How To Create A Propagation Box

This method of propagation has been one of my most successful ways to make more plants. It is incredibly easy to try and will have you multiplying your plants in no time!

Box propagation and water propagation, are two methods that I have used time and time again. I’ve had success in both methods, but the box method is my favorite! My cuttings seem to root in a shorter amount of time and are more likely to root with this method. If you would like to know how to propagate in water, you can find it on my past post here.

What You Will Need:

  • A clear plastic box of any size
  • A lid for said box
  • Small grower pots
  • Extremely well draining soil
  • Cuttings of houseplants such as Hoyas, Philodendrons, and Zig Zag Cacti

First Things First

Finding the clear container wasn’t too difficult. You can find them at craft stores, Walmart, and some hardware stores. They’re relatively inexpensive and you should be able to get a lot of use out of them. Depending on the size of your cuttings, you may need to buy a box that is taller than it is wide. My cuttings are small, so my box is 15.9″ x 11.2″ x 6.9″. I wanted a one big enough to fit several cuttings at a time without being in the way anywhere.

After I purchasing I made sure to wash my box out. Plastic boxes always have a chemical smell and I figured washing it out would help with that. Washing also helps with keeping it humid.

Once my box is rinsed out, I like to place it upside down for a minute or so, just so that the bottom doesn’t pool with water. Humidity is the main goal here, but too much water in your box can be a problem.

What To Do With Your Cuttings

There are several ways you can root your cuttings with this method. You could just place them in as is without soil, or you could pot them up in small growers pots. Either way has been successful for me, just know that once the roots start to grow, you will have to pot them up eventually.

When potting up your cuttings, be sure to use soil that is extremely well draining! I will sometimes just use perlite, or will use some soil with mostly rock or perlite. I would say 80% perlite to 20% soil. You don’t want your cuttings to rot or mold from sitting in excess moisture. Think humid not wet.

In the photos shown, I have an assortment of Hoyas and vanilla orchids that I am trying to root up. The cuttings I am using are tropical plants and having a boost in humidity does wonders with getting their roots to grow!

Humidity Is Key

I would say that humidity is absolutely vital in getting roots to grow. I have tried rooting my Hoya cuttings in the past without a humidity box, and it takes forever to root, if they get any roots. This method is great for keeping a controlled and humid environment.

If you are just placing your cuttings straight into the box, I suggest misting your cuttings before closing the lid. If you have potted up your cuttings, I would suggest watering them until water flows through the bottom. You’re gonna want to water your potted cuttings outside of the box. The water needs to drain thoroughly from the pot before being placed in. If you water your cuttings in the box, you’re going to get a pool of water at the bottom, which may rot your cuttings. Once your cuttings are drained, you may place them in the box and close the lid.

If you potted your cuttings and noticed that they are not really rooting, I would recommend taking them out of the potting medium, and just placing them in the humidity box bare. Sometimes this happens, and once I take them out of the soil, they root better.

Maintaining Your Humidity Box

Place your box in a warm and semi-sunny spot. Too much sun exposure will cause your cuttings to burn. If your cuttings don’t have enough sun, they will lack energy to create roots, and the box won’t be humid enough. Somewhere where it will get bright indirect lighting is best. I have mine placed on the side of my greenhouse where it gets dappled lighting.

Ideally, your temperatures should be from 70- 80 degrees F (21.1-26.6 degrees C). It is pretty warm where I am located, so my box stays outside, but if you live somewhere cooler, keeping temperatures up can be a challenge. As long as the box remains indoors and by a well lit window, your cuttings should be fine. You could always place a small thermometer and/or humidity meter in your box just to be safe. This way you know for sure what temperatures and humidity levels your cuttings are in. They are not too expensive and are pretty easy to find in your local pet shops.

It is a good idea to regularly check on your cuttings. I usually check on mine every 3 days or so. I’ll open the lid and check to see if any roots are starting to develop. Opening the lid regularly helps with air circulation and limiting mold production. To limit mold growth and rot, take healthy cuttings, regularly check on them, open the lid to allow air circulation, and make sure your box doesn’t stay too wet.

If you notice your cuttings are drying out a bit, be sure to mist your cuttings, or you can water them outside of the box. Just be sure to let them drain before placing them back.

If Things Go Wrong

One of the reasons I love this method so much is the success rate. Most of my cuttings have taken to rooting, but this isn’t always the case. There are times when things go wrong. Depending on how small the cutting is, it may not take to rooting, or it may rot. Don’t worry too much, this does happen from time to time.

There are times where I had some mold growing, but I caught it in time that it didn’t envelop the cuttings. In the case where I had mold, my cutting was still very salvageable. I had some minor mold growing from a cut on one of the leaves, so I made sure to disinfect it with a cotton ball and rubbing alcohol. The mold went away and the cutting was able to recover and develop roots. Sometimes they are not always salvageable and you may have to throw them away to limit mold growth on the other cuttings.

Also being aware of how much sun your box is getting is important. One of my Hoyas pictured below had a little too much sun and got burnt. If the plant is still salvageable, just place it in a spot where it will get less direct sun. Mistakes happen and are all part of the learning process.

New Roots, Who Dis?

Congratulations! Give yourself a pat on the back. You have successfully propagated your plants! Once you have a decent amount of roots on them, you can now repot them. Feel free to share with your friends or repot with the mother plant to create a fuller looking plant!

Author: LITTLE GROUNDWORK

Little Groundwork is an online oasis documenting the everyday lessons and changes involved with cultivating a greener environment. Rooted in a love for all things nature and design, Little Groundwork hopes to spark that same passion into the hearts of many. We hope that you follow along with us and together we can learn, grow, and create a greener environment.

7 thoughts

      1. Thank you! I actually have rooted rosemary in water before and a few days ago I tried rooting rosemary in potting mix for the first time. I have them in a propagation box and they’re loving the humidity! I didn’t know you could also just put cuttings in there without any growing medium, that’s so cool! Thanks again <3

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