what are 'roots enough' to plant in pots and ground?

debndulcySeptember 7, 2009

I have starts from cuttings taken throughout summer and wanted to see if I could find some info/advice on follow-up planting...

- For most shrub starts, I'll be putting them in pots w/a little tri-phosphate and then just trying to protect them outside over winter, and plant next spring. Am I on the right/best track here?

I would like to put a new forsythia or two in the ground if they would have a good chance of survival and start-up next season. What's best?

- I have a lot of mum, aster and penstemmon (not sure if the rose cuttings have taken/lasted) starts from cuttings, 4-6 and about 8 weeks old. It seems to me when I've tried before, that putting them in the ground 'the first year/or this soon after rooting, they didn't come back/survive. Should I be potting them over winter first, or is there something that can help/save them in the way I plant them now? Again, I use a little tri-phosphate when planting all new starts.

Thank you for any/all info, advice/guidance -


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I always pot up my rooted cuttings, usually when I have about one inch of roots. I do NOT use any chemicals in the potting soil. I do use a very well draining potting soil I make myself. If you are buying potting soil stay away from those that are peat based because they break down very fast into a soggy pudding and new roots will quickly suffocate. After a couple of weeks in the soil I will use a very weak fertilizer with each watering. I like a NPK of about 3-1-2. Al

    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 9:43AM
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Thank you, Al. (I thought I responded to this, but don't see it here; forgive if this is a duplicate.)

I have been mostly successful potting shrub cuttings (I make my own soil as you do) and this late, usually only use 1 light dose of a very mild fertilizer in about another 2 weeks (as it's starting to get cold here near Philadelphia). My thinking in using tri-phosphate was that it took a while to break down but would provide the appropriate boost needed to roots in the spring. My only concern had been that it might burn the roots.. have I been way off-base with this thinking?

Are there any good cuttings that can be successfully planted in the ground at this time of the year (again, I'm mostly thinking of the many mums, asters and forsythias I have started)?

THANKS again!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2009 at 11:26AM
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Those would be fine in the ground here in zone 9 where we don't expect the first frost before November. With the warm soil they would establish quickly. Your climate is a mystery to me so I can't make a recommendation. I only use synthetic fertilizer in pots because soil less mixes have no nutrients otherwise. In my garden no chemical fertilizers are ever required as the soil is replenished with compost spring and fall. Compost is not appropriate in pots because it limits the good drainage required. Al

    Bookmark   September 10, 2009 at 10:11AM
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