In my article the The 3 Main Reasons Cloners Fail I cover those issues that cause cloning failure and help you gain predictable results. This article is about methods for producing the unbelievable clones you see PermaClone customers rep'ing on Social Media!

This article is about those methods that produce clones covered with roots from collars to cut...and with no loss of growth potential or yellowing above the collars. As always, I keep efficiency and scaled production in mind!

Water Temperature.

In cloning, warmer temperature speed cell divisions with diminishing returns at 87 °F (30 °C). However, this also speeds growth of bacteria and fungi. Before attempting higher temps, get sterile! Deep Water Culture (DWC) is different than aeroponics. With DWC the goal is the best temps for both oxygenation AND root growth. The convention is currently 65 - 68 °F. We believe this temperature recommendation may increase as techniques improve for effective water treatment.

Use an IR Thermometer or permanently placed temperature meter to quickly measure water temperatures. This is fast while preventing contamination of your cloner. We have found external IR readings to be within 0 – 2 degrees below the actual internal temperature and this range depends on the ambient room temperature. For example, if your ambient temperature is 75 °F and your cloner is at 85 °F (29 °C), you IR reading may be 83 °F (28 °C). Alternatively, if your ambient temperature is 75 °F and your cloner is at 77 °F, your IR reading will be relatively precise.

More Nodes & Shoot Apices

Every shoot apex produces auxins (rooting hormones). The more nodes left untrimmed from your cutting, the more endogenous (natural) auxins will be produced and sent to the basal (bottom) end of cuttings. The goal is 3 – 6 nodes left uncut. You may remove the fan leaves to avoid shading other clones but this is not necessary with aeroponics, DWC or bubbleponic cloning.

Removing Leaves

Cutting fan leaves has traditionally been intended to decrease transpiration, but that’s not a concern in aeroponics. We recommend trimming leaves to avoid shading other clones OR if your source plants are over-fed nutrients with dark green leaves. Below we discuss how to maintain mother plants for effective cloning. Leaves will help generate the carbohydrates needed for prolific rooting.


The common suggestion has been minimal lighting. People often place a single T5 1 – 2 feet above the cloner canopy. This was because plugs couldn't hydrate the cuts enough to prevent wilting. This is not the case with hydroponics cloning. Over time we noticed shaded clones rooted slowest or failed. We ramped up lighting to 4 bulb T5 flourescent fixtures at 4” from our cloners’ canopies and achieved significant improvements in cloning rates, speed, AND root mass. This is particularly important when taking multiple clones per collar. We currently recommend 4 – 8 bulb T5 fixtures 4” from the canopy with mixed blue and red spectrum bulbs.

Cloner Nutrients

Adding 1/4 -1/2 strength bloom nutrients (200–600 ppm or EC: 0.4–1.2) to the cloner improves rooting both in speed and volume. We recommend nutrients intended for water culture. Avoid products which will inoculate or feed bacteria and fungi such as amino acids, protein hydrolysates, sugars, carbohydrates, or ‘teas’. Do not add beneficial bacteria or fungi. We suspect there may be a bacteria or fungi for aeroponics, but have yet to demonstrate strains of interest for long-term effectiveness.

Hormone products

Auxins improve rooting time and root volume. Gels and powders wash off and are time-consuming to apply. We have found efficiency in water soluble hormones such as Hormex Liquid Concentrate, Rhizopon AA, and KLN Rooting Concentrate. Each ensure adequate exposure times and eliminate the workload. We have worked mostly with Hormex Liquid Concentrate at 3 – 6 mL/gal. These product do not contain minerals. It is important you include a mineral nutrient in concert with hormone products for maximum performance. Do not use hormones without mineral nutrients, the results are NOT the same. 

Pump Cycle Times

Cycle timing is primarily used for temperature management. Through extensive testing we have found faster rooting at warmer temperatures with diminishing returns above 87 °F (30 °C). We suggest 75 °F – 85 °F (24 - 29 °C)

Callus tissue

Callus or Callous is non-specific plant tissue that can become many different cell types depending on environmental factors or plant growth regulators. If you achieve extensive callusing, but roots lag, cycle your pump 15 min ON/45-60 min OFF for 24 – 48 hours or until 2 – 3 mm of roots form. Then set your cycle time to that which achieves the ideal temperatures. Over-callousing would indicate the need to lower hormone dosage for that particular strain.

If you’re using a DWC cloner and achieve extensive callous growth, change the water to mineral nutrient alone and eliminate the hormone product. Likely the hormone is pushing callous production and preventing root initiation from this non-differentiated tissue. In this situation, consider lowering your dosage to avoid the extra work of changing the water. 

Mother Plants

Feed mother plants low strength bloom nutrients (TDS: 300 – 400 ppm; EC: 0.6 – 0.8 mS of base nutrients) while maintaining normal doses of Calcium, Magnesium, silicate, and kelp extracts. Aim for a total TDS of 500 – 600 ppm on the 500 scale (i.e. EC 1.0 – 1.2 mS) with additives. The goal is to minimize nitrogen to just above deficiency levels while maintaining all other nutrients and endogenous auxins (rooting) hormones. Lower nitrogen induces increased carbohydrate storage in the stem of mother plants. Silicon nutrients (such as silicic acid or potassium silicate) have been correlated with improved root mass in cuttings when applied to mother plants. There are points of antagonism, so use the intermediate recommended dosage of silicates. 

Foliar applications of kelp-based products the day before taking cutting improves auxin levels within the plant (systemically) and improve rooting speed and volume. Auxins travel fast within plants, but do require several hours to be distributed systemically. We recommend applying 24 hours before taking cuttings.


  • TL;DR: I keep my cloner in a corner of a 4’x4’ tent with a NEXTlight MEGA LED hanging just below the ceiling, about 5’ above the top of the cloner, & 4’-4.6’ above the tops of the clones. It turns out that’s plenty of distance above the top of the clones for such a powerful LED to work well for the cloner.

    When I first started growing, it was after spending almost four years almost totally bedridden after my entertainment law career was cut short quite unexpectedly by a devastating car accident. I was in a coma for almost a month, & don’t even remember leaving Los Angeles & returning to DC, (with my own private nurse I never met, aboard a privately chartered flight I would never know about had nobody told me, first via Mt. Sinai hospital in NYC, where our family has a couple doctors & a nurse on staff, & personally know several preeminent medical professionals including a great neurologist).

    My intention was to find something that would force me out of bed daily, & that I loved doing so I’d actually follow through the whole process of getting up daily in order to work on & with my plants in a 6’x6’x10’ Greenhouse out on my 2nd floor deck.

    I also established a nursery table in the basement, which was originally lit by four, 4 foot cool white halogen lights & had a reflective blind I’d pull down when not working.

    I germinated my first seeds under that light & setup my first aeroponic cloner underneath it as well. It worked well, growing some plump autoflowers I ran a few weeks ahead of the other plants in order to practice drying & curing in order to be ready for the main photoperiod plants when they were ready.

    I got started late. I didn’t germinate until July 1st & moved the 12”-16” young plants into the greenhouse about the third week of July. Long story short, I was apparently blessed with green thumbs and toes & I totally slayed almost every aspect of the grow. I’d also regained a lot of the energy I’d lost over those years when my major injuries were healing & was no longer a prisoner of my bed.

    I was, however, still a prisoner of my house. And my team of 5 neurologists – across DC, Philadelphia, & NYC all agreed that while my condition was rare, it wasn’t unheard of. Although it’s at least rare enough that it’s unnamed, & although they had never seen any other people with exactly the same list of symptoms, my neurological team had seen similar symptoms (several changes to physiological & mental functions, often accompanied by severe pain, caused by multiple, simultaneous, catastrophic concussions, followed by brain swelling & coma, & knew I’d likely suffer from both my altered brain function & intractable pain for the long haul, & while some symptoms would probably heal completely, & others would get often get significantly better, that it would be a slow process, & could take a decade or more, & even then, I’d almost certainly always suffer from at least some of my symptoms.

    But I was alive & had suffered the stretching in the accident, along with an estimated 10+ concussions, & 2-5 massive, catastrophic concussions, multiple moderate contusions, & light inter-cranial bleeding, & brain swelling, which were responsible for my coma.

    A decade has come and gone and I am a lot better, but still experience several phenomena quite strangely & suffer from a moderate to severe headache 24/7. I can’t drive or work outside the house, so I kept on growing. I have space to work in my urban house, but it’s extreme limited. The nursery table was replaced by two 4’x4’ nursery tents, both with strong LEDs. And I put two 5’x5’ & two 2’x2’ flowering tents in an old wine cellar that has excellent growing conditions year round. Plus the GH & deck in the summer & using heaters and a dehumidifier, have made my GH operational all year. I decided early on that I’d focus on hunting rare special genetics & breeding new cultivars & produce seeds. I’m finally about 6-9 months from launching. Finally.

    When I switched my nursery table to tents, I moved my cloner into one, & while there are about 5’ between the NEXTlight MEGA & the cloner, I found that the LED performs great with the cloner. The space between them, & having the cloner set in a corner of the tent, where the PAR value of the light is lowest , have helped, I’m sure. The MEGA is supposedly the equivalent of a 1000 watt sodium HID. So despite cloning with a stronger than recommended light, it’s never been an issue.

    So placing your cloner in a corner of one of your tents is totally a viable option, & setting up additional lights or making a dedicated cloning area isn’t necessary at all. T5s or halogens hanging a foot or two above the cloner might work best, but so does a full spectrum LED hanging even further away.

    David Alberts
  • This is the best article/information I’ve seen on this subject. It is clear and passes the “sniff” test for veracity. Nicely done. Thank you.

    Hartford Boothe
  • There is so much conflicting information about trimming or not trimming leaves, the temperature range, and the light from ambient only to putting the aerocloner in a tent under HID’s.

    I think you straightened out a lot of opinions and Bro-Science here and did it in only a few sentences.

  • There is so much conflicting information about trimming or not trimming leaves, the temperature range, and the light from ambient only to putting the aerocloner in a tent under HID’s.

    I think you straightened out a lot of opinions and Bro-Science here and did it in only a few sentences.

  • your article was ver inciteful , i greatly appreciate the knowledge you assembled . thank you , i intend to put them into practice asap .


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