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Aeroponic Cloning Machines Explained

by Sunny Datko

Aeroponic cloning machines are becoming a big hit in indoor gardens, and it’s easy to see why these machines are gaining in popularity. Cloning machines allow you to root your cuttings without the expense of buying growing media or the time necessary to prepare it. Many growers say cloning machines have helped them save time and money, and made their gardening lives easier.

How Aeroponic Cloning Machines Work

In a typical setup, a submerged pump drives nutrient solution into low-pressure misters. This low-pressure mister creates an even mist for the cuttings.  A humidity dome is not required because the cuttings are still able to uptake any moisture they need directly from the mist.  As with all equipment you use for taking cuttings, make sure your cloning machine is kept clean.

How to Use Aeroponic Cloning Machines

Step 1. To begin, fill the machine to the indicated level with water that is at 65-68°F (18-20°C).

Step 2. Dip your cutting in your rooting solution and gently place each cutting into the center of the foam discs supplied with your cloning machine so that at least one or two inches of stem hangs in the misting chamber below the lid. Remember, there should not be any leaves in the misting chamber – just bare stem.

Step 3. Don’t be concerned if your cuttings wilt a little immediately after insertion into your cloning machine. They should perk up within an hour and return to looking lively. If they continue to appear limp you should try applying a very light spray with water or a dilute foliar solution with a wetting agent to help the moisture cling to the leaves.  You shouldn’t have to do anything for the first few days – just keep an eye out for any wilting. If any cuttings don’t look happy, it’s not too late to replace them

Step 4. It shouldn’t be more than a few days until you see the beginning of root development. Typically this starts with the formation of small white calluses on the stem. Keep an especially watchful eye over your cuttings during the next few days. Roots should be bright white. If you observe brown or discolored roots, this could be a sign that your nutrient solution is too warm.

Step 5. Once a strong rooting system has been established (1½-2” long roots in the clone machines) the clone is ready to be transplanted. Most cuttings should be ready for transplant within 5 to 10 days.

The Importance of Water Quality & Nutrients

Water quality is very important in cloning machines, so many growers use use reverse osmosis machines to filter their water beforehand. As you can imagine, the misters can get clogged up pretty easily, and you want to make sure also that there’s no hidden substances in your water (such as chlorine or chloramines) that harm your cuttings.

Botanicare’s Aquashield can also be added to cloning machines with higher temperatures to protect from bad bacteria. AquaShield is useful throughout the entire plant life cycle in both soil gardens and hydroponic gardens utilizing aeroponics, deep water culture, ebb and flow, and top water drip. AquaShield will assist in strengthening your clone’s root masses and offers the best chance of survival when transplanting. AquaShield also benefits mature plants by maintaining a healthy root zone for optimum plant performance. Use AquaShield to create a natural and beneficial growingenvironment.

Many gardeners use a Vitamin B formula to their nutrient solution, such as Superthrive. Superthrive helps your cuttings handle the trauma to their roots when you transplant. It is used extensively as a treatment to revive transplanted plants. It helps plants recover and helps cuttings to grow roots.

Always make sure that after every batch of clones that the clone machine is disinfected with 35% hydrogen peroxide (3ml per gallon of water if using Oxygenator). Make sure no plants are in the system when this is done.

EZ-clone cloning machine hydroponicsProduct Spotlight: EZ-Clone Cloning Machine

The EZ-Clone Cloning Machine has been on the market for a few years and is very popular. Recent changes to the manifold and a pump change to the Mag Drive pump has made this machine one of the most effective cloning machines around. The machine comes in three sizes – 30, 60 and 120 sites.  EZ-Clone products are made with the highest quality parts available, are assembled and packaged right here in the USA, and come with a Lifetime Warranty.

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