A stem cutting is a terminal growing point on a plant that is 4 to 6 inches long and is cut off at a node, the point where a leaf is attached to a stem. The lower leaves are removed from the nodes and the lower end is inserted into the hydroponic medium. The principal requirement for taking clones is a obtaining them from a healthy plant. The parent plant should be in good health and should have the characteristics desired for in the new plants. The donor plan should be at least two months old and still in the first stages of vegetative growth.
Before cutting the donor plant prepare a humidity tray by soaking some growing media some hydroponic nutrient solution. Once the growing media is dampened you should poke holes in the media to prepare for the clones. Put the tray on a propagation heat mat and cover with a plastic dome to start warming the hydroponic medium. The ideal method of cutting off a clone is to cut a short piece of a growing stem with a few branch points on it, which will usually only have leaves coming out of them. There are many complete hydroponic cloning machines and plant cloning kits available at different levels of cost that make the cloning process very easy and somewhat automated.
Cut the stem off at a 45 degree angle with a razor making a precise and clean cut so that no damage occurs to the plant. Many hydroponic cloners recommend making a first cut to free the plant from the parent, and then make the 45 degree angle cut under water. Try and cut clones that will have one or two areas that will be under the growing media. Remove any extra leaves and dip the cut part in nutrient solution. The clone should then be placed into the previously soaked growing medium. The clone should be placed about 1/2″ deep in the growing medium.
The clones will require adequate light for proper and quick growth rates. The use of grow lights for these early stages of plant growth is very helpful. Most clones will do well with 16 to 18 hours of light each day.
Keep the hydroponic clones in a well-ventilated, cool location with temperatures around 70-75 degrees F surrounding the plants. The base of the propagation mat should a little warmer, about 80 degrees, since bottom heat will encourage quicker root growth. Try and keep the humidity around 90% if possible. You can use a hygrometer to keep tabs on the temperature and humidity. The clones will require air circulation so make sure to remove the dome and let the cones breath at least once per day .