Cuttings or “clones” are a popular method of propagating plants. A cutting is a plant part removed from a ‘donor’ or ‘mother’ plant that will develop roots and shoots when placed in a growing medium under favourable conditions.
In comparison to propagation via seed, cuttings offer some lucrative benefits:
1. For many species, cuttings reach the vegetative stage faster than seedlings. Further, cuttings taken from the most recent growth will produce plants that take less time to reach biological maturity than cuttings taken from older growth. Commercial fruit growers use cuttings to minimise the lengthy non-fruiting phase associated with seed propagated plants. When artificial lighting is used, cuttings can be switched to flowering sooner by changing to the “redder” light spectrum of a HPS lamp. This is beneficial because the crop cycle is faster.
2. Cuttings produce a plant having the same general genetic characteristics as the donor plant. For example, the same appearance, size and yield. The result with seeds can be more uncertain.
The most appropriate cutting material will vary between plant species. However, most species can be propagated using ‘stem cuttings’. A stem cutting incorporates stems, leaves and buds (Fig 17.2). Roots grow from the basal wood (Fig 17.1) and shoots grow from the buds.
For more see page 72 of the FloraMax Hydroponics Manual or see our article on Supercharged cuttings.