Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Prop boxes

Growing plants & making new ones

I was going to share my propagation boxes, once I finished the first month. To track progress during that time. However, after receiving a question in the comments section of my last post, I thought, why not share what I know to date? Like, where I first learned about prop boxes, different growing mediums to use, etc.

It all started when I first acquired some indoors plants. Youtube is where I went looking for knowledgeable mentors, to keep those plants alive. There are many wonderful mentors I watch, but Harli G, is where I first learned about prop boxes. This video, in particular:

Almost 15 minutes

Notes about the video: (1) I haven't needed, and don't use the mosquito bits, (2) I've only tried the shoe-box size container, which are incredibly cheap to buy a pack of three, and finally (3) when she mentions exposing the boxes to direct sunlight, she really means indirect light. Coming through the window, and into the container in her house, is still filtered light. Even when there is no barrier like a curtain.

I made the mistake of putting direct light on my boxes when outside. They overheated and cooked some of the smaller node cuttings.  So now my outside prop boxes, are under shade. The main thing is to give them plenty of light and warmth. The growing medium and container, creates humidity.

There was another prop box video, I discovered more recently. It outlines the same concept, with a few more ideas. 

About 12 minutes

When referring to green moss in the video, it's more commonly known as sphagnum moss. I don't know about your location, but my regular garden supply stores, aren't stocking sphagnum moss any more. My guess is, due to the lock-downs and people keeping more indoors plants, nurseries are increasing demand for various growing mediums, for propagation. 

So the average plant person, may find it challenging to secure sphagnum moss. Never fear however, as there are alternatives. Perlite. Usually sold as a potting-mix amendment, to increase drainage and aeration - it can also be used, in the place of sphagnum moss.  

I just started a new prop box, trying this new medium:

Semi-hardwood cuttings - Day 1

I'll share more in a month. It's a little different to the first one, where the medium covers the entire base of the container. These separate vessels however, allow comparisons between the different medium's performance, in the same box. The cups are also better at holding, upright cuttings too.

If this works, I'll be really happy. As I've struggled propagating plants for the property, for a while. It's expensive buying them as tube-stock, and even more heartbreaking when they die! Unreliable rainfall of the past, has been known to make that happen a lot. So hopefully I can turn a corner, with this new method of propagation.

And it all started, by keeping indoors plants!


  1. Thanks for those videos, Chris. I will check them out. I have just taken cuttings from some of my succulents to take to the workshop on Saturday. I did propagate some plants during winter but they got frosted when we had that really bad front one morning. Will try again.

    1. Well, you do have a lovely collection of succulents! The aloe, string of bananas and another variety (I'm not sure of) you gave me, are doing really well. As expected, the string of banana, just grew gangbusters. I've always had great success rooting succulents, without the need for any special boxes. I'm sure the people at the weekend workshop, will love them.

  2. Good luck! I was watching a really interesting thing on Gardening Australia about a lady who propagated heaps of her own indoor plants too. Her house looked like it had an indoor forest inside it which was amazing. xx

    1. Thanks Emma, and hi! Gardening Australia has some great stories (and ideas) to be motivated by. Best show on ABC, I reckon.

  3. Thanks, a perfect post, I've got most of what I need, so I'm going to try it, will let you know how it goes.

    1. That will be great to see your success! You may discover your own tips and tricks. I've been pleasantly surprised by the simple idea of a prop box. It just makes me want to experiment more with them. I'll have to pop over and visit your blog soon. Cheers.

  4. Thank you for this post Chris. Those videos will come in handy. I don't have a lot of success with propagation either so they will be very helpful.

    I look forward to seeing if you succeed with yours.


    1. Sorry for the late reply, Tania. I suspect the problem with propagation in our dry climates, is lack of humidity. The prop-boxes address all that. Anyway, I wish you all the best with it.


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