Cloning in the plant kingdom involves taking a part of a parent plant and helping it to grow into an exact replica of the plant. Cloning is the most frequent method of reproducing hybrid plants, due to the fact that hybrid seed will not reproduce true to the parent plant. In woody plants, grafting is the typical method of cloning. But plants with soft tissue can be cloned by taking cuttings and helping them to grow roots.
Sharpen your grafting knife to prevent injuring your cutting from the parent plant (scion).
Dip your grafting knife in bleach between taking scions to prevent the spread of diseases among plants.
Select a woody plant that is younger than 5 years old for greater success in grafting. The plant should be in its dormant stage and should be healthy and vigorous. The scion should be the size of a pencil in diameter.
Make a cut straight through the plant at a point at least 1 foot away from the main trunk of the plant.
Place the end of the plant in a plastic bag filled with damp peat moss and store in a refrigerator at 40 degrees until spring.
Select a root stock plant that is healthy. The plant should be grafted when it begins to bud.
Select a limb for grafting your scion to that is the same diameter as the scion. Remove the end of the limb with a 45-degree cut at a point 1 foot away from the main trunk of the plant.
Cut the end of the scion at a mirroring 45-degree angle. Press the scion to the root stock limb so that the bark of the two plants aligns. Secure the union with polyethylene grafting tape.
Remove the grafting tape when the scion heals to the root stock to prevent cutting into the tree's bark.
Select a healthy plant with no signs of disease.
Select a branch that has no buds on it. Remove the branch with a pair of shears near the point where a leaf emerges from the branch (a leaf node).
Divide the plant into sections that consist of 3 nodes per section. Discard the tip section of the branch. Cut the lower end of each branch at a 45-degree angle and the upper end straight across, to differentiate the two ends.
Fill a seedling tray with peat moss and soak until the potting medium is as damp as a wrung-out sponge.
Dip the lower end of the cuttings in rooting hormone. Remove the leaves from the lower 2/3 of the cutting and insert each one halfway into the peat moss.
Cover the seedling tray with a plastic bag to hold in the moisture and place the tray on a sunny windowsill.
Remove the plastic within 1 to 2 weeks when the plants develop roots. Transplant the new plants when they outgrow the seedling tray.
About this Author
Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."