Impatiens from cuttings: do they root in water?

ornata(London UK (8/9?))July 27, 2005

Hi. I used to take a lot of Impatiens cuttings, and I know they root ridiculously easily... but I can't remember: will they root in water? I grew Impatiens 'Jungle Gold' this year from seed, and it's just occurred to me that I could take cuttings of them (there are so many things to do in the garden that I usually forget the obvious ones!). Thanks a lot.

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

They do root readily in water; however, though roots form readily and often seemingly more quickly on many plants propagated in water, the roots produced are quite different from those produced in a soil-like or highly aerated medium (perlite - vermiculite - seed starting mix, e.g.). Physiologically, you will find these roots to be much more brittle than normal roots due to a much higher % of aerenchyma (a tissue with a greater percentage of intercellular air spaces than normal parenchyma). If you want to eventually plant your rooted cuttings in soil, it is probably not best to root them in water because of the frequent difficulty in transplanting them to soil. The "water roots" often break during transplant & those that don't break are very poor at water absorption and often die. The effect is equivalent to starting the cutting process over again.

If you do a side by side comparison of cuttings rooted in water & cuttings rooted in soil, the cuttings in soil will always (for an extremely high % of plants) have a leg up in development on those moved from water to a soil medium for the reasons outlined above.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 7:22AM
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ornata(London UK (8/9?))

Thanks a lot for the detailed reply. I'll use a seed/cutting compost as normal, in that case.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 8:52AM
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That's why I love the internet--and GW. You post a question and you get a wonderfully informative answer. Thanks--it was interesting!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 5:32PM
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