easily growing the root. It also needs to have a node. Your chosen stem should have a height of between 4 to 8 inches. For best results, you should opt for a stem located nearest to the root.
- The third step of plant cloning is to cut the stem. Here you must make use of a sterile scissor or knife as the stem you are cutting is extremely sensitive to bacteria. The stem shall not be able to grow roots if it gets infected by bacteria in any way. Gardeners need to cut near the main branch as otherwise it will take more time for the cloned stem to grow roots. In extreme cases, it might completely fail to grow the same.
- Ideally gardeners need to cut the stem at an angle of 45 degree as this allows the stem to have a bigger area for growing its roots. On being cut, the stem shall have to be immediately placed in a glass of water and this will keep the cut buffered from being exposed to oxygen and lead to quality deterioration. Next you need to trim the branches along with most leaves present on the stem apart from the top leaves. If these leaves grow too big, then gardeners can even cut a portion as doing this prevents photosynthesis and evaporation.
- In this step, the stem shall have to be dipped in a rooting hormone over a span of 30 seconds. However, you need to dip just the bottom part and allow the rooting hormone to increase the prospects of the stem to generate roots. The plant stem is rich in natural hormones although this level is not equal for all plants. Some plants having higher auxin hormones are rosemary, mint, pepper, basil and tomato. These plants do not need to be submerged in rooting hormone.
- Once you are done with the steps mentioned above, you need to take up plant cloning. This should be undertaken immediately after the stem is dipped with rooting hormones. Thus, it is mandatory to keep the medium ready for immediate action. In our case, the medium shall be water.
- For cloning the plant in this process, you will require a cup, tap water and plastic wrap. The water needs to have a pH level of 5.5 and should be at room temperature. It should be prepared 20 minutes prior to taking up the remaining process. After filling up the cup, you will have to cover it tightly using a plastic wrap.
- Next you need to make a small perforation in it which shall have to be smaller than stem size. Now the stem shall have to be placed in the water with at least 5 cm of the bottom region immersed in water. This has to be placed in an area receiving indirect sunlight as direct sunlight is detrimental for the cloning process.
- Later on, you need to check the water and replace it whenever it gets dirty. It is also essential to add fresh water on a daily basis. On completing the process mentioned above, you will have to make sure that it stays in a medium moist condition. Gardeners can also opt for a rooting dome if theydon’t wish to mist it on a daily basis.
- Different plants have different timing requirements in terms of sprouting roots. While some take between 7 to 10 days, other require about 3 weeks for sprouting roots. You can begin with the transplanting process once it has adequate roots.
Taking Care Of A Clone Plant
If gardeners fail to take care of the clone plant, then the cutting might not emerge in the form of a new plant. Below we have mentioned a few factors that you need to consider while taking care of a clone plant:
- Temperature is an extremely important consideration in plant cloning. The cutting needs to be stored in warm areas as it cannot thrive well in cold weather. Ideally the temperature should be between 70-75-degree Fahrenheit. If you reside in a cold area, then you can make use of a heater for maintaining the proper temperature.
- The cloning environment needs to be kept intact and a humidity dome can help out with the same. This can also come to your assistance if you don’t wish to spend much time on misting. But the right kind of cloning environment makes it redundant to opt for a humidity dome.
- If you don’t have sufficient daylight, then you can make use of a glow light. New cloners are pretty weak and cannot make use of intense grow lights. You can thus opt for a weak CFL bulb or fluorescent tubes which are well suited for new cloners. Although light is not required in the first few days, it will be required for 18 hours daily after a while. Cloners need to be kept in the dark for the remaining six hours as this leads to root formation.
- Gardeners often use rockwool cubes or soils to clone a plant. In such cases, the cutting has to be misted daily. You also need to keep on checking the water level so that it doesn’t get contaminated.
Cloning serves as an effective way of growing plants without seeds. Even beginners can try it out by using the right kind of ingredients. This is an extremely interesting way of growing new plants which can be opted for by everyone at least once during their gardening escapades.