How to Clone Plants

Three Parts:Gathering The Right MaterialsPlanting The StemLetting it Grow

So you’ve got a plant in your garden that’s really doing it for you. Maybe it’s got luscious leaves and a couple succulent berries — or maybe you just can’t take your eyes off those long, lustrous stems. You wanna spend the rest of your life with this plant, but it dawns on you that its doomsday is coming. You could plant another seed, but they’re unreliable; there’s no guarantee the plant will come back in the way you desire. How will you preserve its chaste virtue and create another organism through nonsexual means? [1] You fret; you panic; you absentmindedly surf the Web. Then you find this wikiHow article and discover your solution: it’s time to clone it.

Part 1
Gathering The Right Materials

  1. Image titled Clone Plants Step 1
    Choose your cloning container. The type of container you choose will depend upon how large the plant will be once it grows and how many plants you’re trying to clone in one container. Do a little research on your plant first to determine how big your container should be.
    • Some people prefer to use pots for plant cloning, while others will use something as simple as a plastic cup with holes poked into the bottom.
    • A translucent container is usually best so you can see when and where the plant is taking root.
  2. Image titled Clone Plants Step 2
    Decide whether you want to clone the plant in rockwool or soil. When you clone plants, you put a piece of a plant into soil or rockwool so that it can take root and grow.
    • Rockwool is more complicated and requires more preparation than soil. It’s needs to be soaked overnight in water with a PH balance of 4.5, and it doesn’t contain the same nutrients that natural soil does.[2] You also need to take the time to cut a hole in the center of a rockwool block so that it’s not too big and not too small for the plant you’re cloning.
    • Soil requires little no preparation aside from opening the bag you purchased or scooping it up from your garden or yard.
  3. Image titled Clone Plants Step 3
    Decide whether or not you want to use a root hormone. Root hormones are used in the cloning process to encourage plant cell growth. Plants naturally contain hormones called auxins, which help plants determine whether or not they should develop more leaves versus more roots. When you purchase a root hormone in a bottle, you’ll be using a synthetic auxin. When the auxin is applied, the plant will think it needs to grow more roots, and the cloning process begins. [3]
    • If you’re an organic gardener, root hormones may not be your friend. Many root hormones contain pesticides and chemicals that aren’t earth friendly. Popular brands like Garden Tech’s Rootone contain chemicals that can cause upper respiratory tract irritation and skin rash. Not fun. [4]
    • If you forgo the hormone, you may not have much luck with cloning. Plants like tomatoes are easily cloned because they produce a lot of natural auxin, but other plants may only put out roots from the original root ball at the tip of the stem — which may make it difficult to get the plant to root without a synthetic hormone.[5] Do some research on your plant before making any decisions to see what’s right for the situation.

Part 2
Planting The Stem

  1. Image titled Clone Plants Step 4
    Fill the pot or container with soil or rockwool.
    • If you’ve chosen to use soil, fill the container to the top. Poke a hole through the center, all the way down to the bottom of the container.
    • If you’ve chosen to use rockwool, you can simply insert the chunk of rockwool into the container.
  2. Image titled Clone Plants Step 5
    Water the soil. Pour enough water into the soil that it’s wet, but not drenched. If you’re using rockwool, it would already have been soaked overnight, so adding more water is not necessary.
  3. Image titled Clone Plants Step 6
    Make a diagonal cut on the stem of the plant using a sharp knife or scissors. You’ll want to select a lateral stem to cut, not a terminal stem. Terminal stems are the main stems that come up from the ground, while lateral stems protrude from the sides of the terminal stems. [6]
    • After you’ve made your cut, look at the stem and remove any leaves or flower buds from its base. When there are too many leaves or buds on a plant cutting, they suck most of the water from the base of the stem and may keep your plant from rooting. [7]
  4. Image titled Clone Plants Step 7
    Dip the stem in root hormone (if you've that decided root hormones are right for your plant). Root hormones can be in liquid or powder form. If you’re using a powder, dip the stem in some water and then apply the powder to the end, so it sticks. Do not coat the whole stem in root hormone. Focus on lightly coating the very bottom of the stem.
  5. Image titled Clone Plants Step 8
    Put the stem of the plant into the hole in the soil or rockwool. Try to put about one-third of the stem into the hole.[8].
  6. Image titled Clone Plants Step 9
    Cover the container in plastic or glass. A plastic bag can often work well for this if you have nothing else. When you cover the plant, it keeps the moisture and allows the plant to continue living while it attempts to produce roots. [9] What you use to cover the plant will depend upon the container you’ve chosen to house your clone.

Part 3
Letting it Grow

  1. Image titled Clone Plants Step 10
    Keep the container in a warm area where it can get SOME sunlight. If you put the plant in a place where it gets direct sunlight all day, that may put too much stress on the cutting and kill it. [10]
  2. Image titled Clone Plants Step 11
    Add a little water to the soil every day, keeping the soil moist (but not drenched) while it begins to root. After about a week or two, your plant should begin to form roots. Hooray! Clonage achieved.


  • The best stem to use for cloning can be snapped off instead of cut, and will break off cleanly. A bending stem may be too old to root successfully, and a soft or flexible stem may be too young. If you can’t find a perfectly snappable stem, try to find the healthiest one you can and cut it off with a knife. [11]
  • After you cut your stem, gently scrape the side of it. This will allow more auxins and nutrients to seep into the stem and may help the plant being to root. [12]

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors or a sharp knife
  • Rockwool or soil
  • Clean pot or container
  • Root hormone
  • Water

Article Info

Categories: Planting and Growing | Botany