Urban Homestead Easy Cutting Propagator





Introduction: Urban Homestead Easy Cutting Propagator

Or "What the H am I going to do with this Styrofoam egg carton now for the next 500 years?" Our garden has gotten a bit out of hand, so I wanted to try my hand at cuttings and getting new baby plants to start. I didn't want eight hundred little cups floating around everywhere and little plants diving below the water. So this was the solution...

Step 1: Materials

One stryofoam egg container
One pair of scissors
One hole poker (pen, pencil, awl, small screw driver, skewer...you don't want the holes too big)
One container for water (cake pan, plastic container, etc.)

Step 2: Stab It!

First, separate the lid from the base @ the fold (you don't really need a picture of that, do you?).

You are left with two pieces, a flat one and one with bumps. Let's start with the flat piece, or what was once the lid. Using a pen, mechanical pencil, regular pencil, screw, nail, whatever... stab holes incrementally across the lid. The size and spacing should vary depending on the plant you will be using,

Ex. the stems of my lemon balm are smaller in diameter but bushier than the bottoms of my strawberry runners, so the lemon balm gets smaller holes that are further apart so the leaves don't touch and the strawberry runners get larger holes

Step 3: Lovely Styro-Bumps

When using the bottom of the egg carton, I find it works well for vines and longer clippings when turned upside down. Right side up allows too much water into the cups and the plants rot. Put a hole in the top of each bump, same as the last step.

Step 4: Insert Here --->

Next, prepare your cuttings depending on how your plant likes it (google it to find out). Then simply slip the stem through the hole, separating the exposed nodes from the first leaves.

Step 5: Just Add Water.

Fill a bucket, tray or some sort of container big enough to hold the "boats" with water deep enough to cover the bottom stems. We float ours in our rain catching containers. Keep them in the shade, new cuttings are fragile. "Boats" can be cut in half to fit the container if you need. Change the water every day or so to prevent root rot (and mosquito larva). Drain the boats if they start to collect water.



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You could even throw a goldfish or two in there to munch on the mosquito larvae.

Okay so you've just solved one of my problems for me. I was trying to get cuttings to shoot in soil. Obviously I should have put a little effort into researching how to do it before I tried. Thanks for the info.

What kind of plant are you trying?

I was trying to propagate an evergreen called a bottle brush or Callistemon. I did about 10 cuttings. One survived for about three weeks, the rest gave up at about 10 days.

Twenty questions: How often do you change the water? Do you use rooting hormone? Do you use the new growth or more woody/brown growth?

Wow, you got back to me quick. It's the middle of the day here so I can only imagine that it's the middle of the night where you are. Thank you so much for your interest. To answer the 20 questions. I didn't use water, I used potting mix that was saturated. I never changed the water, I just kept the soil moist. I don't remember the rooting hormone I used but I bought it for the job so it was new. It came in a little yellow bottle, if that helps. I used a mixture of new growth and woody growth. The new growth cutting was the one that lasted the longest. It grew a few little tendrils of roots but they didn't get beyond about 5mm long. The rest of the cuttings didn't even start. Having looked at a few other Instructables, I am pretty sure I didn't have the correct sections of the plant. I didn't look for a bud point, which I suspect was the number one problem.

Try using the water method with the new growth instead of the woody. I don't have much experience with the plant, but I have read people who have. Change the water daily or every two days so the roots don't rot. Have you seen the instructable about exposing nodes? https://www.instructables.com/id/Rooting-plant-cuttings/ See steps 5 and 6 for preparing the cutting.

And be patient. I have a Passion Flower plant that takes FOREVER to root, but eventually it does as long as the stems don't get slimy (i.e. I forget to change the water and kill it :( oh well, it happens.)

Good luck and let me know how it goes!

I'm still trying but I've not had any success yet. My father has a different method, that seems just as frustrating, but it works okay. He built an outside seedling box. It's big enough for half a dozen seedling trays. It has a timer attached to some micro sprays for auto water. To strike his cuttings he gives them a dip in rooting compound, sticks them is some small pots filled with sandy loam and leaves them there for months. Sometimes they work and some times they don't. He has had better luck with collecting seeds from the national parks and raising the seeds. I've not given up yet but I don't have the dedication I suspect I need. If I have a success I'll let you know.

not sure what to tell you, I've never tried to propagate bottle brush so I wish I could tell you some good advice. I found this (http://asgap.org.au/callis2.html) that suggests "wounding" the lower stem. You may want to try air layering (http://is.gd/1d2J5) which may bring better results for trees and shrubs.

Shellberry, I've been away from work for a week, pruning my orchard mostly. As it happens I had read the Instructable you linked to. It all happened as a result of reading your Instructable and wanting to read more. So anyway while I had a week off and a nice sharp pair of secateurs, I tried taking a few more cuttings. It's early days yet so I'll let you know how I go. Thanks FieldingBlue