LED Test 2: Rooting Clones
Update (Feb 2018)
The wait is over - LED lights have taken a leap since we wrote this article in 2012! The GN Telos 0008 is awesome! And we sell it!
LED Test 2: Rooting Clones (Sept 2012)
LED's are set to be the next big thing in grow lights. But do they work?
We did a series of tests to find out. This is test 2 of 4.
Here, we find out if LED's can root cuttings and seeds.
What We Did
This is a simple "can they or can't they?" test.
3 cuttings were taken from a Naga Ghost Chilli Plant.
Another 4 were taken from a Joes Long Chilli Plant
Cuttings were submerged in Clonex, inserted in pre-soaked cubes and placed in a propagator.
5 seeds were also placed in jiffy plugs, and popped in the same propagator.
Cuttings and seeds were sprayed with a pH-adjusted Rhizotonic
The propagator was put 75cm under a 90W UFO LED light.
We constantly checked the cuttings and seedsover the next few days.
The cuttings really struggled and were wilting.
This isn't too unusual - you just neet to spray cuttings often and keep your humidity high.
A couple of larger leaves were shed, but this isn't a big cause for concern.
You never really see any encouraging signs in the first few says with cuttings. That's why you should really take twice as many cuttings as you really need.
The 3 cuttings from the Naga Ghost weren't doing well at all. By day 9, mould had started to appear on two of their stems. We were forced to remove them to stop the mould spreading.
Now, we have only 5 cuttings left (1 x Naga Ghost, 4 x Joes Long). None of them looked very healthy. Many of the larger leaves has been shed, and the plants looked awful!
There was some good news, though. The seeds had started to sprout in just 9 days.
They seemed pretty healthy, too.
We had hoped to use the cuttings in future LED tests, which didn't seem likely at this point. At least we'd have the seeds.
One of the Joes Longs also become mouldy!
Only 4 cuttings were left, and none of them had started to root.
Despite this, the plants didn't look too unhealthy and even showed signs of new growth.
To stop the cubes drying out, we dipped them in a weak, pH-adjusted nutrient solution, then squeezed excess moisture out.
By this time the seeds had started to root! So much so that they were ready to be repotted.
They were looking much better than the cuttings.
The cuttings still hadn't rooted, but it can sometimes take as long as 3 weeks.
At this point, the remaining cuttings had rooted. We were very surprised, given the start they'd had.
The cuttings still weren't the picture of health. And there was a slimy mould on the rockwool cube.
Well, you can see for yourself - the LED did the job. We were pleasantly surprised.
The cuttings were on the shabby side. But then, we may have got better results if we'd used a blue LED.
The problem is their price. They cost a bomb. Why pay when you can just use a fluorescent light? That's why we used the light we did - it's much more affordable and the kind of light a lot of growers would go for.