Don't give up on that cutting!
Good day, I would like to know when do you finally give up on cuttings? And what are your sign the cutting is dead? As for me, it depends! On the 1st of March, I started a bunch of cuttings, Gold Celeste, Latturala, Parasido, Sal's, Atreano, White Marseilles, Unknown Yellow, Black Madeira, King, White Gem, Susser Georg and a few others. I carefully watched and cared for them daily. Well as you know, some cultivars just take root faster than others. Others are more sensitive, need more heat, less heat, less water, more water, etc. Well, one week ago I removed 3 Parasido cuttings and 3 Sal's cuttings from the bin. I did not see any roots and they looked liked they were dry and dead...I mean real dry.
Anyway, I watered them and placed them directly on my heating pad. I have an extra large heat pad with the metal bar keeping containers from touching it. I was so mad at these cutting and sure these 6 cutting were dead.
Well this week and after the remaining 30+ cuttings were showing some roots, I repotted them. There were 7 that did not show roots from what I could see but they were not dead (not leafed out yet). I decided to repot them anyway and it was a good thing I did! When I removed them from the bottle, they had roots but they had not reached the side of the bottle. I repotted them. One of the Celeste cuttings I got from Jon was 80% covered in my special superpot (I'll explain later) had hundreds of 2 inch roots sticking out all the way up the cutting but no leaves. I'm glad I checked them.
Well I forgot about the 6 sitting directly on my heat pad. I picked up one of them and noticed it had 3, 4 inch roots and half way down in the bottle it had a 3 inch branch growing and sticking out the side! I could not believe it! I checked the others and the same thing happened, roots and branches! From the top of the cutting down to the soil it looked dead and dry. So, how did this happen? Here is my theory. There was a temperature change over the past 4 weeks. We went from having 80 degree weather in March to having 70 and 60 degree weather by day and 40s at night in April. Plus my house temperature dropped from 77 degrees to 70 degrees. The heat pad kept them warm but the air temperature dropped. However I noticed something about those cuttings too.
When they arrived, I noticed some of the leaf nodes were half way down the cutting. I had an idea. I wasn't sure it would work but I tried it anyway. What if the cutting rooted and leafed out from the side at the leaf node? How would it survive without air? So, I made holes all over my plactic cup including the bottom...creating kinda a Superpot. I made sure my soil was light and airy using truface (perlite works too) and UPM and watered them every 3 or 4 days. I only watered the cuttings from the holes on the side until water dripped from the bottom. This gave the cutting more air and allowed it to breathe constantly and I watered it only when it was a little dry. Weeks later, I had roots coming out of the holes on the bottom and sides and sometimes straight from the top. I think this helped those dead cutting come back to life plus the extra heat.
Well I wasn't planning on keeping those 7 undead cuttings. I did not have have any more pots. So I went to the farmer's market and bought 50 of those tall clear 32 oz plastic containers you put dry goods in. I made holes all around the container and bottom, added my 60/40 soil, added the cuttings and place them in my greenhouse. I know they will grow well.
So, the moral of the story is don't give up on those cuttings! Cheers, Dennis