SUCCESSFUL SEED STARTING AND TRANSPLANTATION
Suggested Items

  • Nursery Tray and Dome-10”x20” Tray w/ 7” Dome ($7.35)** Insert ($1.29).
  • Seedling Heat Mat-10”x20” ($26.95) *Thermostat available ($39.95).
  • Glass Thermometer—Aquarium type ($2.50).
  • ReadyGro or Rockwool Plugs—ReadyGro is a ready-to-use plug formed from a coco-peat mix with trace vitamins and minerals already added and is all organic. Rockwool is derived from spun rock and is all natural, but requires pre-treating with a pH down solution, rockwool conditioner or A.P.S.
  • pH Up & pH Down—For adjusting the pH of your water. Soil 6.3-6.6/Hydro 5.8-6.1. (1qt. $9.95) pH testers run from $7 for strips, $8 for shaker & digital meters w/ price points between $40 and $240 (You get what you pay for).
  • Rhizotonic—Rhizotonic is an excellent root stimulator and stress reliever composed of over 60 micro-biological substances. (.25 Liter $21.95/1L $64.95).
  • Organic B—Organic B is completely organic and can be used in both hydroponic and soil mediums. It is a good source of vitamins, minerals, proteins and amino acids. This product is best used duringing transplant and helps to reduce transplant shock (1Liter $25.95.)
  • FloraBlend—Has plenty of beneficial microbe strains, this product is a bio-fungicide and will protect your root zone from pathogens & diseases that lead to root-rot.

Plant Success Soluble—Soluble blend of humic acid, endomycorrhiza & ectomycorrhiza. Soluble mycorrhiza is a very fine powder that should be mixed into your soil. Highly recommended for rapid root growth ($19.95).

  • Fluorescent Lighting—(Prices vary by type).

Prices on these items are subject to change withour notice. We will try to keep it up to date. You don’t need every item on this list. We recognize that there is more than one way to start seeds and you can do it any way you want, but this is what has worked well for us.
STARTING SEEDS

To start with, it is a good idea to soak your seeds in water for 8-12 hours to make sure that they have all the moisture that they need. It’s also a good idea to start more seeds than you will actually use, just in case some don’t make it. Next, you will put the seeds into ReadyGro or Rockwool Plugs. ReadyGro plugs are nice because they are all organic and ready to use, while the rockwool plugs need to be soaked for 8- 12 hours in water with a pH between 5 & 5.5 to bring the pH of the rockwool to useable levels—you may also use a rockwool conditioner like Europonic Rockwool Conditioner or Dutch Masters’ A.P.S. for this purpose— it’ll save you some time to do so. Tear a pinch of Readygro or rockwool off of your plugs and use it to cover the hole with your seed in it.
PROVIDING LIGHT

Depending on conditions and seed type, it will generally take anywhere from 2-14 days or more for your seeds to sprout. Once sprouted, your seedlings will need light. Even before your seeds sprout, it is a good idea to have them under light – this will give signals to the plant telling it which direction to grow (some seeds though may need a period of complete darkness before they sprout. Follow the directions on your seed packet for best results. Fluorescent lighting is best for this purpose. You may use a simple fluorescent shop-light, a full-spectrum fluorescent, a compact fluorescent or a T-5 high-output fluorescent. Choose “cool” or “daylight” bulbs if given a choice. 8” – 12” is a good distance for lights, unless using T5’s, in which case you will want to keep them about 12-16 inches above your plants. You may use HID. Lighting if it is kept high enough from the plants (four feet or more), but why waste the electricity?
FEEDING OF SEEDLINGS

Seedlings will require only water until the first set of “true” leaves (not baby leaves) develops. Afterwards your new plants will begin to need some nutrient. We suggest using any grow nutrient at ¼ strength (or about 300 ppm)—any more and you risk over-fertilizing and damaging your plant. We also recommended that you add a product like Canna Rhizotonicor BioBizzRoot Juice to speed root development. You may also want to add small amounts of Botanicare Hydroguard or other beneficial microbe product to protect those newly developed roots from pathogens. You can remove the dome now to help your seedlings harden and acclimate to their new atmosphere.
TRANSPLANTING

Soon your seedlings are ready for transplant. They will be between 2” and 3” tall, will begin to show roots coming out of the plugs and will have some new top growth. To alleviate stress and shock during transplant, we recommended that you use both Rhizotonic (Rhizo at ½ strength) and Advanced Nutrients Organic B. These products provide your plants essential B vitamins, hormones and amino acids and will help your plants bounce back more quickly from their transplant shock. If you are transplanting into soil you will want to use Mycorrhizae in the form of Soluble Root Growth Enhancer—this will help to explode your roots out. Put your seedlings into their new home—either soil, coco, hydroton,rockwool or some mix of your own.
VEGETATIVE STAGE

Your seedlings are now ready for the Vegetative or Growth stage. Your plants should be moved under H.I.D. lighting, either Metal Halide or High Pressure Sodium—still keeping the lights high so as not to harm the plants with too much heat or light intensity. You can bring the lights down about 6” per day until they are about 2 feet from the plant tops. Your lights will stay on for 18 to 24 hours per day during this period.

If you are moving your plants outdoors, you may want to put them in the shade for a couple of days, then move them into partial sun for a couple days and then they will be ready for full sun. This is called Hardening Off. Too much light too soon will adversely affect your plants. If your plants are in soil you will want to keep the pH between 6.3 & 6.6. If you are in a hydroponic system your ideal pH is between 5.8 & 6.1. The amount of nutrients to use will range from 500-700 ppm for early vegetative growth and up to 1000 ppm during later vegetative growth. Don’t be too alarmed if your plants are looking a little sad for the first few days as it takes time for them to adjust to their new environment. Soon they will pick up and perk up and will be well on their way.
SUCCESSFUL CLONING
SUGGESTED ITEMS

  • Nursery Tray and Dome-10”x20” Tray w/ 7” Dome ($7.35)** Insert ($1.29).
  • Seedling Heat Mat-10”x20” ($26.95) *Thermostat available ($39.95).
  • Glass Thermometer—Aquarium type ($2.50).
  • ReadyGro or Rockwool Plugs—ReadyGro is a ready-to-use plug formed from a coco-peat mix with trace vitamins and minerals already added and is all organic. Rockwool is derived from spun rock and is all natural, but requires pre-treating with a pH down solution, rockwool conditioner or A.P.S.
  • pH Up & pH Down—For adjusting the pH of your water. Soil 6.3-6.6/Hydro 5.8-6.1. (1qt. $9.95) pH testers run from $7 for strips, $8 for shaker & digital meters w/ price points between $40 and $240 (You get what you pay for).
  • Roots Excelurator —Roots Excelurator, composed of beneficial bacteria and essential oils is an excellent root stimulator and stress reliever. Only use on clones once they have roots formed. (.25Liter $72.95).
  • Liquid Karma—Soluble blend of ascophylum nodosum (North Atlantic Sea Kelp,) humic acid, fulvic acid, carbohydrates, fermented soy proteins, and other organic good stuff. Promotes new root growth.
  • APS—Advanced propagation system by DutchMaster, comes ready to use, is designed to stabilize pH levels in Rockwool and provide base nutrients as cuttings develop roots.
  • Rootech—Strong Cloning gel. Works like a champ. Also contains a fungacide to prevent infections on newly made cuttings. (Prices vary by size).
  • Fluorescent Lighting—(Prices vary by type)

You don’t need every item listed above. We recognize that there is more than one way to clone, and you can do it any way you want, but this is what has worked well for us. **All prices are subject to change without notice.
TAKING CLONES

Take cutting at one of the plant’s lower branches. The cut should be at a 45 degree angle and measure no shorter than 3 inches in length. Remove the lowest branch point or leaf from your cutting. This branch point or fan leaf site that you removed provides site for further root intitation. At least one branch point or “fan leaf” should also remain up topside, right below the developing shoot (lateral meristem). Dip cutting into rooting hormones such as Rootech Cloning Gel and place in rockwool cubes ensuring that node (where you removed the branch point or leaf) is buried beneath the rockwool. Immediately apply foliar mix (described below).
TRAY AND DOME TECHNIQUE

24 hours photoperiod. Water rockwool cubes in solution of 5.0 – 5.5 pH (If soaked in APS, the PH is already stablilized and this step is not required). Fill grooves of tray only with pH’ed water. Ensure this level remains consistent while cuttings develop roots. Foliar spray with Liquid Karma at 1 tsp/Gallon immediately afer cuttings are placed in dome. This will be the only time a foilar spray is applied to the plants. Intitially, adjust temperature in conjunction with thermostat at 82 but no more than 86 degrees between rockwool cubes in dome. (A thermometer is used to guage temperature within dome between rockwool cubes – failure to maintain this range will produce poor results.)

You will know the desired humidity levels have been reached once condensation has formed at least five inches up the dome. Lock in temperature at this point. (Ex: If desired humidity is achived at 84 degrees, this is where you want to keep the temperature while cutting develops roots.) At same time everyday, take off dome and shake out the stale, moist air. Ensure that this is done at the same time everyday. The solution in trays is responsible for condenstaion that produces humidity in the dome which is imperative to this method of cloning.

Spray interior of dome if humidty is not forming as desired. If you have to spray the interior of the dome you are doing something wrong. Your temperature is prob. wrong or you do not have enough water at the base of the tray. Make sure cubes are not oversatured with water! Be sure cubes DO NOT dry out. 3-5 days after first soaking the cubes will need to be watered again. Water with 500ppms of Bloom nutrient at 6.0 pH. Within 5 – 14 days cuttings will be ready for transplant. Harden them off properly.
HARDENING CUTTINGS

Once clones are rooted, (and roots have emerged from the cubes) begin to harden cuttings. This process begins with the removal of the humidity dome. Make sure to spray cuttings with either pure water or water mixed with Liquid Karma (1tsp./Gal.). If at any point cuttings begin to wilt, put humidity dome back on and try again after cuttings have straightened back out and look good again. Increase the interval between sprays. Decrease the frequency between sprays. (Ex. spray every 10-20 mins. at first then every 20-30 mins. then every 30-45 mins. then again in an hour. By then plants should be adjusted. If the plants wilt, usually spraying is enough to bring them back. If not put the dome back on.) Please Note: As soon as healthy new roots have formed it is important to remove dome to prevent mold forming.
AERO-CLONER TECHNIQUE

Fill up Aero-Cloner with purified water pH’d to 6.3. Do not add any nutrient or additives at this time. It is however extremely important to keep the water temperature at 75-76 deg. F. This will insure a good amount of Oxygen is contained within the water / spraying solution. People who who have bad results with Aero-Cloners usually have allowed their water temperatures to get too hot. This can be a BIG problem for users of these units. If keeping water temperature cool enough is an issue, there are 3 options:
1. Remove the pump from the Aero-Cloner making it operate externally (make an accessory “manifold” out of PVC parts, bulkheads, and tubing.) Since the pump is the primary heat source, temps. will lower.

2. Lower the ambiant temperature in the room itself. This will in turn lower the water temperature. Usually 70 degrees F. within the space itself is the ideal temperature for this application.

3. Assemble and attach a water chiller to the aero-cloner unit. This is the best option, but also the most expensive. It can double the cost (if not more) of the orignial unit, but yields the best control.

Run the Aero-Cloner constantly. After “nubs” (little pimple like spots/abrasions along the lower half of the stalk – the beginnings of root formation – spots where roots will be coming out from) have formed (3-6 days) add Roots Excelurator to the mix at the rate of 1ml / Gallon of water within the Aero-Cloner. Assume some of the water has evaporated. . .meaning you have less water in the cloner than when you originally started. The Roots Excelurator will help to blow the roots out and finish the process. After the roots come out we also add Hygrozyme at a rate of 5mL/Gallon to the solution as well.

As soon as you have some healthy roots on all of your cuttings, immediately transplant them into their new medium (Rockwool, soil, coco, Hydroton, etc.). Do this as soon as “good” roots have formed to prevent stress on the plants from moving them betweem one type of system (the Aero-Cloner) to another type (wherever they are going). When you transplant them to their new resting place, we suggest using a stress relieving product like Roots Excelurator, Rhizotonic, and/or B-Vitatmins. Also: Spray with pure water or with a solution of Liquid Karma 1tsp./Gallon to help ease the transitions “stress” on the plants. If you do this procedure correctly your cuttings will immediately start to grow after the transplantion to the new medium is over.

What is cloning? What are cuttings?

Cloning is a form of plant propagation that has been around for a very long time. It’s basically taking a growing portion of a plant – a stem with some leaves attached, and helping it to become a brand new plant that is genetically identical to the plant from which the clone was taken. This is often easy to do because plants often clone themselves in nature; it’s called asexual reproducation. The methods currently used today include taking cuttings, layering, division, grafting, budding, and tissue culture. Gardeners often trade cuttings and divisions as a way of sharing plants with their friends.

A stem cutting is a terminal growing point on a plant. It is 4 to 6 inches long and is cut off at a node. A node is the point on a stem where a leaf is attached. The bottom leaves are removed from the nodes and the lower end is inserted into the rooting medium. Some plants are excellent for cuttings; others never survive. Both woody and herbaceous plants may be used for cutting materials
Can all plants be cloned?
Most plants can be cloned, although it takes different methods to do so. The kind of cloning performed most often in greenhouse situations is cuttings.
How do I take cuttings?

The biggest requirement for taking clones is a healthy parent, or stock plant. The parent plant should be in excellent health and should posess the characteristics wished for in the new plants. It should be at least two months old and should still be in vegetative growth. Besides that, there are a few things you will need to take healthy cuttings. We offer a few *STARTER KITS* that can help you pull all this stuff together: We also have a fully stocked *PROPAGATION SECTION*. You will need:

  • Extremely sharp, sterile razor blade for cutting off leaves and foliage
  • Rooting Hormone or solution
  • A Tray and Clear Plastic Dome
  • Growing media, such as a sheet of Oasis®, Rockwool or other hydroponic media
  • Prepared nutrient solution
  • Spray Bottle
  • Heat Mat

First, you’ll want to prepare the humidity tray by soaking the growing media with your prepared nutrient solution. You will use this same nutrient solution to water the clones in a few days. Once your media is wet you should poke holes in it with a pencil if it does not already have them. Place the tray on a propagation heat mat, and cover with the plastic dome to warm the rooting medium. After you have prepared your tray, you are ready to begin to take cuttings.

Generally the gardener cuts a short piece of a growing stem with several branch points on it. These branch points are call internodes. Usually these point will only have leaves coming out of them . The point at which the stem is actually growing is called the apical meristem. The goal of cuttings is to cut that apical meristem and grow roots on it. It will then become the top of your future plant.

Using your sterile razor you should cut the stem off with a precise and clean cut, cutting through cleanly without causing any extra damage. The cut should be made at a 45 degree angle. For absolute best results, make a first cut and then make the second cut at a 45 degree angle under water. You should strive for clones that will have one or two internodal spaces under the growing media. Cut off this extra leaf matter and dip the cut part in rooting hormone or solution (follow directions on the bottle for correct dilution rates etc.) Immediately place the cutting into the previously soaked growing medium. The cutting should be about 1/2″ deep in the growing medium (when doing this be VERY careful not to bend the stems!)

As you continue to take cuttings, be sure to keep them moist by spraying them frequently with the spray bottle – get the undersides of their leaves. If you are worried about wilting clones, you should check on No-Wilt which prevents transpiration and helps prevent wilt.
What kind of light should I use for indoor cloning and seed starting?

Seedlings and clones require bright light for healthy growth. Most growers use special spectrum fluorescent lights for these early stages of plant growth. These can be run in the same kind of fixture you find at the hardware store, but the bulbs themselves provide more lumens of the correct growing spectrum than do ordinary bulbs. They are slightly more expensive, but they will result in a much healthier start for your plants.
Fluorescent lights should be placed no more than 6 inches above the dome. Some growers choose to use H.I.D. lights, but these should be hung higher up from the plants so as not to fry them (3, 4 feet away should do the trick.)
Most clones and seedlings benefit from 16 to 18 hours of light.
What kind of nutrient should I use for cloning and seed starting?

Olivia’s, B’cuzz, InstaGreen, or any diluted bloom solution (say 6-700 ppm). Kelp and chitosan will promote root growth. and B1 vitamin is great for repairing stress damage at transplant time and helping plants with a healthy start. SM-90 is also a great way to ensure healthy root growth, although it should not be used in conjunction with other products.
What temperature should I keep my clones at?

Keep seedlings in a well-ventilated, cool location. The temperatures should be about 70 to 75 degrees F in the air around the plants, but the bottom heat from the propagation mat should be about 80 degrees . Bottom heat encourages root growth. The humidity level should be kept at or near 90%. These conditions encourage compact, bushy, vigorous growth while minimizing disease.

Plants do require air circulation and your clones will benefit if you remove the dome once a day. Some folks say to leave it off for a few minutes each day, but we have found the trick is to turn it upside down and allow the hot air to escape. This airing will help to prevent disease.
How do I start Seeds?

Sow very small seeds by sprinkling on top of the medium and pressing in. Use a fine mist of water to gently wash seeds into the growing medium. Sow medium-size and larger seed in rows 1 to 2 inches apart, and 1/8 to 1/4 inches deep. If no depth is specified on the seed packet, use the general rule of planting at a depth twice the diameter of the seed.

When planting in a tray or flat, sowing in rows works better than simply scattering the seeds. Planting in rows provides for better air circulation. Be careful not to plant seeds too close together because when seedlings are crowded, they may become tall and spindly. (It’s often better to have several healthy plants than many spindly unhealthy ones.)

Plant two or three seeds per cell or pot. When they germinate, remove the two less vigorous seedlings. To avoid having to transplant seedlings from a seed flat to pots, you may sow seeds directly into small rockwool cubes. The General Hydroponics Rockwool Starter Tray is a great choice for this kind of sowing.

You may use a variety of growing mediums to start seeds, but whatever you use, you’ll want to keep it moist, not wet. You can do this by keeping the container inside of a plastic bag, or use a clear plastic dome over your tray. The idea is to keep the moisture in, but allow air exchange, so be sure to leave a little air opening. If you do this correctly, your seeds should not require any further watering until germination. Provide proper light and temperature conditions.
Once seedlings germinate, remove the container from the plastic bag. Place the container in a location that has high light intensity and cooler temperatures.
What is the shelf life for Olivia’s Root Clone?

Olivia’s Root Clone says that its product is good for one year after being opened. As long as you have kept it in a cool dark place and haven’t opened it then it should be good for over a year. If you open a bottle of any rooting solution and refridgerate it then it should be good for over a year. However if you have had a bottle sitting out for over a year, better be safe then sorry and just toss it.

I am an avid gardener who wants to try starting some plants from seed in my basement next spring. I will be utilizing a workbench that is 2 feet by 12 feet and is 3 feet up from the floor. There is a window just above the workbench that has a total glass area of 6 square feet so I don’t have much sunlight. Can you recommend a grow light that will meet my needs?

You should direct your attention towards “T-5 High Output Fluorecents.” They are better than regular fluorescent bulbs and put out a large number of lumens (light output). I think they will work perfectly for you. They come in 2×4 ft sections. You will probably want 2 of them. I would go with the 6 bulb units. These work REALLY REALLY well, so much so, that you might not even want to move you seedlings outside).

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