Guide to Propagation Equipment
Propagating your own plants is a satisfying and wallet-friendly way to produce an abundance of flowers and vegetables at home.
Plants can be propagated in many ways, including through different types of cuttings, methods of layering and dividing. Most common of all, though, is growing from seed. The events of 2020, in particular, contributed to a surge of interest in growing food produce at home and sales of seeds skyrocketed.
Any gardener, from the novice to the green-fingered expert, can succeed with propagation by taking a little care to meet the needs of each plant. Having the right propagation equipment can be a huge help in getting your plants off to the best start.
We recommend some of the most popular and useful items available in our guide to propagation equipment.
Super 7 Electric Heated Propagator
Windowsills are very popular spots for propagating seeds inside the home, often offering optimum light conditions. The downside is that they can also be cool and draughty, particularly when propagating early in the year. This electric, heated propagator is ideal for bringing needed warmth to growing plants; a little like a compact windowsill nursery.
This unit includes seven separate vented propagators, making it big enough for most home gardeners' needs. It also means a large number of plant varieties can be grown in one place. The heated base distributes heat evenly and is designed to raise the temperature of your compost by around 8°C, offering the necessary heat to help promote successful germination.
Good for: all seed varieties, vegetable and salad crops
If you have the benefit of a warm windowsill, a non-heated windowsill propagator set is perfect for growing healthy plants in your home. With individual cell inserts, it can be used for seeds and cuttings, allowing plants to be removed easily. The set includes an integrated drip tray to prevent water spills and is made from 100% recycled and recyclable plastics.
Good for: all seed varieties, vegetable and salad crops
Plantpak Peat Free Fibre Pots
Gardening and care for the environment usually go hand in hand, and many gardeners have been looking for ways to propagate plants without the need for a large quantity of plastic pots. Plantpak peat free fibre pots are a fantastic solution. They are 100% biodegradable, which means once the growing plant is ready to be moved outside it can be planted directly into the ground still in the pot. This removes the risk of root disturbance that comes with transplanting plants between pots.
These pots are a practical and environmentally sound solution for your seeds, seedlings and cuttings. Available either as packs of 6cm round or 6cm square pots.
Good for: all seed varieties, seedlings and cuttings
Vermiculite and Perlite
Good quality growing media is an essential constituent of successful propagation. Vermiculite and perlite are both natural mineral products that can be used on their own or as part of a compost mix to support propagation.
Vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral, which has been heated to produce lightweight flakes. It has excellent insulation, drainage and aeration properties, helping compost to hold onto vital nutrients and retain water, encouraging strong, healthy seedling growth. You can use vermiculite:
- When sowing seeds. Vermiculite can be used on its own or as part of a 50/50 mix of vermiculite and special seed & cutting compost.
- Once seedlings are larger enough to be pricked out, or for potting on. Use a mixture of around 30/70 verimulite to seed & cutting compost
Good for: all seed varieties and seedlings
Perlite is another natural material; a volcanic rock that has been heated to produce micro-porous granules. Perlite improves aeration, moisture retention and drainage of growing material and is particularly useful for rooting cuttings as well as when potting on fragile plants.
For hardwood cuttings, mix two parts of perlite to one part dedicated seed & cutting compost. For softwood and leaf cuttings, mix equal amounts of perlite and compost.
For potting on, particularly for those plants that really thrive in free-draining soil, use a 25/75 mixture of perlite / compost.
Good for: seeds and seedlings of plants that need free-draining soil and cuttings
Plants growing in pots always have the possibility of growing in a circular fashion, eventually forming a pot bound clump. The us of rootrainers for growing your plants encourages vigorous & strong root formation with straight growing roots. The rootrainer can be easily opened up so you can enjoy looking at it's progress, as well as making plant removal extremely easy.
Rapid Rootrainers are particularly beneficial when growing bedding plants, such as begonias and lobelia; for softwood cuttings like chrysanthemums and geraniums, for salad crops and for herbs.
Good for: a wide variety of seeds including bedding plants, salad crops and herbs plus softwood cuttings
Wooden Cold Frame
Cold frames are valuable additions in the garden, either as cold weather plant protection or for warming soil. Place pots and seed trays inside and ventilate regularly to harden them off ahead of planting in the ground. Cold frames also provide excellent frost protection for small plants in spring, when late frosts pose a threat to growing plants. You can also place your cold frame over an area of soil ahead of planting to gently warm the soil in advance, helping encourage the plant to establish.
Good for: hardening off, protecting tender plants from mild frosts, advance warming of soil
Fleece Grow Tunnel
A fleece grow tunnel is a simple way to provide excellent protection against harsh weather conditions. Use it to protect your plants against frosts, with the fleece generating warmth and insulation while still allowing sunlight to reach your plants.
Good for: frost protection
Find a range of propagation equipment, along with seed ranges, at all Hillier Garden Centres.
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