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Plant Propagation



There are three basic methods of starting or "propagating" plants.

bulletSeed germination - sexual propagation
bulletRooting stem cuttings (cloning)
bulletTissue culture, which is an advanced form of cloning by cell division.

Tissue culture kits are available to the home hobbyist

Seed germination - sexual propagation
Rockwool is the most popular medium for hydroponic germination of seeds.  Loose, or granulated rockwool can be placed in a standard plastic starting tray. Seeds are spread evenly spaced on top of the medium. The seeds are covered with a thin layer of rockwool or perlite and the tray is covered to prevent moisture loss.

The loose rockwool makes it easy for thinning and separating seedlings to transplant. An alternative is one inch rockwool starting cubes. A flat block containing 98 detachable cubes fits into a standard propagation tray. The rockwool is soaked and pH balanced and one seed is placed into a 1/4 " deep hole provided in the centre of each cube. The seeds are then covered with a thin layer of perlite or vermiculite and the lid is placed on the tray. Once the seeds have sprouted, the cubes are easily broken off and placed into larger growing cubes or other aggregate.

Rooting stem cuttings - cloning is asexual propagation. Stem cuttings from most types of plants can be rooted in seven to fourteen days, producing a plant which is an exact genetic duplication of the original plant. Plants started in this way will mature much earlier than ones started from seed, saving valuable time and producing shorter, bushier plants.

Depending on the type of plant, each mother could produce tens, or even hundreds of identical offspring every couple of months. Asexual propagation is an invaluable tool used for many commercial greenhouse crops, as well as for hobby gardens. Without question, the fastest and easiest way to root stem cuttings is hydroponically. Some methods incorporate extra aeration.

Air pumps or moistening devices provide stems with ample amounts of oxygen and water. Oxygen is vital to root development. The most common method used to root cuttings hydroponically is in one inch rockwool cubes. The flat of cubes is pH balanced and soaked in a diluted, high phosphorus nutrient solution, then placed in a standard propagation tray. Using a clean, sharp blade, cut off a small branch consisting of a growing tip, two or three leaves, and 5cm to 10cm of stem.

As you take the clippings, let them stand in water until you have as many as you need. Before dipping in a rooting compound, make a fresh cut on each stem, just above the first cut. After dipping, insert the stem, about one inch deep into the rooting cube. Cover the tray with a clear plastic dome to retain humidity and give the plants 18 hours of diffused light per day. Remove the cover for a few minutes each day to give the plants fresh air and to avoid damping off. Mist the cuttings periodically with a mild foliar feed like kelp extract. To see if the clippings have rooted, give the stems a very gentle tug. The clones should be transplanted soon after roots have formed.


Propagation - Seeds

bulletoptimum temperature 20OC to 30OC
bulletoptimum humidity 80% to 90% Relative
bulletremove humidity tent daily
bullet24 hours light until first true leaves appear
bulletthen remove humidity tent, 18 hours of light/day
bulletuse only diluted nutrient on seedlings
bulletseed soak-foliar feed-Superthrive BI harden -off, increases light and nutrient levels gradually
bulletfoliar feed nitrozyme for 3-5 day harden off period
bulletbolting-increase light intensity and/or ventilation
bulletyellow leaves-increase vegetative nutrient strength


Propagation -Stem Cuttings
bulletuse 6" humidity dome
bullet18 hours light/day
bulletrooting hormones-Wilson roots, Stim Roots, Willow water
bulletremove largest leaves to avoid wilting
bulletremove tent permanently after 10 days
bulletdamping off fungi-better air circulation, and/or treat with damp off
bulletbrowning leaf tips-to much nutrient.

Garden Tips

bulletcleanliness ensures freedom from fungus, insects pest and diseases
bulletkeep soil plants out of your grow room
bulletchange nutrient solutions regularly
bulletresist temptations to interrupt plant's night cycle
bulletdo not over fertilize, leach monthly
bulletkeep light levels at a maximum by replacing older bulbs
bulletcalibrate testing equipment regularly
bulletkeep all electrical equipment well away from water source
bulletplant's grow more quickly, plan your garden, do not over plant
bulletwhen unsure about something, consult an expert.

Copyright 1996, 1997, 2001 TPS Pty Ltd

Web Author : TPS Pty Ltd
Copyright 2002-2010 T.P.S. Pty Ltd
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Last modified: May 27, 2013