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Old 01-06-2009, 02:15 PM
 
Location: Albemarle, NC
7,730 posts, read 13,505,384 times
Reputation: 1509

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I've posted this on a gardening forum, but I wanted to share it here in case anyone else was interested in plant propagation.

Cloning machines are expensive. A 20 site machine can fetch around $2-300. Larger machines are more expensive. I built mine using off the shelf parts for $45.

Basically, it's a Sterlite container from WalMart. I think it's a sweater box container, 6" tall. I drilled 58 - 5/8" holes in the cover. I painted the clear bottom with rubberized paid to make it lightproof. Roots won't develop well in the presence of light. I put two aquarium bubble wands inside and use a 20gal air pump to power them. I also put a watertight aquarium heater that keeps the water at 78 degrees. I use foam rollers from the dollar store to hold the plants in place. These are hair rollers. Used by some women at night to keep their curls.

I cut the rollers in half and then cut them lengthwise on one side through the hold already in the foam. I wrap these around my cuttings and stick them in the holes. The rollers expand to fit the openings and hold the cuttings in place about 1/2" above the surface of the water. The spray from the bubbles keeps everything wet. The air gives them oxygen.

Picture time:

The container with another cover inverted to serve as a lid.



With the lid removed, you can see the empty holes and the cuttings inside.



With the "plant tray" removed, you can see the bubble wands and water.



This is a 2-3" piece of brugmansia that broke off an overwintering plant. I stuck it on Jan 1.



And a piece of pineapple sage that was stuck on Jan 3.



I'm trying now on sturdier plants and harder to root varieties from Euonymus to camellias. Not sure how it's going to work with woodier type plants. In the spring, I'll use it to propagate extra tomato, eggplant, pepper, and other veggie plants to sell at the farmer's market, as well as zinnias, petunias, and other annuals to add to my yard.

Any advice or suggestions are welcome.
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Old 01-06-2009, 04:00 PM
 
Location: McKinleyville, California
6,413 posts, read 9,948,116 times
Reputation: 4274
I have had luck starting hardwood cuttings in sterile playground sand, I use willow water as my rooting agent. I start willow switches from my weeping willow in a bucket of water and when they start roots, I use the water to water cuttings. I have been doing this since 1984 when I read it in Organic gardening magazine. It is supposed to be as good as, if not better than, commercial rooting agents and it is free. I like your rooting box, I think I will try the same system.
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Old 01-06-2009, 04:56 PM
 
Location: Albemarle, NC
7,730 posts, read 13,505,384 times
Reputation: 1509
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDragonslayer View Post
I have had luck starting hardwood cuttings in sterile playground sand, I use willow water as my rooting agent. I start willow switches from my weeping willow in a bucket of water and when they start roots, I use the water to water cuttings. I have been doing this since 1984 when I read it in Organic gardening magazine. It is supposed to be as good as, if not better than, commercial rooting agents and it is free. I like your rooting box, I think I will try the same system.
I'm getting some willow cuttings soon for the same reason. It's the natural form of IBA, which is some acid. If you boil the willow and let it steep overnight, you can get even higher quantities. Once I get my willow growing, I'll have a nice supply.

I had been using sand, but I was losing a lot over the winter. From 100+ butterfly bush cuttings, I got 15 that lived. The longer they sit, the more I lose.
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