best cutting propagation media?

mendocinomaples(NW CA)March 28, 2005

If you were to make up the "best all purpose media" for cuttings what would it be? Is it possible or does it depend on too many factors such as what type of plant you are trying to propagate and the conditions under which you are placing the cuttings, time of the year and other factors.

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Soeur(z6b TN)

I vary what I mix up according to what I'm sticking. If I was forced to only make one mix for everything, however, I'd go with screened peat/perlite 1:1 by volume.

Soeur

    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 6:59PM
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john90808(z10 So Cal)

I agree with Soeur. I use a 50/50 mix of peat & perlite and so far, so good.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 10:28AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

For cuttings I prefer 80% perlite to 20% peat. Al

    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 11:01AM
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Millie_36(Z6b MO)

Guess I am not a perlite fan. I prefer a good bedding style potting soil (not so fine...drains better) and coconut coir mix. For my dormant cuttings, this winter, I added nearly half organic composted cotton burrs. We often have a very wet winter and I wanted as much drainage as I could get because I sunk the pots to the rim in my veggie garden.

I'm not sure there is a "best"....just what ever works for the type of plant, season, style of propagation, etc. I use plain old screened river sand for mist propagation. Screen out the largest stones as well as the fine stuff...I want air in the mix. Also have one container of chicken grit.

I am still convinced that most cuttings are lost due to too much water, warmth, and perhaps being kept too "close"....a recipe for disease.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 8:48PM
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mrgpag

my best luck is 50:50 coarse sand & peat

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 8:47PM
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brenda_near_eno(Z7a)

50:50 perlite/vermiculite

    Bookmark   March 31, 2005 at 2:03PM
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Greenthumb(Zone 5a, MN)

50:50 peat/perilite mixture works best for me, too.
Mike

    Bookmark   April 1, 2005 at 5:42PM
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kayjones(Mo6b)

50/50 peat and coarse sand with moisture crystals.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2005 at 10:09PM
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nancedar(z7NC)

I use garden soil (horrors!) and moisture crystals. Of course, the cuttings are in the garden, not in the house or garage. I also pour some willow water around them a couple times over several months just to get the roots jump started. This is best for hardwood or semi-hardwood cuttings, but I've found it works well for middle of the summer softwood cuttings that also get a nice little shade tent over them for a week or so.

For delicate cuttings indoors, I use coir 75% and perlite 25% with moisture crystals, or peat moss if I've run out of coir. I don't particularly like the white perlite and wish they would dye it (organically of course) brown or gray or black or come up with something that doesn't look quite so "man-made". I have not had success with peat/vermiculite mixture but at least it is gray/silver. I think the soil is too loose. When I transplant the babies outside they have to struggle in the sand/clay jumbled soil of mine. But for delicates indoors, I may give the perlite/vermiculite mix a try like Brenda_on_the_Eno uses.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 6:16PM
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CLacy2k(Cypress z8b/9)

Newbie here :-) About how long can I expect until the roots are plenty, or ready for planting?

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 9:51PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Where do you buy perlite? I bought a 2 cubic foot bag for about $14. Is that a good price?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2005 at 3:03PM
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Millie_36(Z6b MO)

CLacy2k, too many variables to answer that one. It varies from one plant to another as well as within the same plant family. Time of year, temp., health of cutting, etc., etc. Tell us what you would like to start out with. Or ask what would be an easy first plant and you will get lots of opinions, but make it a new post, so the answers will come to you, OK? There is nothing wrong with being a newbie... or asking questions...only way to learn and we all did it at one time or another, and still do. Millie

    Bookmark   June 5, 2005 at 7:24PM
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toyon(USDA 9b/Sunset 14 CA. (Sacram)

Most of the large hardware stores carry 4cu ft bags of perlite for about $10-12. Try Home Depot if you have one there. The better nurseries carry them here as well.

I don't think the mix/medium is as important at air and drainage. I use about 75% perlite in the colder months because I have a problem with peat moss getting waterlogged. In the summer I swap it the other way to about 66% peat moss/33% perlite.

CLacy2k: The legnth of time varies by species, light and temperature. Some Cupheas (Cigar Plant, etc) strike root in about 2-3 days during the summer. Salvias, usually within 5-7 days. Double the time in the winter. Others like Mahonia are easy to root, but take 15-30 days.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2005 at 12:30PM
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Tom_w(Z7 - Ala)

I am currently sticking Chinese Snowball, Loropetilum, Oak leaf hydrangea and Azalea. The mix is 1/3 peat, 1/3 Perlite, and 1/3 fine pine bark. The cuttings are in 1" cell packs under mist. With a mist system the mix needs to drain really well. For transplanting, the peat gives a little structure so the media doesn't fall off the roots. When I transplant into larger pots, the plants never realize they have been moved.
The Oak Leaf Hydrangea will be ready to transplant and come out of mist in 3-4 weeks, the Snowballs will stay in for up to 3-4 months. They all stay in there until I can see roots thru the drain holes.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2005 at 4:14PM
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wmc1

I just use root cubes, rockwool or oaSIS. Great success.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 10:18PM
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gardenpaws_VA(z7 NoVA)

50/50 perlite/vermiculite, and I do smaller cuttings (perennials and half-hardies)in a closed container. It doesn't work well in summer (too warm), but under lights in the winter, with the medium barely moistened, I have very high success rates. Preferred containers? Clear plastic cylinders from almost-gourmet cookies, with a few drain holes poked in the bottom just in case.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2005 at 9:38PM
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tinamcg(Z5b Kansas City)

Sand. Just plain sand, kept evenly moist. I learned this from a horticulture teacher who had us root everything in long sand beds in a greenhouse. It's the only way I've been able to propogate pelargoniums, and I've done some beauties this year.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 10:36PM
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kayjones(Mo6b)

Yep, constantly moist sand works best for me.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2005 at 8:31PM
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taxonomist(7b VA)

Have any of you people tried finely shredded styrofoam. I chop some in a blender and mix with an equal part of milled peat moss. It seems to work just a bit better than perlite and is certainly much less expensive. As a bonus it, it seems to be somewhat fungicidal...or perhaps I am overly optimistic!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2005 at 7:16PM
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memmet(z5MA)

Depending on the plant in question, I've had very good luck with sphagnum moss - the long fiber kind. It worked beautifully with boxwood cuttings.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2005 at 6:35PM
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gardningfool(7b)

I have great success with coarse sand and perlite equally mixed. Trina

    Bookmark   July 1, 2005 at 8:22PM
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takadi(7)

Has anyone tried 100 percent perlite mediums before?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 12:46AM
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matt2006(9)

I personally do not care for peat moss because it hardens. I Just place my cutting in water for 24 hours, dip them in a rooting powder, and plant them in a 50-50 compost and garden soil. My success is running about 75 to 80%. I normally get cuttings from trees which are suitable for bonsai. I have learned that I have a better chance of success when I plant cuttings just prior to springs.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 9:59PM
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talker

Hi guys. I have a 10" pot of potting mix on my sun porch. I took some leaves off my New Guniea Impatients. The stems are almost an inch long. Stuck them in hormone root.
Now how many leaves do I, need to put around this pot?

I have hanging baskets of geraniums on my carport. How can I make more geraniums for new pots? Also how can I force more blooms on the hanging baskets?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 5:05PM
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foolishpleasure

Here what I use in equal quantity. Perlite, Vermiculite, peat moss, sand and soil mixed with Cow manure. But first I make small cuts in the lower part of the cutting wash it with house hold detergent and dip it in rooting hormone. I don't grow every plant from cuttings only Figs, Roses and Jasmine. I have a healthy group of these guys. I have a friend who told me that he had good success by spraying the cuttings with Lysol to protect against bacteria. I have not tried that.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 5:45AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

This year I changed my mix, and so far I am happy with it. I am using about 40% Turface, 40% ground fir bark and about 20% granite fines. It is dense enough to provide good support for the cuttings, retains enough moisture, and remains loose enough to separate rooted cuttings without root damage. Al

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 9:08AM
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jolj(7b/8a)

Pure sand in trays, keep moist & root 75% most of the time/100% of some flowering shrubs. Using roottone on somethings. The only thing I have not rooted, that I tried to root is dogwood tree. You can get 80% color from seeds anyways.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 11:43PM
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madrone(VancIsl BC)

I use half Sunshine Professional mix #1 and half perlite. A bale costs about $25 here, with a 20 lb bag of perlite costing about $15 from stores that sell agricultural products. I do a lot of propagating and this lasts me for a season.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 12:18AM
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carino2010(8)

I see some use sand. What type of sand? I have used a lot of different methods but have never used sand. Please tell me the type of sand and where I can get some. Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 4:43PM
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simcan(z5b/Toronto)

Well, if these answers prove anything, it is that there is no single best medium, or at least no agreement about it. I use a coarse sand mixed roughly equally with either coir or peat or bagged seeding soiless mix, either with or without some vermiculite. Works fine.

I also bag it in microwaveable bags and zap it for a few minutes in the microwave prior to using it everytime. I am convinced this extra sterilization helps as I never have problems with fungus, etc.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 9:25AM
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jbclem(z9b Topanga, Ca)

What about using pumice instead of perlite in one of these mixes. I get pumice from a farm/horse supply, it's packaged as Dry Sweep, used in horse stalls on the floor to absorb moisture. It costs about $10 for a 40 lb bag, which looks like about one cubic foot.

John

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 6:23AM
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foolishpleasure

wet Sphagnum Moss. My grand Mom successfully used water

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 4:23AM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

Great forum and wonderful propagation tips. I wonder if climate plays an important part in success of propagation? I would think a warmer climate might be a good asset; like Calif. I have never seen more beautiful roses grown in my life as I saw at Edwards AFB in Calif. Everybody housetrailer had a lot of rosebushes and all were hugh bushes or climbers. Size of the flower was so big. Different then any I've seen on the east coast of the USA.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 7:15AM
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hummersteve

I prefer 40/60 peat to vermiculite.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 2:35PM
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four(9B (near 9a))

> Posted by madrone
> 20 lb bag of perlite

Isn't that bigger than a dump truck?

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 7:21PM
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