The little box above is full of rooted Hydrangeas. See how good the roots look on the little Hydrangea from the box. I'm waiting till spring to pot them up. It was so simple and cheap and it can be done outside without a greenhouse too. I have friends around the country who use these "hot boxes" outside in the shade.
Here's all you need to do: Purchase small storage boxes (I got mine at Wal-Mart) I use the size that is just a little bigger than a shoebox. If you are planning to move them around the small size keeps them from being too heavy. Now drill 1/4 inch holes - a bunch of them - in the bottom of each box. Fill two thirds full of builders sand, Do Not Use Play Sand - you need the grit found in builders sand and sometimes play sand comes from salty beaches. If the sand is damp, it will not leak out of the holes.
Prepare your cuttings. For Roses see the video I posted on How to Propagate Roses . There are as many ways to make cuttings as there are plants. I usually take a 4 to 6 inch cutting and snip it from the mother plant just below a leaf node. Strip or clip off all leaves except a couple at the top and if the leaves are big like the Hydrangeas here, Scrape or wound the base of the cutting to help it root. See the green cut at the base of this one on the right. It is ready to dip.
Now dip the cut end in a rooting medium - liquid or powder (Dip-n-Grow is good as well as Rootone). Stick your cutting in the sand, give it a good drink and close the lid. Put the whole thing in a protected place and wait. Check occasionally for signs of mold or mildew. This could be a sign of too much moisture. If you see any, crack the lid for a day or so to dry things out a bit. You should have roots - depending on outside temps in 4 to 8 weeks. I get roots on my Buddleia in about 4 weeks in summer. Winter can take much longer unless you want to invest a few dollars in a heat mat to go under your box. This speeds things up very nicely! I bought mine on Amazon - I added a thermostat too. It keeps the sand at a constant 68 degrees.
Here are mine lined up on the greenhouse bench. You can do this now for plants to pot up in the spring or get your boxes ready (especially if you are needing a garden fix like I am) and wait until spring to make your cuttings. By the way, obviously, most plants won't have leaves at this time of year so take your cuttings and ignore the part about leaves in the info above. They root either way in the winter.
There is much to learn about taking cuttings but if you experiment you can figure a lot out by trial and error. I'll post more about hard wood and soft wood and other rooting methods in future posts.
Please leave your comments and sugestions for others to read! Happy growing!