The PermaClone Method
- Fill your cloner with tap water, add 5 mL/gal (1 tsp/gal) bleach with PermaClone collars in place and let circulate 8 - 12 hours or overnight. This lower dose of oxidizer, but longer exposure time is exponential more effective than 20 min of high dose sterilizer.
- Next, rinse your PermaClone™ collars in tap water. Our collars’ open shape allows exposure of all surfaces with a quick dunk-based rinse in 5 gallon buckets or larger. We offer Dunk-Base™ bags to make this more convenient & efficient.
- Last, choose ONE of the following sterilization techniques:
Microwave: Add 6 – 180 PermaClone collars in a loosely closed microwave safe container or True Liberty® bag, pour in ½ - 1 cup of water, and microwave at 1000 watts for 15 min. The container used must be closed enough to circulate steam, but loose enough to allow excess steam escape. Ensure the bag or container DOES NOT touch the top or sides of the microwave.
Dry heat sterilization: 300 °F (150 °C) for 1 - 2 hours. DO NOT go over 300 °F (150 °C). The collars can handle higher temps, but the food-grade dyes cannot and will slightly darken. The Collar must NOT BE EXPOSED TO DIRECT HEAT within an oven safe container 4 - 6 inches (10 - 15 cm) away from the heating element.
Chemical Sterilization: PermaClone chemical resistance and open shape allows ALL surfaces to be exposed during dunk-based chemical sterilization. Many large-scale producers prefer this function because it is easy to scale. We recommend complete submersion in water containing 0.10mL/gal (2 drop/gal) concentrated dish soap and 5 mL/gal bleach. Soak for 8 – 12 hours, or overnight, dunk rinse and store in a True Liberty® bag for future use.
Pressure cook: Ideally done in a loosely closed Chicken or Turkey bag at 15 psi for 30 minutes following your pressure cooker’s guidelines. Start your 30 minute timer when the pressure cooker reaches full pressure. DO NOT rapidly cool or depressurize the system, this may cause the collars to shrink.
Autoclave: Dry Mode, 15 psi, 121°C, 30 min following your system’s manual
- While your collars are sterilizing, fill your sterilized cloner with water below 200 ppm. It’s important you DO NOT add nutrients, additive, or pH adjusters to this water until Step 7. Choose one of the oxidizers listed in the table below and treat you water at the exact concentration listed under Primary Treatment. These oxidizers and dosages are safe for unrooted cuttings and in food contact settings.
TABLE 1: Oxidizers & Dosing for Hydroponic Water Treatment
8.25% Sodium Hypochorite (Bleach)
0.1 mL/gal (2 drops/gal)
0.1 mL/gal (2 drops/gal)
Hypochlorous Acid (e.g. UC Roots™)
29-30% Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2)
Peroxyacetic acid (Zerotol® 2.0)
- Next, Install the collars with gloved hands ,remember to circulate the treated water while you add your cuttings.
- Once the cloner is filled with your cuttings, boost your oxidizer of choice at the rate outlined under Secondary Treatment and circulate for a few minutes before continuing to step 7.
- Pick ONE Hormone Product AND ONE Mineral Nutrient from the table based on your hydro store’s availability. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have an alternative in mind. Dipping clones in gels is inefficient and unnecessary. USE soluble hormone products in concert mineral nutrients.
Table 2: Cloner Additives & Recommended Dosages
Hormex Liquid Concentrate
1.5 – 3 mL/gal
Clonex® Clone Solution
20 – 40 mL/gal
KLN Cloning Solution
5 – 15 mL/gal
2 - 3 mL/gal
3 - 5 mL/gal
Rhizopon AA Salts
0.15 – 0.4 g/gal
Cutting Edge Solutions
2 - 3 mL/gal
3 - 5 mL/gal
* Reduce Hormone if you achieve over callousing. Some strains will respond more than others.
TIPS & CONSIDERATION WHEN CLONING:
Water Source: Clone with water under 200 ppm (500 scale; or 0.4 mS) TDS. Well water can contain pathogens and excess mineral content. If you use well water, water treatment (discussed below) is required and if the mineral content is too high, it important you add a reverse osmosis system based on you grow's water needs.
Water Treatment: Upon filling your system (but absolutely prior to ANY additives, nutrients, or clones) add 0.10 – 0.20 mL/gal of 8.25% Bleach® (that equivalent to 2 - 4 drops/gal). This yield 2 - 4 ppm free chlorine, doses used in water treatment or swimming pools. It is very important oxidizer are added BEFORE pH adjustment or additives because oxidizers react and become ineffective when exposed to additives. The goal is to focus their low doses on surface sterilizing your system and cuts. If you're weary of this, keep in mind most municipal water suppliers treat potable water at 4 ppm free chlorine. 2 – 4 ppm hypochlorite is safe for non-rooted cuttings. NOTE WELL: Once callous or root tissue forms, use 0.5 – 2 ppm free chlorine (0.5 - 2 drops per gallon 8.25% Bleach®.
Hypochlorous Acid Products: Products like UC Roots™, Clear Rez™, or Watermax™ are effective at 10x – 100x lower chlorine concentrations than hypochlorite salts such as Pool Shock (calcium Hypochlorite) or Bleach® (Sodium Hypochlorite). Hypochlorite cannot be dosed the same as Hypochlorous acid products. Hypochlorite products (such as Bleach® or Pool Shock) require 0.5 – 2 ppm free chlorine in hydroponic water culture, while Hypochlorous acid is effective at 0.05 – 0.5 ppm. Pool test strips are a convenience way to verify free chlorine when using Hypochlorite salts. The most important rule for all oxidizers is they should be added BEFORE additives OR pH adjustment to focus their oxidation on the system and cuts before reacting with additives.
Cloner Nutrients: Adding low strength bloom nutrients (200 – 600 ppm or 0.4 – 1.2 mS) improves rooting in speed and volume. We recommend nutrients intended for water culture. Avoid product which will inoculate or feed bacteria/fungi such as amino acids/protein hydrolysate, sugars/carbohydrates or “teas”. Do not add beneficial bacteria/fungi. There may be “safe” strains of beneficials, but we haven’t found anything offering long-term effectiveness.
Hormone products: Auxins improve rooting time and volume, but gels and powders wash off and are time-consuming to apply. Water soluble hormones such as Hormex Liquid Concentrate, Rhizopon AA Salts, and KLN Cloning Solution each ensure adequate exposure times and eliminate workload of dips.
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. For aeroponics we recommend 75 - 85 °F (24 - 29 °C). Deep Water Culture (DWC) systems use lower temperatures to improve oxygenation. The convention is currently 65 - 68 °F (18 - 20 °C), but For DWC cloners we recommend 75 – 77 °F (24 - 25 °C). Use an IR Thermometer to quickly measure the temperature from outside your cloners. This is fast and prevents contamination. External IR readings will be 0 – 2 degrees below the actual internal temperature and this offset depends on the ambient room temperature. If your ambient temperature is 75 °F and your cloner is at 85 °F, IR readings may be 83 °F. Alternatively, at ambient temperature 75 °F with your cloner at 77 °F, your IR readings will be relatively precise.
Pump Cycle Times: Cycle timing of water pumps is primarily used for temperature because pumps put off heat. Through extensive testing we have found faster rooting at warmer temperatures with diminishing return above 87 ° F (31 °C). We suggest 75 – 85 °F (24 – 30 °C). Changing how long your pump is on vs off will help manage your temps. 45 min on/15 min off = 25% reduction in pump on time. 30 on/30 off would be 50% less pump time. Find the ratio that work for your cloner.
More Nodes & Shoot Apices: Every shoot apex produces hormones that signal rooting (auxins). The more nodes left untrimmed from the cutting, the more natural (endogenous) auxins will be produced and sent to the basal (bottom) end of the cuttings. The goal is 3 – 6 nodes left uncut. Another effective trick is to remove the top two leaves attached to the top apex of the cuttings with the remaining leaves intact on each of the lower nodes.
Avoid removing leaves: Cutting fan leaves has traditionally been intended to decrease transpiration, but that’s not a concern in water culture. I recommend removing the two small leaves at the very top of the clone, the two leaves attached to the terminal apex. Only trim additional leaves to avoid shading other clones.
Light & Spectrum: The general suggestion is minimal lighting. People often place a couple T5 fluorescent 1 – 2 feet above the cloner canopy. Over time we noticed shaded clones rooted slowest or failed. We ramped up lighting to 4 bulb T5 fluorescent fixtures at 4” (10 cm) from the cloner canopy and achieved significant improvements in cloning rates, speed, and root mass with our recipe. Recently we found a 4000K LED shop light more effective than our 6000K T5. This may be explained by research supporting more red light (650-700 nm) and reduced far red light (700-750 nm) for cutting propagation; a ratio found in the 4000K spectrum.
Callus Tissue: Non-specific plant tissue that may become different tissue types based on environmental factors or plant growth regulators. If you achieve extensive callusing, but root initiation lags, change the water, add your oxidizer according to Table 1 (let circulate for 1 min) then add your mineral nutrient alone according to Table 2. AND DO NOT add hormone products. Prolific roots should initiate within 24 - 48 hours. AND at the next cycle lower your hormone dosage.
Mother Plants: Maintain mother plants on a constant low strength nutrient (TDS: 300 – 400; EC: 0.6 – 0.8 mS of base nutrients) while maintaining normal doses of Calcium (Ca) and Magnesium (Mg). Potassium Silicate (or Silicic acid), amino acid/protein hydrolysates, kelp-based products or etiolated seedling extract products are great additives. Aim for a total TDS of 500 – 600 ppm (EC 1.0 – 1.2 mS) with additives. The goal is to minimizes nitrogen to levels that focus the plant on root generation and carbohydrate (sugar) storage in the stem. Foliar applications of kelp-based products 4 – 12 hours before taking cutting boost natural auxins, improving rooting speed and volume. Foliar auxins travel downwards for shoot apices, towards the root system at rates of cm/hr. This 4 – 12 hour timing ensures they are at their highest levels upon taking cuttings.
Water softeners swap random minerals for sodium ions. This is because sodium salts are highly water soluble and will not leave deposit on home appliances. Calcium and magnesium salts will leave deposits. Meanwhile, sodium (Na) is not needed in hydroponics and will antagonize essential plant nutrients such as potassium (K). If you use a softener, take note of the TDS/EC of Sodium. Reverse osmosis (RO) filtration is the most cost effective way to decrease mineral levels. If mineral content is high, your RO system (within a few uses) will only be able to reduce mineral content by 90%, leaving 10% residual minerals. For example, if your water source is at 500 ppm, you may end up with 50 ppm residual mineral content. And if a water softener is employed, that is 50 ppm of sodium ions. In this situation, we recommend switching to potassium salts so this "flow-through" will be potassium (K) instead of sodium (Na). Potassium softeners are often sold where Sodium salts are found.
Regenerating a Failing Cloner
For starters, the following two changes will make sterilization between cloning cycles simple:
Eliminate air stones and air-lines: they’re not needed for aeroponic cloning, while difficult to sterilize. Also, aeroponic nutrient fly through air spaces containing 20% oxygen.
- Remove the back plate of your cloners’ pumps, found where the power cord enters the pump. It may require a flathead screwdriver to pop it off. Once removed, you will discover an orifice where enough liquid enters for pathogens to fester, but minimally accessible to sterilizers; remove permanently!
Next, since your cloner has a biofilm or pathogen problem, you need to break-down and thoroughly clean your system. With your parts disassembled, mix up a solution of 5 mL/gal 8.25% Bleach® (or 10 mL/gal 5.25% Bleach® solution) with 0.1 mL/gal (2 drops/gal) concentrated dish soap. Wearing latex or nitrile gloves, gently scrub and expose each part of your systems to bleach, knocking away biofilms. Consider all parts that may harbor pathogens: reservoir caps, bulk heads, grommets, rubber gaskets and seals.
This should include disassembling and cleaning your water pump and pump housing. You may find replacing the pump more convenient, just remember to remove the back plate on the new one!
Once reassembled, fill with PIPING HOT tap water and circulate until cool enough to add 5 mL/gal Bleach and 2 drops/gal soap. Circulate for 24 hours, dump, and do not rinse the system. This should be the last time this amount of work is focused on sterilizing the system if you Follow the PermaClone methods.
Also, check out my following articles to expand you knowledge base:
Please reach out anytime for technical support on all aspect of growing.
Limited 5 Year Warranty
PermaClone™ (a trademark of PhenoSelex, INC) warrants the PermaClone for non-aesthetic functionality when used as outlined in official PermaClone publication. The warranty term is for five (5) years beginning on the date of purchase. Misuse, abuse, or failure to follow instructions is not covered under this warranty. PhenoSelex, INC will, at our discretion, replace the PermaClone collars covered under this warranty if returned to us preceded by email exchange to email@example.com including a (1) a digital copy of the receipt or (2) forwarding the email receipt received upon purchase. If purchased through a third party, the warranty must be handle by the third party. The purchase date is based on the original PermaClone sales receipt. PhenoSelex, INC, at our discretion, may consider date of sale corroborated by a third party seller in good standing with PhenoSelex, INC and its subsidiaries.