Perlite and Rooting Questions

love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)May 20, 2013

1) How do you keep perlite from washing out the drainage holes in the bottom of rooting plastic or styrofoam cups? I made holes using a soldering iron tip and the holes are bigger than the perlite pieces. They wash right out the bottom. So I took some old window screen and cut circles that fit flat in the bottom of the cups, but, wow, labor-intensive. What is a better way to cut drainage holes? I'm thinking next time, maybe just make slices or very small holes using a box cutter?

2) Can perlite be reused?

3) What is the best way to transfer rooted cuttings from perlite to soil? I am new to rooting in perlite. In the past, I always used potting mix so if I was successful, the whole plug - mix and plant - were planted. I have never separated a rooted plant from the rooting mix. What is the best technique?

Thanks!
Carol

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david52_gw

If you have a spray bottle, spray the perlite first, it isn't as 'slippery' - with big bags, I use a watering can to dampen the whole top layer - and you don't breathe the dust.

You *could* reuse perlite for cuttings, but it isn't that expensive, and you'd avoid any chance of contaminating the next batch with any bacteria/fungus that had developed. I just 'recycle' it by mixing it in with the regular potting soil.

I gently tap out the roots and perlite, dumping the lot out on its side, gently lift out the rooted cuttings, and then swish them around in a container of water to knock off the excess perlite. A few pieces left don't matter - but the big clump can be an issue.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 5:41PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I've always used either window screen or the plastic grid used for needle point to cover the holes. Labor intensive? How can something that takes a few seconds be labor intensive? The plastic grids will stay in place even with just perlite. No need to cut in circles....just squares that will fit over the holes.

I like to use perlite as a rooting medium.

This post was edited by rhizo_1 on Tue, May 21, 13 at 13:14

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 1:13PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

David, thanks so much for the help. I appreciate it!

Rhizo, well, I guess like everything "that takes a few seconds", it depends upon how many you have to do.

Carol

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 9:28PM
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