E-mail - Improving Cutting Success

I have had a few E-mails about problems with taking cuttings and/or asking how to improve cutting success. Each plant species will have a different success rate when taking cuttings. Some plants you just snip off a branch and stick it in water; others can take weeks to get even a small percentage of branches to form roots.

Please click here to see my pictoral post about cuttings

I have had great success with the 8 site clone bucket, if you want to take cuts frequently; it is a rather inexpensive way to, in my opinion and experience, guarantee success. Also, make sure when you take your cutting, you snip off leaves at one or two nodes and have the node(s) wet (in the medium or clone bucket reservoir). The cells that grow at the nodes (base of the leaf stem a.k.a. petiole) are usually where new root growth will occur. Some plants can grow from the bottom of a cut stem, but all plants will show root growth from the leaf nodes, so always include a node in the rooting medium. Also, this is where you should apply any rooting hormone…

The first thing to try if you are having difficulty is a rooting hormone. This product is not always needed and some plant species won’t show a difference between using hormones and not, but others species won’t root without it. I have never seen a study that showed using rooting hormones and/or B1 decreases success, so give it a try. I have used Hormex and Juicy Roots with good success as well as others. There is not much difference between most rooting hormones if you read the ingredients.  The gels will stick to the plant better but I soak the branches in Hormex (just like the directions say to) and it works as well as any other rooting compound I have tried.

Keeping the cut moist is important, but like so much of biology there is the goldilocks principal, not too wet, and not too dry, but just the right amount of wetness is what is needed. I like to use the starter plugs since they hold moisture well but provide enough air spaces. Soil’s tend to be too soggy or to dry. Rockwool is also an option for taking cuttings. You could also try to take cuttings using vermiculite, I have done this in greenhouses I worked at.

I would also recommend having a heating mat for starting seedlings under the cuttings as warm constant temperatures will promote cutting success. Again, you don’t want the environment you are taking cuttings in to get too hot or too cold and a heat mat will help keep the plants just the right temperature.

Last, use a more diffuse light, fluorescent lights work best, but I have used the UFO Tri-Band LED many times. I keep the LED about 3 feet above the cuttings since it is a very intense light. Keeping the LED so high also allows you to have another try or two of cuttings under the light.

Please click here to see my other post about cuttings

I hope this helps, as always, if you can’t find what you are looking for after doing a search of the blog, send me an E-mail and I will answer your questions.

Good Growing,

Dr. E.R. Myers

No comments: