I've decided to do my propagation this spring on a smaller scale. Originally, I had intended to use a large container filled with sand. It does work, but I'm not going to be taking that many cuttings and really don't need such a large container. Some things root quicker than others and this method will make it easier to check for roots without disturbing all the cuttings.
First you need some small containers, some potting soil or mix, rooting hormone, and the cuttings. It's best to take cuttings in the morning. Be sure the plant is well hydrated and in overall good health. I use a 10% bleach solution to dip my pruning shears between different plants. Keeping the cuts clean is the best way to avoid fungus and failure.
I pour a small amount of rooting hormone into another container to prevent contamination of the large container. I dip each cutting into the hormone and tap off the excess. These are roses and gardenias. The leaves of the gardenia have been cut in half to reduce loss of moisture. The new growth will replace these first leaves by fall.
Using a pencil, paintbrush, and sometimes my finger, I make a hole in the soil. This will keep the rooting hormone from being brushed off when you stick the cutting. Once in place, use your fingers to firm the soil around the cutting.
I use two Sterlite containers under my side porch to control the humidity level of the cuttings. Without roots, they will need a little more protection from sun and drying out than rooted plants.
In 4-8 weeks, most of these should root. There will be some losses. There always are. But since the cuttings are free, the hormone is cheap, and I'm only wasting time if they fail, it's a great way to increase your plantings without spending a lot of money. Give it a whirl.