- Water – sterile and pure RO water or distilled water is ideal for cuttings as we want to avoid disease at such an early stage. If unavailable, tap water may be adequate for many cities.
- Indo MAX Grow – to provide your plants nutrients for optimal growth.
- Indo Liquid Measuring Kit – This or similar tools like measuring spoons or droppers to accurately measure your nutrients when mixing them
- Indo Easy Root – A root stimulant to develop a robust, healthy root mass.
- Secondary container for rooting powder – To avoid contaminating the primary Indo Easy Root container and spreading disease to future cuttings. We like these types of cups with lids, but anything can be used, just don’t use the Indo Easy Root container!
- pH Meter – Used to check and adjust the pH of your mixed nutrient solution to ensure maximum effectiveness of the nutrients.
- pH Control Solutions – Solutions to adjust the pH up and down.
- Plant Trimming Scissors – or a sharp blade (razor blades are good but be careful). Ensure that they are clean and sterilized prior to use.
- Propagation media – we typically use rockwool cubes as they are the most sterile media and hold moisture well. However, other mediums like Jiffy cubes or peat pucks will also work.
- Humidity dome and tray – also called propagator.
- Heating mat – this is optional, if your environment can drop below 20°C (68°F) then it is a good idea to have a heating mat to ensure the roots of the cuttings stay warm. This is very important for good root development.
- Spray bottle – an inexpensive spray bottle for spraying cuttings with Indo MAX Grow in the humidity dome – here is an example on Amazon.
- Lighting – The cuttings require light during this stage. There are a variety of options, but we recommend a T5 fluorescent light fixture or alternative light with 6000K - 6500K color. Alternatively, a full-spectrum light like our CREE COB LED lights will work when raised to the correct height.
How to Produce Cuttings
Pro Tip: To prevent diseases, ensure all your supplies have been thoroughly pre-sterilized with bleach or hydrogen peroxide. This includes ensuring your hands are clean!
1.0 Prepare Nutrient Solution and Growing Media
1.1 Per gallon (~4 L) of water add 4 mL of MAX Grow (~1 mL per liter) and mix well.
1.2 Now using your pH Meter or pH test kit test the pH of the solution. To ensure optimal nutrient availability we recommend adjusting the pH of the solution between 5.5 and 6.0, however if the solution is in the range of 5.5 to 6.5 that should be enough (unless you are fussy about this like us and want to hit that 5.5- 6.0 range 😊).
1.2.1 If the If the pH is below 5.5 then add diluted (not straight out of the bottle) pH Up, little by little until the pH falls within the correct range.
1.2.2 If the pH is above 6.5 then add diluted (not straight out of the bottle) pH Down, little by little until the pH falls within the correct range.
1.3 Prepare grow media by thoroughly moistening (flush or dip/soak) the propagation media with the nutrient solution. Discard any run-off. Again, we recommend that you use rockwool cubes or a non-soil equivalent. Rockwell provides a great environment for clone rooting due to its terrific airflow and moisture retention. You can find these cubes at most any grow store or online.
1.4 If the media does not have a pre-made hole, place a small hole in the center-top of the media for the cuttings. The hole should be slightly undersized.
1.5 Place the propagation media into a tray.
2.0 Take Plant Cuttings
2.1 Select a healthy mother plant that is not flowering and has no visible diseases or pest infestations.
2.2 Take small cuttings by selecting “lead” growth tips wherever possible.
2.2.1 The ideal cutting length is three to five inches with one leaf set (two leaves) at the base that can be removed later on. Take the cutting just above a node (Figure 1) to allow for future growth on your mother plant.
Figure 1. Cut lead growth just above a node
2.2.2 Work quickly with a sterile, sharp blade or Plant Trimming Scissors. Remove the lower set of leaves flush with stem (Figure 2), but without cutting into the stem.
2.2.3 Clip the larger fan leaves of your cuttings by 25-50% depending on how large they are to redirect the energy from the leaves into the roots (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Remove the lower set of leaves and clip larger fan leaves
2.2.4 Then cut through the stem on a 45-degree angle about a quarter-inch (6 mm) below this. Do not tear or crush the stem.(Figure 3)
Figure 3. Cut stem at 45 degree angle just below where lower leaves were removed
3.0 Add Root Stimulant to Cuttings
3.1 Pour a small amount of Indo Easy Root into a small secondary container or bowl.
3.2 Dip the bottom inch (25 mm) of the cutting into clean water.
3.3 Dip the bottom 0.5 - 1 inch (12 - 25 mm) of the cutting into the rooting powder so that it is well coated and then gently tap off excess powder. (Figure 4)
Figure 4. Cutting with Indo Easy Root on bottom before going into grow media
4.0 Plant Your Cuttings
4.1 Gently insert the stem about one inch deep into the pre-made hole in the center of the growing media. The cutting should fit snugly. Be careful not to bruise or damage the stem while doing this.
4.2 Place the propagator lid (humidity dome) on tray and close all vents. For the first 48 hours of the clones’ life, you will completely close all the vents, trapping any humidity inside the dome.
4.3 Place under low-intensity fluorescent light. Ideally use 6,500K lamps and leave on for 24 hours a day. Monitor temperature inside the propagator using a thermometer with a remote probe. Aim for 24-27°C (75-80°F).
4.3.1 If the temperature is less than 24°C (75°F) we recommend using a heating mat. You can read more about heating mat usage in our FAQ here.
4.3.2 If the temperatures get too high raise the lights.
Pro Tip: Taking the cuttings and putting them into the humidity dome should be done quickly to avoid stressing the cuttings due to dehydration and prolonged air exposure. If you have a lot of cuttings to do place the bottom stem of your fresh cutting immediately into water to prevent air bubbles from forming in the stem. Bubbles will prevent water from absorbing into your stem and can kill a new clone.
5.0 Taking Care of the Clones
5.1 Using a spray bottle that produces a fine mist, spray the clones one to three times per day with the nutrient solution prepared in Step 1. This is especially important in cannabis plants, where most of the initial water absorption happens through the leaves. Avoid pools of liquid at the bottom of the propagator — propagation media should never be allowed to sit in still water. Most trays will include water channels so the media sits above any liquid in the tray - do not allow the amount of water/nutrient solution to exceed the channel height.
5.2 Check cuttings regularly. Once roots form (typically after five to 10 days), the propagation media can become dry very quickly, often catching growers out Re-moisten using the same solution by dipping the rockwool cubes in the nutrient solution or top feeding if using other media.
5.3 Once the roots form, begin to slowly open the vents so that by day 14 they should be fully open. During this monitor the clones for any signs of wilting, if this is noticed close the vents slightly. Slowly lowering the relative humidity will lessen transplant shock when going to an environment with significantly less relative humidity.
5.4 Keep hard surfaces wiped clean and remove any dead plant matter as this is an ideal host for fungi.
6.0 Transplanting your Rooted Cuttings
Once you see that there is a root mass growing out of the propagation media and you start to see new vegetative growth you will likely want to consider transplanting the them to larger containers that can hold the plant and provide room for further growth.
This process will require the same care and sanitation that cloning consisted of, as you do not want to further agitate a plant into transplant shock. Transplant shock is common when cloning, so make sure you take the time to stay sanitary and do not overexert your plants during the process.
Next you must consider the lighting conditions. The plant won't be able to handle very strong light initially so you should balance the distance. Read our FAQ on grow light height here and remember to keep them on for 18 hours per day.