Best Potting Soil for Propagation?

donna1952(8 W WA Puget So)August 25, 2007

I need some help in purchasing potting soil for propagation of hydrangea cuttings. I have had some successes and more failures than normal with what I think is a soil deficiency from bags of soil purchased this year from the big box stores. I have had numerous yellow leaves, dieing plants, and unhealthy looking propagates. Other leaves look brownish and crispy and I have watered the pots faithfully.

Someone said it was a lack of iron, so I checked the bag and no iron was mentioned. I purchased some granular iron and worked it in the pot - but the plants died anyway. One suggested the soil of Miracle Grow. PLEASE what do you folks use? Our natural soil here is heavy in clay so it will not work. Any advice will be so greatly appreciated.

Donna from Puget Sound - Washington State

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hayseedman(z5/6 Ct.)

Go to a good nursery and ask them for some of the potting soil that they use. Unless it's some home made stuff, it'll most likely be bark based. It might contain some perlite and a few other ingredients. If it's not bark based, go looking elsewhere maybe. Other potting soils might work, but I use one from Scott which is a professional mix and is bark based.

This potting soil and most of the ones that professionals use will contain only a small amount fertilizer to get your plants going. You don't really want any fertilizer at all to start your cuttings, but a small amount won't hurt. Too much and your cuttings will rot.

Your cuttings will take a few weeks to develop roots and then you can begin to add some fertilizer. Get a little bit of the expensive Osmocote and use it. It will slowly release fertilizer for you. Just a little to start. That's all there is to it.

When I finally pot up my Hydrangeas, I use about half potting soil like this, one fourth old shredded bark mulch that I have around, and maybe one fourth leaf mold and/or compost to introduce some microbes and give it some life and to provide some basic ingredients. I also throw in some rock phosphate and greensand just to be sure. Like maybe a tablespoon or so of each per gallon of mix. I doubt you could add too much. It's just rock and sand.

Good luck.


If the plants look anemic, I'll

    Bookmark   August 29, 2007 at 10:01AM
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hayseedman(z5/6 Ct.)

...add a little more fertilizer.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2007 at 10:18AM
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