What is a wick cloner, and how do I build one?
A wick cloner is a two part system that uses both a reservoir container and a container for medium. The two containers are nested together and a wick runs from the lower reservoir container to the upper medium container.
Why a wick cloner?
Its low maintenance. I only add water to mine every few days. But using a larger bottom reservoir would allow no required maintenance for a week or longer if any at all.
If the reservoir is maintained with water the medium stays consistently moist, with almost no effort...
It can be made out of household materials. I use 2 two liter bottles, some string and some vermiculite at minimum.
Can I use different mediums?
Sure so far people have used vermiculite, perlite, rockwool, and Rapid Rooters. These medium can also be used in combinations.
Does it work?
When I first began using the wick cloner I had immediate success.. My first run of clones resulted in about 70% success and I was delighted.. More recently I have been having 100% success with the first 20 clones using a specific method that will be documented here...
Cloning gel (I use purple clonex)
A small container to pour the clonex in ( do not use the clonex container to dip the plants in. It can contaminate the clonex.)
I used a piece of 1/2 inch plastic pipe and 1/2 x 3/4 connector for the base.
I inserted some plastic wrap into the 1/2 inch plastic pipe to form the dipping container.
Something to poke a hole in the Vermiculite.
Building the cloner (first 4 pics)
The cloner requires two 2 liter bottles. I normally cut the bottom from the bottle top at about the bottom of the label.
The second picture shows the top portion of the cloner. The pencil demonstrates the approximate size of the hole required for the wick to pass thru...
Next to that is the string used for the wick. It is nylon seine string I bought from Wal-Mart. I use 5 pieces of string about 10 inches in length. Simply gather all the pieces together and tie them in the middle. The knot will be too large to pass thru the pencil sized hole.... I don?t make the knot too tight, just firm.
The third picture shows both parts of the wick cloner. One end of the wick has been inserted thru the hole. The wick strings have been spread over the top container (The cloner part).
The fourth picture shows the bottom container (reservoir part)with water. The top container(cloner part) has about the same amount of vermiculite in the top as there is water in the reservoir part...
Have the small container of clonex, and the wick cloner ready for use... Wash your hands carefully.
Once the cutting is made I use wounding or scarification. All that?s required is to lay the stem flat on something and scrape opposite sides with a razor blade... We only want to remove a small amount of the outer stem.
Usually I scrape in about 3 or 4 passes on each side... care should be taken not to remove too much of the outer tissue (This is very important). There is no question based on how the plants form roots that the wounding and/or hormones have a distinct and favorable effect.
Dip the cutting in the clonex count to 5 and insert the stem into the hole you made vermiculite.
I find I can fit about 15 clones around the outside of the cloner.. Then several more inside that. 20 clones in this thing is not unreasonable or overcrowded... Make sure that all plants have access to light....
You could also use about 5 or 6 whole rapid rooter plugs and larger clones....
My clones are made based mostly on size... If I see prospect that has a nice piece of stem and a couple leaves I see a good cutting.
Lighting - I use indirect lighting. The light is not directly over my plants... Make sure the light is well away from the cuttings if the light is over the plants or is low lumens.
Some cloning myths:
You must make the final cut under water or an embolism could kill your plant.. I did not find this...You must have at least one node that you strip under the medium: I did not find this. I suspect that the node thing is a method of wounding/scarification, which I believe is helpful.You need a humidity dome to root the cuttings; I have rooted many without one, but they may work better with a dome. Cutting the stem at a 45 degree angle; this doesn?t seem to matter much either.