Lee Valley carries this neat little system called The Rooter Pot, which is essentially a fancy version of the traditional air layering method of propagating cuttings.
Basically, it allows you to create a good-sized plant from a stem or branch of another. You choose your stem, wound it, slap some root stimulator on the wound, snap the Rooter Pot around it, fill it with peat and water, and then wait for roots to develop. In about eight weeks, you cut off the branch, and voila, you’ve got yourself a new plant. I got a Rooter Pot a couple of years ago, and have used it to clone fig trees with success, so I thought I’d try it on my rather gangly-looking rubber plant, or, Ficus elastica (below).
The idea was to take the top quarter of the plant off so I can replant it and create a bushier-looking plant.
I cut a 1/2″ strip of bark off using a paring knife. Check out that oozing latex! Apparently, this is used to make Hubba Bubba!
Here, I’ve clamped the Rooter Pot around the wound, and filled the reservoir with water.
Next, I’ve filled the pot with vermiculite. This is a bit of a gamble on my part. The Rooter Pot instructions specify a peat-based soilless mixture, but I didn’t have any on hand so I tried this. Hopefully it will turn out.
Now I just have to check the water levels every couple days, and watch for root development. I love the Science Fair experiment nature of this product!
I don’t know which I’m more nerdy excited about- the rooting experiment, or the fun facts about Hubba Bubba. I’ve never even heard of air layering before; I hope your science project works!
Camie Cormier says
I have a rubber tree that has grown tall, fast. I wanted to make it bushy. Did the rooter pot work? My tree is about 9 ft tall. One branch with big healthy leaves. Any suggestions?
Thanks so much for your time.