Oh, calm myself!
I love to propagate plants. Whether I do it with seeds, (favorite!) or cuttings (also favorite!) there are always little tricks to learn, to improve, to pass along. I would like to pass along some of my 'tricks' for propagating new plants, and everyone can use these, no matter where you are in the world.
Let us start with propagating by cuttings.
I make a little propagation chamber that is so easy, and so reliable for me that I love to share this idea.
This is what you will need.
A plastic shoebox, with a lid. They come in various sizes, any will do. A deeper box, filled to the same depth, is great for things like angel's trumpets or roses.
Soil less potting mix, half peat/ half perlite, or whatever is your favorite medium. This needs to be damp when you put it in the box.
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. This plant is Plectranthus (a tall swedish ivy) and a Joseph's Coat, 'Red Thread'. This box has been used before, many times. The little succulents in it are rooted, they just need moving to a pot.
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.
Check the cuttings every few days, and refill the reservoire as needed. Don't let it dry out.
If you happen to get the medium too wet, just prop the lid open with a pencil for a little while.
This is a very good method of propagation, lots of fun, and it doesn't take a lot of room. You can leave the box sitting in the laundry room, or under the bed. Cuttings don't need light to root.
I posted this on the Plant Propagation forum at Garden Web 4 years ago, and it is still running. It just kept on keeping on.
Tom, at Seventh Street Cottage makes a fantastic cloning machine, and he has excellent results with it. Look there for his directions, or ask him about it.
Have fun with this. If at first you don't succeed, try it again. Try it with dozens of cuttings, or several cuttings of several types of plants. It won't take you long to get the hang of it, and learn what the different plants need to root.
By the time Spring is here, and you can get in the garden, you can have dozens of new plants to put out, with very little effort or expense. And if there isn't much in your garden to cut right now, take a walk through Lowes or Home Depot garden department. I pick up a lot of plants this time of year for a dollar or two, that will provide several nice cuttings.
Next time, let's make a cute little rose rooter...... Or, maybe I could explain how I make sure every seed I plant germinates.....or, we could root violets, or graft tomatoes. Oh, Wait! We can do bulbs! Did you ever cut up a bulb and wind up with a cazillion baby bulbs? Fun!