What media is best to root cuttings?

DevaFreya(8b)September 24, 2013

What is good to use to root cuttings? I root some cuttings in water, and those work just fine (philodendron, wandering jew, pothos, etc).
But there are others that seem like they would do better to root in something else.
I have on hand perlite (2 different sizes), vermiculite (fine), pumice, and potting soil. I also have rooting hormone.

Some of the cuttings I am trying to root are peperomia, persian shield, arrowhead plant (these have aerial roots attached), and lavender (I've made 10 attempts at lavender, and had only one succeed).

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I use Vermiculite only...

I surround a small clay pot within a bigger pot with it...

The hole on the bottom of the small pot is block and filled with water so it keeps the vermiculite on the outside evenly moist at all times..the small clay pot acts like a wick.

I just stick my cuttings right into the vermiculite and have almost 100% success rate at rooting them..

Can you keep your cuttings warm and provide good indirect sunlight? That is also key.


    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 9:42AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I typically use my potting medium, which is very fast draining and coarse textured. I also like to use vermiculite and I like to use perlite, but not together.

But I'd like to emphasize that the actual techniques are just as important as the medium you choose for propagation. Cuttings should be made at a certain time of year (depending on the kind of plant), they need to cut at the right location on the stem, they should be a certain length, they should be prepared properly before inserting.

Aftercare is important, too. Moisture levels are important, making the reason for a highly porous medium all the more important.

So, Deva....since you've tried ten times to root lavender, what's your usual method? How can we help? I'm sure that those of us who enjoy some success with our propagation would be glad to share some 'tricks'. Mike already has. :-)

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 1:39PM
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My usual method? lol. Well, I'm just beginning to learn about the "right" ways to raise plants, so there have been a lot of "not right" ways that I've tried to do things!

I HAVE rooted a few pieces of rosemary, but for some reason the lavender is giving me trouble. I also had SOME success with catnip, sage, various vines, possibly peperomia, a couple sedums, and LOTS of jade leaves.

I just took some cuttings (a few inches long? Some were probably shorter), took the leaves off the bottom, dipped in rooting hormone, and put in soil (probably the same stuff I made for my square foot type beds outside). The first few failed miserably, so the ones I tried after that, I put a plastic bag over top, and they lasted for longer, but eventually died off. One, surprisingly, worked!

Let's see, what else? I tried to keep the moisture on the low side. Also, they were outside in a bright area, but very little direct sun.

As far as light for my current/future cuttings, have east windows that are partially blocked by trees, and a west facing picture window (that most of my high-light plants are in.)
I tend to put cuttings either on my kitchen counter (low to moderate light), or the east facing window sill (some direct light in the morning, but not much), or another east facing windowsill where the sun is mottled by a maple tree. (this is where I complain that the tree is blocking my sun. grrr)
The west facing window gets direct sun for a number of hours in the afternoon. When we HAVE sun, that is (I live in Vancouver).

For my Persian Shields (that are my big project right now), I did make sure to keep a node for the roots to grow from. I have a couple in water, and one in some sort of potting soil mix. They look good for now, but it's only been a week or so. I also have them under a plastic produce bag (the type that grapes and cherries come in- with holes all through them).

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 2:32PM
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