THE MOTHER PLANT clone kit set up
When you decide to give cloning a try, you can sacrifice (cut up into pieces) one entire plant to make many “clone” plants that will grow up and be identical to the original plant if they’re grown in the same environment as the original. The other option, which I have done here, is to take pieces of a plant over time. The plant that you are taking the pieces from is called a mother plant. There are many advantages to using a “mother plant” to create many clones. Commercially this is used to provide many many consistent plants to the consumer year after year. The home grower can use cloning to fill in a landscape, increase the number of prized specimens to share with friends (and then soak in their gratitude) or just to see if you have the skills to do it. With some plants you can leave one or two larger fan leaves, and one or two new branches will sprout which you can than cut in a few weeks. Notice this in the figure above. Cloning using a mother plant can be done for years, until the mother plant and/or cuttings show decreased yield or vigor.
If you are growing a dioecious plant, one that has separate male and female plants, you could use cloning to get all male or female plants. Once you sex a plant, you can change the light cycle indoors and give the plant a high nitrogen fertilizer to stimulate vegetative growth. All the new growth can then be used as cuttings. You can then grow and harvest knowing all your plants are the preferred sex. This is how mulberries can be sold that will “bear fruit” They are from cuttings of a female mulberry bush.
Before I took a single cutting I used a mild (2ml/gallon each) fertilizer Ca and N to further saturate the starter plugs in the tray. I only used 100 ml of the gallon to saturate the tray. I cut a slit in the plastic over the plugs I planned to use, and watered the tray letting it sit over night. Before I took the cuttings, I poured out the excess water that was in the tray. The starter plugs hold a good bit of water, which is what you want, but you don’t want standing water in the tray for much of the time.