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My homemade cloning machine

posted by: token28001 on 01.06.2009 at 03:55 pm in Plant Propagation Forum

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?


clipped on: 05.15.2009 at 11:06 pm    last updated on: 05.15.2009 at 11:06 pm

Easy Propagation Chamber

posted by: little_dani on 10.05.2005 at 08:34 pm in Plant Propagation Forum

I make a little propagation chamber that is so easy, and so reliable for me that I thought I would share the idea. I have not seen one like it here, and I did look through the FAQ, but didn't find one there either. I hope I did not miss it, and I hope I do not offend anyone by being presumptive in posting this here.

That said....

This is what you will need.
A plastic shoebox, with a lid. They come in various sizes, any will do.

Soil less potting mix, half peat, half perlite, or whatever is your favorite medium.
A little clay pot, with the drain hole plugged with caulking or silicone. If this is a new pot, scrub it with some steel wool to be sure it doesn't have a sealer on it. You want the water to seep through it.
Rooting hormone powder or liquid, or salix solution from the willow tree.
Plant material, snippers. I am going to pot some Plectranthus (a tall swedish ivy) and a Joseph's Coat, 'Red Thread'. I already have some succulents rooted in this box. I will take them out and pot them up later, DH has a new cacti pot he wants to put them in.
You can see here, I hope, that I fill the clay pot to the top with rain water, well water, or distilled water. I just don't use our tap water, too much chlorine and a ph that is out of sight.

I pour a little of the hormone powder out on a paper plate or a piece of paper, so that I don't contaminate the whole package of powder. And these little 'snippers' are the best for taking this kind of cuttings.

This is about right on the amount of hormone to use. I try to get 2 nodes per cutting, if I can. Knock off the excess. It is better to have a little too little than to have too much.
Then, with your finger, or a pencil, or stick, SOMETHING, poke a hole in the potting mix and insert your cutting. Pull the potting mix up around the cutting good and snug.

When your box is full, and I always like to pretty much fill the box, just put the lid on it, and set it in the shade. You don't ever put this box in the sun. You wind up with boiled cuttings. YUK!

Check the cuttings every few days, and refill the reservoire as needed. Don't let it dry out. If you happen to get too wet, just prop the lid open with a pencil for a little while.
This is a very good method of propagation, but I don't do roses in these. The thorns just make it hard for me, with my big fingers, to pack the box full. All kinds of other things can be done in these. Just try it!



clipped on: 05.15.2009 at 11:04 pm    last updated on: 05.15.2009 at 11:05 pm