How Long To Form Roots?

frozenjoe(9 Arizona)April 5, 2010

I have some Hardy Chicago cuttings that I am trying to root. I had them in the fridge over the winter. In early March I took them out of the fridge and put them in a baggie for a couple of weeks. Nothing happened, so I got impatient and potted then in plastic bottles filled with perlite and sphagnum moss. They have been in the bottles for about 2 weeks now. They are all showing green growth on top. But I see no signs of roots showing through the perlite mix. Yesterday I pulled one out to look at it. No signs of roots at all. How long until I can expect to see roots?

I have pictures posted under the same title on the Figs 4 Fun Forum.


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How long depends on which particular cultivar is being rooted, the condition of the cuttings, the rooting temperature, and the rate of re-hydration of your cutting. My preferred rooting method can be broken down into three separate phases......and each phase takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks each:

Phase 1.....I prefer to use baggies for several reasons that will not get into right now. It will become obvious to you as you root more cuttings or strive to attain a higher rooting sucess rate. Make sure that your paper towel is NOT TOO DRY. There is a happy medium between too wet and too dry. Open your towels daily and LOOK at the cutting. If you see water droplets on your cutting....dab them off with the paper towel and re-wrap with the same towel. The wood on your cutting should look damp in all areas around the cutting. It should feel kind of sticky when gently touched with the tip of your finger. If there are areas on the cutting that look need a bit more water on your paper towel. With baggies at 70 to 75 degrees room temperature, I typically see nice root initials within 4 to 6 weeks and then move my cuttings to rooting cups.

Phase 2.......I prefer to use 16 oz clear plastic cups using a rooting mix which contains both nutrients and wetting agents (50:50 coarse perlite and Fertilome Ultimate Potting Mix). I keep them in these rooting cups until I see finer roots branching off of the larger main roots. Then I move them to trade gallon containers with a final potting soil mixture.

Phase 3.......After final potting, I harden off the starts to both heavy moisture and full sunlight.

ALSO.....cuttings that have too much wood below the bottom node sometimes take much longer to root. I have seen some that refused to root until I cut that extra wood off or cut into the cambium layer just below the bottom node.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 10:51AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

Thanks for that Dan! I know you want to help all of us!

I got my UC Davis fig cuttings and desperately looked for a step by step of your method for days Dan! Evidently it's all been removed. So, finally, I gave up. I picked the best tasting varieties according to the UC Davis website (Mission, Violette de Bordeaux, and Panachee), so I want success with my figs!!

I did a web search, and since most of my UC Davis cuttings are for the vineyard (my heart, my love), I treated 1/3 of my fig cuttings like the vines. They got calloused in black plastic with damp paper towells, and now they are in 1 part peat and 3 parts perlite in planting bands with air pruning holes in an off ground tray, in a mini greenhouse.

The next 1/3 I stuck in a bag wrapped with a damp paper towel, but I want you to know I scrubbed them all with Dawn antibacterial soap, rinsed, and then scrubbed with 9/1 Water/bleach. Let them dry first.

The last 1/3 (including some of my leftover vine cuttings), I followed the rules of the Old Greek! Dug a 1.5" trench outside in a sheltered spot. Laid those babies on their sides. They all have at least 3 buds. Covered them with broken up dirt. The old Greek says done this way all the buds will sprout, and when you dig them up dormant, you just cut apart. 300% success, the old Greek Claims!

I do remember the days when you could not be a proper housewife without a ficus benjamina in your home. I soon learned that they root easy in water, and grew them inside and out. I doubt that fruit bearing figs are much different.

So I am testing 3 methods:
1. Perlite/peat mix in air pruning bands with a plastic cover for the greenhouse effect.
2. Dan's baggie Method
3. The method of the Old Greek.

I'll let you know which gets the most success!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 8:03PM
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