Growing annuals from cuttings

neuf(5 Indy)April 11, 2014

I am looking for an inexpensive alternative to buying flats and flats and flats of annuals. As the picture shows, I have containers in many locations in the front and a bunch more in the back yard. I have searched the GW site looking for information, but am having a bit of trouble finding answers. I am new to, but seriously exploring the concept of growing from cuttings. Do I use the same type of mix as if I were growing from seed? Do I use a rooting powder/hormone? Do I use a heat mat? What kind of moisture and fertilization do I need to maintain? And, most importantly, what part of an existing plant should I use and how do I cut them up?
If there are lengthy, accurate/correct-method discussions that I can get a link for, I do not want anyone to reinventing the wheel and would love to follow the links. I've been all around this fantastic set of forums and am learning more than I thought, but am a bit concerned about the fact that many of the posts completely disagree or are diametrically opposed in philosophy, which makes it a bit confusing.

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calbayarea(9 SF Bay/Fremont)

Hi nuef,
I don't mean to send you off topic but if your looking for a cheap way to grow annuals why don't you just use seed? I use a "Soil Block" maker that makes four blocks at a time. I pump out hundreds of the things and put fifty into one of those plastic trays shown in the photo. Also, I'm able to buy most of the common annual seeds for 20 cents a pack from Walmart and $ stores. Just something for you to think about. Below is a link for soil blockers if your interested.

http://thesoilblocker.blogspot.com/

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 1:55AM
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neuf(5 Indy)

Thank you for your response. I've got some Coleus germinating right now, but I haven't had any luck finding seed for petunias, various begonias, varieties of impatiens, bacopa, and others unless I was willing to pay $5.00 for shipping and handling per packet of seed. Truly...I have been to Home Depot, Lowe's, Walmart, and...and we have one of the absolute best, Do-It Centers. They are the main source for high quality plants, but have very few (just Coleus) flowering plant seeds that I would put in a container. I have been very disappointed.
It seems that if I learned how to properly grow from cuttings I could buy one and grow the rest from healthy plants I have seen with my own eyes.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 8:07AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

That looks fantastic!!

"petunias, various begonias, varieties of impatiens, bacopa,"
IDK about Bacopa, but the others are known to propagate easily from cuttings - and are all tender perennials, not true annuals which are much less likely to be able to be propagated at all.

Basically, you need pieces with a few nodes (the spot where leaves emerge from the stem.) Remove the leaves from the bottom 2 nodes and stick that part in soil with the end that has the growth tip sticking out - moist but not soggy soil. Keep out of hot mid-day sun until rooted.

You should also have good luck with Nemesia, Angelonia, Perilla, Plectranthus, sweet potato vine, Persian shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus,) Alternanthera, Hypoestes, Dahlia, Brugmansia.

Bulbs that can be stored over winter are another thrifty option, such as elephant ears (Colocasia,) Caladium for shade and Canna, Gladiolus for sun.

A single sweet potato vine would fill up the empty ground space within a couple months, if you're looking for something to do that.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 10:31AM
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gardenper(8)

Interesting. Maybe it's the region, but besides petunia being one of the common potted plants I can find locally, every chain store that I've seen which carry flower seeds, also carry petunia seeds (as well as a few others that you mentioned).

However, I usually am horrible at transplanting seedlings grown all together in a big tray like you have done, so I usually prefer how they are grown in a block like @calbayrarea has done.

I do find that in the course of pruning some annual flowers for compactness or to encourage rebloom, those same cuttings could have been used to propagate new plants, so there is a definitely a reason to grow more plants. The main problem that many people have is that they didn't want to wait for those plants to regrow. After all, it is at least 2-6 weeks before some plants root up and then possibly another few more weeks before seeing the plant put out new blooms.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 12:46PM
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neuf(5 Indy)

I finally found petunia and phlox seeds, but got a whopping 12 petunia seeds from the packet. Honest...no begonias or any of the other flat type plants. Lots of Zinnia, Dahlia, Cosmos, and vegetables but I'd like impatiens, sun impatiens, and various begonias and petunias and THEY ARE NOT on any of the racks. I'm geared up to plant from seed but I'll be damned if I'm paying the shipping and handling from Parks Seed, et al.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 2:47PM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

You may want to check out the Plant Propagation forum.

I use sterile peatlite (50:50 peat:perlite) for my cuttings. It should be damp and fluffy but not soggy. The cuttings should be kept at 80% humidity for best rooting. Rooting hormone helps depending on the plant, but I like to use it regardless for the fungicide. Bottom heat helps some plants but not all. Confiers for instance like cooler temps. Some people don't fertilize until the cuttings have roots. Others use a CRF at around 6#N/cuyd so that there is food available right away to new roots. If I have a plant that takes a long time to root, I'll go no fert. If it roots quickly, CRF. What part of the plant depends on the plant. Some plants need hardwood cuttings, others softwood, tip, leaf, or root cuttings.

I think that a lot of people skip taking cuttings from display plants because they would rather pinch them out then take big 2" cuttings. You sort of need a mother plant in the back that churns out cuttings that get brought up for the display pots.

:Edit: Also, new 'wood' is better than old 'wood'. So if you have a pothos and want to take cuttings, you are better off taking a bunch of tip cuttings off many vines than you are chopping one vine up into a bunch of cuttings. The cuttings from the older part of the vine won't root as well as the tips.

This post was edited by nil13 on Mon, Apr 14, 14 at 17:10

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 5:03PM
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david52_gw

I routinely do petunia cuttings, in fact I've read that this is the common practice in Europe. I too have a problem paying $5 for 12 seeds.

Anyway, I take a 4" long stiff stem, snip off all but the top inch of leaves and snip any buds, dip the bare end in one of the inexpensive powdered rooting hormones, then put them in a container of perlite, stem buried up to the leaves, thoroughly wet the perlite, put a clear plastic cover, not sealed, over the whole thing to keep the humidity high, and leave it in bright diffused light. A month, about 80% will have rooted, then
its off to be potted up or into hanging baskets.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:04PM
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neuf(5 Indy)

Thanks to all who posted followups! Very helpful and much appreciated.

Jeff

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 5:24AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I have grown these from store bought ( Growing basil right now)

- basil
-- shiso
-- spearmint
-- lemongrass
-- Chinese celery
Those are just faster to grow from ctting than seeds.
I don't bother with annual flowers. They are not worth it growing from cuttings.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 4:30AM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Hi
Interesting discussion. I think the reason that there are so many different methods is because there are so many different locations??
Anything i might suggest wouldn't work for you and vice versa
I don't grow many annuals actually the annuals I am growing are not annuals Lobelia, Viola but they are for me so I grow them in winter
I grow 40 varieties of coleus (tropical perrenial). I buy one plant and take cuttings . actually here they become "weeds" lol
I grow mostly tropicals but I'm a sucker for seeds lol
Last year I bought some variuos seeds of annuals from the dollar store (10 packs for a buck ) Had wonderful germination but squirrel knocked the trays off lol.
Think purple has the best suggestions why not go into perrenials either tropical or temperate. Over winter the dormant bubs, cuttings .Skip the annuals??
BTW I can't grow Zinnias at all !! good luck gary

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 5:40AM
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