How to Use Bottom Heat to Propagate Your Cuttings

Written by jennifer loucks
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How to Use Bottom Heat to Propagate Your Cuttings
Bottom heat helps speed propagation. (Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Bottom heat during plant propagation helps keep the soil warm to stimulate root growth. Propagation or germination mats with a temperature control keep the cuttings in a suitable temperature range for producing roots. The length of time it takes to see roots on the cuttings will vary depending if they are softwood, semi-hardwood or hardwood. Bottom heat to propagate cuttings benefits all three cutting types by increasing the speed of growth.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Sharp knife
  • Propagation tray
  • Rooting medium
  • Plastic cover
  • Craft sticks
  • Germination mat

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Cut branch pieces with current growth at a length of 4 to 8 inches. Remove the leaves from the lower half of the branch and dip the bottom end into powdered rooting hormone.

  2. 2

    Stick the cutting into a propagation tray filled with a moist rooting medium. Avoid sticking the leaves into the soil. Texas A&M University suggests combining mediums like peat moss, vermiculite or perlite.

  3. 3

    Cover the propagation tray with plastic to hold heat and moisture around the cuttings. Stick wooden craft sticks evenly throughout the tray to hold the plastic above the cuttings, if needed.

  4. 4

    Set a germination heat mat in a location with low sunlight. Turn the mat to a temperature of 18.3 to 23.8 degrees C.

  5. 5

    Set the covered propagation tray on top of the mat to keep the soil at the desired temperature for root development.

  6. 6

    Keep the propagation tray on the heat mat until the roots are 1 inch long. This can take four weeks to six months, depending on the plant variety and type of cutting.

Tips and warnings

  • Placing the cuttings and heat mat in a cool room does not affect the cuttings as long as the air temperature stays above 10 degrees C and the soil remains at a temperature of 18.3 to 23.8 degrees C.

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