Need help with rooting Purple Leaf Sand Cherry cuttings

Pharaohness(6a)May 15, 2013

Hello, I just got some cuttings of a shrub I REALLY want to have (Purple Leaf Sand Cherry), and I'm wondering how to proceed with them. I have the actual cuttings in the photo, as well as ONE of the ends from which I removed the outer layer of bark. I did that to see which worked better. Another cutting I just "scarred" slightly at the end.

I'm wondering if I should be doing this differently? Should they all be "scarred" or will they take root without that just fine? Are there too many leaves on the cuttings (I removed many)? I also removed the blossoms from all the cuttings I have.

I have a rooting hormone powder called STIM-ROOT, No. 1. It is a little old (I got it a few years ago) so I'm wondering if I should buy a different one?

I'm planning to put them in a clean sterile sand I have, because I don't have peat moss or perlite on hand. The cuttings are currently sitting in water to keep fresh. I will likely proceed with the "sand" as the medium, but am willing to purchase peat moss and perlite if need be.

I am also aware that I should be placing a clear bag on top of the pots I use for rooting the cuttings. Are these bags to have holes in them for breathing?

Any help with what I should do further would be great. I live in Toronto (which is why I chose zone 6a as my zone). Thank you very much in advance!

This post was edited by Pharaohness on Wed, May 15, 13 at 16:56

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i dont have time to google it for you..

but i wanted to note.. that i would use much smaller pieces.. subject to whether old or new wood is requisite ...

ken

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 8:12PM
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Pharaohness(6a)

Thanks for your response ken_adrian! My cuttings died, but in the future, you suggest getting shorter pieces and those new enough that they have no bark on them? Is that what you mean?

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 11:53PM
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david52 Zone 6

I've done successful cuttings from purple sand cherry. I used 8 inch long, pencil-diameter wood, taking the cutting after they flowered and just as the new leaves were about 3/4 full-sized. Here, thats the first week of June.

I used a razor blade to cut through the bark on bottom node and again on the opposite side, then dipped them in rooting powder. Then its pretty much standard procedure, buried in damp, sterile medium (I use perlite) to the lowest leaf, cover with a plastic dome, place in indirect light, and wait 6 weeks. About half the cuttings took.

As a side note, I buy the pre-washed salads at the grocery store in the one pound plastic boxes. Eat the salad. Save the containers. Use two of them together as clam shells for 10 inch high dome.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 12:22PM
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Pharaohness(6a)

Thanks for your response david52! How many leaves did you remove? I'll give it a shot again! I really want a purple leaf sand cherry, and they are all sold out in EVERY garden center! So I really only have hope with cuttings.

By bottom node, do you mean the part where the stem you cut is attached to the "main" branch? I'll definitely try this out. I likely took cuttings of branches that were much thinner than a pencil.

Also, if the branch I take happens to be over 6-8 inches long, should I cut it down?

Thank you!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 11:06PM
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david52 Zone 6

Ok, I'll go do it, and take some pics. My sand cherry are in shade, so they get pretty gangly. These cuttings are smaller than a pencil, that would be the ideal dia. They've just stopped flowering now, and the leaves are forming nicely. Here's four branches -

now trimmed, taking them out of the middle, the bottom cut is right below a node:

I now make a one inch cut with the razor blade on either side of the 'node' at the bottom of the cutting

Then I use Clonex, which would put roots on a nail, pour a bit in a tiny cup, roll the end of the cutting around in it,

Then the four cuttings, now with hormone, are put in a container filled with fresh perlite

Which, in turn, is put in one of those salad containers and I water the perlite until it runs out the bottom, maybe a few millimeters of water inside the bottom of the container.

And then put another one on top as a clam shell,

and thats that. I check it now and again to make sure the perlite is moist, maybe water it a bit, a good sign is if the bottom of the plastic clamshell has a bit of water sloshing around. Then wait 4 - 6 weeks, and they'll have rooted.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 12:25PM
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Pharaohness(6a)

Wow, thank you so much for your help, david52! So these cuts on either side of the node are made lengthwise for roots to be able to come out, correct? How deep should these cuts be made?

It also looks like you didn't remove the blossoms, is that okay? I thought removing the blossoms helps the cutting take root as most of its energy will go into rooting. Is that the case? Maybe it is different with the purple leaf sand cherry though.

Also, your cuttings appear to be about 5-6 inches tall when ready to be placed in the rooting medium. Is that correct?

Would I be safe using sphagnum moss as well? I can purchase either perlite or sphagnum moss, just wondering which to get. Perlite will come in handy with potting soil as well though, so I may go with perlite, like you did.

If I use a clear plastic bag, would that work too? I guess the downside of a plastic bag is that I'd need to have some fixture inside that keeps it from touching the leaves though.

Also, do you think I should get a different rooting hormone, or is my STIM-ROOT No. 1 rooting hormone (a pink powder) good enough?

You have been extremely helpful, David! I am ready to go get some cuttings and try this again now! Thank you very much!

This post was edited by Pharaohness on Mon, May 20, 13 at 13:20

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 1:00PM
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david52 Zone 6

So these cuts on either side of the node are made lengthwise for roots to be able to come out, correct? How deep should these cuts be made?

Just cut down into the cambium layer - 1mm

It also looks like you didn't remove the blossoms, is that okay? I thought removing the blossoms helps the cutting take root as most of its energy will go into rooting. Is that the case? Maybe it is different with the purple leaf sand cherry though.

No, you're right, in fact I should go do that now - I left a few in the hustle of getting this all done quickly.

Also, your cuttings appear to be about 5-6 inches tall when ready to be placed in the rooting medium. Is that correct?

yup

Would I be safe using sphagnum moss as well? I can purchase either perlite or sphagnum moss, just wondering which to get. Perlite will come in handy with potting soil as well though, so I may go with perlite, like you did.

I find that its a whole lot easier to control the moisture level in perlite - as long as there is some sort of lid on it, it stays damp for weeks, wicks up moisture from the bottom as needed, but doesn't turn into a soggy mess. Lets air get down to the roots as well. I just find that much harder to manage with the moss and my cuttings rot far more easily.

If I use a clear plastic bag, would that work too? I guess the downside of a plastic bag is that I'd need to have some fixture inside that keeps it from touching the leaves though.

Sure, just put in some sticks to hold the bag up.

Also, do you think I should get a different rooting hormone, or is my STIM-ROOT No. 1 rooting hormone (a pink powder) good enough?

I'm sure that what you have is fine - its all the same active ingredient.

Another few comments

- if the leaves fall off, discard and start over.

- when you start to see new top growth, thats a sign that things are going well. That should be at 4 to 6 weeks.

- When you see that, its time to start taking off the plastic cover. Be careful - the environment is so humid under the plastic that the leaves adapt. If your ambient, room humidity is much drier, then when they're exposed, they'll wilt in a few hours. Needs a bit of TLC - remove for an hour, replace, next day two hours, etc. You may not need to worry about this, but I live in a desert, so its a major concern.....

I live on the corner of two busy roads, so I've planted a sound/visual barrier with pine and ash trees, and under those, I have lots of shrubs, including a dozen or so sand cherry growing in the partial shade. I'd love to have more of them, but at this point, when I plant small things out, the trees pretty much steal all the sun, water, and nutrients.....

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 2:06PM
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Pharaohness(6a)

Wow, thank you so much David!!! You've been GREAT help! I will attempt rooting cuttings exactly the way you've instructed, and I will update on my progress! Thanks you!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 4:36PM
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david52 Zone 6

I thought I'd resurrect this thread a month later.

I checked 5 days ago and I had 3/4 inch rootlets. I wanted to wait a bit longer and see if I could get some new top growth before transplanting.

And then I over-watered them, a half-inch of water in the bottom of their container for a couple of days - and drowned the little fellas. Whoops.

Pharaohness - how did yours fare?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 11:09AM
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Pharaohness(6a)

Hello David, I'm really sorry to hear that! As for me, I got perlite, but couldn't get the cuttings in time (I'm probably much too late to root now, right? If not, let me know). I did get a couple of clear salad boxes for cuttings though, so I should be set when I can go and get some cuttings! When would you suggest I do that? What's the next best window of opportunity for purple leaf sand cherry cuttings? Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 12:23AM
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david52 Zone 6

I'm so mad at myself for drowning the things when I know better that I'm going to try some again this week, and include some of the very thin stems of new growth from this year.

Its costs next to nothing to try, I don't see why a mid-season cutting wouldn't work.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 11:08AM
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Pharaohness(6a)

That's great, I'm going to give it a shot then! As the blossoms have already fallen off, is there anything else I need to keep in mind? Do I cut leaf stalks down (there will be many growing off a branch as thick as a pencil by now)? Or just cut away some leaves? Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 4:06PM
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david52 Zone 6

I'm just going to cut away leaf stalks from the bottom half of the cutting and leave the rest. Then bury the cutting up to the first leaf.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 4:36PM
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david52 Zone 6

And...... when the greenhouse is at least 108ú F for much of July, I can attest that purple leaf sand cherry has 'issues' with rooting.

zip/nada.

Just too hot. I had some salvia take root, but everything else - a couple dozen rose cuttings, the sand cherry, some dianthus, nothing worked.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 1:04PM
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Pharaohness(6a)

My cuttings also rotted. Temperatures have been super hot (with humidex it was above 40ðC) so that's probably why. But recently the temperature has calmed down. I'll have to wait till I return from Poland though (leaving mid-August so rooting them now would be pointless). Will try again in September and update here.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 8:04PM
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