New cuttings and rooting

rennflJuly 7, 2012

I'll start out by saying by no means am I an expert in rooting or growing Hoyas. I've only been growing Hoyas for three years. But I've had very good success at rooting cuttings, so I was taking pictures of my orchids this morning, and snapped some of my rooting procedure.

I root exclusively in S/H now. Over last winter I did a lot of experimenting with different cuttings and found this was my most successful method.

One thing to know about S/H though, the procedure involves using a weak fertilizer solution, not plain water. A very important detail many people don't mention.

For the little pots, I use washed indiviual pudding cups, or if I don't have any, I use little plastic cups, about 2 - 2.5 inch diameter. Poke two holes about 2 inches up from the bottom to create a resevoir. The substrate just needs to be something inorganic so it doesn't rot, and have good capillary action. I've used Hydroton, Prime Agra and HydroBalls. Hydroballs are the terrarium substrate that you find in the reptile aisle of the pet store.

Some pictures. This is a cutting of ischnopus that I received on June 22, a couple weeks ago. I pulled away the top layer so you can see how many roots there are already.

And here is a pic of all the cuttings I recieved that day, taken this morning. Every one of them has rooted now.

And three of them have already started new growing tips. In only 3 weeks.

Here is a picture of a cutting I started in S/H at the end of May, so only 6 weeks old or so?

I've taken it out of it's little pot, it is ready to be potted up. The vine you see is all completely new since I started the cutting.

When the plants are ready to be potted up, I do one of two things. If it is one that I'm planning on continuing to grow in S/H, I just move it to a bigger S/H pot (3 inch solo drink cups) and fill in with more expanded clay balls. If I'm going to convert it to traditional pots, with holes in the bottom, about a week before I'm ready to repot, I poke holes in the bottom of it's current pot to start the roots getting used to drying out. Then when I'm ready I move it into a 4 inch pot, using either the expanded clay pellets or lava rock. Kind of depends what i have on hand at the time.

Many people have no trouble rooting in the traditional water or soil method,and I believe is nothing is wrong, don't fix it, but for those that do, give this a try. It may work for you. It does for me.


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Great photos and explanation Renee. I am glad that you mentioned the need for constant fertilization. Without soil or organic media the chances of running into problems because of the lack of micro-nutrients is very high. Micro-nutrients are needed in very small amounts by plants but they are essential for proper growth. Fertilizers with added micro-nutrients are a very important part of growing in inorganic media.
I know a few people who grow all of their Hoyas this way and their plants grow beautifully. Your cuttings are obviously responding very well. I often wonder if some plants actually make and retain a larger and healthier root system in these types of setups.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 12:37PM
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First sorry for double posting the one picture. Didn't mean to do so.

Second, when I spoke about potting up, I forgot to mention that some of my plants that require more evenly moist, but I don't want to grow in S/H, instead of the balls or lava rock, I use a Turface/perlite mixture. Holds water longer, but does give complete draining.

Mike, thanks, yes that is an important detail. lol

I wondered though about bloomings, if constantly moist roots might inhibit that for some plants. So far, I have two plants blooming in S/H, cumingiana and limoniaca.

Which is funny because my main plant of cumingiana seems to want to dry out to bloom well. But it is blooming in S/H too.

Also, my blashernaezii, I have the main piece in Turface/perlite, but started a cutting in winter in S/H. Well the one in S/H is much bigger, stronger and budding up right now.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 2:14PM
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I have a few questions:

(1) While rooting, do you keep the cuttings in a closed container such as an aquarium for extra humidity or exposed to open air?

(2) How deep do you insert the cutting into the media? Do you place the stem deep enough for leaves to touch the media or higher to keep them from touching it?

Great tutorial!


    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 3:01PM
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Nice Renee, solo cups, pudding cups, ice cream cups all come in handy. I pick the garbage at the custard store for sundae cups and get some looks for sure. Your process is unique to me and I am going to try it with the hydro balls first. ~ Mary

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 4:21PM
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Mary, I have to admit I might have a small addiction to DQ's peanut buster parfaits (I'm trying to break it lol) and the lids they use for those are perfect size for the first pot up. So yes, all kinds of things out there you can use.


(1) While rooting, do you keep the cuttings in a closed container such as an aquarium for extra humidity or exposed to open air?

open air, they in the summer are on my covered, screened patio, under a LED panel. In winter they are in my bedroom window.

The idea behind high humidity is that when the leaves transpire, water escapes along with the O2, so in theory increasing the humidity helps slow down the water escaping, until the plant develops roots and can take up water again. In this, the stem is moist, I don't see a lot of shriveling.

Don't forget though, I'm in coastal Florida, so in the summer my humidity is very high. In winter in the house, we do use heat, so the humidity drops.

(2) How deep do you insert the cutting into the media? Do you place the stem deep enough for leaves to touch the media or higher to keep them from touching it?

I guess ideally the base of the stem should be just at the water line. But I don't really pay too much attention to that. Sometimes the stem is all the way down to the bottom, sometimes the stem is an inch or more above the water line. I'm more worried about stability. So if the stem below the leaves isn't long enough for it to be stable in the cup, I'll cut the bottom set of leaves off to make it long enough.

I don't worry about whether leaves touch.

I dont' want to oversimplify and say I just plop them in, but really that is what I do, I just plop them in.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 5:27PM
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Some time back I did some cuttings in a course sand medium. That was for H. australis ssp rupicola. Had good success. But later I started just placing cutting into ziplock bags after washing and leaving them damp. That was also very successful but simpler so I've stuck with it. With the ziplock bags you get rooting all along the stems rather than an only at one end.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 12:03AM
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Love the guide and great detailed photographs, Renee. This is perfect.

I really like rooting in semi-hydro, too. I most frequently root in my regular medium, but if I am worried about a cutting, I reach for semi-hydro every time, because I consider it the most reliable. I particularly like to root a whole set of cuttings in one mass semi-hydro pot and then once they have good root systems, move them to individual pots with whatever balls they cling to. I don't notice any issues with transitioning cuttings started in semi-hydro to other mediums.

Thanks for the notes about the turface/perlite alternative - I hadn't thought of that. You use 50/50ish?

@ Tropicbreezent

Are you saying you prefer to root Hoyas with no medium, just high humidity?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 12:18PM
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I cleaned up a large clump of H. carnosa at my father's place which was out of control and tangled with weeds. When returning home (I live on the other side of the country) I packed clumps of off cuts damp into plastic bags. At home I left them until the bags were just full of vines and roots. I'd done this before with smaller cuttings of H. australis ssp tenuipes, H. macgillivrayi, H. pottsii and some others. Sometimes, but not always, there'd be some leaf loss, but the vines always sprouted lots of roots. Now and again I'd rinse the contents of the bags to refresh the water/moisture and air in the bags. Once the roots are there the plants can be set up according to their individual requirements.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 9:09PM
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tropicbreeze, as I mentioned don't fix what isn't broken. This was just to give people that have trouble rooting cuttings another option that has worked for me.

GG - yeah 50/50ish, I just grab a cup and scoop out of the bags so it is a rough measurement.

I was using the Turface by itself, but I got a free big (like tall as me) bag of perlite, so I figured i'd use it. I think I'll be using it for years lol


    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 7:55AM
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rennfl, same here.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 11:08PM
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