Friday, June 10, 2011

Home Plant Propagation Chamber - As Simple As it Gets!

Fancy words like propagation chamber might make you think of some elaborate industrial nursery propagation system with robotic arms that plug plants into mass produced flats of flowers and foliage, but that really isn't the case. At least for the home gardener. A simple home plant propagation chamber can be made with one quick trip to the store.

What Do You Really Need to Build a Home Propagation Chamber?

What do you need to build your own home propagator? Try one large clear or semi-transparent plastic container with a lid. That's all you really need - seriously. You could incorporate mist heads with water lines into the plastic container but for now, especially if you are just starting off with plant propagation, the one storage box is all you need. If you want to add misting capabilities to your box you can find kits at most home improvement stores that can be adapted to fit your needs. Just drill holes where you need to insert the mist heads and add drainage holes in the bottom of the box. I've found that when using the box I only need to water every 10 to 14 days so the mist system doesn't seem that necessary. Otherwise I check the cuttings every couple days for progress or to see if any cuttings are doing poorly.

I Have My Plastic Box, Now What?

Most of my plant propagation involves using sand as a medium. I also use (or I should say re-use) quite a few plastic containers. With the plant propagation chamber I can place my prepared cuttings in their own plastic containers directly into the box, water, and then wait.  Before too long the cuttings will be taking off.  Just make sure the box stays out of direct sunlight or you could bake your cuttings. The plastic box maintains a good level of humidity without drowning the cuttings.

In this container: Chamaecyparis, Verbena, Camellia, Viburnum, Gaillardia, and Hydrangea Cuttings

Top Container: Boxwood Cuttings,  Bottom Container: Raspberry Cuttings.
These boxes work great for anyone who is interested in propagating plants at home. They are a good way to maintain moisture and get those cuttings out of the house. I'm sure my wife is glad about that!

6 comments :

  1. Very nice post, and very nice blog. I have been propagating plants for most of my life (farming, nursery, and commercial), and most of the methods I have used for cuttings were far more elaborate and expensive than this. I could kick myself for not thinking of it myself! Do you have a method for cleaning between uses for preventing fungi and pathogens?

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  2. Hi James,

    I like simple and functional! It may not be ideal for large scale nurseries but for the homeowner who loves to propagate plants it works well! A 10% bleach solution is good for cleaning in between uses.

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  3. Hi Dave,

    I haven't try propagating plants in my home but it looks more fun and convenient.. Looking forward to try it.

    BTW:
    You are such a loving husband to your wife..:) Keep safe!

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  4. Hi Dave,

    Isn't it great when you can use inexpensive products instead of elaborate and expensive ones?

    I recently built a Nearing Frame in addition to the misting systems I have. The frame does essentially the same as your chamber; it keeps the humidity up so the cuttings can root.

    My frame was a bit more expensive than the plastic tubs, but I took pictures and wrote an e-book on how to build one, so in the long run, it was worth it.

    Keep up the great posts!

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  5. These Blueberry videos are all basically the same. They tell you how to cut the cuttings stick in rooting hormone and then in soil. Then leave you there. Nothing about daily care and watering. How long it takes to root. I also wonder if you could root the cuttings in water? I have tried 3 times this year to root Blueberry cuttings with no success. I tried the wood box with sand and an aquarium dome for humidity after a day the cuttings all turned brown. I have tried no dome no success. I am trying this time with a plastic dish pan with a mix of Perlite / sand then the cuttings inside a white garbage bag. Any more information appreciated.

    mail (at) mikealrhughes (dot) com

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  6. Hi Macmike,

    I've only begun experimenting with blueberry propagation. About a month ago I started several cuttings and placed them into the plant propagation box in this post. I checked the other day and believe they have rooted but haven't tried transplanting them yet as I haven't had time. As for daily care of the cuttings I haven't done much. the chamber keeps them moist and I just need to check it every few days to make sure there is enough water in the box to keep a good level of humidity. While rooting in water might be possible I think you would be better off in a sand/peat mix which has decent drainage and is slightly acidic. I hope to check them next week and pot them up if there are any roots. If I do have roots I can guarantee there will be an update!

    You mentioned that the leaves turned brown, how many leaves did you leave on the cuttings? If too many were there the cuttings may have suffered from water loss and the answer may be in fewer leaves or even cutting the leaves in half to reduce water loss.

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Dave

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