Six on Saturday: Propagation

I treated myself to a hydropod cuttings propagator recently and it looks as if it will prove to a good investment. The cuttings slot into foam discs inserted in the tray, which in turn sits above a water reservoir which sprays a fine mist over the lower part of the cuttings, taken mostly from salvia and persicaria. The first roots appeared just days after the unit was first switched and within two to three weeks almost all the cuttings were sporting an astonishingly healthy crop of little roots.

The cuttings could have potted up earlier than they were, but I didn’t find time until this last week when all but a handful of them were gently removed and potted into cell trays. I wasn’t sure how well they would take to the change in their environment but they have not drooped at all and look really happy. The whole process was far easier, and quicker too, than potting cuttings into gritty pots of compost and remembering to mist them regularly before teasing them out several weeks later to check if they had rooted. The empty discs have now been filled with pelargonium cuttings and a few trial clematis.

Not requiring much attention at the moment are plants propagated by division, some from plants purchased and split into smaller plants and others gifted from blogging friends Chloris, Jenny and Noelle. Most of these will be added to my own garden, unlike most of the cuttings which, planning ahead, are destined for the plant stall at next year’s open garden days. The hardier ones will be over-wintered outside before being planted out in the spring.

As well as cuttings and division, propagation has taken the form of seed sowing, although records tells me  I haven’t sown since the end of July which seems an awfully long time ago now. Autumn sowing of early sweet peas is a must for me, and I am sure there are other things I meant to sow around September or October – ah well, I shall catch up in due course perhaps… Meanwhile, I have trays of foxgloves, verbascum and sweet william to plant out (plus, sadly, far too many pots of this, that and the other), but planting out in borders already stuffed with perennials is not an easy task and is one that is too easily put off. I am pleased to say, however, that several hours of bulb planting in pots has taken place over the last couple of days, and overplanting these with bellis grown from seed has made at least a small dent in the trays awaiting planting.

I trust Jon the Propagator will approve of my Six on Saturday today, and I am grateful to him for hosting this meme.

This entry was posted in Gardening, Gardens, propagation, Six on Saturday and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Six on Saturday: Propagation

  1. janesmudgeegarden says:

    Your propagation unit is very sophisticated compared to my pots with plastic bags over the top! What great results.

  2. Chloris says:

    I am fascinated to learn about your new propagator. What a wonderful new toy.

    • Cathy says:

      It was a spur of the momemt decision to buy one (didn’t get the lighting or heating options) but I am thrilled with the results so far

  3. AlisonC says:

    This looks like lots of fun and very effective. Something to add to my wishlist. There is a balance between propagating and having too many pots and trays to look after. I know. The seriously wet weather we have had has prevented me from getting as much planted out as I’d hoped. I’m trying to reorganise a bed in my front garden It’s a game of clearing ground, moving plants around but the space I want to move them to isn’t clear! At least nothing I’ve dug up is drying out.

    • Cathy says:

      If I didn’t want to produce plants for sale at my open garden I probably wouldn’t have bothered, although I am amazed at how effective it is. It is quite bulky – mine is the 40 cuttings version but the 20 version was not much smaller. I didn’t bother with the heating or lighting options. I had got into the habit of planting out pots pretty promptly but that has gone by the board since this summer – as you say, at least we don’t need to water them! Hope you manage to get that bed reorganised soon 😀

  4. Oh that looks like a most natty device Cathy. I will be interested to hear more about how you fare with it. Do the foam discs last indefinitely? I had plans to take some cuttings when we got back from our holiday but they didn’t materialise. However I planted some bulbs yesterday and felt a sense of achievement.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh well done on the bulb planting – probably my least favourite gardening job! I too managed to get all my bulbs in pots done this weekend, just leaving allium for the borders. Hope your wrist is bearing up to all this forgotten activity! The discs have slits to slot the cuttings into and I suppose with frequent use these might tear, but otherwise they should last almost indefinitely

  5. Very fun–I’m glad you’ve had such success with your system. I don’t have a greenhouse, but I do bring a few plants into the sunroom for the winter. It’s fun to have at least a few things growing indoors during the winter.

  6. alison41 says:

    Your propagation device: Wow! Techno-gardening! I’ve never heard of such a gadget; learn something new every day. I don’t know if they’re available in South Africa. I’ still back in the Stone Age with jars of water under the kitchen window, with cuttings popped in to produce roots. Or else I just shove them into a waiting pot and hope for the best.

    • Cathy says:

      I suppose they must have similar things on a commercial scale as it’s very effective – and the one I bought comes in different sizes too

  7. Joyce Madden says:

    I also have a hydro pod cuttings propogator. It was a birthday present for my birthday in May. We only set it up two weeks ago with cuttings of salvia, diascia personata, erysium bowles mauve and some penstemons. The diascia is first past the post with really strong roots. Went out to buy dog food yesterday and while I was away my husband potted them on! hope they survive the transfer.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh it’s good to read that you are happy with yours too, Joyce, and interesting to see what you have tried it with. I am renovating some of pelargoniums this year so it stuffed with cuttings from them at the moment! I was a bit wary potting up the first of mine, but they have been fine

  8. That’s a great bit of kit!

    • Cathy says:

      I am really really pleased with the results so far, Dorris

      • May have to look into getting one of these.

        • Cathy says:

          I would suggest you didn’t get the smallest one (20), as I am sure you would regret not going for the next size (40). The other sizes are 80 and 120 which are probably too big for commercial use. You can add lighting and heating elements and use a rooting nutrient, but I didn’t think any of them were necessary

  9. What is your kit called. ( please don’t say Fred or Bob😉)

  10. I’ve been using a hydroponic tank for some tomatoes for a long time now and I experimented, same variety in the tank as in compost. There was no difference flavour-wise but the hydroponics were stronger. I am now experimenting with a home-made system using a plastic container since I had some success just with Mason jars last year (Kratky system). Now my son-in-law has given me a herb seed hydroponic propagator complete with heater and lights and Basil seeds sown last Tuesday are now sprouted. Water from the tanks can be recycled to watering other plants so much cleaner and less waste. I am envious of that one though and hope you enjoy using it.

    • Cathy says:

      Interesting to read about the methods you have used – and just a week for the basil to sprout! Some of the salvias from my first batch were starting to sprout roots within a week too

  11. Cathy your new hydroponic cuttings propagator is fantastic, I love it. How fast the roots develop! And you don’t have to be with the pot with the plastic bag on top. And then the plants adapt perfectly to being planted in a pot with soil. Your new device is magnificent. So it is comfortable to make plant cuttings. I had never seen anything like it. Thanks for showing it. Have a great week. Greetings from Margarita.

  12. I’ve had a Hydropod since the spring and love it. Such great results. You’ve certainly been busy.

    • Cathy says:

      Good to hear you are pleased with yours too – I wish I had bought it sooner and am now anxious for the current batch to root so I can try some other things too 😉

  13. Lora Hughes says:

    I also recently got a hydropod, as I’m sadly inept at growing from cuttings. A good 50% of mine had roots in a few days, but none have produced as well as yours have done. It has to be how I take the cutting, that I fail so miserably – any tips? You sound concerned about your organisational skills, but from here, you look right on top of it all. Plants for next year’s sale! What’s the pretty pink flower in the next to last photo?

    • Cathy says:

      And it can be of course that some just don’t take to rooting this way, so don’t doubt for your ability Lora. I have read since I posted this that pelargoniums don’t, so I shall take half of them out and plant them in gritty compost instead and compare them. The best way is to cut non-flowering stems just below a leaf node, remove all lower leaves and cut any remaining larger leaves in half. I wasn’t sure how well they would respond to a change in their environment and have also read since that is worth keeping up the humid atmosphere after they have been potted up – but mine were actually fine without it. The flowers in the last photo are phhysostegia and the half-price plants I bought separated into plantlets without me really trying!

      • Lora Hughes says:

        I do all of the above & still had miserable results prior to the hydropod. Now that I have a method that works 50% of the time, I giddy! Image searched the physostegia for a closer look & really am in love. Again.

        • Cathy says:

          My success rates in pots of compost has certainly been varied and can be slow – but there is no looking back now I have the hydropod! Physostegia was new to me this year and I don’t know why it isn’t more popular…perhaps it will prove to seed about and be a real thug!!

  14. tonytomeo says:

    I am sorry to have missed last Saturday (two Saturdays ago) . . . and this more recent Saturday.
    Those hydroponic contraptions are comparable to what we professionals use, but on a smaller scale. They really are efficient. We just don’t use them because our crops do so well from cuttings in flats, and we can really pack a lot into minimal space.

  15. I’d never heard of this wondrous machine (Hydropod) and so instantly googled it… only to discover that it is apparently NOT available in the USA (why are we so benighted?!??). Grrrrrr! I’m having flashbacks to when I read all of Christopher Lloyd’s books during the 1970s only to find that many of the plants he wrote about so glowingly were not available here either. 😦

    • Cathy says:

      How curious – whyever not, I wonder? In both instances

      • I suspect that whatever USA distributor may have looked into the Hydropod ended up deciding that they’d have to set a retail price here (after accounting for whatever tariffs, import duties, shipping, etc) that would make it a non-seller. As for Lloyd’s books, I suspect something similar. It took almost 12 years for Ranunculus ficaria ‘Brazen Hussy’ to make it from Lloyd’s book to being commercially available at any nursery in the USA. I had it in my garden much sooner than that, but only because I had a USDA import permit at the time and ordered some from Hillier’s.

        • Cathy says:

          Yes, that makes sense so t’s surprising then that an American manufacturer hasn’t come up with a product that does the same sort of thing to this propagator

Comments are closed.