How do I clone in perlite & vermiculite?How do I clone in perlite & vermiculite? Equipment
Sharp clean scissors
propagation tray w/tall humidity dome or large tall ziploc bags
3.5 inch square planting containers or other similarly sized container
rooting hormone (optional)
Oliviaâ€™s Cloning Solution or OT1 cloning solution (optional)
heating pad (optional)
Perlite and vermiculite, combined at a 1:1 ratio, make an effective, cheap, and widely available cloning medium. Simply mix 50% perlite with 50% vermiculite, add enough water so itâ€™s moist, and fill your small containers. Optionally, use Oliviaâ€™s Cloning Solution or OT1â€™s cloning solution (1 ml 30% H202, 5 ml Maxicrop to 1 liter of water) to moisten medium. Note wash/rinse any new perlite with PH 6.0 water to remove any dust residue before use when cloning.
1) Prepare your mother plants at least 6 hours in advance with a fresh drink of water so they are fully loaded before you cut.
2) Using a screwdriver, toothpick, or alien probe, make a small hole in the medium, about 3 cm deep at each clone site.
3) Take the growing tips from the mother you wish to propagate with sharp scissors-- they should be around 6 to 9 cm in length.
4) Cut off all leaves except for the top 1 or 2 plus the small growing shoot.
5) Recut the stem end with a sharp X-acto or scalpel, making it as angled as possible for large surface area contact and water uptake.
6) Optionally dip the cut end into a rooting hormone containing fungicide (Rootone F is cheap and widely available, very effective)
7) Insert into the medium, gently pat the hole closed.
8) Place containers in propagation tray and cover with humidity dome. Place prop tray on heating pad set to â€œlow.â€
9) Keep under fluorescent lighting, misting them daily for the first few days if your climate requires. You might have to lightly water the medium once or twice before roots show in 7 to 14 days.
There are different â€œgradesâ€ or sizes of perlite and vermiculite. For cloning, I prefer the small to medium perlite and the medium to large vermiculite, but donâ€™t worry if you canâ€™t find the exact size youâ€™re looking for. The 50/50 mix holds water rather well when there are no plant roots sucking it up, so donâ€™t overwater your cuts.
For an alternative view, read Oldtimer1â€™s excellent mother/clone series. You can easily substitute 50/50 P/V into his system of taking cuts.