My Indoor Propagation Box

aezarien(7b)August 9, 2008

I'm just so dern excited about this swap I am diligently working on filling my garden window with everything I can thing of. That photo only shows one of two shelves in the window! Yesterday I decided to try something new and create a few small propagation boxes to put in the window in hopes of increasing my success in rooting some stuff. My gardenias are still alive but who knows what is going on with them. I finally took them outside to the greenhouse and put them in a nice shady spot so I would leave them alone. It's nothing special but I took an idea I saw on here about using bins and mixed it with a wicking system I used last year on some peppers. I am so bad about over-watering cuttings I figured it could only help to put something together where they could get water when they needed it vs. me babying them to death.

I dumped a few of my craft bins into a drawer and put some make-shift racks across the bottom. Then I took eight little four inch pots and threaded some polyethylene rope through the bottom. I filled the pots halfway with a peat/perlite mix, wraped the rope around the inside of the pot on top of the soil and filled the pot the rest of the way up. I filled the bottom up to the racks with water. I stuck the pots in the bin with the wicks stuck down in the water, prepared my cuttings with some powdered root hormone and stuck them. Then of course I put a bin over the top and used a small bungee to hold it on. I have about 32 cuttings in that box and I made another one later so there are actually two boxes in my window now.

I have no clue how this is going to work out but I did take an old heating pad and put it under one bin on low for bottom heat. This morning the humidity has built up so much that you can barely see the plants inside. The cuttings look fantastic as well. They don't look at all like I just ripped them off a plant and disassembled them!

Anyway, that was my project for yesterday and of course you can see all the jars filled with water rootable cuttings and such. I have my fingers crossed!

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I am impressed, wish I had something I could get set-up to do some cuttings with...

I need to get some of the see through totes and bungie cords...
Looks like you've got some nice things started...

Wishing you lots of success!!!
:) Fran

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 12:13AM
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You know.. that sweet potato vine rooted in one day. I put them in the jar the morning of the day I posted the photo and it had roots yesterday afternoon.

So far so good. The totes have made an immeasurable difference so far. I put some cuttings in the second one that I had stuck earlier that were looking really bad. They have all perked up and are super looking so far. And no misting required! You can literally see the condensation on the leaves of the plants.

I really have a good feeling this time... And if this works you're looking at my new propagation method. If I clear that window out I bet you I can get a good eight boxes on both shelves. I can fit 32 comfortably in one box... *thinks times 8*

Still going to try my propagation box out though!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 12:45AM
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gnomey(7b SC zip296)

I use the plastic totes too, but I just put my medium in the bottom one after I've drilled some drain holes in the bottom. Then I plug the hole of a small clay pot and snuggle it down in the middle and fill it with water. Then I stick my cuttings all in there and put the lid on (which is another tote). I use a plastic fork to carefully lift them out when they are ready.

Yours is better for indoors though, without the drain holes. Mine have to stay out on the porch...although I guess the lids that come with the totes could be used as a saucer of sorts.

I use different mediums depending on what I'm rooting. Lavender, sedums and other plants that like it dry go in straight perlite. Other things go in a mix of jiffy mix and perlite... although I'm getting more heavy-handed with the perlite in the mix all the time because I think I'm getting better results with it.

Sweet potato vines root incredibly fast.. I can't believe how eager they are to grow! I started out with one of each color and now I'm pinching off pieces of it all the time and getting them started in a day or two and putting them out.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 9:59PM
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Wow gnomey,
I would like one of each color...I tend to kill them when I try to grow them, any hints?

:) Fran

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 12:30AM
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Yeah, I opted to skip the holes also because I wanted to use my bins for craft stuff when I was done. Storage is a commodity around this place. Using the lid as a drip tray is an excellent idea though. I'll have to keep that in mind when I get some more bins. Not all tote lids are alike heh.

I used about 74% perlite and 25% peat moss because it seems like I always have the "too wet" issue. I figured wicking and a little water in the bottom for humidity would keep me from feeling like I always have to have my hands on them lol. I think that is how I end up killing them, by babying them to death.

Do you take the lid off your plants occasionally so they can breath or do they usually do well leaving the lid on them and leaving them alone? I took the lid off of the bins today for a while and they didn't seem to like that very much. They have perked back up some since the humidity started building again but they were sort of droopy earlier.

I have a hard time with most cuttings but things like sedum, cactus, and most houseplants usually do pretty well in a glass in the window for me. That is as long as I keep the water changed.

That sweet potato vine... I have never seen anything root that fast. Those things had little tiny roots yesterday and today they are around two inches long. I'm wondering if I don't need smaller cuttings for overwintering heh. I wish I knew they rooted that easy at the beginning of the season before I bought twelve of them!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 12:51AM
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Genius! What a perfect propagation box.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 1:16PM
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gnomey(7b SC zip296)

Fran: The only problem I've had with the sweet potato vines is with the ones I planted on a slop getting too dry. They don't like that and wilt. I use water crystals in the ones I plant now. I think you also have to be cautious about keeping them too wet because they can rot.

aezarien: I never take the lids off of mine unless I'm adding water or poking around in them to check on things. I know what you mean about buying more sweet potato vines! Now that we know how easy they are to propagate there will be no more buying 12! If you lose the cuttings over winter you can just buy 1 and make 11 for free!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 8:15PM
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Thank you Cameron, although I can not take credit. It is a mix of things I found online.

Gnomey, (Gee you left your name on here the other day and I can't remember it for the life of me!)Thanks for the feedback. I guess I can feel easy leaving them even more alone than usual then. I seriously think you could buy one of those sweet potato vines and populate the whole neighborhood's baskets by the end of the season. I think I am going to get some going for the greenhouse this season!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 10:24PM
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Are you going to try a similar setup for winter sowing?

I've been trying to decide whether to get a propagation box and I like what you're doing. On sunny winter days, our stone floor front porch gets full sun. The plants in the ground in front of the porch never get any frost. I'm thinking with this passive solar setup, I may have a good spot for propagating during the winter. I don't care if it is the front porch, I'm a gardener! LOL

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 9:52AM
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I used the wicking method sans the totes last year with some peppers inside and was impressed with how well it worked. I used six inch pots and covered them with clear cd covers until they sprouted. You don't put the wick in the water until they sprout though.

I didn't have my greenhouse moved on this property at that time and honestly, when I did seeds in the greenhouse sewn in regular flats.. I was really disappointed. So yeah, I will be using a similar set up for sewing my seeds this time around.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 10:12AM
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I know that this is an old thread, but this propagation box sounds really awesome! I want to try it, but before I run out and buy all the supplies, I have a few questions:

#1. Has anyone used this system to root woody plant cuttings and if so how well did it work?
#2. Has anyone used this box indoors near a window with good results?
#3. Would using a heating mat under this box facilitate rooting?

Thanks! - EV

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 7:09PM
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I use clear rubbermaid container that is 14" by 20", 12 inches deep with a piece of plexiglas over it. I have several in a room in my basement under florescent lights. I root roses, lantana, salvias, and other things in them. the room is unheated in the winter. Lights are the only the "heat" source I use and am usually pretty successful. Some roses have rooted in a week and some take a long time. I stick the cuttings in either plastic cups or sometimes the peat cups, you just have to be careful about getting them too wet. I dampen the soil before I stick the cuttings and don't water after putting in the chamber unless they appear to get really dry.

Here is a link to an old posting that has lots of information:

    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 2:34PM
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