Aquarium Propagation Experiment-Success!

Sheila7863May 4, 2002

I just happened onto this Experiments forum and I thought, "Wow!! There ARE more mad garden scientists out there besides me!"

I thought I'd share one of my successful experiments from last season which I will be putting to use again this year. It is a method of propagating cuttings with an old aquarium.

Gather your tools. You need an old fish tank (i used 10 gallon), scissors or secateurs, rooting hormone sand and/or peat moss, and a big Ziploc bag.

Unless you plan to ask for permission (I did!!) on your "nature walk" also include solid black clothing, black sunglasses or night vision goggles, and work under cover of darkness:)

Go on your nature walk, preferably right now when all the flowering bushes are blooming. Ask for permission to take 6" cuttings from any bushes you like. Or, you can do this in your own yard to propagate more of your own stuff!

As you take the cuttings insert them immediately in the Ziploc bag (which has a tiny bit of water in it) and reseal. Crucial to keep cutting moist at all times during process (Learned that the hard way).

Once you have gathered all your cuttings:

Prepare a little spot of soil in a shady place (you can amend with sand or peat moss too) that will fit under aquarium. Do this in a place where it can be undisturbed for a long time. Make it 2" deep.

NOW - take your cuttings out, one at a time, recut end at a slant below a leaf node, remove lower leaves, dip in rooting hormone and stick into your prepared "bed." When you have stuck all the cuttings, water generously, put the aquarium upside down over all, pile a little dirt or grass around the bottom edge, and FORGET about them for about 6 weeks.

Harden off by propping something under the bottom edge to allow air inside over a few days - then remove aquarium for a few days - then transplant your rooted cuttings.

I have a flock of new lilac bushes around my yard and a few new roses thanks to this method!

OH - I forgot - I also used the aquarium to grow lettuce outside this year in January during a thaw - after I had planted it snowed again but my lettuce kept growing!

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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

I have done experiments quite similar to Sheila's experiments with excellent results. Suggestions for tweaking the protocol a bit; take cuttings when the plants are NOT blooming (blooming hormones and rooting hormones tend to walk on each other) and when you do the cut at a slant, before dipping in the rooting hormone, first dip in Clorox and then distilled water and then do the cut at a slant while still under the distilled water (cutting under water helps to block a complicated process called osmotic shock).

    Bookmark   May 5, 2002 at 12:41PM
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Sheila7863

Albert, you have given me an education for which I thank you!!! I am just getting ready to go on my collection walk and setting up a new aquarium. I will add your procedures and I bet I get a lot less loss of botyris loss!! I lost a few plants due to that last year - I just promptly removed them.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2002 at 2:44PM
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FieldStoneFarm

I tried the aquarium experiment this weekend and now have about 8 lilac starts going. I didn't have peat moss so I used regular soil mixed with compost, shoult this be okay? Also, I potted the lilacs in small plastic planters because the only really shady spot in my yard is so full of rock I couldn't even dig 2" out of it. Hope it works, I've promised lilacs to everyone!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2002 at 9:10AM
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FieldStoneFarm

Do I need to keep re-watering the lilac in the aquarium? There doesn't seem to be any persperation anymore?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2002 at 12:31PM
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Sheila7863

Yeah if the soil is dry, water it. It has to be moist in there for it to succeed.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2002 at 9:03AM
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FieldStoneFarm

Thanks -- It's in total shade but every other day the perspiration disappears -- the cuttings still look good though (green leaves at least) -- I need to pick up some more aquariums at garage sales or something. Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2002 at 1:15PM
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Sheila7863

Yeah as long as they're still looking good, I'd just add a small amount of water as needed to keep a small amount of condensation going in there.

I know with my aquarium I have the bottom sides "sealed" with dirt - kind of pushed down in the dirt a little. The area I use mine in tends to stay pretty damp anyway. So I guess you just have to kind of adjust your method to the conditions you have. Hope they turn out ok, what are you growing??

    Bookmark   June 7, 2002 at 3:06AM
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FieldStoneFarm

Lilac cuttings. They look okay, I just have to keep adding water!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2002 at 2:42PM
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Tony_Thiel(Sunset z14 CA)

How about just putting the potting soil inside the aquarium covering the top with some plastic (with a couple of holes for aireation)and start your cuttings that way.

I'm trying this now.
I put some pea gravel (about 2") inside the aquarium, followed by a mixture of soil,perlite.
I covered most of it with a 1/4" clear plastic (from Tap Plastics).
Put in my cuttings and watered thoroughly but made sure that the excess water stayed in the pea gravel area. That way it doesn't drown the cuttings.

Well see what happens.
T2

    Bookmark   August 16, 2002 at 11:53AM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Hi
I;ve used something similar fro sever years except I
use transparent plastic supported on a PVC pipe frame .
I use a large tub for the media and keep it in my potting shed. This setup will handle around 50 cuttings of many specie at one time. The BEST media for cutting is 1 part
composted manure to 1 part sawdust.You'll have roots in
half the time.
gary

    Bookmark   August 17, 2002 at 8:37PM
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KAYGARDENER(BAY AREA--CALIF)

SEALED CLEAR GLASS BOXES (WHICH IS WHAT AN UPSIDE-DOWN AQUARIUM JAMMED INTO THE DIRT IS) WERE KNOWN AS WARDIAN CASES FROM THE 1840S & USED TO TRANSPORT BOTANICAL SPECIMANS ON LONG OCEAN VOYAGES (UP TO 6 MONTHS DURATION). THEN THE LATER VICTORIANS USED THEM AS FERN TERRARIUMS INDOORS... GOOD IDEAS JUST KEEP RECYCLING... GOOD GARDENING TO YOU.K

    Bookmark   January 29, 2003 at 8:06PM
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Dic_Tamnus

I've used an aquarium for two years now with mixed results. Best results have come with Buddleia. I put about 3-4 inches of play sand in the aquarium, moisten, stick the cuttings in (no rooting hormone, cover with glass top and set on my back porch (northern exposure, no direct sun). Anybody want to trade for some butterfly bush starts this summer?

    Bookmark   February 22, 2003 at 12:50PM
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