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6 Steps For Taking Perfect Cuttings

If speeding up your crop cycle is important to you, then check out our guide to propagation.

Follow our advice and you’ll be harvesting healthy, higher yielding plants quicker than ever before.

Seed Germination V’s Cutting Propagation – Which is faster?

It really depends on the type of plant. Some will root faster than others.

Anything woody, will take longer, (sometimes a lot longer) to root/propagate from cuttings than if started from a seed. Whereas cuttings from a tomato will root much faster than if growing from a seed.

If speed is of the essence, you need to consider the type of plant you’re dealing with and choose the correct method to speed up your plants’ growth.

Variety or Uniformity?

If you’re looking for a bit of variety from your plants, then propagating from seed is the best thing for you. The seeds will look the same, but genetically they will be quite diverse.

For uniformity propagate from cuttings. They’ll be genetically identical to the mother plant you’ve taken them from.

Propagating Cuttings

There’s not always a need to propagate from seed. You can also take cuttings from a mother plant and use those.

When cut correctly from the mother plant your cutting can develop roots that can create a new plant.

Because the cell make up of your cutting is identical to the plant you’ve taken it from, they’ll also be genetically identical to the mother plant.

This is particularly helpful to growers looking to replicate a plant that has given them a particularly high yield or tasty fruit.

Here’s How to Take Cuttings

STEP 1: Select a healthy plant.

STEP 2: Use a clean sterilised sharp instrument, such as a scalpel to cut off a growing tip from a healthy parent plant.

It should have a long enough stem to allow it to root. At least 5cm of stem should be available.

STEP 3: Put your fresh cutting into clean water to avoid it drying out.

If you’re taking cuttings from different mother plants, then use a separate water vessel for each. This is to avoid any possible cross-contamination if disease is present in a cutting, which you are unaware of.

STEP 4: When all your cuttings are complete, place them into the growing medium, or if you’re using an X‑Stream Aeroponic propagator, place them into the cone collars with around 3cm of the cutting at the bottom.

Some growers like to dip the ends into a ‘rooting gel’. If you wish to do this, it should be done before putting them into your propagator.

STEP 5: Water lightly and cover with a humidity dome.

If you’re using an aeroponic propagator, your plants will be sprayed with a fine mist automatically 24/7. To control humidity close the vents on the humidity dome and open gradually as the roots develop.

STEP 6: For even better results, place a grow light fixture above the dome. Time the lights to start and stop according to the needs of your plant.

NOTE: It might take 7–10 days before your cuttings begin to show roots, so if you don’t see any before then, be patient.

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The road to Chelsea

Tom Smith Plants (TSP), the producer of high quality soft fruit bushes, vegetables and seeds has started developing their plants which will be used at the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show, using none other than Nutriculture Grow Systems very own range of propagators.

The event which is regarded by many as the most prestigious in the horticultural calendar, will take place between 23rd-27th May and attracts enthusiasts from around the globe. So, the pressure’s on TSP as they know that their plants have to look spectacular!

It’s early days so far, but the guys at TSP (@tomsmithplants_) understand that getting the plants to look their best for the show means giving them the best start to life. So we’re ecstatic that they’ve shown great faith in Nutriculture Grow Systems by using our very own X-Stream Aeroponic and Vitopod propagators.

In the Vitopod propagator TSP have been growing ‘Smokin Eds’ Carolina Reaper chillies in rockwool. Whilst they are using the X-Stream Aeroponic propagator to cultivate root vegetables.

We can’t wait to see how they develop. 

We’ll be providing regular updates as to how things are going during the countdown to the Chelsea Flower Show, so make sure to keep checking in on this blog.

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Get the most from your X-Stream Aero propagator

When used correctly, the X-Stream Aero, will dramatically increase the speed at which your cuttings will root and be ready to transplant.

An aeroponic cuttings propagator works by misting the base of cuttings, reducing the risk of damping-off, drying out and fungal infections.

Here’s how to get the most from your X-Stream Aero propagator.

Water

Tap water is perfect for aeroponic propagation. That’s because it contains all the minerals cuttings need to develop in their infancy.

Nutrients

Don’t add nutrients to your water until the roots are around 6-7cm long. A hydroponic base nutrient at half strength is advised so as not to cause blockages in the sprayers and allow the cuttings to feed.

Alternatively a specific root developing nutrient, like Plant Magic Root Stimulator is perfect.

pH

You will need to manage pH even with only water in the reservoir!

You’ll notice in the first 48 hours that pH of the water in the reservoir of the aeroponic propagator will rise.

Make sure to keep pH stable in the tank. A range of 5.8-6.3 is perfect.

Should I leave the pump on?

Yes, we recommend keeping the pump running 24/7.

You will hear some growers say that they like to turn off the pump as it can generate some heat and warm up the water in the reservoir.

Having trialled this ourselves, the difference in temperature levels is negligible, so keep the pump going and keep those cuttings fed we say!

If you are worried about rising temperatures in the aeroponic propagator, we recommend cooling the water down by simply putting an ice pack into the reservoir until the water gets cooler.

Should I change the water?

Changing the water isn’t necessary. It should last the duration of the propagation cycle (up to 4 weeks).

It is much more important to manage the pH correctly.

Do I need to use the humidity dome?

Some growers like to leave their cuttings exposed from above, though we advise the use of the humidity dome, which comes with the X-Stream Aero.

This is because temperature management is easier, and a level of moisture is available to the cuttings’ leaves.

The cuttings develop even without roots in the early stage because the plants stem is able to absorb moisture, before and during root development. The roots then develop as they go in search for food.

Lighting

When using an aeroponic propagator, we recommend using a light that runs cool, like the Sunblaster T5 range, which include nanotech reflectors.

These T5 lights emit a lot of the blue spectrum of light which helps promotes growth of green foliage. And as they operate coolly, they won’t make your cuttings too hot.

How do I know when to remove the cuttings?

Generally you can transplant your cuttings once they are large enough to handle. As a rule of thumb you can transplant when you have some short fat roots.

Our head grower recommends trying to transplant as early as you can and then get them established into their next system. This has the benefit of enabling you to increase your number of cutting cycles.