Introduction: Propagate Plants the Easy Way...With Easy to Make Mini-Greenhouses

An ancient practice for many gardeners has always been propagating plants from healthy specimens on hand.  The obvious reasons are to save money, but it's a good way to increase the landscape plants one needs to cover a given area.  You also know what you are getting as the young plants are clones of the "mother" plant.  I have shown how to make mini-greenhouses that should last long enough to insure the growth or formation of good root systems.  The new plants can then be transplanted to pots, or into the ground as you choose. 

Step 1: Get Cardboard Blanks Ready

Here, I measured the potting tubs that I wanted to use, and decided to make two greenhouses.  I therefore needed two cardboard blanks of 14x17in.  

Step 2: Trim Some Plastic Bags to Fit the Blanks

These are regular grocery bags, and will insure the water resistance of the cardboard.  The greenhouses don't have to be water proof, as we only need them for a short while.

Step 3: Glue Plastic to Cardboard With Spray Adhesive

This step is self explanatory...other, heavier plastic film can be used as well. Whatever you have on hand and suits the need.

Step 4: Score and Cut the Cardboard/Plastic Blanks As Shown

I wanted a 4 inch edge so scored the cardboard at about 3 and 3/4 inch to allow for folding.  This can be done before the plastic is glued in place.  Cut out the four corners so that you can fold the edges up and tape them in place.

Step 5: Check Fit of Plant Trays

Make sure your tray fits easily.  Then proceed to step six.

Step 6: Tape "Greenhouses" Together.

I used box tape to tack the ends together as shown.  Later, a heavier piece of tape was applied to insure the strength of the joint.  Again, these don't have to be elaborate, as they will only be used for a short while.

Step 7: Select Cuttings From Healthy Plants

It's best to gather cuttings in mid spring as this is when the plant(s) are at their peak growing stage.  Carefully select growing ends that have several leaves attached.  Cut about a 2 to 4 inch piece that you have selected for propagating.  Use a sharp, clean cutting instrument such as a scalpel or even very sharp scissors.

Step 8: Have Planting Media Ready to Accept Cuttings.

Any good sterile garden potting mix, clean sand, perlite, vermiculite, etc. can be used as a potting media.  I have not had a problem using regular potting mix, but have made special mixtures as the need arises.  Consulting experts through gardening books is a good idea, always.

Step 9: Dip Each Cutting Into Rooting Hormone.

Rooting hormone aids in the formation of new roots on the cuttings. This can be obtained at plant nurseries or wherever plants are sold.

Step 10: Insert Cuttings Into Holes Pre-Drilled in Potting Soil

Carefully place cuttings so that the rooting hormone is not wiped off as you insert the stem. The soil mix has been pre-soaked so that watering will not be necessary and will not wash off any of the rooting hormone.

Step 11: Cover Greenhouses With Plastic Wrap or Any Clear Piece of Plastic

Plastic wrap is easily available, and can be secured with a rubber band.  Place greenhouses in bright light, but NOT direct sunlight as you don't want to "cook" the cuttings.  Check progress from time to time, and if desired, you can spray or mist the cuttings. Within two to three weeks you should have firmly rooted cuttings, ready to be transplanted.  With six cuttings done this way, you have just saved about 30 bucks!  Congratulations!

Step 12: Young Successful Clone Plants

Other plants are eligible for this treatment as well. One of the pictues shows two varieties of sweet potato plants, easily and successfully propagated.

Comments

author
ChristinaR37 made it!(author)2016-04-28

Hello again creative man, and thank you for your speedy reply. I priced check root hormone at home depot and its within my budget, but now I have to figure out which brand. Any thoughts?
Also as I said yesterday, I replanted my petunias yesterday and they look good still, except for one thats already drooping. I used a mix of organic and potting mix both by Miracle Gro. Perhaps I didnt plant it deep enough. Anyways, thank you for responding. And I have to ask your forgiveness 4 my questions I asked yesterday. The beginning of the message is one I can't understand myself but it is because I TALKED/TEXT without checking what I spoke into the phone. Sorry about that. Gotta love these smart phones!

author
ChristinaR37 made it!(author)2016-04-27

Is this possible to do with geraniun cuttings?

author
ChristinaR37 made it!(author)2016-04-27

Hey thank you creativeman. I just now got done repairing my petunias that breakfast or bottom and just tending my patio Garden for the past several hours only because I wanted to. I'm sure you know what I mean it is so pretty out there. My favorite plant of all time is the geranium and I've actually been pretty successful with them. I would like many of them on my patio so I am going to attempt your way of propagating (which by the way I have never heard of that word until today) this coming weekend. Give me your thoughts please on root hormone? And can I get it at the Home Depot or Walmart? Thank you for your creativity!!
Signed: a new grower!

author
Creativeman made it!(author)2016-04-28

Root hormone may or may not increase your success...it's very inexpensive, though, so why not try it? I've done it both ways, and really didn't notice a difference...fun to do though, and I like geraniums too...esp. the Martha Washingtons...they are a little more fastidious though. Good luck.

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Creativeman made it!(author)2016-04-27

My first examples are geraniums...yes, they are easy to propagate.

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grannyjones made it!(author)2010-05-21

Just be careful; If you happen to root cuttings from a 'patented' plant; you are in violation of the regulations printed on the label--I do not really know if the warning that you can't even propagate for your own use is genuine; or just scare tactics.  Just curious if anyone has tested this. . .

author
ceafin made it!(author)2010-05-25

It would seem to me, if you are propagating your own plants, for yourself, there shouldn't be a foul here. After all, you purchased the plant/seed so growing them should be a part of the unsaid contract.

I would just see this like making backup copies of a CD for which you legitimately own. (and are NOT selling copies to others, of course)

author
Thursday+Next made it!(author)2011-04-25

the companies that patent plants prohibit propagating even for your own use. The reasoning is if you can grow more for yourself you won't buy any more from them. That being said I really don't see how they would police such a thing.

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cljack123 made it!(author)2010-06-28

you mean, codex alimentarius?

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mikeyd1951 made it!(author)2010-05-24

This works on a lot of "herbs" too. I did it a lot back in the day using vermiculite.

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mikchil made it!(author)2010-05-21

It helps to make the cut from the mother plant underwater.  Otherwise the cutting is likely to "inhale" some air and that can interfere with initial transfer of nutrients up the stem ... not usually a fatal thing but they do better if that doesn't happen.

author
DNMEBOY made it!(author)2010-05-20

That particular plant there propagates really well. Infact I never use any root hormones at all. At first I was leaving cuttings in a glass of water and that would take a month or more to root. Since realizing that I have just stuck them directly into organic potting soil and water them. They always root. Well 99% of the time. This is how I have kept the plants at work alive and going for the last year. If one dies I simply replace it with a cutting from another plant.

Good idea though with the mini green houses.

author
Creativeman made it!(author)2010-05-21

Thanks. Cman

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ChrysN made it!(author)2010-05-20

Nice! You can definitely save money this way!

author
Creativeman made it!(author)2010-05-20

Thanks Chrys. Cman

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