Propagation media are specially formulated and manufactured for the requirements of young plants. There is a range of different options if your looking to propagate your favourite species. It seems everyone has their own way of propagating but what it all boils down to is increasing your success rate in terms of amount of time to root and percentages of cuttings that do root.
At the most basic level, you can propagate easy-to-root cuttings like tomatoes using water but the success rates will be very low with between 10 - 50% of the total cuttings sprouting roots and the time to produce these roots could take longer than 2 weeks. With the simple addition of hormones such as clonex and a proper substrate with a good air/water carrying capacity, cuttings can root as fast as 7 days, reducing your crop turn around times. Plain water rooting is prone to root rot due to a lack of aeration - a fact that is mitigated if using aeroponic techniques which sprays a mist of nutrient solution over roots.
Some species, particularly woody ones will be harder to root than annuals - They may require more monitoring to keep them in the optimal conditions and will undoubtedly take longer to root; be persistent in maintaining perfect conditions and you will eventually be rewarded with healthy white roots.
Another consideration is where on the original plant the cutting came from. Growing Tips of plants contain auxins that promote foliar growth towards the light while lower down shoots contain other hormones concerned with rooting. In theory this means that lower cuttings should be much faster to root than higher up ones but in order to maintain a good structure of mother plant that will keep producing shoots for more cuttings, it may better to remove the top growth which the plant can then replace - experiment and see what works best in your garden with your style.
Propagation media should be light and fluffy to encourage profuse root growth - only once roots are established can the plant start shifting its focus towards foliar growth; the quicker your plant is able to produce roots, the sooner foliar growth can start. Once plants have shifted towards foliar growth, they have moved out of the propagation stage and into the vegetative stage.
All of our propagation media options can be used in a number of different systems and with a range of growing techniques but most commonly peat plugs are used in soil and coco substrates whilst SBS Rockwool cubes are used for hydro systems - both are suited to large quantities of cuttings due to their small size and ease of use.
SBS Rockwool cubes
We offer two types of SBS tray, the 77 which has 1.5 inch cubes and the 150 sbs which has 1 inch cubes. SBS cubes are most often planted on to rockwool cubes - The ½ inch cubes will fit small holes whilst the 1 inch cubes will fit large holes. SBS rockwool is even supplied with a tray for easy transportation - just soak them in p.H neutral water and your good to go!
Compressed peat pellets that expand up to x8 their size when soaked in water. ~Jiffy plugs are a very popular propagation option due to their price, size and versatility. They’re most often potted up into soil or coco but they fit into large hole rockwool cubes so can also be used in active hydro systems.
Root riot Plugs
Root riot plugs are a premium propagation option offering the most features and highest success rates. They’ve been specifically formulated for the perfect air/water ratio to promote fast, heavy rooting.
coco coir, perlite and lightly fertilised soils like lightmix can be used for propagation but should be used in small containers to allow a proper wet and dry cycle - if the pot is too large it will not adequately dry between feedings meaning plants wont recieve aeration at the roots leading to slower development.
Some growers produce more cuttings than actually required so they can choose only the most vigorous ones to continue through the life-cycle. Even in genetically identical plants some can get left behind - so by using only vigorous young plants you can be sure that no time will be wasted tending plants back to health, reducing crop cycle times so you can get more harvests in a year!
Beneficial organisms can play a key role in rooting times as some types of fungus and bacteria such as mycorrhizae actively act to extend the root network, allowing the young plant to uptake nutrients from a larger surface area, establishing roots quicker than without the use of beneficial bacteria and fungus.
If you’ve got more questions about Propagation media get in touch with our specialist team on 0800 085 7995 or email us who can advise you on the benefits of propagation media and help you pick the best type of media for your system and plant type.