Cutting information for Holly in West LA
Hi Holly! Thanks for messaging me, but you didn't include your email so I can't respond directly. Congratulations on your successes!
You didn't mention whether you had wrapped the cuttings or attempted to root them directly in soil.
I would imagine where you are, the sun and temps are a bit cooler than where I am here in Encino. Mine have all been wrapped so had at least some callus before being potted. They all receive direct sun from about 9:30 AM to 1 PM daily, with strong reflected and indirect sun from probably 8 or so in the morning and after 1 PM. But, again, I you didn't say how you prepared your cuttings, and they might not be rooted yet, so you might be better off leaving them where they receive dappled morning light. If they aren't rooted, putting them out in direct sun might well kill them. If they are rooted, gradually moving them into greater sun will help harden them off so they can be moved without shocking and burning them. That's why I start my cuttings where they will receive some direct sun. The combination of calluses; planted deeply in the cups so they are protected and kept damp; and receiving direct morning sun for a few hours works perfectly here for the type of cutting material I'm working with. By the time they are well rooted and ready for transplanting, they are already used to half day or better direct sun and require no hardening off.
I used larger foam cups (as well as some bands and quart pots from premium perennials) than you stated you used. I planted them deeply with the bottoms of the cuttings probably an inch or so from the bottom of the containers so I could see when roots were growing through the soil and to keep the cuttings cooler, darker and damper while they root.
What I do to check for roots is to slip the cutting between my fingers with the cup upside down in my hand and gently slide out the root ball into my hand. I can see any roots poking through the bottom of the soil ball very easily. Once they are visible, I'll put two or three inches of the same damp soil into the bottom of the cup or pot I just removed the cutting from, then set the root ball on top of the soil in the cup and gently begin working the soil the cutting is planted in, down around the roots to fill up the cup or pot to the level I want it. That way, the cutting has been lifted higher out of the soil, there is more room under the new roots for them to continue growing and nothing has really been disturbed so the plant continues growing without any stress of being moved.
If you were to tip your soil balls out of the cups and check for roots, you would have the information you need to determine if you should replant the cuttings or leave them alone until there are more roots.
The only "dis budding" you should do is to pinch of any flower buds which form. Once there are roots, you want the foliage as it shades the stem from the hot sun and generates the food necessary to begin feeding the plant so it will continue rooting and growing. But, flowers drain resources unnecessarily, so pinch them off as they form but leave all the new foliage on the plant. (as long as there are roots!)
I guess there is hope for the remaining cuttings. It all depends upon why the others failed and whether these remaining ones have roots or not. As long as they are continuing to look alive, there is hope. If you tip the soil balls out of the cups and discover roots, absolutely! They ARE new, immature plants. If you don't see roots, don't give up. Keep them where they are until you see them either die or start putting out new roots and top growth. If you see roots filling the foam cups and they look as if they require repotting, put them up into gallons. Otherwise, just keep watching them until they need to be repotted.
After these, sure! Try some soft wood cuttings and see how they work for you. Perhaps with your probable higher humidity and dappled light, you may have greater success with soft wood types than I've had here. Good luck! Kim