Human nature relishes in caging a fleeting moment. Photographs, videos, or journals capture events that would otherwise erode in the mind over time. The same can be applied when a person looks at a favorite plant that will expire at the season change. Fortunately, those moments of plant bonding (through eating fruits, admiring foliage, etc.) can continue with some easy science.
The most common form of propagation (besides the sexual form of seed dispersing) is through the asexual or vegetative method of cuttings, or the branch of a plant that has been cut off or rooted. For this article, I will refer to specific cuttings of the soft stem plant (i.e. culinary herbs, fruit producing plants like tomatoes, and flowers).
Also, consider taking cuttings from a plant that hasn’t flowered yet. Cuttings from flowering plants will root faster, but they will take at least a month to return to vegetative growth. Plus, try to take cuttings from a plant that is at least two months old to give the new cuttings even development.
Here are some items you will need. Keep them at arm’s length for the expedient movement of the cutting to the growing media:
- Desired plant (duh)
- Sharp scissors or razor blade dipped in alcohol or vinegar
- Rooting cubes like Rockwool, Starter Plugs, Coco Coir, etc.
- Humidity dome, flat insert (to catch water)
- Heat mat (mainly for late fall and winter)
- Rooting hormones
- Latex Gloves
Rooting hormones speed up the growth of undifferentiated cells, which helps them morph into root cells. Various rooting hormones exist. Olivia’s Cloning Gel is the only food grade gel and contains anti-fungal agents. Clonex is the first cloning gel and contains seven vitamins. eleven minerals and seals cutting tissues to prohibit infection. Also, spray the desired plant with a seaweed extract like Nitrozyme two weeks before cutting to encourage future healthy clones.
A heat mat is a solid investment, especially for a cold house. Mats speed up the germination process thanks to creating a soil temperature around 78-80 degrees F. Warning: Keep a barrier (i.e., towel) between the flat tray holding the cuttings and the mat to ensure the temp doesn’t raise too high.
Furthermore, a Humidome keeps fresh cuttings in a humid environment which is crucial for cuttings searching for their roots. Using the mat and dome in conjunction can speed up the root process while also encouraging healthy growth.
Lastly, remember to have a clean environment before making the cut. All the prep can be for nought if a dirty hand comes into play.
Now, it’s time to become a surgeon.
To be continued…