Step-by-step instructions for constructing your very own aeroponic cloner and well-rooted cuttings at home.
What Are Clones?
Clones—or, as some like to call them, cuttings—are genetically exact copies of the parent plant. Over millions of years, plants have evolved different ways to reproduce. The most common way is sexually (through seeds), but plants can also spread through the root system or through vines (like ivy). Some plants have the ability to produce new roots from a broken-off stem if the conditions are perfect. This is the concept behind the aeroponic cloner: We can create the perfect environment for plants by misting their cut-off stems with water or, better yet, a mild nutrient solution. With clones, we can keep an exact copy of a mother plant going forever.
So what are the real advantages of clones over seeds? Well, the first one is that you already know the sex of the plant, so you don’t have to waste time growing it for two months only to find out that it’s a male. Nowadays, many people are trying to keep their plant counts low, but the police look at a male plant the same as a female. So not only is a male plant taking up space that a female could be using, but you are also taking on extra risks with no future benefits.
Keep hunting down clones until you find the right strain, then be sure to “spread the love.” The only way you can make sure your prized strain will survive is to give it away: If, for some reason, you lose everything to pests, you can always get back up and running again by getting your original strains back. Sharing also promotes trading, so help your friends out when they need it—because you never know when you might need the favor returned someday.
Getting Started With Clones
If you know a grower, ask them if you. can take some cuttings. If you can’t find good clones, you’ll have to start from seed and develop your own mother plant. After your seedlings have grown out to about 6 to 8 inches tall and with more than three sets of leaves, you’ll need to take clones of them and flower the clones to determine their sex. Keep the seedlings in their vegetative stage and let the clones root and tell you what you need to know about the moms.
The first thing you want to do is get your materials ready. Buy a brand-new single-edge razor blade to do the cutting. Next, fill a bowl with cold water. Select a lower branch on one of your vegetative plants (it’s way better to use a cutting taken from the lower branches than from the top, since the lower branches contain more of the hormones that it takes to start roots). Use the razor blade to take a 2- to 4-inch cutting, but don’t get too hung up on getting it exact (remember, plants don’t use rulers). Put the cutting into the bowl of water and keep repeating these steps. Take twice as many clones as you. think you’ll need, since some clones will root faster than others (even cuttings from the same plant can root at different times). If you end up with more cuttings than you need, give them away to other providers or just trash them.
After you have all the cuttings, it’s time to put them into the aero-cloner (see the instructions for building one below). Place the cuttings in foam sleeves and then into the 2-inch net pots. No spraying or dipping is needed; just stick the net pots into the cloner and you’re done. Set your timer for one minute on and four minutes off. If your room is cold, go ahead and run the pump 24/7; this will help keep the water warm and promote rapid root growth.
Within a week or two, your clones will develop a nice root system. After your cuttings pop roots, it’s time to start feeding them stronger nutrients and let them grow big. This is called the vegetative stage. You will also learn how to crop and train the plants during this stage of development.
And that’s all there is to it. Just follow my instructions on the next few pages and, before long, you’ll be able to help others in need. That’s where the true joy of the StinkBud system comes in. Being a Stinkbuddy is about more than just growing medicine for yourself. Always remember the StinkBud motto—”Spread the Love”—and be sure to visit us online at (only registered users can se the link, login or register).
Step 3: Drill the Sprayer Holes
1) Measure and put a mark 2″ from the end of the 21 1/2 piece
2) Mark off every 4 1/2.
3) Use an 11/64″ drill bit to drill the holes.
Step 4: The Cloner Lid
1) Measure out 35 holes in the center of each raised square.
2) Use the 2″ hole saw to cut the holes.
3) Use a sharp knife to clean up the holes.
4) Paint the lid with two coats of gray primer. Finish with two coats of white plastic paint.
Step 5: Final Assembly
1) Place the pump and sprayer unit into the container and make sure everything fits well.
2) Take the sprayer unit apart and reassemble it using PVC glue.
3) Start at the pump and build out from there. (Be careful, because the glue dries fast!) Do only one part at a time until the unit is completely assembled.
4) Screw in the sprayers. (You may need to use a pair of pliers to get them in.)
5) Run the cord through the lid and neoprene collar. Don’t put the lid on yet.
Step 6: Setup and Conclusion
1) Add enough water to cover the pump, but don’t fill it more than halfway—we don’t want the roots to hang in the water.
2) Add 150 ml of Clonex solution to the water (optional) and adjust the pH to 5.8.
3) Set your cycle timer to one minute on and four minutes off.
4) Put the lid on the container.
5) Fill the cloner with your favorite strains. Don’t spray the cuttings.
6) Enjoy your new cloner! You should see roots within a week.
Don’t forget to “spread the love.”
I just took cuttings for the very first time and put them in my new cloner. I’ve been lifting the lid and looking at them every five minutes and I don’t see any roots yet. It’s been three hours now and I’m getting worried. What’s wrong with my cloner? Why doesn’t it work?
Did you ever hear the saying “A watched pot never boils”? The same is true for marijuana: A watched pot never roots. It usually takes at least a week for the roots to start showing. First, you’ll notice little white dots forming on the stem. Within a few more days, you’ll have a small root-ball growing. Be patient, especially since some strains (such as OG Kush) can take as long as a month to root.
I received some clones that were already in starter plugs. What should I do?
Just leave the cuttings in their plugs. Stick each plug into a net pot and put a collar on. You may also want to put a stocking or pump bag on the pump to catch any smaller pieces of the plug that break off.
Can I start from seeds using this system?
Yes. Basically, you start the seeds in a paper towel as usual. After the seeds pop, put the baby plant in a Rapid Rooter plug. Within a few days, you’ll see a taproot coming out the bottom. Very carefully break open the plug and extract the seedling. Place the seedling in a neoprene collar and then into the net pot. Put the seedling right to veg (i.e., skip the cloner).
What if I want to germinate seeds and then go the soil route?
Put the seeds into dirt and grow them until they’re big enough to take cuttings from. Label all the plants and put the dirt plants in your flower room. Within 10 days, you’ll know which ones are male and which are female. Throw away all the male plants/clones and continue to flower out the females. You only need to do this until you have the strains you want.
How many nodes should I leave on each cutting?
Leaving at least three nodes is best. Some people like to take large cuttings with lots of nodes. I find that larger cuttings take longer to root. Smaller (younger) cuttings taken from the bottom of the plant don’t transpire as much water and tend to root faster.
How often should I spray my cuttings with water?
You shouldn’t have to spray your cuttings. If your cuttings are wilting, try running your pump 24/7 for a few days and see if that helps. Check your room temperature and make sure it stays under 78°F. If your cuttings are still wilting, then check your water. If there’s a high mineral content, you may need to run a reverse-osmosis (RO) machine to filter out all the impurities.
For some reason, my clones are dying—the stems are getting soft and mushy around the collar area. Why?
This is known as damping-off disease. If it strikes your plants, you should scrape off the rotten parts with a knife, then put a thin coat of baking soda around the wound to keep it dry. It will take about a week to fully heal. If it’s totally rotten, then you should just clip the plant off above the wound and put it back in the cloner to root again. I’ve saved a couple of plants this way.
What does a plastic dome do, and do I need one for my cloner?
Clear plastic domes are sold to help increase humidity and keep the clones from drying out. As long as your room is cool and your lights aren’t too close, you should have no need for a dome. In fact, if you do use a dome, the plants will start to wilt as soon as you take them out, because they won’t be accustomed to the normal dry air.