Stubborn blueberry

ms_minnamouse(7a)August 26, 2006

A branch separated from the plant when they were planted so I cut the bottom and make scores under the nodes and dipped in rooting hormone.

Then I put it in a container with water and two aerators going.

The branch looks fresh and great but it's been a long while and still no roots.

The only other thing I can think of is to put a heating pad under it.

Any other suggestions?

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I am still a novice when it comes to propagating from cuttings, so please forgive me if my logic in this response turns out to be wrong.

Did you stick the cutting in a sand or other propagating mixture? To me your post reads as if you are trying to get the cutting to root in aerated water. If that truely is the case, than most likely the the rooting hormone was washed or diluted off from being stuck in the water.

Otherwise, If the cutting is planted in a granular non-soil mixture, Your idea of implementing the bottom warming technique seems to be a reasonable idea to help the rooting.

I do not know enough about how long your "long while" actually is or about that bottom warming process to suggest if the current timing is right for using the method with your stubbornly slow rooting cutting.

Have the places where you scored the nodes made the node swell as the tissue thickens? I am a little confused about why you scored the nodes, because the web sites I have accessed about how to propogate from cuttings instruct to cut off at about a half inch below the third node down from the tip of the cutting. That indicates to me that the bottom node should not be stuck into the soil. From you past experience, do you think am I mistaken concerning that understanding?

Over all though, the rooting prospect does still seem hopeful as far as I can tell from your indication that the leaves continue to look green and healthy. Have you cut those leaves back to about a postage stamp size? I am not sure why cutting back larger leaves to that size is important, but cutting them back to that size is listed on the above mentioned web-site's rooting instructions.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 10:39AM
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From what I understand, blueberries are not easy to propagate in general, though some cultivars are easier than others. I would agree with katrina that rooting them in water would not be the way to go. For plants that have a relatively low rooting %, trying to get one particular cutting to root might prove difficult.

There are huge differences in rooting protocols and success rates for different plants, and even between different cultivars within a species. Some plants like to have buried nodes, others will root just fine from stem tissue. There's not one method that applies to all cuttings! And the protocols given on a web site or in a book, even for a particular plant, may work in one part of the country and not another, due to differences in humidity, light levels, temperature, etc. Propagation is an art, much like cooking. I can read a recipe written by an expert chef, and think I am following it, but I don't get the same results as the chef. If you read a propagation "recipe" here or elsewhere, that tells you what media, hormone, etc to use, take it with a grain of salt. It may be a good starting point, but it's no guarantee of success. Some plants are easy to propagate, but for those that aren't, you really need to get to know the plant. Don't be afraid to try methods that are different from what you read. It is often the passionate amateur gardener, rather than the professional propagator, that unravels the secrets of how to propagate a difficult plant, and they do it by getting to know the plants intimately. Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 9:30PM
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I've never had success with blueberries before with gel or powder. In soil or perlite or vermiculite.

I though the hydroponic method might work this time b/c the cutting wouldn't rot like some many before it.

If I had my choice, I would definally have rooted this by air layering

    Bookmark   August 29, 2006 at 3:17AM
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It sounds like you have more experience with propagating from cuttings than I have. Sorry to not have better suggestions for you. Since reading Willameadow's comments, I understand a little better as why you scored the nodes.

Why couldn't you have started out with the air layering method?

Since you are doing well enough to keep the thing alive up to this point and in view of the fact that, as willameadows wrote, "blueberries are not easy to propagate in general;" why not go ahead and try the air layering method now?

My real concern with rooting in water, is that even if roots occur, the cutting could still easily die even after all the effort and time spent tending to it, in the aerated water method. Roots propagated in water seem to be much weaker, and many times fail to adapt to taking up moisture and nutrients from the soil. Even if the water propagated cutting does root and pull through once transplanted in the soil, those water roots more often than not simply begin to die as the new plant is than forced to produce soil adapted roots.

What are the chances your blueberry would continue to survive the soil adaptation after taking so long to produce the water roots?

Do you think that the air layering method would solve the problem of the plant having to adapt again once the water roots are formed enough for the new plant to go into potting soil? I really do not know enough about that method to try to advise, but if you find that the air layering method is truely the best option; it certainly seems to be a worthwhile effort to at least attempt to root your cutting that way.

The only other advice I have heard about water rooting, is that to avoid the problems I listed above, a water rooted cutting needs to be transplanted into sterile soil no later than when those water roots are fairly new and before they grow longer than 1/4 inch long. Such a method is supposed to give the new plant a greater chance at living long enough to grow new soil adapted roots. Even then though, with this method the new transplant in the soil would have to be protected and kept misted until the new plant developed enough soil roots to take up and deliver the moisture and nutrients it needs from the soil. All that time you would also need to have provided enough airflow around the plant to help prevent mold setting in and killing the new plant.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2006 at 11:12AM
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Blueberries have about a 50% chance of rooting even in the best most experienced hands. I have used this site as a reference many time when I do my blue cuttings and I have had the most sucess with their methods. I am copy, pasting a little from the site for you to look over! Easy and concise direction for softwood cuttings. Althought the site has directions for hardwood cuttings as well.

Softwood cuttings are the easiest and quickest-rooting stem cuttings. They are taken from spring until early summer. Take them during the growing season from soft, succulent, flexible new growth. Taking cuttings is not an exact science.
Step One
Cut a soft, succulent stem from the plant you want to propagate. Cut the stem into pieces 3"-4" long. Trim the stem pieces so that there's a leaf at the top and the bottom of the cutting. Next, pinch off all but the top one to four leaves. You'll get better rooting if you scrape the bark off of the bottom 1" of stem in a narrow strip on one side. Be sure to just scrape off the green bark tissue. Leave the harder white core of the stem alone.
Step Two-
Dip the cutting into a rooting hormone material such as Rootone. It's important that some of the rooting hormone dust adheres to the cutting. It helps if the cutting is slightly moist (not wet!).
Step Three-
Stick the cutting into a small pot filled with a mixture of one half peat moss and one half perlite. Be sure that the mixture is well moistened before sticking the cutting in. Use a smaller sized pot no bigger than 2.5" across, or you can use empty bedding plant trays. It's best to use new pots, but if you want to use a pot that's been used before, wash it well with soap and water, and then sterilize it with bleach or alcohol and then rinse thoroughly before using.
It will usually take several weeks for roots to form on your cuttings. Keep the cuttings indoors, in a bright spot that gets no direct sunlight. During this time, a careful balance must be kept with the watering of the media in the pots. It needs to stay somewhat moist, but it can't stay too wet or the cuttings will rot. If green algae starts growing on the top of the media, you're watering too much! Increasing the humidity around the cuttings will help in their success. Clear plastic humidity domes work well for this. They fit over a standard 10" x 20" greenhouse flat. Prop the corners up with a pencil so that there can be a little air circulation.
When new growth forms on the cuttings, you can be fairly sure that they have rooted and can be transplanted. You can also check for roots coming out of the bottom drainage holes of the pots. Once your cuttings have rooted well, you can pot them into a larger container, or plant them out in the yard this spring.

Here is a link that might be useful: blueberry root cutting instuctions

    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 3:41AM
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I think the purpose of cutting the leaves down to a smaller size(or its what i read) is so that there is less water evaporation from the surface of the leaves.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 7:01PM
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These Blueberry videos are all basically the same. They tell you how to cut the cuttings stick in rooting hormone and then in soil. Then leave you there. Nothing about daily care and watering. How long it takes to root. I also wonder if you could root the cuttings in water? I have tried 3 times this year to root Blueberry cuttings with no success. I tried the wood box with sand and an aquarium dome for humidity after a day the cuttings all turned brown. I have tried no dome no success. I am trying this time with a plastic dish pan with a mix of Perlite / sand then the cuttings inside a white garbage bag. Any more information appreciated.

mail (at) mikealrhughes (dot) com

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 3:55PM
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I bought Clonex Red Gel and Banrot so I need to try this again. I go to Upstate NY every summer and they have wild high bush blueberries that are killer and every year, I try to propagate some cuttings but never get them to take.

Hopefully this will be the year! I'll use cocofiber, some peat and perlite.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 5:35PM
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