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

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

Ian
Ian
15 Oct 2013

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 Propagator Aeroponic 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 Propagator Hi-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 Propagator Hi-Top Propagator

The Process

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

Step 1

Step 1 Step 1


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

The neoprene discs from clone collars didn't need any preparation - we just checked they were clean

Step 2

jiffy plugs and rockwool jiffy plugs and rockwool


We took new shoots from a mother plant, cutting 1cm below the nodal, then submereged it in dechlorinated water. We cut again, this time through the nodal.

Doing this reduced the chances of air pockets forming in the stem. This prevents airborne disease and helps retain moisture.

Step 3

jiffy plugs and rockwool jiffy plugs and rockwool


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

Step 4

jiffy plugs and rockwool jiffy 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 rockwool jiffy plugs and rockwool


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

 

Step 6

jiffy plugs and rockwool jiffy 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. After a week, they were left open all of the time. One week later, the lid was removed. 

Results

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

Day 10

Results Day 20 Results Day 20

 

We were in for a double surprise.

Firstly, all 36 of the cuttings had rooted! Usually at leat some fail.

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

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

Day 20

Results Day 20 Results 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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Ian
Ian
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

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