The best (simple) media for rooting cuttings?

fabaceae_nativeFebruary 14, 2012

Hi all,

Is 100% peat a definite no-no for rooting cuttings in? I used it because I thought it was the most sterile of what I had on hand at the time, but the hardwood cuttings (pre-callused and a few showing roots) in it are leafing out but starting to mold and decline.

If I bought a single bag of planting medium from the local Home Depot, what would give me the best odds with hardwood cuttings?



Seed-starting mix?

Generic potting soil?

I've not seen this question addressed in a straightforward way, although there seems to be much discussion of differing opinions regarding mixes for specific plants such as figs on that forum. The products the folks named were totally unfamiliar to me, thus my no-BS style of question here...

Thanks for any input.

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

no matter what you buy.. use the link to sterilize it first.. no matter what is claimed on the bag ...

pure peat is good for just about nothing.. other than mixing with other things ... in my non-professional experience ...

when i did some hardwood cuttings in one gal milk jugs with one gal bags over them.. i used straight perlite.. which i had sterilized.. along with the jug [the rest with 10% bleach] .. the bag [i did presume a new bag was sterile].. and all tools .... and some bottom heat ... here is a pic

without knowing what you are doing.. when.. nor how.. its really hard to give you the type of answer you want: no-BS style of answer ....

if they are rooted ... get them out.. remove all the peat.. and get them into a cactus type mix if they are shrubs/trees/conifers.... these type of plants.. once they have roots.. like a bit of water ... and then drainage.. which pure peat does not .... even if they remain in a humidity chamber ...

in other words.. the rooting media.. is not the same media to use with rooted stock..

nor the same media to use once you start potting them up ...


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 4:30PM
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Hi,ive been doing a wide range of cuttings,both hardwood and softwood,in a 50/50 mix of peat and sharp sand for years with good results.Last year i ran out and used quality top soil instead and the cuttings did even better in the topsoil!I do all my cuttings outside though as this ensures adequate ventilation and sunshine.If your hardwood cuttings are inside this time of year the warmth may be making them leaf when there is not enough light to substain them hence the die back.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 6:07AM
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Thanks so much ken and gary, your advice is very helpful. Ken, your answer is just the kind I was looking for, even without knowing all the details of what I'm doing, which I won't bother with now. Suffice to say that I'm pretty confident with the rest of the process I followed.

Obviously it was a mistake to try the peat... I was thinking it's antifungal properties (I store all my root vegetables from the garden in it all winter with great results even in not-so-cool conditions) might work for cuttings too.

Gary, I too have been more successful with outdoor rooting, mostly in regular (peaty) potting soil. I doubt the light thing is the issue though, since these are in my sunroom where I grow tropical fruits and start all my seedlings. Great solarity at 7,000 feet here in NM...

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 11:12AM
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ralleia(z5 Omaha, NE)


When I first was looking at the bag over your cuttings, and seeing the hoses coming out of the wall, I was scrolling down in anticipation of seeing what kind of highly-advanced propagation setup they were on.....

And then I saw it was a washing machine. :)

Are those some kind of juniper?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 3:29PM
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