One of the features that makes plants such awesome organisms is their ability to easily reproduce themselves from only a couple of cells. This is called totipotency.
This gives the gardener additional options for making the environment greener - you may take a piece of a plant growing in your Smart Garden, and with enough luck it can grow new roots and start a second life. This process is called propagation. You can plant the new "clones" in your garden or give them to your friends. And if you wish, you can call the whole procedure cloning - the offspring will be genetically identical to the parent.
This works almost flawlessly with our Painted Nettle, for instance. Here are some simple steps to help you achieve this:
- Start with a full grown plant (at least 5-6 pairs of leaves).
- Cut off a part of the plant with a sharp knife. The cut part should have at least 3-4 pairs of leaves.
- Remove the bottom pair of leaves from the cut part. The plant should have at least 4 leaves remaining.
- Place the plant into a glass or a jar filled with water - just like you would do with any other cut flowers.
- Place the plant in a way that it receives a lot of natural light, but is not exposed to direct sunlight - the plant doesn't have roots yet, so it can't take up water that easily and may wilt.
- Wait for 2-3 weeks and check if new roots have appeared. If you see roots that are at least 0.5 cm / 0.2 in long, you may transplant the plant.
- Congrats! You have successfully cloned a plant. Allow it to grow larger, and if you wish you can clone the same plant again.
You can use this method to multiply the plants with the best colour variations - the colours will be passed down to the cloned plant. If your first time is a success, you can experiment using smaller pieces of the plant. The smaller the piece the more duplicates you can get from one plant!
Hope you'll have fun with this!