How wet to keep cuttings?

rosecorgisFebruary 9, 2010

I've started trying to propagate some old Chinas. I have the cuttings in little see through plastic cups with drainage holes then the cups in a see through plastic bin with cover. The inside of the bin is damp - there's condensation. I open it up once a week to spritz water on the sides of the bin if it's not already damp. I also check the sides and bottoms of the cups for roots. None yet.

My question is how wet should the soil mix in the cups be? Some seem dry to me and I add a little water. Some look green. Do these have too much water? They don't feel soggy.

I feel like I understand the rest of the process but get stuck here. I just can't tell what's right.

They're about 3 weeks old. No roots yet. Growing leaves from all the buds but I know that doesn't really mean anything. I'm hoping that activity above ground means the buds are growing roots below ground.

I really want these to work -- they're Archduke Charles and White Pearl in Red Dragon's Mouth. Any suggestions would be appreciated.



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My dormant rose cuttings are in a mix of bark fines, Turface, and granite fines. As you can imagine it is almost impossible to get this mix to hold too much water. Here in our mild winter climate, it rains all winter, my cuttings are out in the rain and do not need any tenting to keep them moist. I can stick up to about 10 in a one gallon container. Our winter temperatures are from a low of about 35 to a high of about 60 degrees. It may take more than two months for root growth to start. Foliage growth during this time tends to deplete the energy stored in the wood of the cutting and I would rather that energy was used to start roots! If you notice your cuttings turning black at soil level you are probably too wet and are rotting the cutting. Al

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 9:36AM
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Thanks, Al.

Mine are in 1/3 potting soil, 1/2 perlite and the rest sand. The water drains through very fast and I they don't sit in it.

It's been about a month since I stuck them. Most have some new leaves or swollen buds on the canes. I don't see roots on the bottom of the cups yet. The canes are green -- I don't see any rot.

If yours have been out in the weather all winter, then they've gotten more water than mine have. Should the soil feel damp or pretty dry?

I'm in Livermore, CA.


    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 11:16AM
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The soil should always remain moist. When you water the mix becomes saturated, but as the water drains the air is pulled into the spaces in the soil structure that was occupied by the water. As long as the drainage is fast you should not have a rotting problem. I have a few cuttings taken in September that are just now growing roots. All this time in the pot mix without foliage or roots, they have not rooted until now and they are also growing new foliage. Because I like to control the mix particle size I do not use a potting mix for starting cuttings. Al

    Bookmark   February 12, 2010 at 1:27PM
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