Plant Regeneration

In fall, or at the end of a growing season, you could try to clone your plant  to bring it and its characteristics into your indoor grow area. However, many plants don’t clone well during flowering. Another option may be try to regenerate the entire plant into vegetative growth to bring it inside or to get a second flowering inside. Many plants can be regenerated and you can get a second or more harvests. Normally, when a plant reaches the end of the growing season something in the environment tells it that it’s time to stop growing. This could be the change in day length, a lack of water or changing temperatures. In other words when the environment becomes unfriendly the plants die. If you can change the environment you may be able to regenerate you plants.
Some reasons to try to regenerate a plant is that you know its characteristics. For example, if you have a potent pepper plant you may not get the same pepper characteristics in the seeds (LINK to  BREEDING). If you regenerate that plant you can continue to harvest your favorite peppers again and again. Another reason is that a regenerated plant already has a well developed root structure and a main stem. Regenerated plants don’t need to use energy to grow these parts. What this means is you could get 30% more vegetative growth in LESS time with a regenerated plant than if you started from seed. This will not be true for all type of plants.
Being an indoor grower you have this option of regeneration; you can regenerate a special plant that was outside by brining it inside and providing the right environment.* You do this by giving the plants increased light per day and giving the plant a fertilizer high in nitrogen like grow big (6-4-4). After a few days you should see small leaves coming from some of the meristematic tissue** or buds you left on the plant. These leaves may not look ‘normal’ but as the plant grows the new leaves will take on a more normal appearance.

How To Regenerate -- you should try to leave any big leaves that are attached to the main stem if you can. You can leave most of the stem or cut it close to the ground but the more leaf material you leave the faster the regeneration process will go. Also, try lo leave some meristematic tissue/ buds on the nodes of the main stem; this is where new growth will occur. You will need to give the plant supplemental light. A florescent or MH would be your best bet. If anyone has done this with a mostly blue LED I’d like to know (or any LED for that matter). I also think that you should give the plants a few days of 24 hours of light. This will help to “white wash” the molecular signals in the cells that tell a plant to flower. This will reset the plants hormones back to GROW vs. FLOWER. After a week or sooner if the plant starts to put out new growth, switch to 18 hours light 6 dark until the plant is big enough to fruit again. One warning is that while seedlings of most plant species can go a month without turning out the lights, (lights on 24hrs.) this will harm an older plant if done too long. With regeneration give the plants 4- 8 hours of dark after the first few days. I recommend you give the plants a general fertilizer like 10-10-10 for the first watering. Then, until you want the plant to flower or fruit continue to use a high nitrogen fertilizer like grow big (6-4-4)

If you are bringing in an outdoor plant, the 1 ton gorilla in the room is the RISK OF PESTS. I have brought outdoor plants inside a few times; and brought some pests in as well. As I am finding by your E-mail’s many of you are very involved with your hobby. I believe you may find this a more useful technique if the entire process is done indoors: grow, harvest and regenerate all indoors. It is possible to put a regenerated plant outdoors next year. Regeneration, like taking cuttings is not the end but simply one technique in being a good grower, it will only work for so long. After a plant is regenerated a couple times you will have slower growth than if you started from seed. Annual plants older than one year may start to show increased susceptibility to disease and pests.  Like cloning, regeneration will only work so long, then you have to go to plant breeding.
I will write about pests in the coming months unfortunately. I say unfortunately because I am dealing with a white fly infestation in one of my grow rooms.

Good Growing,
Dr. E.R. Myers

* This is an idea to keep in mind for next year, if you put a plant in a container in the ground, its roots will grow out the bottom and it will be as if it was planted in the ground. But you can dig up the plant and a large percentage of roots will still be in the container. This is of course after you have pruned / harvested a large percentage of the green growth above the soil.

** Meristematic tissue is tissue made of growing cells, or cells capable of further division. Most plants have an apical meristem which is where it grows from i.e. at the growing points of roots and stems. The secondary meristems (lateral buds) at the nodes of stems (where branching occurs) also occur in some plants

No comments: