Crepe/Crape Myrtle Cuttings... help...moisture issue (too much)?

redraif(8)July 26, 2010

Hi all,

Newbie here learning the how tos...

I did my research and searches and discovered how to take cuttings from a crape myrtle and root them. So I found my donor crape... nice pretty deep red that was not available at any nurserys when we got our 2 white ones.

I got a ton of semi-hard wood cuttings. Followed the directions from an article I found here:

Cuttings: 4-8 inch range,

striped all but a few leaves at the top,

dipped cut tip in rotting hormone,

used a 50/50 sand/peat mixture in pots,

poked a hole with a dibber,

put my cuttings in,

moistened soil (not too wet) damp,

covered in plastic bag,

kept in location that sees light, but not direct sunlight.

Noticed the soil is staying nice and damp.

2 of the 3 containers seem to have cuttings that are browning and getting white on them (mold or mildew)?

I made sure the bags were not airtight around the base as I know the plant needs to breathe. Hoped that would keep the humidity level about right.

What is happening? Are my cuttings failing? Did they need more or less air getting thru the bags? Do they need more light perhaps?

I can put them in a window that recieves partial morning light if thats what they need. I just did not want to put them in any direct sun as I read over and over to keep in shade or light but not direct sun.

Thank you!

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I think you are having trouble getting the humidity right. Your area humidity varies as well as the humidity under the tent. I have never been able to get the right combination of air circulation AND humidity without a regular removal and venting of the moisture under the tent. You are on the right track and just need to keep trying. I always take a lot more cuttings than I need and never tell my fellow gardeners how many failures I have, to get those beautiful new plants. Al

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 10:05AM
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Yes I took way, way too many cutting for that very reason and have more then one container in the works...

I was getting annoyed looks from the family as I took my large bag of cuttings and started at my potting task... I figured, I'm new I'm probably kill more then make it. I'm just in trouble if they all make it.. LOL

So i guess I will just play around with movig them about till I find a sweet spot.

So I guess a bit of sun can't hurt them right?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 8:59AM
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So I checked them this morning and got them up on the shelf for some mild light. See if that helps the mildew on the stems.... But I noticed 2 of the clippings on the group in the 3rd container (moisture more stable) have some new green growth! Yeah! Hope that means I will have some young viable rooted cuttings soon!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 9:21AM
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Now they don't look too good. I took the bags off cause there it white mildew fuzz everywhere. I have a bad feeling I have lost all these cuttings... Even my green growth does not look too happy.

I was exploring and saw some stuff about winter sowing and it got me thinking... Do I need holes in the top of the bag? I left the bottom loose for air exchange, but maybe holes at the top are better?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 8:46AM
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They sure don't need to be covered, that is causing your problem. I would even keep them outdoors in a very shaded area and just keep the soil moistened

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 12:14PM
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brigarif Khan

How about tip cuttings?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 3:31AM
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Ok just wanted to post a follow up. I lost my first set of cuttings, but wanted to try again. A trip to the local nursery to get supplies and ask questions proved there are no red CM to buy :(

so...I got my new cuttings and used my new products... the perlite and dip & grow.
I got a ton of semi-hard wood cuttings.

Cuttings: 4-8 inch range,
striped all but a few leaves at the top,
used a 50/50 mixture in 3 pots of my old sand and peat mix with the perlite,
poked a hole with a dibber,
dipped cut tip in rotting hormone,
put my cuttings in the holes,
moistened soil (not too wet) damp,
kept in location that sees light, but not direct sunlight.

(only bad thing was due to time issues I had to leave the cuttings in water longer then I planned before I prepared them and got them set up in pots)

This time I left off the bags and instead misted in the morning before leaving for work and when I got home from work in the evening.

The leaves browned on me still and I was about to give up and a few days ago 2 gave me some green leaves. So I have 2 out of about 30.

I guess that is good considering I have no greenhouse and can't mist them more then 2x a day.

The question now is leave them alone and kep doing the same thing and let them get stronger or try to take them out of the rooting pot and into a new pot of their own?

I'm leaning towards leaving them till I know if any others are going to try and throw up some green. I worry about the delicate roots and trying to separate them out w/o damage.

When, or do they even need to be transferred to a new pot with a different soil?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 9:18AM
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i've heard that they can be rooted in water, any truth to that?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 11:29AM
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Did you move the cuttings with new leaves? Did they survive? I agree with the other poster who said they don't need to be covered and don't worry about them dropping their leaves. I have defintely lost more cuttings and seedlings due to being too moist than being too dry. I don't know if they will root in water but I'd be interested in hearing what others say.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 8:19AM
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Mine did not make it. I just did not have a good environment for them. Either too dry with too much sun or too moist. Thought I was winning with some new leaves, but lost the battle.

On a side note... I had our adult tree spin off some youngsters of its own. When I made a barrier around its bed & to make a barrier b/w mine and the neighbors yard I guess I inadvertently cut some roots. Well I got a baby crepe from the cut. I left him be for a season and dug him up about a month ago. I transplanted him and as much root as I could from the neighbors yard and at first he lost all his leaves, but about a week ago I noticed he has a new crop of leaves on all the end of his branches. I think I have a successful transplant. I'm going to mulch him good for the winter and pray he will be a budding tree next spring. One way or the other I had to move him when I did. He was growing in the neighbors yard and she had cut him down once in the early spring and had him marked again to be cut down by her landscape guy.

Project this weekend is to rescue a nandina from the same fate. It's on our shared property line. She tried to kill it once and has it marked again for execution. Some people....

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 10:58AM
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Red, I'm with lance in that I've lost more cuttings to being too most than dry. I was getting mold growing on mine cause I put them in "mini" green houses (large clear plastic tub with lid).

I bought a fungicide, not sure if it is working but I'm finally starting to see results........takes too long, haha.

I spoke with a super knowledgeable nurseryman last weekend and he told me the best rooting material is "Canadian Peat Moss". He said because of where it is harvested from, the moss is sterile and thus will not contribute to your cuttings demise. He said the bacteria in potting soil is a big problem. Home Depot has it listed on their website but when I went to pick some up, they only had miracle grow.

Over the next few days I plan on using the new stuff (substitute miracle grow) and see how it works. Thought it odd that I read people would bake their potting soil but alas to rid it of the bacteria.

The part about leaf dropping is pretty on the money. I always slowly pull on any cuttings before discarding them and have been pleasantly surprised. Just the other day, green twig, no leaves for past couple of weeks and I said, lets check. Oh boy, one inch root growing, yep my first citrus propagation!!! Meyer lemon. Quickly put that bad boy back in the soil and remoistened.

Good luck and don't give up. We have an abundance of Crape Myrtles in our area, might have to give it a try.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 8:47PM
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