Cloning is a biological term that refers to process of producing genetically identical organisms like bacteria, insects, and plants, that reproduce asexually. Life on the planet survives and thrives due to adaptable cloning that occurs over time. Plants can be cloned by various medium, but here is a discussion about water as a medium for cloning.
What is Plant Cloning?
Through the ages, plants have cloned themselves naturally to ensure that they thrive through different climatic and environmental changes. It is basically the ability of the plant to reproduce itself asexually using its own plant cell parts.
Plants send out shoots, runners or spread underground by multiplying rhizomes, that grows into a new separate plant genetically identical to original plant. When seeds fall to the ground and sprout, they propagate to a close similarity as the mother plants. Strawberry, bamboo shoots, lotus shoots are good examples of natural plant cloning, propagating.
Using cuttings, leaves, and seeds, plants have been reproduced during gardening to have same genetic makeup of their mother plants. As agricultural technologies advanced, this cloning concept turned the way plants were reproduced. Tissue culture is a prominent, and perhaps the most successful method of plant cloning or vegetative propagation, as of today.
Using tissue culture as a medium of propagation, it is possible to produce genetically identical plants, because the cloned plant comes from the same plant used initially. The use of cells to reproduce plants is the basic concept used here.
Using Water for Cloning
Growing plants in water is a very old practice. The Chinese have been doing it for long, and growing bamboo from cuttings in water is an important aspect of their Feng Shui practice and traditions. Just bear in mind a few of these steps and tips, and you can grow your own plant clone.
- As clichéd as it may sound, take cuttings from a healthier plant, and use a sharp shear to cut it. Healthier the mother plant, and sharper the cut, better will be the success rate.
- Cut the stems at an angle of 45°, around ¼ inch below the leaf nodes. Always have a minimum 5 - 6 cuttings.
- The cuttings need to be drained out of nitrogen, which hinders or slows rooting. Pour 4 - 5 jugs of normal water down the cuttings and the plant before cutting stems.
- To prepare the rooting solution, take a sterilized water container, and pour water in it. ¾ of the jar should be filled. Add rooting hormone powder as per the quantity specified, and stir well.
- There are many formulations available for one to use while cloning plants, that include active ingredients for the roots to develop, as well as seal the cut.
- Gel-based formulation is another rooting product which is applied to the lower part of the cut, before submerging it in water.
- Stand the cuttings in different jars, and cover with transparent plastic sheets. One can find these sheets in plant stores.
- The plastic covering will ensure high humidity levels, and this, with rooting hormone infused water, will speed rooting process.
- Make sure the water stays clean and does not encourage any fungal growth. Change water after 2 - 3 days.
- The roots will sprout in a weeks time. Once you see them, remove the sheet and place them in a location where they can receive partial natural light.
- Move the rooted cutting to a soil medium once they have sufficiently healthy roots.
Cloning of plants in water or through other mediums can ensure existence of species, especially those which are endangered. There are many plants that have one-in-hundred chances of propagating naturally, or can't produce seeds, so cloning these through advance technologies will ensure their continued existence.
This method is faster than sexual reproduction via seeds. New plants can be created with specific qualities of more than one variety. Cloning plants and trees has helped in better harvest, and increased their resistance to harmful viruses and diseases. On a larger scale, propagating through cloning, like tissue culture, has proved to be more economical.