Ziplock Rooting Method

grownskJuly 3, 2011

Ok, so I have tried a few different methods of rooting roses and so far until I can afford to get the correct type of timer for a misting box I have had the most luck with ziplocks...So to get down to my question....

At what point should you remove the cuttings from the ziplock? I have been taking them out once the cuttings have a good group of roots on them but have found once I take them out and pot them up that I tend to lose some of the am I taking them out to early or is there some way you should harden them off....I generally use sand just in the bottom of the ziplock bag to root the cuttings...After potting them up I have them in a bright shady spot and recently made a shade box with 70% shade cloth on it and am still losing them once I pot them...Any help is appreciated...



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I used to use the ziplock method when I lived in a hotter, drier climate. Only, I used peat pellets, one per cutting, so when they showed roots, they could be taken out with a formed root ball.

I found I had to inflate the bag when I placed them so the leaves wouldn't touch the bags. Once rooted, if I unzipped one corner just a little so I could very gradually acclimate them to hotter, drier conditions, they survived better. In the baggies, they are very soft, having grown in extremely high humidity, as if they were in a greenhouse. Putting them out in dry air, particularly sunnier, hotter dry air, fries them like we fry the first time we go out in the hotter sun after being inside all winter.

Opening a corner of the zip lock while leaving it in the light it rooted in should allow the tissues to harden off more easily. After a week or so, open it wider until the bag is open and they are adjusting. Then, you can remove them to plant in pots and continue gradually moving them out in hotter, more direct sun.

If you can move them from the bags when it is raining, you can put them out in at least half day sun because the rain will assist them in hardening off very quickly. Like transplanting plants, if it can be done when there is rain, cooler, more overcast skies, you can torture the plants quite severely and get away with it. Kim

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 11:33PM
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Thanks so much, I will try that...I have never thought about trying peat pellets...Might be worth a shot...What method do you use to root your cuttings now, Kim? I guess I just assumed that keeping them in the shade and watered well would be good enough adjustment for them but evidently not...I had also thought about rooting them directly in pots placed in the ziplock but that would take up to much space if you had very many cuttings at all to root...I usually get about 5 cuttings in a gallon bag and I figure by doing them in pots it would cut it down to 2...maybe 3 would fit but I guess I just like doing 5....Thanks for your input....I will try that...the only problem with that is some of the cuttings root quicker than the others do in the same bag....I guess just waiting til they are all rooted before opening the bag would work...

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 11:49PM
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You're welcome Kevin. The peat pellets work beautifully. Using them, you can actually remove the ones which rooted and place them in their own ziploc bag, leaving the remainder to continue developing.

I first heard of the ziploc method from the late Mel Hulse, the Volunteer Coordinator for the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden. He used potting soil in the bottoms and I massaged that to the peat pellets so I wouldn't have to disturb the roots when removing them. He liked soil because he said it made it easier for him to see the roots. They grow through the sides of the pellets, so that isn't an issue. Mel wrote it up and titled it, "The Rose Rustler's Handbook", and you can find it on Paul Barden's Old Garden Roses and Beyond.

That method worked very well for me in my former, more arid climate. Since moving closer to the coast, the humidity is significantly greater and the bags cause rot. I discovered the wrapping method on the Rose Hybridizers Association Forum, began having success with it and created my blog showing how I did what I did and how it works. The rest is history!

The link below is at the beginning of the wrapping thread. There are several further developments, including wrapping and rooting longer whips for standards. What I love about it is there is no hardening off to speak of. Once callused, I plant the cutting deep in the pot until it begins forming leaves. Once it's leafing out, I transplant it, raising the root ball higher, exposing more of the cane. So far, I've gotten very good results. It's easier when it isn't a hundred degrees outside, but it's still working! Kim

Here is a link that might be useful: Pushing the Rose Envelope

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 1:47AM
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How long after you plant them in the pot after callusing does it take the cuttings to grow new leaves? I am sure this is all different depending on the time of year and variety but a good estimate if you can....

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 5:58PM
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I've had it happen from three weeks to never. There are so many variables it's impossible to make a valid estimate. Chinas and minis have been the fastest to form leaves. Shadow Dancer, the striped large flowered climber, has been the slowest. Kim

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 10:25PM
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I have planted a rose cutting using ziplock method and it started leafing out now.But I planted it only 3 days back!!!! Wondering whether the rose cuttings grows this fast? Does this leaves mean that it has taken root?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2014 at 7:24PM
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Lala_E(GP, ZA (11))

Those new leaves forming that soon are usually from the plant using the energy stored in the stem, just like an old bouquet of roses might get new leaves on some stems.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2014 at 8:40PM
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