It sounded artificial and complicated initially but it’s nothing much of a tough task. With just few tools, right mother plants and bit of focused work you can have an array of your favorite plants.
I had followed this tutorial by The Hydroponics Shop on YouTube. It demonstrates the cutting method for cloning. I experimented with it for tomato plants and they come out as bad as I thought would be!
Cloning plants with Cutting Method:
Pre-Check: This is the foremost important step, unless you make sure that your mother plant is healthy, you shouldn’t proceed ahead. For your cuttings would carry the same infections as your mother plants if not checked before. A good tip that I read on Hydroponicsshop.com is that you will want to leach as much nitrogen from the mother plant as you can, by watering it with highly pH adjusted water (and no fertilizer). This helps the new plants to put out roots in search of that nitrogen.
Choosing Growing Medium: Mine was coco peat pot but people use perlite, vermiculite mix, Rapid Rooters, Oasis foam or Rockwool. You need to make holes at the bottom of your coco peat pots for good drainage. As coco peat holds enough water, you need to take care of the moisture levels while the roots begin to develop. They say to use pH balanced water to soak the growing medium but I had used distilled water and it works fine.
Sterilize: As shown in the video, you have to sterilize everything by rubbing alcohol, to your hands and cutting implements. This is critical, as cuttings are extremely susceptible to diseases and fungus until they put out roots. Also, sterilize a cup and fill it with rooting solution. You will need this in a bit
Choosing nodes: When choosing your cuttings be sure to cut stems with healthy leaves and no sign of disease or fungus. Stems should be about 5 inches long and make sure none of them show any sign of flowering. Flowers pull too much from the plant and will strangle the rooting process.
Cutting stems: With help of kitchen knife of razor blade, cut your clone stems from the mother plant at roughly a 45-degree angle, leaving about 5 inches of stem. Remove any low hanging leaves that would be under the growing medium. The key here is to work quickly and get the cutting into the cup of rooting solution as soon as possible before the newly cut stem has a chance to interact with the air and close up.
Let your cuttings soak in your hormone solution for about a minute. If you are using cloning gel, just dip the cutting in the gel to seal the end. Then stick the cutting into the hole in your growing medium, gently packing the medium up around the cutting.
Place the cuttings under a grow light and mist with distilled water. Water them about twice a day, either from above or by soaking the growing trays with holes in the bottom in another set of trays without holes, filled with water for about 30 seconds. When your clones have established a root system, you are ready to transfer them to a hydroponic system.
The other two methods are grafting and layering.
Grafting: The grafting plant cloning process involves blending two plants, to create a new plant. Although people frequently use it to clone trees, you can use other plants as well. Gardeners often use this technique to compensate for a weak top or trunk section of a plant. By fusing it with a plant that has a stronger trunk or top, the cloned plant will be superior to the parent plant that had a particular weakness.
Layering: This natural method of cloning involves promoting the plant’s roots to grow on the parent plant’s stem, and then removing them. Here, the gardener bends the stem into a medium for growing. Shortly afterwards, the stem will sprout roots and then grow as a completely new plant.
Courtesy: The Hydroponics Shop