Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How To Build A Propagation Station

Previously I posted some pictures of my propagation stations as promised for Wicket Gardener. Today since it rained most of the day and the garden was flooded there wasn't much for me to do today. So I took some cuttings from my Light Pink Oleander, some Red Oleander cuttings I got last weekend from my in-laws, and Purple Crepe Myrtle cuttings. Instead of just putting them in water or putting them in some peat and keeping the cuttings watered, I did some research and came up with some ideas that a lot of people say they have had with great success. I decided I would take all the good ideas and make a large station that can be broken down easily and put back together quickly.

My New Propagation Station:

1 large 64 Quart Clear Rubbermaid or like container. I went to Wal-Mart and I picked up the container that is all clear and haslocking sides for $8.

Depending on the size 1 to 4 inch terracotta pots. They need to be untreated and no glaze on them. Water needs to seep out. $. 70 x3

Peat, soil, or seed starting mix. Need enough to cover the soil up to the lip of the terracotta pots or 4 inches material to cover the bottom part of the cutting.

Pruning shares

Silicone if there are water holes in the pots.


After gathering up the supplies, I use silicone to seal up all the watering holes. I then let it dry for about 15 minutes. While the pots were drying, I added a mixture of peat, perlite, vermiculite and some left over seed starting mix I had left over to the container. After getting the medium in the container, I then watered down the medium. The medium needs to be just wet enough to be sticky not, soggy. That will cause your cuttings to start rotting instead of growing.

Once you have all the medium in place I put the pots into the mix. You want to leave some of the medium on the bottom the container. Then fill the medium around the pot up the lip of the pot. Careful not to get anything into the pot. This will faul the water faster.

After adding the pots, comes the fun part. It's time to make more plants. First I started with the Light Pink Oleander. Step one was to take 6 to 8 inch cuttings from the new growth. I then made the cut at a 45 degree angle near the first node. I then stripped off leaves and flowers from the first 3 or 4 nodes. I then gave the cuttings a hair cut. This will conserve water in the cuttings and the cutting will spend more time working on roots than maintaining green. Once the cuttings are ready to go into the peat, I then dip each cutting in root hormone. I then took my finger and punched a 3 inch hole into the medium. I then did this about every 2 to 3 inches apart . Once the holes were ready I added my cuttings with root hormone to the container. When I was finished with that section I then added some plant markers of what the plant is, color and when I started the rooting process. After I finished that plant, I then repeated the same steps for the Red Oleander cuttings.

As for the Crepe Myrtles, the process is about the same. I took green cuttings and stripped away flowers, leaves, and extra branches. I then put the cuttings at 6 inches with a 45 degree cut at the first node. Once the cuttings were prepped I then followed the same processes as the Oleander.

Both Oleander and Crepe Myrtles root fairly easily, I choose this method as a test because I know I can root them in almost any condition. Second these were the only plants that I had on hand to test and I know I will need these plants by next spring, I know people will want these, if I made to many.

If this works, I will purchase 1 more of these and use to root some other plants when needed. I will also purchase smaller boxes to use for some of the smaller items, such as propagating house plants and other smaller cuttings.

After the cuttings take root, I will then move the cuttings from the bucket once I see enough root growth or there is more top growth. I will then pot these plants in whatever pot sized is needed for the plant. Usually a 6 inch pot or 10 inch pot. It all depends on the roots and how much I have to work with. Once its transplanted, its watered with seaweed emulsion and root stimulator. I will then place them on my hardening off shelf. The shelving system will have more light on them later in the year. Once I have my rooted plants, I will have to have somewhere to over winter them. They will live on the lighted porch until next spring.


  1. Wow - very interesting! It's funny because I just took cuttings of my olenader and posted about my propagation station this weekend as well. Is this going to be an oleander showdown? :D This post threw me off at first. I couldn't figure out why you were covering the drainage holes. I finally got it and it looks like a very interesting technique I haven't seen before. Make sure to post the results!

  2. It's on!

    I just checked on them and I had to refill the water. But its very humid and the potting mix is still very moist. Its perfect. I just added some Rose of Sharon cuttings today. They are not the best cuttings, but maybe they will take.

    About 2 weeks ago I had some cuttings of Oleander I for about they were in water, they now how a a lot of roots. :) Next weekend I will plant pot them up and see how they do.-Element

  3. Very similar to the one I make.

    Works great.


  4. Thanks, Janie!

    I could not remember where and whose's idea it was. Either way, this is a very effecient way to propagate. I took several ideas and combined them with yours. So far it works great. If this works out I plan to move this into a large scale setup.

    Also I will update my blog to give you thanks for the idea. :)