A few weeks ago Mr. Brownthumb posted an interview with the inventor of Rootcups on Treehugger. Rootcups are an easy to use propagation device that the home gardener can use to help propagate some of their favorite plants. I contacted Mr. Brownthumb because I was curious about the product and and then got in touch with Mike who sent me a few to review. I’m always interested in new plant propagation devices and tricks and thought that his idea might be useful for home gardeners.
The top of the Rootcup has a slit and a round hole in the center to allow the plant stem to easily be removed from later. I was sent a set of green Rootcups and a set of gray Rootcups but they also carry a clay version.
People have been using water to propagate cuttings for a very long time. You take a jar, glass, or cup put water in it, put a cutting in it, then set on a windowsill and wait for roots to form – the classic water propagation method. The Rootcup takes that idea and adds a special feature – removal of the light, specifically the light around the root forming area. Keeping light away from the root area is important since you get better quality roots when they form in the dark (as they do when planted in soil) and because it reduces the formation of algae.
Rootcups could be an interesting option as a party favor, lesson on botany for children, or even a nifty way to share a favorite plant with a friend.
|African violet root starting to form|
I found the Rootcups to be effective at producing roots on both coleus and African violets. I can’t really test it on anything else yet since we’re still in winter and nothing is actively growing outdoors. Both African violets and coleus are easy to root plants that I’ve used the water propagation method on before. I believe that the removal of light around the cutting does improve rooting but the price on the Rootcups ($5 each or $30 for a set of 6) might be too high to encourage gardeners to switch from homemade alternatives.
Overall I found Rootcups to be a good quality product that performs admirably at propagating succulents, coleus, African violets, and many other plants.