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Race To Root Cuttings: Aeroponics vs. Hi-Top Propagator

Race To Root Cuttings: Aeroponics vs. Hi-Top Propagator

Are aeroponic propagators as good as everyone says? We decided to find out! 

Here, we see if the X-Stream Aeroponic Propagator really roots cuttings faster than a Hi-Top Propagator.

Aeroponics vs. Hi-Top

Here's how the propagators differ...

Aeroponic Propagators

Aeroponic PropagatorAeroponic Propagator

There are no jiffy plugs or rockwool cubes - roots are completely exposed and unrestricted by media.

Plants are then fed via a fine mist so they get instant and unlimited access to nutrients and oxygen.

Hi-Top Propagators

Hi-Top PropagatorHi-Top Propagator

Cuttings or seeds are placed in jiffy plugs, rockwool or some other propagation media. 

The propagator then keeps your environment humid - perfect for new plants. For this test, we used an unheated Hi-Top.


What We Did

To keep things fair, we took 36 cuttings from the same mother plant.

All were dipped in Clonex Rooting Gel and placed in  1 of 3 propagators. Lastly, they were sprayed with Rhizotonic


Hi-Top PropagatorHi-Top Propagator

The Process

To make sure all cuttings has a good shot at survival, here's what we did. 

Step 1

Step 1Step 1

Rockwool cubes and Jiffy Plugs were pre-soaked in a solution of dechlorinated water, VitaLink Plant StartRhizotonic, and Superthrive.

We checked that the neoprene discs from clone collars were clean

Step 2

jiffy plugs and rockwooljiffy plugs and rockwool

We took new shoots from a mother plant. Cuttings were submereged in dechlorinated water. 

Doing this reduced the chances of air pockets forming in the stem. This was to prevent airborne disease and help retain moisture.

Step 3

jiffy plugs and rockwooljiffy plugs and rockwool

Individual cuttings were then dipped in Clonex Rooting Gel to seal the cut.

Step 4

jiffy plugs and rockwooljiffy plugs and rockwool

Next, cuttings were placed in Neoprene Discs, Rockwool Blocks or Jiffy Plugs. Once in their propagators, cuttings were sprayed with a Rhizotonic solution. 

Step 5

jiffy plugs and rockwooljiffy plugs and rockwool

All 3 propagators went into a Large BudBox Tent and were left under a BAY6 Euro CFL Lighting System (Blue) These were left running for 14 - 16 hrs a day.

Step 6

jiffy plugs and rockwooljiffy plugs and rockwool

Now and then, we checked the temperature was 18oC – 26oC and wiped away condensation. 

To harden cuttings, vents were opened every other day then left open after a week. One week later, the lid was removed. 


By day 10, all cuttings had roots. By day 20, the Aeroponic roots had burst into life.  

Day 10

Results Day 20Results Day 20


We were in for a double surprise.

First, all 36 cuttings had rooted! Usually at least some fail.

Secondly, the aeroponic cuttings were off to a slower start than those in the Hi-Top Propagators. 

It could just be that the cubes and plugs gave a bit more structure and helped insulate roots.

Day 20

Results Day 20Results Day 20


What a turnaround! 

The cuttings in the Hi-Top Propagators were doing just fine. Exactly what you'd expect in a propagator like this. But the ones in the X-Stream Aeroponic Propagator had burst into life! With nothing there to restrict root growth, this hardly came as a shock.

Final verdict

So, there you have it. It's clear to see that the the X-Stream Aeroponic propagator is as good as they say. Don't expect miracles from day 1 - be patient, and by day 20, you'll see roots explode.

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About the author

Ian's our Sheffield shop manager. He loves tinkering in the greenhouse. Drop by to see what he's growing.

GroWell Hydroponics Sheffield

Call GroWell Sheffield:
0114 243 9242

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