Pls recommend soil brand for potting cuttings

vettin(z6b Northern VA)March 17, 2012

Wondering if anyone in Va/greater dc area can recommend a good potting soil for planting rooted cuttings in pots pls -well draining with no fertilizer. Most of the soil I have seen for sale is mixed with other stuff, or looks like it will water log. Thank you.

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harborrose(8-Puget Sound/PNW)

I don't live in Virginia, but thought I'd say that I use a mix specifically for cuttings/seedlings. It's primarily sphagnum peat moss with vermiculite and perlite along with something that helps with moisture retention. After my cuttings callused I put them in that and they've done well. I'm putting in a link but I doubt if this brand is available as it's a Seattle product. No fertilizer.

Here is a link that might be useful: black gold seedling mix

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 4:04AM
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vettin(z6b Northern VA)

Thank you, I have read good things about this, but unfortunately not available here.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 10:08AM
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Buy a bag of perlite, and mix it with any decent potting mix. I would guess it should be at about 1 part perlite to 3 parts potting soil.

Or you could mix peat and sharp sand half and half.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 2:23PM
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harborrose(8-Puget Sound/PNW)


I agree with Rosefolly. I thought it was worth mentioning primarily to list the ingredients. Black Gold is available from Amazon, though, at a hefty price.

I've always been intrigued by what Vintage uses in their band pots. I'm told it's from a company called GrabnGrow, and is peat, perlite and crushed lava rock. That stuff drains really well. It's not available here, but it's interesting to read the ingredients anyway.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 5:08PM
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Vintage uses a mix of small bark, perlite and small lava rock. Its mix is 1/2 bark, 1/4 perlite and 1/4 small lava rock. We are using the same mix at the Heritage in our new propagation house.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 5:17PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

I've rooted in plain sand, kept damp. What you really need is to strike the balance exactly between too dry (cutting dries up) and too moist (cutting rots). Just moist enough and no more. What works in your area will vary widely by climate and season. In a warm humid summer--plain sand might work perfectly. A hot, windy, 5% humidity autumn in Southern California might mean utter failure for the same cuttings because the sand won't stay damp in such conditions.

Vintage is in cool, damp Northern California. Will what works for them also work for you in a sultry Virginia summer? Maybe not!

I guess what I am saying is: adjust for your own climate and season. The brand you have success with in MN might mean complete failure in AZ.

If failure is due to drying out, make your mix a little more water-retaining. If failure is due to rot, make your mix a little more airy.

These days I just stick cuttings in the ground in unamended soil on the north side of walls, where the soil stays just slightly damp and the cutting is in full shade. Easy, and the effort-to-success ratio (effort near zero, success near 40%) is such that now I wouldn't do it any other way.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 5:24PM
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harborrose(8-Puget Sound/PNW)

I'm finding it is a trial and error thing. The Black Gold moisture retention stuff I think is not really helping because it's so wet here anyway.

So it's small bark instead of peat in the Vintage mix. thanks for the info!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 6:23PM
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harborrose(8-Puget Sound/PNW)

Sorry to keep posting, I just think this is a really interesting subject.

The reason I like the Vintage mix, other than it drains well, is that when I take the bands out of the pots, the crushed or small rock holds its shape rather than collapsing like a standard potting mix and possibly damaging the small roots. I'd never seen a mix like that so have been interested in what is in it.

I often do what hoovb does, stick a cutting in the ground in the shade and put a jar over it. That works a lot too and has taught me that roses seem to want to root given moisture and some kind of soil.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 6:35PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

We usually use Miracle Gro, but with some perlite mixed in. And we make use of Nature's Nog, and Alfalfa Tea. NOTHING will root in our unammended soil!

So, basically, I agree with Hoov -- like most other things, this choice is in large-part location/condition-specific.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 7:58PM
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seil zone 6b MI

I use seed starting soil to root my cuttings. It's much finer and lighter weight than regular potting soil. I've had good luck with it so far.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 9:04PM
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harborrose(8-Puget Sound/PNW)

Jeri, I know you all propagate a lot for various sales. Do you all use a misting system? I seem to remember your saying that your method has a really high take...?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 9:58PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

Gean, yes. Dear Husband got a very small greenhouse.

We use a cheap patio misting system on a battery-powered timer. :-)


    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 10:42PM
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