Cloning Plants: How to Clone Plants

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Cloning Plants: How to Clone Plants

Cloning Plants How to Clone PlantsCloning Plants How to Clone Plants

Naturally, cloning plants is a way to reproduce themselves and ensure their continued existence. Leaf through this article to learn about ‘how to clone plants,’ using different mediums and different parts of the plant.

Cloning plants is a reproduction method used by plants to propagate themselves. Plants basically reproduce sexually as well as asexually. Plants that reproduce sexually do so with the help of male and female parts of the plant. The pollen from the male part (stamen) of a plant has to come in contact with the eggs contained inside the female part (pistil) of a plant. A plant may contain both parts or use the method of cross-pollination from other plants, either of the same type or a different one, but of the same species. Asexual reproduction on the other hand is a reproduction technique that occurs without pollination. Here plants reproduce by forming new roots from cuttings, sending out rhizomes, or offshoots or runners that form roots and become whole, self-sustaining individual plants.
Many plants form new bulbs, much before they produce seeds. This asexual way of reproduction has been studied and researched resulting in an advanced technique of propagating plants; tissue culture. Tissue culture uses the plant cell parts, to reproduce and/or introduce many new as well as similar plants as the mother plant. New studies have opened doors for many amateur plant enthusiasts for trying a hand at cloning plants. How to clone plants, a common query can easily be answered. Plants can be cloned using their cells from their own different parts (stem, leaves, etc.). Read more about the concepts of tissue culture, by going through what is plant tissue culture.

How to Clone Plants

Plants cloning themselves or we cloning them is not a new concept. One can clone most plants using different plant parts like cuttings, leaves, leaf buds, or nodes and roots right at home. Sand, soil, water, oasis cubes, rapid rooters, peat moss, etc. can be used as cloning plant mediums. Sterilize the dish or holder before you start your process. Pre-soak your growing medium before you start, using pH balanced water between 5.5 to 6.5. The cloning medium should have essential plant nutrients, organic and/or inorganic specifically meant for promoting root growth. This will help the cloning plant part to get the right quantities of vitamins, hormones, and nutrients essential for rooting and plant development. I have listed the basics of how plants can be cloned from different parts, and I am sure with practice and patience, you will become as accomplished as any horticulturist.

Stem Cuttings

One of the most popular methods of cloning plant cuttings is by taking a healthy stem cutting and providing it with a nutrient-rich medium to grow in. Take a stem 6-8 inches long, with a couple of leaves on it, to help speed the rooting process through photosynthesis. Fill in the sterilized holder with the growing medium, and gently force the stem cutting in it. For cloning plants in water, make sure the water is distilled and mixed with rooting solution. Stem cuttings are mostly used for cloning flowering plants.
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Plant Root Cuttings

Root cuttings primarily involve cutting up a part of the root, but this must be done very carefully, like a badly done job will damage the mother plant, even kill it. For cloning bud plants, cut out healthy and succulent roots diagonally, about 3-5 inches long, plant them in small pots or cups and cut the sides buried in the moist growing medium. Growing from roots is relatively easy as compared to other means.

Leaf Cuttings

To clone plants using leaves, one would require sterilized Petri-dishes, but keep in mind that cloning plants from leaves does not work for all types of plants. Take a healthy thick leaf with clearly outlined blades. The cut leaf will not become a part of the new plant but sprout new plants. Place it on the dish filled with the growing moist medium. Cut open the veins of the leaf with a sharp razor and plant it flat into the growing medium. One can use gardening pins similar to paper pins to flatten the leaf and ensure contact with the growing medium. The vein is the cell from which new plants will sprout.

Leaf Bud Cuttings

Leaf buds are basically nodes or the small nodules from where leaves sprout and eventually become stems. How you cut and detach the leaf bud from the mother plant will decide its survival rate. Cut through the shoot at an angle of 45 degrees with a sharp knife straight across and just above the bud in the leaf axil. The leaf bud should have approximately a five-inch stub attached to it. Dip stub underside in rooting hormone, and place it in the petri-dish filled with moist growing medium. Do not crowd the dish with too many leaf buds as too many of them will exhaust the nutrient supply quickly.

Except for stem cuttings, other parts don’t do very well in the water medium. Once the clones have been planted, adequate light, moisture, and warmth should be provided to speed the rooting process. Place your clone dishes or pots on a shelf with a heating coil running below, or cover them with plastic covers and place them in a warm place. A source of light and good airflow for the whole day, and temperature set around 60 to 80º F should be provided for at least two weeks, or until the roots or new shoots sprout, whichever is earlier. Once the roots are formed, move them to pots and containers of slightly bigger sizes.

Cloning plants is an enjoyable experience, and I hope you have understood the basics of how to clone plants. A clone can be made from almost any of the plant’s vegetation, while some may be easy and quick to reproduce, some take longer or require advanced mechanism. As said earlier, all you need to clone successfully is practice and patience.


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