My homemade cloning machine

token28001(zone7b NC)January 6, 2009

I wanted to make sure this worked before I posted it here. Now that I have a few cuttings sprouting roots, I'll post some pictures.

First, I posted this to my blog last week when I was in the process of building it. I found the directions through google. Of course, it was on a cannabis forum, so I won't link to it here. You can do your own search or follow the directions I posted here. Simply put, it's a Sterlite container with holes in the lid, an aquarium heater set at 78 degrees, and two bubble wands powered by a 30 gallon aquarium pump. Not exactly rocket science. I put another container upside down over the whole thing to create a 100% humidity environment.

Let me also say that I have tried Janie's propagation chamber. During the summer, I had good success and even managed to root a couple of Fragrant Tea Olives. But, my success rate decreased with each subsequent try. In October, I pruned my two butterfly bushes and stuck over 100 cuttings in two different chambers. This weekend, I potted up the survivors, 15 in all. That's pretty bad, but I'm sure it has more to do with me and my technique than the chamber itself. I find the longer something is in the container, the more likely it is to rot for me. SO, I wanted something faster.

This is a small piece (2" tall) of a brugmansia that I am overwintering in the basement. It broke off when I was moving the container. It was the first thing put into my cloning chamber on Jan 1. It's now got long roots. Very green cutting too. All images are clickable.

This is a piece of pineapple sage that I took cuttings from in November before the frost got my plant outside. It was stuck in the cloning chamber on Jan 3. The roots are just shy of 1/8". I realize these are easy to root varieties, so I'll be curious how long other things take to root.

The material holding the plants in the lid are foam rollers. I bought them in packs of 10 from the dollar store. I cut them in half and then sliced them through the hole already in them. They seem to be working fine so far to hold the cuttings in place.

Although the cloning chamber I build looks different from the one I am using now, it's the same method. I realized A) my bottom container was too large and heavy when filled with water, B) the holes in the lid were too large and spaced too closely. The second version pictured below has 58 - 5/8" holes instead of 77 - 3/4" holes.

The Green & Gold Euyonmous was stuck yesterday. There are tiny white numbs already on one of the cuttings. Since the humidity and temperature are regulated by the heater and cover, I should be able to use this year round on evergreens and softwood cuttings depending on the season. I've also put a few camellia cuttings in there, but nothing is happening with those yet. In the spring, I'll use it to propagate extra annuals so I don't have to sow as many seeds as well as shrubs, perennials, and other things I want more of. With a blank slate yard, I have plenty of space to grow.

Comments questions or suggestions?

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token28001(zone7b NC)

In less than 24 hours, the root growth on the pineapple salvia is very noticeable.

Yesterday at 2:30pm

Today at 11:17am

1 Like    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 11:35AM
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gardenerme(z9/21 inland socal)

WOW . . . .

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 9:25PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

I know, huh? After day 1, I saw no growth. On day two, little nubs. Day 3 roots were growing. On day 4, I potted it into soil. Now I admit, pineapple sage is an easy one to root, but it gives me an idea of how long to expect other things to take.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 10:59PM
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I made one that is very similar, maybe even a bit easier and had great results with passiflora cuttings and a few of some of my harder to root plants. I did change the amount of time the pump ran from 15 minutes/hr to 45 but I'm using a fairly weak aquarium pump. With a stronger pump 15 minutes might be sufficient. Instead of cutting or burning holes in plastic cups I bought mesh pots at a hydroponics store. They are only a few cents a piece. I also have it sitting on a propagation mat to keep the water warm.

Here is a link that might be useful: aeroponics chamber

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 7:39PM
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freemangreens(Zone 10 CA)

I grow hydroponically and as such use a "cloner" regularly to propagate stuff. I'm in the process of revamping my Web page, so the "full salon treatment" is a week or two away. When it's done, there is a page called "Hydroponic Cloner" and it discusses the subject in detail. There are also plans with pictures available. If you're at all interested, check my Web site out; see my profile. I know I could post a link, but I don't want it to look like I'm spamming the forum.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 1:51AM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

Karyn, Your is one that I found here on GW and used it as a model. I originally started with a large container like yours, but found it too heavy to move once it was full of water. Plus, the heater seemed to have trouble keeping the water warm in the basement. So I went with a smaller container and reduced the number of holes in the lid.

Apparently, these things are a big hit with the cannabis growers.

freeman, I'll check it out. Always looking for new ideas.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 11:38AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Thanks first of all for your guys input.

I was running around today and decided to buy everything, from "memory." I forgot the aquarium water heater and also accidentally for 75 bucks bought a canister water filter for aquariums. I don't see it on TOKENS list of materials, however, It would keep the water pure, but I'm thinking for 75 bucks that's a lot to spend and it's really not needed. I desire your input, please. This is all new to me but I've been growing for a long time. Here's a photo (should I take it back?):

Last question on spacing of the holes and media for each. I thought rockwool would be ideal, naturally. Any suggestions as to size of the cubes or should I cut my own from slabs, and how would I best keep them solidly in place? Obviously a small hole and a larger chunk of rockwool is the ticket. May I ask your guys sources for rockwool and the sizes you would recommend?

Thanks ever so much. I've been wanting to build one of these for quite some time.



Additional Photos:

7" tall:

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 8:09PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

You don't need a water filter. You'll need to change all the water every couple of weeks anyway. Mine is about 2 weeks old and I will change the water this week. I don't want algae growth.

As for holding the cuttings, I let the bottom of mine dangle free in the chamber. They're about 1/2" above the water line. The breaking bubbles mist the cuttings. I'm thinking about adding a timer like Karyn. The cuttings right now stay a little too wet for what I THINK is correct. Again, I don't know for sure. I think that the purchased machines have constant water spray.

I use foam rollers in 5/8" holes.

This is what the cutting looks like in the roller.

I gently squeeze the roller and push it into the hole. My holes are spaced on a 1.5" grid. I only drilled every other hole. Every hole means the cuttings are too close for most evergreen cuttings.

I think you might want to start with a smaller container too. Mine is a sweater storage container. I think yours is an underbed storage box. You'll need a lot more bubblers for something that large.

Sterlite container. The dimensions are 23"L x 16 3/4"W x 5 7/8"H.

You can even go as small as the plastic shoeboxes from walmart. That's also where I bought mine. The original one was too deep to fit on my propagation rack in the basement, and too heavy when filled with water. The smaller one is just right. I can do 58 cuttings at a time. The good thing about this container is that you can purchase a second one to put upside down over the top keeping the leaves of the cuttings from drying out.

My success so far has been from overwintering tender perennials that didn't have time to settle in before winter. In the spring, I'll get to really put it to the test.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 8:36PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

Youtube video showing how my cuttings are held in place.

I also want to say that the cuttings I have had success with in the past two weeks have not been subjected to winter weather. They are all actively growing in the basement. Nothing has rooted yet that came from outside in the past two weeks. I think it's important for this method to have softwood rather than hardwood, even on evergreen cuttings.

Also, because Karyn's cloner shows the cuttings sticking through the pots with clay pellets, I think that what I am doing should work, but it's still a test at this point.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 8:56PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Token you may consider drastically cutting the leaves of sticks in half or more to provide that none are touching. That's how growers do it, including myself.

Broadleaf evergreens, conifers, deciduous hardwood, or any woody plants/vines or whatever, you're on the right track however the speed of the rooting process will take much longer than your softwood cuttings. Surely, your realize this. I still think you're on the right track.

I won't use mine until I heat my greenhouse. I don't grow indoor anymore, so mid-feb I'll start sticking my cuttings. Since I graft too, I'll just put this thing in a tented structure and hence I'll have nearly 100% humidity this way. Today I just sorta went overboard.

I'm going to use rockwool. It's the best in my opinion and I'll figure out what size cubes will work best for me as I'm a conifer grower, first. I want to thank you once more for designing a cloner without spray valves and a lot less work involved. It's always been there, I just never saw the horizon. A while back, I bought a little rock stone and put it in a glass to root Clematis and other things. Same concept. Fortunately and now, I see the bigger picture.

Thanks so much. This has been very interesting.

Best Regards,


Cuttings of Thuja's prepared prior to sticking (foliage reduced drastically so the cuttings are very narrow - these are of Green Giant and the foliage has been cut back a ton):

Just like all growers say, each of us needs to find out what works for us. Best of luck. Thanks.

FYI: Treehaven Evergreen Nursery sells a root gel dip that adheres like rubber and contains beneficial microhaize. It's primarily used for planting bare-root woody's, as sold. You'll have nearly unlimited success if you use it prior to sticking you sticks/scions/cuttings following after you treat with a rooting hormone such as dip n' grow. These photos shows that cultivars of Japanese Maple treated with this product (June-July) rooted nearly 100%. This is unheard of!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 11:08PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

So do you think that eventually the woody plants will root in this thing? I've lost all my woody cuttings using any other method I've tried. It just rots.

I didn't design this, I found a lot of them on google, mostly from cannabis growers. And Karyn's setup helped me too. I didn't want to fool with nozzles and pumps and all the problems associated with those. Plus, it was cheap. A "real" system costs several hundred dollars. The parts aren't a fraction of that. For the home gardener, it's just not worth it.

I did cut back the camellias I took cuttings from. The others I stuck thinking there wouldn't be a lot of moisture loss from the leaves. They're putting out new top growth, but no roots. They do seem to be forming a callus though.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 11:14PM
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bernadette_gourder(5 from Newaygo, MI)


I was looking for the root gel you were talking about, but can't find it on their website ( Do you know the name of the root gel? I found several on different websites, but don't know which you are referring to.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 8:28AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

The owner of Treehaven sells the stuff by weight. It's very inexpensive (5 bucks?). This stuff will prevent rot!! That's the ticket here. You'll need to call him and inquire how much of the stuff you'll need, that I do not know. I thought he mentioned it on the website, sorry about that. I am thinking a five buck bag of the stuff should easily do 1000 cuttings. Ask him though.

I'm off to return this pump/filter.

Token, with a propagator like this and the gel, you'll have success with woody's, guaranteed. Dip n' Grow is by far the best as well and I wouldn't hesitate not to use it. And I think a time-frame of two weeks roots will begin to develop, at least with conifers. Much faster than any other conventional ways. That's what I'm thinking.


    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 10:57AM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

Thanks Dax. I'm not currently using any hormones. I may look into that if three weeks doesn't show any roots.

I do have one woody plant that seems to be rooting this morning. It's a saucer magnolia. It was callused already though. That may be another key to keeping the rot down since there is so much moisture in this system.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 11:15AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

One last thought and do as you all wish but I use an in-organic product called Consan 20 which is both a fungicide and an algaecide. I plan to use it in my system and to spray the cuttings. Others have told me it's difficult to find but it's sold locally at a nursery here, so for me, it's easy to get ahold of. Zerotol is the best, however (less toxic).

Got my aquarium heater, now I gotta wait a month.

Take care guys,


    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 1:18PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

I found out something. I called the main office for Botanicare and learned that the very best way to not rot cuttings is to use a combination of black plastic mesh baskets (2" is plenty large) in combination with Hydroton clay pellets which are recylable and are good for a lifetime.

Everything else including rockwool will induce rot with cloning machines.

So, I hope you're on your way to success.

Best Regards,


Here's a link to these black 2" baskets where I purchased (the cheapest, it's laughable) 4000 of them for a total of 16 dollars including shipping. Everyone else sells them for 15 cents up to 40 cents each. What a joke. What I'll do with 4000, who cares! Enjoy your day.
4000 a case homegrown hydroponics

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 3:45PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)
    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 3:51PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

Thanks for the link Dax. Now I wonder, why in the world anyone would want a hydroponic chamber that looks like a PC?

Looks like a PC!


I'm going to keep trying with my foam rollers. If I start to see a lot of rot I'll make a new tray with larger holes for net pots. It may mean I have to build two of these to clone the number of plants I want. They're cheap and easy though. In fact, I think my air pump could handle two units with only one wand in each.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 3:53PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Indeed Token. Good link too, lol.

One more thing although I'm sure the directions are on the bag, I was told by the person at Botanicare to thoroughly wash the clay pellets before use.

Have a good one,


    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 4:00PM
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little_dani(9, S. Tex Coast)

Thanks for sharing this, Tom. I am going to town today to pick up supplies to build one of these. My biggest problem is finding a place to put it, as my greenhouse is not heated, and I have no space left in the house!

My DH hates this time of year, as every available horizontal space is covered with something germinating/something rooting.

I am really impressed with how fast your cuttings grew roots! That would be fantastic for me!


    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 8:53AM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

Thanks Janie. Like I said, I've used your chamber during the spring and summer with great results. Inside in the winter, it's harder to keep the cuttings from rotting for me. I'm looking now at some fungicides and maybe peroxide in the water.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 9:33AM
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I use the mesh pots and expanded clay pellets and have no problem with rot. I also add Thrive Alive B1 to the water. I don't use an aquarium heater I set the tub on a propagation mat. Here's a link to pics of a couple passiflora cuttings. I've rooted semi woody stemmed cuttings like Petrea volubilis, Strophanthus gratus, Strophanthus preussii and jasmine Grand Duke.

Here is a link that might be useful: rooted cuttings

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 11:20AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Good roots karyn.

The Thrive is a good idea as well. I think I'll be adding it.

Tom or anyone, one thing I don't understand yet, am I suppose to run this thing 24 hours or set it on a timer schedule.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 1:05PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

I think Karyn has hers on a time to run 15 minutes, off 45. I don't have a timer so I let it run nonstop. Some of the cuttings are too wet, so I might look at getting a timer before spring. I wish now I had only installed one bubble curtain. The smaller air pump would have been better too. Too much moisture. I even tried removing the cover, but the cuttings dried out.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 2:09PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

well you can easily remove one bubble curtain. The "Gang Valve" I bought was made with simplicity in mind. I can control the amount of air flow because it has "valves" and it also allows me to quickly build the machine. That may be the best thing I bought and for five bucks.

the air pump i bought can power anywhere between 15 and 115 gallons of pressure (from total gallons of water being used in total) if I want to run more tubing to more cloners, all i need do is add up the sum from each cloner, and... I intend to build a lot of these

This is the future in quick turnover. I see it useful for seed as well as cuttings. 'Graduating' rootsystems to a larger basket along with adding fertilizers and I see a quick glimpse of my life becoming a little richer and a lot easier. ;-)

Thanks for that info. Tom.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 5:42PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

A friend wrote me with some comments:

Ive learned a few thingsmainly by making mistakesand hope they can help you.

One important aspect of hydroponics is keeping things clean. Be sure to soak everything in a bleach solution between propagation runs, rinse well, then let sit for 12 hours to let any residual chlorine dissipate. I drag my cloners into the shower for this process; better that the bleach goes into the septic system than accidently killing something off with the drainage water.

I also have mixed feelings about hydrogen peroxide. You just need to remember that it kills beneficials (mycrorizae) too, as does the Consan 20. I use an agricultural organic product called Actinovate Actinovate A quick Google search told me it is available to the general public too. Since starting it the water is always clear. Cuttings still do die, but not as many.

What about water temperature? Token28001 is at 78F, but what is good for conifers? Another thing to remember is that higher water temperatures promote unwanted fungal and bacterial growth. I accidently misread my water heater upside down one time and had the water at 86F instead of 68F. What a cloudy mess! Had to start over with that one.

Transplanting from then cloner to soil is still a trial. The plugs Trial Plugs Im trying out are so the roots are not disturbed as much during that transfer. But those end up being one more expense too. Youll have to let me know how the hydrotron/basket combination works out, especially the transfer to soil.

Lastly (for now) is rooting hormones, It works best for me to put Dip N Grow directly into the cloner water (using an eyedropper) at 5 drops per 2 gallons of water. Ive talked to the guy at Botanicare also and he even admits that their rooting gels wash off in a cloner.


    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 12:43PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

Well, cleaning everything is certainly the most important part. I need to do mine again this weekend. I've had a little rot and algae growth.

I don't use anything in the water except one cap full of Miracle Grow's transplant & starter fertilizer. I don't have any reason for this aside from the fact that it stimulates root growth in transplants too.

The water temperature on mine is set at 78. I have read that lower is better, but the basement is cold so it helps to heat the entire chamber especially with the lid. The top is still cooler than that at around 60 degrees. I wish it were cooler still since warm feet, cool tops promotes more root growth.

I haven't had any problems yet with transplanting. I don't let me roots get longer than 1/2" and I use Scott's potting mix. It's really light and fluffy. I put enough in the bottom of the container to support the plant, then stick the plant in and fill in while holding it in place. This seems to let the roots fall more naturally in place. If the roots are too long, I don't have a problem trimming them back and putting the cutting back in the cloner for another day. Once the roots appear, they grow very fast.

I don't have anything supporting the roots in my cloner. They dangle free. When I remove the cutting, it's just roots right into soil. It's how I did it using Janie's chamber too. It's worked so far. However, I do put the cuttings on bottom heat for a few days to give them a little help.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 2:02PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Interesting, thanks token.


    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 10:18AM
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klavier(Z7 Baltimore)

I have gone out and gotten all the parts. I wasn't able to find any of the water treatments you guys recommended so I got some stuff that seemed similar. I am new to chemical treatments so please let me know what you think.
Here is what I got:
Root hormone: Dip n Grow
I had this one already and have used much of it trying cuttings the old fashioned way (dip n grow and stick in dirt). I have had limited success doing things the old way. One in ten will take typically. I have no idea where I can find more as I live in the Binghamton area, and nursery places are a bit limited.

Ortho Orthocide (Captan)
The back of the package says dip cuttings in mixture of
5 & 1/3 tablespoons per gallon of water. Probably 1 tablespoon to 30 gallons will be enough for the cloner.

Mancozeb Fowable with zinc- concentrate
I am guessing these need to be seriously diluted.

I could not find strive alive, so I got Bonide plant starter solution:
3-10-3 with B1

anyone got suggestions?

-Werner J Stiegler

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 2:10PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)


To be perfectly honest, I only use a transplant/starter fertilizer from Miracle Grow. That seems to be the same N-P-K as the Bonide. And I can't see a difference in the speed with which overwintering plants have rooted. Pineapple sage roots in about 4-5 days maximum. Brugmansia takes about a week. Gardenias taken from outdoor plants take about 2 weeks. Blue Spires salvia from overwintering plants took a little more than a week.

I don't use any fungicide. I make sure my container is cleaned with bleach, that all my cuttings are done with bleach cleaned tools, and that my hands are clean when I fill and replace the water. Aside from that, I've had no problems.

I've used Rootone in soil and have had limited success too. I tend to have better luck using nothing at all. Taken at the proper time and using the right method, the plant will want to establish new roots. The humidity is keeping them alive. Once they get 1/2" roots, I pot them into small containers. As they get root bound, I pot them into larger containers. I'll move them all out to the hoophouse in March.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 6:15PM
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klavier(Z7 Baltimore)

Hello Again,
Where do you guys get the on/ off timers that allow you to have it on for a certain amount of time and off for a certain amount of time. The only ones I can find are the ones that turn on your lights and only allow two settings per day.
Many thanks,
Werner J Stiegler

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 10:18PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

I don't use a timer either except on the lights. I'd like to know where I could get a cycle timer like that as well. I think my cuttings could use some dry time.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 10:28PM
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klavier(Z7 Baltimore)

I found a timer a lowes that has half hour settings. It was under $5. I have the bubbles on 30 minutes, off 30 minutes. I also will never use the hair curlers again. I have discovered that the reason wet sneakers stink like they do is because of the similar type foam in them. Next round I will build a tray I can insert in the tub and fill it with an inch or two of perlite and stick the cuttings through to the bubble area. I am hesitant to use the nets and clay balls because that greatly limits how many cuttings I can do at a time with the single cloner. I am now entering day 12 of hard wood cuttings including european beech nut, australian hoop pine, flowering dogwood, and cryptomeria japonica. The cryptomeria have almost been elliminated already. The bottom parts exposed to the bubbles turned black and was clearly dead. The ones I stuck in trays of dirt have remained green when I unearthed a few. The rest have begun to calcify, but I am afraid they are beginning to rot as some have a somewhat slimy texture now. Only time will tell. I have sprayed the tops and bottoms a few times with a spray of captan to keep fungus from sprouting, and a little captan was added to the water. It is getting time to change the water supply. I have not figured out how I am going to carry that out yet. Is there any anti-microbial I can spray on them that will not hinder the root development?

Many thanks,
Werner J Stiegler

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 12:43AM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

Werner, I have found that if you get a piece that rots, it will spread. I change the water then and clean everything with bleach.

The curlers must be a different foam than mine. These have open cells and I haven't noticed a smell unless something rots. I soak mine in bleach water again once I've removed them from the cloner.

Still working great on softwood cuttings. I've had zero luck with hardwood cuttings. I really think it's because the pump runs 24/7.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 9:06PM
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klavier(Z7 Baltimore)

I think they are a different foam. This stuff is exaclty like what you pull out of an old sneaker. I will pick up some pipe insulators because they do not absorb water.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 11:00PM
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klavier(Z7 Baltimore)

Well now, the surprise of my day was finding that the remaining cryptomeria that have not rotted away are not only completely callused, but are also getting definite root nubs. Today is exactly two weeks from sticking, so that is amazing because ones that I stuck the old fashioned way just straight into the dirt over a month ago are not as far along. The english beech nut cuttings that were stuck at the same time still have a bit of a way to go with callusing, though the progress is noticable. The rest was stuck 5 days later, so it is still early. Also, if you use captan as a fungicide, it is very effective, but too much will make the bubbles form suds. The suds do not wet the cuttings well, but simply make them damp. I use 1-2 table spoons to fifteen gallons without sud formation. I went to seven and it looked like shaving cream. If I begin to detect fungus, I make the standard captan spray mix (3.5 tbs to gallon) and mist the cuttings both top and bottom with it. This has kept the cuttings in great shape. I am impressed thus far with the method. Another week will be the decisive point as to whether the cuttings last long enough to develop strong roots, or they only make it to callusing before croaking.

-Werner Stiegler

Lessons learned thus far:
- do not use an absorbant type of foam to hold the
- a little fungicide goes a long way and suds are very very bad
- changing water is a pain, I am putting a drain spout in time
- do not skimp on bubble wands
- make sure to disinfect the cuttings with a 10% bleach solution

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 8:20PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

Klavier, I have had some cuttings turn to mush. Again, I think it comes down to sterility issues or taking cuttings that are too soft.

What I've learned,

-less water makes for more spray but seems to keep the rot issue at bay.
-a little transplant fertilizer in the water does not help or hinder root production.
-removing the cuttings from the foam rollers every couple days to give them some air really helps.
-open holes allows humidity to travel to the top of the cuttings so that I don't have to mist. I may drill some extra holes just for this.
-clean, sterilize, clean, and sterilize.

I'm still having much more success with softwood cuttings. I tried a blueberry cutting and some pink magnolia hardwood cuttings. Both put out new leaves, but the cut ends turned to mush within a couple weeks. Neither cutting callused over and neither developed roots. Both had to be destroyed. The ones in sand have done nothing as far as root production, but the cuttings are still firm and "green".

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 9:52AM
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klavier(Z7 Baltimore)

I too have noticed that changing the foam rollers every once in a while helps a lot. I need to find something similar that breaths better and does not hold water. I am thinking of trying the basket method, but I would like to find much smaller baskets. My biggest issue with the baskets is that it greatly limits the number of cuttings that can be put into one cloner. Some cuttings seem to do better being stuck into dirt without the cloner because of rot issues, but the callusing and nub development in the cloner is much much faster. If I could find a method of continous disinfecting that did not harm the cuttings, I would use that in the water. Unfortunately most disinfecting methods do burn the plants if used for too long. Bleach, alcohol, and peroxide for example. Once a week I am changing the water, disinfecting the whole thing, and misting the plants with a 10% bleach solution and then spraying them with fresh water. I am thinking of connnecting a fish tank pump and passing the water through a UV light. This will add a few dollars to the set-up, but will likely increase the success rate a lot. A separate bin below that the water can run into with the light on over it seems like a good idea, and the pump can push the water back up into the clonor. I could change the water to multiple clonors easily that way. It is definitely infection that is the biggest issue here.

-Werner J Stiegler

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 8:56PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

Originally I used a plastic placemat with a hole cut in the center and a slit to the edge to hold my cuttings. Thinking about it, I had less rot than I did with the foam.

I may go back to that method if I keep seeing the rot.

Some of the purchased containers use a neoprene sleeve. They are made using a closed cell foam so they don't absorb water. A pond liner is made from neoprene, but I believe the sleeves that are sold for hydroponics are thicker than that and they fit into the cups.

One other idea I had was communion cups. They're 3/4" diameter at the bottom and flare up. If you drilled holes in the bottom and used gravel or clay pellets, it would probably work too. And you can always stick more than one cutting in the larger cups. Someone in the cottage garden forum told me she does that. In 20 cups, she can do 80-100 cuttings. You just have to be careful when removing them.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 9:27AM
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little_dani(9, S. Tex Coast)

I am still working on my cloning machine.



    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 9:03AM
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I've built a similar device and thought I would throw a few cents in since several people are doing this - I don't know if I'm right about all this, but I thought I'd get it out there for discussion.

couple things I saw / thought

"I also have mixed feelings about hydrogen peroxide. You just need to remember that it kills beneficials (mycrorizae) too, as does the Consan 20."

I would not worry at all about kiling beneficial fungi, there is no reason to suspect they are benficial at all in this context. Actually, they shouldn't be. Since all the nutrients should already be in water soluble form.....

Also adding IBA to the solution may not be best, it isn't very water soluble, that's why it comes in an alcohol solution not a water solution. It's ok if gels or powders wash off, the hormone should affect the plant pretty fast, while it's dipped or shortly therafter.

As for temperature of the solution I was following guidelines online to keep between 68 and 72 and I am thinking that's way too cool. Plants root better slightly warmer, (at least in traditional media) so I'm trying to heat up my solution a little.

I haven't had any visible fungi or algae problems and my reservoir is clear, despite the fact that most people advise blacking it out. I am actually thinking about doing that, but not b/c of algae, just thinking light could be intrinsically bad for rooting.

As for miracle gro fertilizer I would just avoid anything with urea nitrogen, I read it requires a soil microbe to be available that isn't present in solution culture, so it's just a waste, you're increasing electrical conductivity and not making the nitrogen available.

So far a few cuttings of mine have calloused, but not rooted yet. I'll keep tinkering with mine, thank you all for sharing yours.

Oh, one reason why I think I haven't had algae is that I have a 60 gallon bubbler for a small machine and I think the very active solution makes it hard for algae to grow.

But it is keeping my net pots with hydroton pretty wet so I am thinking about having some dry out time every day and or lowering the reservoir level slightly.

My initial impression is that there are a lot of variables with this method so it should take some time to dial in, but overall it's promising for slow, hard to root plants that you don't mind going through the time and expense for.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 9:17PM
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here are a few pictures of my small machine, if it works maybe Ill build a larger more sophisticated one.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 9:34PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

I'm still having success with softwood cuttings and a few shrub cuttings like euonymus. I'm trying some annuals now - lantana, petunias, and alternanthera. Will be doing perennials as soon as enough growth is available from plants that come back this winter.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 4:40AM
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I've got a pump on order (EcoPlus 633). Everything else for the DIY EZ-cloner, including cuttings in the chill-chest, is ready to go. What do I need in the way of hormone dip and/or solution??? The cuttings are hardwood blueberries, hardy kiwi, blackberry and roses. I'm especially concerned that the blueberries and kiwi take... I have ready access to more blackberry and rose cuttings.

I know there are rooting hormone powders and gels, but as it was mentioned, they wash off in a cloner. Should this step be skipped or is there benefit gained despite being eventually washed off? There are also a few "cloning solutions" made, but I don't know if there would be a problem running that through a submerged pump?

Has anyone had good success with hardwood cuttings? What did you use to get fast rooting?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 4:12AM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

I have one rose cutting that rooted. I've tossed out way too many that turned to mush. I have better results using an outdoor chamber for things like this. I have weigeila in a 2liter bottle right now. Just cut it in half, fill with sandy soil, stick the cuttings using rooting hormone and cover with the top half. It should take 2-3 months, but they will root.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 7:55AM
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I haven't read through everything that's been posted but I have not had any problems with rot or mold with the mesh pots and expanded clay pellets. I soak everything in a bleach solution when I'm finished rooting cuttings and I've reused everything at least twice with no problem. I don't use any water treatments or rooting hormones, nor do I change the water and I've never bothered with a filter. I just add more water as it evaporates. I do add Thrive Alive, Superthrive or anything with B1 to the water. In addition to the B1 I added Pro-tekt for the first time with this batch of cuttings. I don't know yet if it makes a difference. I'm also trying to root hardwood cuttings for the first time. So far they look good. No roots yet but it's only been a little over a week.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 8:00AM
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Hey everyone,

Just want to let everyone know that I'm new to this forum and growing plants. I came across this posting while doing a google search, trying to find info on rooting cuttings from a red/pink(?) dogwood tree and japanese maple tree. The dogwood is a beautiful tree that's about 40yrs old, and would like to clone several so to plant along a fence line. I have some questions that I could not find within this thread of posts.
Will the cloning machine work for dogwood and japanese maple?

Right now its about mid spring. Should I do this indoors?
If rooting does happen, can I transplant this year or wait till next spring.(How old does the tree have to be before planting outside?)
After cutting, how long do I have before the cuttings go bad? (Do they need to go diretly into the cloning chamber.)
And finally, will the new little dogwood trees grow to flower pink or will they be white?(I ask this because I read that dogwoods have to be made pink by buding or grafting.)

Thanks in advance.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 11:16PM
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if anybody wants a good timer for cloning they make a 4 minute on and 1 minute off cycle timer. they usually go for $70 to $80 though. its a titan controls apollo4. there available at any hydro store that uses sunlight supply inc.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 10:26PM
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i,m trying to do roses in a fish tank i have to bubble wands on bottom airpump for 30gal but useing 10gal tank have a heater and set on 79degrees have cutting in foam sticking in water about a inch.
today i seen white foam like on cutting and slime.
what am i doing wrong.
sure need help new at this

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 7:29PM
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Nice I am thinking of starting to do my own clones shortly. Great Read!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 12:43AM
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peggiewho(z9 Ca)

The alternative cloner has sprayers and a manifold. The advantage of this type of cloning is you can see everything. Time and space is not wasted on cuttings that are not rooting. Also there are solutions available that prevent rot and encourage rooting. I use Dyna-Gro but there seems to be plenty of products out there designed for the purpose. I clean my machine with ammonia. Smelly but effective. I position my cuttings in black plastic stretched over net pots. I can really pack it in. Nine cuttings in a 2 inch net pot. I transplant the strongest. I put them under a dome for a week but most clones don't need it but they all are treated the same. From that point I struggle. Managing large numbers of little plants in this off and on spring weather is difficult. The next time I see the sun I will plant all day.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 2:01AM
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Lol. I get a lot of good tips from cannabis forums. I'm always embarrassed when they ask me what variety I'm growing because I strictly grow legal plants.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 5:09PM
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