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Propagating unit

A nifty project that will provide a dedicated propagation area and protect your plant babies.

Build a propagating unit for your plants

As seen in kiwigardener

You will need

Wood and acrylic sheet:

  • 10mm clear acrylic cut to 2 x 285mm x 665mm
  • 25mm x 25mm treated timber cut to the following lengths:
    • 2 x 530mm
    • 2 x 620mm
  • 45mm x 10mm treated timber cut to 2 x 530mm lengths
  • 50mm x 50mm treated timber cut to 4 x 850mm lengths
  • Treated fence palings cut to the following lengths:
    • 2 x 815mm
    • 2 x 530mm
    • 2 x 700mm



  • 30mm exterior screws
  • 50mm exterior screws
  • Cordless drill
  • 10mm drill bit
  • 20mm drill bit
  • Drop saw
  • Hand saw
  • Exterior PVA glue
  • Marker pen
  • Paintbrush
  • Pencil
  • Sandpaper
  • Saw
  • Set square
  • Tape measure

Plastic bin:

  • Clear plastic bin measuring 640mm (wide) x 485mm (deep) x 255mm (high)

Top tip:  Instead of a sliding lid, a hinged lid with a wooden support strut for ventilation would work just as well.

To get the look:  Mark painted the background wall with Resene Lumbersider tinted to Resene Pipi.

Handy hint:  When constructing the unit, always drill pilot holes first to prevent the timber from splitting.

How to build a propagating unit


Step 1 Step one
Measure, mark and cut all the timber to the lengths listed and smooth any rough edges with sandpaper.

Step 2 Step two
Attach one of the 815mm lengths of fence paling to two of the 850mm lengths of 50mm x 50mm timber, as shown, fixing with PVA glue and 50mm screws. Use the set square to ensure these are at 90 degrees. Repeat this step.

Step 3 Step three
Stand these two pieces upright and attach the two 530mm lengths of fence paling to form a rectangular frame, as shown. Again, fix with PVA glue and 50mm screws. Use the set square to ensure the corners are at 90 degrees.

Step 4 Step four
Attach the four pieces of 25mm x 25mm timber around the lower edge of the rectangular frame, fixing with PVA glue and 25mm screws. These will support the clear plastic bin.

Step 5 Step five
Cut a 290mm x 10mm section from the two pieces of 45mm x 10mm timber to form side runners for the lid. Smooth any rough edges with sandpaper.

Step 6 Step six
Attach these along either side of the rectangular frame, approximately 20mm down from the top edge, fixing with PVA glue and 30mm screws.

Step 7 Step seven
Attach the two remaining 700mm pieces of fence paling to the top sides of the unit, again fixing with PVA glue and 50mm screws.

Step 8 Step eight
Apply one coat of Resene Quick Dry to the entire unit and allow it to dry.

Step 9 Step nine
Apply two coats of Resene Lustacryl tinted to Resene Untamed to the entire unit, allowing two hours for each coat to dry.

Step 10 Step ten
Remove the handles from the clear plastic bin and drill two 10mm drainage holes about 10mm up from the bottom along one side – this will ensure that a little water can remain in the base of the plastic bin to keep the potting mix slightly damp.

Step 11 Step eleven
Place the clear plastic bin into position in the base unit, as shown, with drainage holes towards the back.

Step 12 Step twelve
Using the marker pen, measure, mark and cut the 10mm clear acrylic to the sizes listed previously, smoothing any burred edges with sandpaper.

Step 13 Step thirteen
Drill a 20mm hole in the centre of the front of one of these.

Step 14 Step fourteen
Place the two pieces of clear acrylic on to the runners with the drilled piece overlapping the other, as shown.

Step 15 Step fifteen
To provide aeration or to prevent cuttings from getting too hot, simply slide the front section of clear acrylic over the rear section, as shown.

Words and photos by Mark Rayner.

Download a PDF of this project

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