Cutting propagation

paulsiu(5a)July 31, 2011

Every once in a plant stems break off and I consider sticking it into a pot and see if it will grow into a new plant, the results have not been encouraging.

Hardy Mum - first plant I tried, I stuck the plant in the soil with no rooting compound. It was sickly for several month but is now a health plant.

Sedium - coated with some rooting powder and planted, Growing into another plant. I am not surprise, sedium are nearly immortal.

poinsettia - coated with some rooting powder and planted. Now dead.

Toad Lily - coated with some rooting powder and planted. Now dead.

helenium autumnale - coated with some rooting powder and planted. Probably will be dead soon.

Royal Catchfly - coated with some rooting powder and planted. Now dead.

Cardinal flower - coated with some rooting powder and planted. Unknown since I just did it today.

Any suggestion on improving the odds, I tried the keep the pot moist and have starter fertilizer, but most of time they don't make it.


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I've found that rooting liquids work better for me than the powders. I currently use Dip 'N Grow. I also remove all but the top couple leaves on a cutting before potting it up.

It's generally best to use a sterile medium for cuttings too, rather than soil. Some people use vermiculite, but I usually go with Pro-Mix. I also cover the pot with a plastic bag to hold in humidity, using straws to help hold the plastic away from the leaves. I've found that you don't want to seal the bag too tightly though, or the cuttings will just rot. So I often just zip it halfway closed.

For cacti or other succulents, you won't need a bag. Though you will usually need to let the cutting dry out for a day or two--to form a callus--before potting it up. And, for plants that prefer dry conditions--such as pelargoniums--you should probably leave the bag unzipped.

I probably have as many failures as successes too. But I've found that cuttings which are semi-woody often root better than "soft" cuttings. Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 5:17PM
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I save my chopsticks and use them to make a tent over cuttings with zip lock baggies.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 5:47PM
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I've had recent luck reusing the clear plastic cups from dunkin donuts. I cut a drainage hole with a knife in the bottom, fill half-way with sterile soil and pry open the straw hole for ventilation. It was a lot easier than messing with the baggies.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 6:52PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

coated with some rooting powder

===>>> first off.. have you ever read the instructions... most indicate to DUST the piece ... and blow off all excess ... there can be a whole world of difference between a dusting and a coating ...

second .... TIMING is one of the more precise things associated with rooting material .... some plants require new fresh growth.. others older material .. and this would be the prime consideration of when your odds will increase ... it is not really a function of when you break a piece off.. rather than the right piece.. in the right season ...

then once you get past TIMING .... you have to master all these things:

etc, ad nauseum

as noted.. humidity on a plant with no roots is probably the most important.. since it will have to adsorb all the water it can get while it starts growing roots to do the job ..

all that said.. i am excited by your enthusiasm .. and propagation is a very good way to increase the bounty of your garden ... but it goes way beyond breaking off some pieces and stabbing wildly at success... been there done that.. and suffered the odds you have ... lol ..

below is a picture of a little .. CHEAP.. setup for rooting things ... i sterilized everything with bleach or heat [including the media as soil holds too many negatives] .. in the proper season for conifers in this case .. made the proper cut.. dusted with rooting hormone.. and placed them on a heat mat under lights for 3 months ... 25% success rate ... in your case.. just put the tent in a bright but fully shaded area .. and see what happens ...


    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 8:43AM
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plantmaven(8b/9a TX)

Large soda bottles work well as mini greens houses. I cut the bottom off and set them over the potted cutting. If it starts getting too moist, I just tip the bottle to the side a tad.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 10:16AM
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