Friday, November 13, 2009

The Cloner.

Mine cost about $50 to build. Get two Sterlite sweater boxes that are the same size. They will both be translucent. One needs to be painted black to protect the rooting plants from light. Mine came with white lids. This is what you will be making.



In the painted one, place two aquarium wands and a heater. The wands will be attached to an air pump. I recently bought a timer for mine. It came from Lowe's. It has 48 on/off switches. Mine runs 30 minutes, and is off for 30 minutes. It repeats this cycle 24/7/365. The heater is preset to 78 degrees.



The unpainted box is used as a cover to hold in humidity. It just rests on top of the white lid which will be drilled to hold your cuttings. The 57 holes in mine are 7/8" diameter and are staggered to allow the cuttings more room. EDIT: The holes are 9/16" diameter. I was thinking of the first one I built.



To hold the cuttings in place, I went to the Dollar Store on a hunt. I found some foam hair rollers. They come 10 to a bag. Sassy AND Chic.



When you take a roller apart, the foam has a hole in it already.



I cut mine into 1" sections. There will be small pieces left. I save those for tiny, tender cuttings like pennyroyal and creeping jenny. I slice through the hole creating a C-shaped bit of foam. This cut will allow you to remove the rooted cutting from the foam without damaging the tender roots.



The cutting is inserted into the foam which is then inserted into the holes I drilled in the white lid.



From underneath, you can see the roots.



From the top, the cuttings. You can also see the upside down clear container that I'm holding up with my other hand. There's a lot of moisture on the inside of the container. That keeps the cuttings from wilting.



I am using no chemicals this time. I have found that adding rooting hormones or transplant solution increases the algae. The light is on a 12/12 cycle. Not much light is needed for the cuttings. You're not trying to grow more leaves yet, though some cuttings will leaf out while rooting.

I've been most successful rooting herbaceous plants. Hard, old growth wood takes longer, and has often rotted before rooting. I hope the timer on the air pump will reduce some of that by giving the cuttings wet/dry periods rather than constant wet. I've used it for tomatoes, petunias, salvias, brugmansias, vitex, viburnum, gardenias, etc and on and on. I've even rooted pyracantha in the dead of winter taking cuttings on a below freezing morning.

Best of all, it's cheap, easy, and it works more often than not. I hope that helps.

14 comments:

David - Pinewood Cottage said...

Tom - thanks for the clear explanation of the cloner... you must have some teacher in you!

Michelle said...

oh wow! that is awesome. i wanna make one. I am writing this down.

Tim said...

What a brilliant structure! I'm off to find some Sassy & Chic Foam Hair Rollers!

Betty819 said...

Duh! If I'd read all of your posting I would have not asked such a stupid question. Now I see what the picture is all about. So basically you are putting one Sterlite box on top of another one, using one bottom for the clear dome, and painting the other bottom black, and drilling 7/8 in. holes in container box. Do I have it right so far? What a clever use of those foam rollers! Who would have thought of that, but you?

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

My sister is a hair stylist. :)

It's really simple. And I found all of the instructions online browsing cannabis forums. That's about all you'll find if you do a google search.

That's all there is to it Betty. It's really very simple. Moisture and oxygen are required for rooting. This does it all with no dirt and quicker. If you keep your tools clean, it's almost failproof. I even had a rose cutting callus on me last winter. It eventually died, but I was close.

L. D. Burgus said...

What a deal...I was wondering about the previous photos you had blogged. I thought this guy is crazy, now it all makes sense and I can see what you are doing. Genius..hair rollers and all. I might actually try this one out. Thanks.

Alison said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I've seen your references to the cloner, and your pictures of it, but figured I must have missed out on an old post where you explained what it was. Now I know, and your explanation and pictures are soooo helpful! I want to make one! If I can just find those rollers, or something similar.

Betty819 said...

I know your mind has probably already come up with an idea on how to use the plastic rod that came out of those foam rollers. Figure out a way to make a plant ID tag from them for the outdoor beds. What can be cut to that size, glued on that frame that you can write on the name of plant and date planted? Hmm! I can hear his brain buzzing into high gear right now. Folks, this is a resourceful man!

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

Glad everyone likes the cloner.

Betty, I use mini blinds and a number 2 pencil for plant markers. It's like they say, NASA spent millions building a pen that would write in space. Russians used a pencil.

Betty 819 said...

Funny that you should post that answer because I was just reading over some back issues of Garden Gate Magazine and it showed using old mini blinds for plant ID tags. "Crazy glue" a mini blind slat to that black rod and saw that tip off so it will be flap at the bottom and you've got it made. You could even spray paint the things for more added color if you wanted to. Might be easier to see amongst all the greenery or colorful flowers.

Mike said...

Tom...Do you submerse your cutting into the water or is the cutting tip suspended above the water? Thanks for your time and effort?

Audrey said...

This post has made me extremely happy. I have wanted something like this for ages and thanks to your ingenuity I will have it!!! I am on my way to the store as soon as I can make myself presentable.

DirtDigger (Tessa) said...

I was wondering the same thing- if the cuttings are in the water or just above. I know when I root house plants in water- they are in the water- so I assume it is the same. Tom?

DirtDigger (Tessa) said...

Okay- so now I read on your original cloner post that the roots are not submerged- good. Now I'm wondering if you could show exactly where and how all the tubes, heaters and bubble makers go!