Cestrum Nocturnum: Basic Help!

sammyyummy(11)July 18, 2014


I received a couple of night blooming jasmine from a friend and they smelled fantastic. I was told they propagate easily. I tried twice but failed. Please help on a few basics:

1. what is a soft, semi hard and hardwood cutting and how can i tell which is which?
2. what type of cutting is best for this plant?
Im wary of cutting because i dont seem good at it. I followed all the advise (clean instruments, disinfect before and after, cut at an angle near a node, etc) but most often turn brown and die.
3. What other tips and techniques will increase my chance of better propagating outcome?



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When you make the cutting, you should make it first thing in the morning. Avoid cutting sections that have flowers or flower buds on them. Make a cutting that is 4-6 inches long. Strip all but the top two leaves off the cutting, so it can focus on making new roots. You can dip the cutting into a rooting hormone before planting it in a well-draining medium, if you would like. I have also had success rooting cestrum in distilled water before.

Definitions for cuttings:

Softwood cutting: (Forsythia, lilac, viburnum, potentila, and many other woody plants)Taken in the spring, softwood cuttings are made from brand new growth that has just grown this year. Stem wood should be partially matured but not yet woody. Cuttings should be taken early in the morning, to avoid wilt.

Semi-hardwood cutting: (Lavender, Buddleia, Artemesia, spirea, geraniums, coleus, lamium, for example)Taken in the late of summer, with fall approaching semi-hardwood cuttings are made from this year's growth, which has strengthened and matured, being allowed to grow throughout spring and summer.
Cuttings should be 4-6 inches and all but the top leaves on the cutting should be removed. Dip cutting in rooting hormone and place in well-draining medium.

Hardwood cutting: (Willows, other deciduous trees/plants, in dormant state)Taken in the winter, these cuttings are this year's mature shoots. They have been allowed to grow throughout 3 seasons.

Heel cutting:
A heel cutting is a type of cutting that is made when standard stem cuttings are proving difficult to root or are rotting. To make a heel cutting, you choose a stem side shoot, pull it carefully down so that it forms a "heel" or tail of bark from the main (parent) stem. You then neatly trim the heel, remove the bottom third of leaves from the cutting, dip it in rooting hormone, and place in well-draining medium.

I have had success with my cestrum, making spring (softwood) cuttings and late summer (semi-hardwood) cuttings.

Cestrum does propagate easily if you place the cuttings in water or a well draining medium (I have had success with a sand/perlite or sand/peat moss mixture) in a well draining pot. As I said earlier, cestrum readily roots in a cup of water, as well. I use about an inch of distilled water, changing it every 3 days, if the cutting has not sopped it all up. I keep it topped of at an inch until I see a nice root system forming, and then I transplant it into a well-draining pot or in the ground, where I want it to grow. Rooting hormone will facilitate faster root formation, but it can still take time for cuttings to take root. As long as the cutting looks healthy and green, keep on giving it water.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 8:19PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Sammy, you sent me an email with questions about brunfelisa. However, your Gardenweb settings are such that I can't send you an email response. Fix it like this - see photo below.

Carol in Jacksonville

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 2:57PM
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I have a well established night blooming jasmine that has had fragrant blooms consistently for 9 years. All of a sudden the bush is loaded with blooms but they have no fragrance. What do I do?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 10:22AM
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simounagta(Zone12 /Cebu, Philippines)

Hi, Sammy. I have experienced a couple of times propagating my Night Blooming Jasmines through use of semi-hardwood cuttings with 60% success rate, then after about a month only 4 cuttings out of 10 continue to develop leaves & grow to become normal plant cuttings.
My cutting is 6 inches long by 3/8 inch diameter. In the upper portion about 1 inch from the top is a twig junction of w/c the ends are only 1/2 to 1 inch, forming a y-shape cutting. Full leaves are removed in the cutting & allow only 1 or 2 small/new growth leaves in the upper portion. The skin in the lower portion is removed by 3/4 inch & rooting hormones applied. Then 1-1/2 inch of the lower portion is burried under the soil in a pot and then placed under a shaded area, and then to the semi-shaded area when tiny leaves/growths appear.
Wish you luck, Sammy. Happy planting.

This post was edited by simounagta on Sun, Aug 31, 14 at 8:45

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 8:17AM
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Does the cestrum sort of withers back then goes ona growth spurt of sorts?

The cestrum given to me was robust and blooming. Now, well it seems like its dying back..the branches starting from the tips have turned brown and some of the once robust branches have also turned brown. When you cut it, its not green anymore on the inside. So should i cut down the dead branches? will that stimulate further growth? is this part of its life cycle? what should i do?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2014 at 3:24PM
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Not really! its every green and only dies back due to cold weather over watering/under watering. You do not say if it is in a pot or in the ground?
If you are worried they are really easy to strike from cuttings find a none flowering new shoot and place it in a bottle of fresh water it should produce new roots in about 2-3weeks

    Bookmark   October 7, 2014 at 12:54PM
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its in a pot.

it had robust growth before with real stocky branches...but now theyre brittle and brown. I cut a few and the branches were white inside, not green. i scraped the bark as well and it too showed brown color not green.

there is a healthy green branch off shoot from a common base with the brown dead branches.

what happened to it? can it still be salvaged?
im so awful at gardening.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2014 at 12:18PM
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