hippifan(8)December 8, 2011

Another topic from me, I've also a question about cuttage.

I read on the forum that people use vermiculite. Do you have to use vermiculite? I don't have it. I have some aquarium gravel, can I use that? And do I have to cut off all the roots?

Thank you again!

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If you don't have access to vermiculite, how about sand..clean washed sand (to remove any salt if that is a possibility)you could microwave it to kill any bacteria.. it retains water and is much like vermiculite...just a bit coarser.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 11:56AM
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kaboehm (zone 9a, TX USA)

Someone had previously posted that they used sand with ok results. I didn't realize that sand retained water! I use it to improve drainage...

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 12:40PM
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In the soil sand drains quickly but in a closed plastic bag I'm more than sure damp sand will stay damp as long as there is no air to dry it out...


    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 2:23PM
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kaboehm (zone 9a, TX USA)

ah....good point! HA!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 4:11PM
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Thank you for your answers.

Is it needed to do it in a plastic bag, or also possible in a pot?

    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 6:01AM
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Another thing: Does it matter if it gets sunlight? And how long does it last from piece to bulblet?
Sorry for so much questions. :-)

    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 6:48AM
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Plastic bag, no sunlight or it will cook. Doesn't necessarily have to be total darkness, I've been successful in just room light.. in a corner but again, no sun. As far as the time frame, I suggest you just go away and forget about it for quite a long time..(several months?) just open the bag once every couple of weeks to let fresh air in and then close it back up. Again, this is just my opinion....If you keep checking on it it's sort of like watching grass grow, only much slower...:-)


    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 9:19AM
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If a grower plans on doing a little cuttage, or frequently roots cuttings from plants or starts seeds indoors, it's a good idea to invest in a small heat mat. They go a long way in maintaining an environment conducive to quicker growth.

You can usually find small heat mats sold along with seed starting kits in early spring, though some decent garden centers will carry them all year. I paid about $24 for mine, and it's the size of a normal plastic flat, and comes with a flat, the cell inserts, and a clear plastic cover... it kind of looks like a mini-greenhouse kit for seed starting.

I've got my heat mat set up on a lower shelf of a shelving unit, and I've got a small grow light hung above it for use once it's apparent growth has begun.

I use large sized Ziploc freezer baggies for cuttage, and although I prefer vermiculite as the medium, you can effectively use sand, and I'm sure there are other mediums. The main idea is holding some moisture, and keeping the environment sterile. Potting soil would not be a good choice because it's constantly decomposing, which often involves molds, fungi and other living things that tend to be in the rotting/decomp process.

While cuttings are rooting, or while bulb pieces are forming new bulblets, no sunlight is needed. They can't photosynthesize light at this point, not having roots or active leaves to complete the process, so it's pointless to keep them in direct sun or light, and actually detrimental. Dark isn't really necessary, either... just no direct sun or light. As it's been mentioned, you could accidentally bake the items within the baggie.

Keep the baggie an enclosed greenhouse-like system, with a pre-moistened, sterile medium surrounding your cut bulb pieces and making good contact, and remember that dusting them with an anti-fungal powder will help immensely. Captan is what many of us use, but cinnamon can be used, also... it has anti-fungal properties.

Once filled, blow some air into the baggie to create a little greenhouse-like enclosure, seal it, place your filled baggies out of direct sunlight, preferably on a heat mat, and have patience. Any growth will take a while. Do not open the baggies until you see good signs that your cuttage has been successful, as in tiny bulblets with small leaves growing.

Donna freshens the air in her baggies, but I didn't find it necessary. I kept mine closed. (A matter of personal preference, I suppose.)

At this point, when you see little leaves, you can turn on any grow lights, or open the baggie and place it closer to direct sunlight. Make sure the medium doesn't dry out completely. You can pot up the new bulblets, being careful to plant them rather shallowly so you can watch for good growth.

Patience will be a virtue! Nature takes her own sweet time, and cannot be rushed!

A little secret for potting up items... do not push or tamp down the soil around newly formed roots. It's not necessary, can damage tender roots, and actually depletes the air pockets necessary for good oxygen flow throughout the soil. Simply ensure that the roots make contact with soil by tapping the pot sides a few times to help settle the medium around the roots. It's important to keep good aeration!

I've seen so many people just jamming that soil down when they pot up plants, and I cringe! It is SO not necessary! They are defeating the entire purpose, harming the process, and quite possibly lessening their chances for good and vital growth of tender roots! A few light taps on the container side will adequately settle enough medium to make contact with root material. Anything more can be damaging!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 6:41AM
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