Plant propagation relies on the convergence of three critical factors: moisture, oxygen and heat. No matter what method of propagating, these three principles of cloning always remain constant and equally important.
A warm, moist and oxygen-rich environment is what cuttings yearn for, unfortunately so do bacteria and pathogens. Controlling the bacteria and pathogens is the easiest way of ensuring a successful cycle, especially since they are the leading cause of problematic cloning.
Bacteria and pathogens
Bacteria and pathogens can be controlled by two methods, one is by temperature and attempting to create an environment inhospitable to the bacteria and the other is with additives which combat the bacteria and pathogens on a molecular level.
Until recent developments, it has been common belief that when cloning aeroponically, better results are achieved with lower reservoir temperatures because of the decreased chance of bacterial infection.
This is why, in the past, it has been recommended that cloning takes place between 68 and 75°F. By keeping reservoir temperatures lower, the bacteria and pathogens are discouraged from growth, resulting in higher success rates.
By mimicking a more hostile environment for bacteria by dropping the temperature, a less favorable environment is also created for your cutting, which can result in unfavorable consequences such as prolonged rooting times.
Keeping the bacteria at bay
Instead of concentrating on creating and maintaining the perfect conditions for root development, more concentration is now being devoted to keeping the bacteria at bay and producing a hostile environment. This is where priorities need to be reevaluated.
For years, aeroponic growers have had to rely on lower temperatures as a solution to their bacteria and pathogen problems, until now. After extensive testing and research, it has been determined that with warmer reservoir temperatures rooting times can be accelerated.
There are additives available that combat the bacteria and pathogens allowing a more broad spectrum of acceptable cloning temperatures. Instead of having to concentrate on keeping the reservoir temperature low so that bacteria and pathogens can’t flourish, growers can now devote all of their attention to producing the best conditions for root growth and healthy plants.
A little rearranging of priorities can make all the difference in the world. With the use of these additives, 100% success rates have become standard at 85°F. In fact, they have increased the optimum temperature range for cloning by ten degrees, making it anywhere from 68 to 85°F depending on species and strain.
Remember, there are always multiple solutions to any given problem, finding the most practical solution is what growth is all about.