Plant Propagation with a Clear Plastic Bin - Making More Plants

Plastic bin green house for Plant propagation

I have an addiction to making more plants. It is simply impossible to stop, once you've learned the techniques of plant propagation - and yes we need to grow more plants, and so I have been propagating plants for years with the rooting powder and plastic bag method. 

Plant Propagation

This year I decided to try a new method, hoping to improve on my plant cutting survival rate with the plastic tub method, but it was also an attempt to make more plants and to be able to just leave the plants alone outside.

When you look at professional plant propagators, they usually have a greenhouse, and in this greenhouse a mist of water keeps the humidity high. This is essentially what happens in the clear plastic tubs, as long as they are completely closed. You can see the condensation on the top of the bin, and it is like a mini greenhouse.

Plastic bins for Plant propagation
Clear plastic bins for plant propagation 

I looked for clear storage tubs or plastic bins  at the thrift store. Unable to find some with clear lids, I simply turned the bins upside down, and it seemed to work very well. 

When I pruned my fruit trees in the early fall, it was time to give it a try. Strawberry Guava, Tikal Guava, Elderberry, Mulberry, Native Blueberries, Gardenias and Leyland Cypress were the cuttings we used. 

I filled some ice cream containers with my regular mix of coquina sand (sand with tiny seashells), and then I filled others with pure sand. 

I prepared the cuttings, leaving a few leaves on top and ensuring that a few nodes would remain covered by the sand. I dipped the cuttings in the rooting hormone, then I pressed the sand tight and watered. 

I have had the best result using the two rooting hormones below. 

Hormodin 3 Rooting Hormone

Garden Safe Take Root growing powder

How to Make More Plants From Cuttings

  1. Prepare your container 
  2. Water the pot well 
  3. Take a cutting 
  4. Cut each piece of the branch between 7 - 15 inches, making the bottom cut at an angle right before a node, stripping the branch from leaves, leaving just one or two leaves at the very top. 
  5. As you prepare the cuttings leave the ready cuttings in a cup of water. 
  6. Take a stick and make a hole in the dirt big enough to hide at least three nodes. Approximately 3 - 4 inches deep. 
  7. Dip the bottom of the cutting in a growth hormone. 
  8. Remove the stick from the soil and place the cutting instead. 
  9. Try to leave 2 - 4 inches around each cutting, so the cuttings won't touch once they get leaves. 
  10. Press down on the soil around each cutting with your hand. Water the container

After watering well, I simply closed the containers shut and left the bins in a mostly shaded area. The first month I didn't water or check on them, after a month I peeked and watered a little, then closed them up, and since then I've checked every two-three weeks, watering if I felt there were no condensation in the bins. I simply left the cuttings over the colder months, and now that it has warmed up, it was time to check them out. 

The results have been amazing. The roots are more developed than with my usual plastic-bag covered cuttings, and not having to water was truly helpful and cut down on the workload. 

Tikal guava propagation
Tikal Guava grown from a cutting

I now have gardenias and fruit trees galore, much of it have been potted out ready for new homes, and many plants will stay and grow even bigger in our food forest producing even more food for our family.

Rooted cutting with the plastic bin method

Our backyard is full of potted plants, most of them edible and many of them grown from cuttings.

Rooted cutting with the plastic bin method
Rooted cutting with the plastic bin method

I left the mulberries, blueberries and Leyland Cypress, because the mulberries are just about the break dormancy, and I know from experience that blueberry cuttings and cypress cuttings take longer. So, I resisted touching them, which is the hardest part about plant propagation, but hopefully these will be ready to be transplanted in a few months. 

Oh, the possibilities, I will never let a fruit tree cutting go to waste. 

Check out our other pieces on plant propagation from cuttings

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