- Fluorescent light
- plastic tub
- liquid rooting hormone
- sharp knife/scalpel
- ph tester and adjuster
Take cuttings from clean, disease-free stock. Cuttings taken from plants that have been deprived of nutrients, especially water, will respond poorly. Cuttings of equal length foliage and color should be selected and must not contain deformities in leaf growth pattern for optimum uniformity of the plants after rooting. Select cuttings from the most vigorously growing portion of the plant; this is where the highest concentration of auxins (growth hormones) are found. Cuttings selected should be green barked and should not contain any of the woodier type bark which indicates age. The finished cutting should be as short as possible 4-5 inches is preferred. Remember, auxins are more concentrated at the growing tip. Three of four small, well-formed leaves should be left intact. The propagation area and all containers should be carefully cleaned to reduce the danger of infection. Fill plastic tub or other suitable container with clean water. It should not contain fertilizer, but it is advisable to adjust the ph to 6.4 (6.2 to 6.6 is acceptable). Also, add superthrive at a ratio of 10 drops per U.S. gallon. Maintain the water at a temperature of 78 degrees (26C).
The cuttings taken should be at least 1 inch longer than you are going to use make the cut with a sharp knife and immediately place the entire cutting into the PH adjusted water. While the cutting is under water, cut it to the final length. Make the cut in a single, smooth motion at a 45-degree angle to the stem. If there is an internode at the cut point, make your cut directly below the node. With the cutting still submerged remove any excess leaves. If there are no internodes at the cut, make three or four shallow vertical slits (no deeper than the outer bark) upward from the cut along the stem about 1/2 inch. These cut must be made with the cutting submerged or air will be sucked into the stem causing what as know as an air embolism in which bubbles block the movement of water up the stem. An air embolism can cause death or slow the rooting process by weeks. This is known as the sip of life technique. By making all secondary cuts underwater, you eliminate air bubbles, reduce unnecessary strain on the clone and allow the cutting to stabilize in a fluid environment. After making your second cut and removing any excess leaves under water, remove the cutting and submerge the cut end in a liquid rooting hormone. Make sure at least 1 inch of the cutting is placed in the hormone.
Reduce cutting stress...
By controlling light levels, humidity and temperature, your job is to keep the cutting in a complete state of dormancy. Cuttings with out roots are very sensitive to stress. Every effort should be made to minimize evaporation from the cuttings and avoid extreme light and temperature levels. Keep humidity as close to 100 percent as possible and maintain water and substrate temperatures at between 70 and 84 degrees (21-29C). Cooler water will slow root formation; warmer water will encourage disease. The lower the humidity level, the more water the plant will transpire, causing the cutting to use up stored food for things other than root production. It is important to hold the leaves as dormant as possible and permit the cutting to use more of it's energy on root development.