Misting Box

Do any of you use a misting box for your cuttings? If so, what mixture do you use and what is your misting cycle? I would suspect that the mix would have to allow for good drainage as on another forum someone was mentioning black canes on their cuttings which would indicate too much water or poor drainage.

John,

I find that you have to engineer your misting system and its components for your climate and conditions. It has taken me two years of trying different things based on other people’s experiences to find what works for me.

In short: I have a 4 X 10 foot misting box enclosed on 4 sides by a home made shower curtain-like enclosure, each side independant of each other (so they can be lifted on hot days). Even with two side lifted, the other two sides help prevent excessive evaporation and maintain humidity. The misting controller (generally) operates on 2 minute intervals, applying 12 seconds of mist per cycle. I adjust this for time of year and the weather conditions, when necessary. (Longer intervals on cold, grey days and shorter intervals when it gets about 85F) Misting begins at 5:30 Am and ends at 9PM. At 9PM the “shower curtain” sides are put down to keep humidity high overnight.

Cuttings are placed in pure perlite this year (finest grade) and my success rate is way up. Last two years I used 1/2 perlite and 1/2 potting mix, which was hit and miss with many varieties. This year I have found pure perlite to be superior, and I believe it is because it allows for a good amount of air in the medium. No matter how much mist enters the perlite, there is always air present also. I think this is key in successful rooting with an inexpensive mist nozzle type system. (Foggers would be a different matter) I use the 72 cell black plastic rooting trays (aka “plug” trays) for cuttings, regardless of the size of the cutting material. Each cell is 1" wide and 2.5 inches deep. (approx)

There are heating mats beneath the rooting trays, set to a temperature of 75F to 80F.

I use a rooting compound on all cuttings. My favorite is Woods’ Rooting Compound, which is pretty much the same thing as the liquid concentrates sold commercially. (IE: Dip ‘N’ Grow) It is diluted with water for use and has an effective life of about 12 hours. I prefer this over the talcum powder hormones, as the hormone has an opportunity to be imbibed into the cutting tissue before striking the cutting. All I know is that my results have been much better using the dilutable solution hormones.

I’m sure I am missing some details in my instructions, but thats the gist of it. If I remember anything else, I’ll write in a followup post.

Regards,

Paul

John,

While I have not built a misting box yet, it is in my future plans. I have the basics of one scoped out based on an article that Kitty Belendez wrote for the SCVRS newsletter. She has it posted on her website along with some pictures that really help you visualize how she has it set up. Here is the link to the article.

Paul,

Excellent and detailed description of your setup. I hope you don’t mind, but I am going to print it off and see what I can incorporate to my current plans for my misting box. Now this is going to be a tall order in this next question. But any idea on how to make a misting box that might be easy to disassemble in the winter? I live in SE PA and it is not something that I would necessarily want to leave set up during the harsh winter weather and winds, and yet I don’t want to have “rebuild the arc” so to speak every year! LOL

Michelle

Link: www.scvrs.homestead.com/MistBox.html

I have killed many, many cuttings from too much moisture affecting cuttings in too retentive a medium.

Last year I found a situation that is working very well here in east TN where ambient humidity is seldom below 60 and we often have foggy mornings. We are on a hilltop with winds much of the time.

What works here is cuttings stuck in clean, coarse sand. I use Dip-n-Grow and vary the concentration according to some of what Malcolm Manners has reported (stronger % for kinfolk of the moschatas).

My mist table is a three decker modified African Violet table without any heat, lights, and also without any sides. Two seconds of mist every five minutes through daylight hours. Blown off mist waters the adjacent pot ghettos.

Cuttings I started May 24 in sand in 3"x3" by 3" pots were so well rooted earlier today that some had to go into quart pots.

I have used this setup through winter (no greenhouse) by rolling it out of the garage on days when the temps are above freezing and moving it indoors and mistless when temps are below freezing. I’ve started Chinas, noisettes and HPs on a December through Feb. cycle.

John:

I use Sunshine Mix #5 for cuttings and apply any rooting powder or liquid that is available (they all seem to work about the same). Also, many varieties will root just as easily without any rooting compound.

My misting table, before my greenhouse was built, was placed outside in the open air fully exposed. I use a course mist (not the fogging type nozzles), otherwise on windy days, some areas of the table would not get misted well. Mist is on for 2 to 3 minutes and off for 15. That is probably more often than I need, but it works extremely well (100% take on most reliable varieties). Mist is only on from 6:45 am to 6:45 pm.

Jim

I’m trying two forms of propagation this summer.

I’ve set up an outside misting system for around $50 whose idea I got from the Rose propagation forum on GardenWeb. It consists of a Melnor timer for ~$37 and an Arizona Mist Cobra Mist stand for ~$10 (both purchased at Home Depot) (The same timer and a similar (slightly more) mist stand can be purchased from the Home Depot web site. The timer’s ‘mist’ cycle I’m using is 2 minutes on (the minimum on time) and 10 off (all the mist cyles are 10 minutes off on this timer. The plants are in the sun, on wood planks on concrete blocks (to raise the cuttings nearer the mist stand. I’m using 25% Miracle Gro Aqua Coir, 25% Sunshine Mix #4, and 50% perlite. So far results look very good. I’m getting about 90% take on rose cuttings.

My aerocloner was a disappointment this winter. I used it without bottom heat and got a very poor take rate (1 out 20 or so). But I’m getting good take with greenwood cuttings with the propagator on a heating mat this summer.

Chris Mauchline

SE PA, zone 6

Some great thoughts from everyone on this thread. I built a box (2’x2’x4’) of 2x2 lumber and covered it with leftover plastic from the greenhouse. Top can be opened as well as the entire front side. The first few results weren’t much, but from comments here I know that my mixture held way too much moisture. Misting times are in the range of those mentioned. Going to try a heavy Perlite mix and see how that goes. As you say Paul, one must keep messing with it to find what works best.