I did this to root, did I do it right?

AT2013August 10, 2013

About a month ago I took a bunch of rose cuttings from my mother's roses. I took a few and put them in potting medium designed for rooting and those dried out even with very humid conditions in propagation boxes. SoCal sun kills anything. The others, maybe 4-5 canes were wrapped in plain old white printer paper that was soaked, and rolled into a grocery bag for a few weeks. After a while I noticed they developed calluses. I had read about them a while back. I wet the paper a few times through the month and they had developed some thick callus. At this point I saw some browning of the bud eye ends and decided that I should just plan them. They hadn't developed roots at all, just good calluses. I placed them in moistened potting mix in a plastic cup and watered them. I let the water drain out for 30 minutes then placed the wet paper sheets folded nicely under the bottom of the cup and side in a grocery bag and lightly closed the top off. Now maybe a week later I see all the bud eyes growing into young branches (is this the correct word?).

When's a good time to plant them outside in bigger containers? I want to provide a moist living area until the weather cools off here. I live in zone 9a/9b, FWIW.

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Congratulations on getting them this far! There are two issues you have to be concerned with. The first is making sure there are actually roots growing. The more developed they are, the greater the chances of survival being transplanted.

The second is hardening off the cuttings before putting them outside. In that enclosed environment, the conditions are very much like a green house..."close", humid, mild and the growth is very soft. Once there are roots growing and perhaps the buds are pushing new growth, you need to gradually open the bag, a little at first, then more at small steps, so the growth becomes increasingly more used to the drier, hotter air outside the bag. This is called "hardening off". Think of it as what you experience when you first go out in warmer weather after having been inside all winter. If you aren't careful, you'll burn like mad, in comparison to what you may do later in summer once you've begun tanning (if you can tan, I can't!). This acclimation process needs to be done gradually, over a period of time, so they aren't fried, dried out, shocked to death.

Once you've taken the steps to gradually open the bag until they can be removed from it, you can, just as gradually, expose them to increasing levels of sunlight. If you have somewhere which receives filtered, morning sun, preferably around other plants which will help keep the conditions more humid, moist, it should help greatly.

The absolute ideal is to be able to pot them and put them outside during a period of rain as that constant bathing in water helps them harden off and get growing vigorously very well. Because of where you are, the prevailing weather conditions we're entering and time of year, this isn't a good time to move them outdoors.

Keep watching them so you know when the roots are growing. Once they are, you can more safely begin hardening them off, eventually putting them outdoors in a sheltered, filtered sun situation. If you can keep them going until real fall (cooler) weather begins, you may have it made! Planting them in larger pots can be accomplished any time after they are more actively growing, are hardened off and ready to be moved to an outdoor spot. That is best in small steps. If they're in an 8 oz cup now, the next step should probably be a 16 oz, then a gallon can and so on. Upsizing gradually permits them to form better root balls which will hold together better when transplanted.

Good luck! Kim

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 3:54PM
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Hey Kim,

I don't plan on tugging on the stems at all and will gladly leave them in the cup with their moist soil. I think I can get away with watering the soil once every other week.

The bag and cup with moist paper is located in the laundry room across my yard. I've got one shoot growing on one and two on the other, each with their own tiny set of leaves. I bought a small spray bottle yesterday so I can do misting in the bag on very hot days like this. I'm located in La Crescenta, so you can imagine how hot it gets up here.The laundry room keeps cool in the summer and warm in the winter, good for year round growth. I will likely keep them very protected this fall and winter mostly because of the strong wind storms we've gotten these last two years.

I had come across hardening off hours after I made my initial post but til then thought it only applied to seedlings in the winter... Do'h!

I will do the bag thing once the plant matures a little more. I wouldn't put it outside in this heat in its current state. I'm acclimating a store bought peppermint plant now in my laundry room. It's not wilting as much now as it was earlier in the week. I let it get maybe an hour or two of early AM sun and bring it into the bright laundry room where it keeps itself perky and gives off a nice scent.

...Anyway! Thanks!

I guess I'll purchase perlite the next time I go to HD since potting soil seems to be a no-no in regards to cuttings.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 6:39PM
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You're welcome! Oh, yes, I know La Crescenta weather! I had a very large (twelve-hundred-plus plants) rose garden in Newhall for eighteen years. Happily, I'm down to under two hundred here in Encino, now, not counting seedlings.

I'd think once you have the plants sufficiently hardened off, putting them outside when the weather cools off, in a protected area while they continue maturing would be much better for them than anything indoors. Do you have issues with squirrels, rabbits or other rodents where you are? Hopefully not, as they can devour a new, tender young plant like those in a sitting. I budded some plants earlier this spring and they were developing nicely...until a rat or squirrel gnawed the shoots back to the shanks. They went far enough to even get the guard buds, so they failed.

As long as you're not concerned with the plants blowing away or being washed away by heavy erosion, there isn't any winter storm weather you should really have to be concerned with there. It doesn't get cold enough to damage roses as a general rule. They're honestly not as fragile as we like to think they are!

As long as the potting soil drains and doesn't remain goopy, soggy, it shouldn't be an issue for cuttings. I've planted all of mine in the plain old Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting Soil because it remains damp enough for smaller pots to not dry out in a day when we have the heat and wind spike so common in our areas. It works just fine, much better than the non moisture control has because it does hold more water than the "regular stuff" without being soggy. The only bagged soil I've encountered in recent history which was real garbage has been Super Soil. It USED to be decent, but now is a mucky, goopy mess, so I'd avoid that like the plague. My dissatisfaction with the other brands I've more recently used has been they have dried out too quickly, often requiring being watered daily when it is hot, dry and/or windy. The Moisture Control hasn't. That can make a huge difference during a heat or wind spike.

I even use the Moisture Control soil to raise my rose seedlings in with good success. I only cut it with either seed starter mix or perlite for the seed cover to prevent it from being too heavy to allow small seedlings from breaking through.

If your bags are remaining sufficiently moist to only require watering every two weeks, you probably don't need to mist the cuttings. It sounds as if they are remaining moist enough. Too much misting in the bags can easily turn to rot very quickly. I'd only mist them if you're seeing them being flagging or wilting from heat. Otherwise, it seems you have your bases covered. Good luck! Kim

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 6:59PM
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Sounds good! 1,200 roses. Wow!

Funny you mention Super Soil, LOL, I just use the purple bag which is an enriched compost (practically a potting mix after looking at it) with feed pellets that slowly dissolve over months. I've been using it for years to start seeds and general cuttings, it works a treat. I can't say I've ever used their potting soil.

Despite its bad reviews, Ive had excellent success with Vigoro from HD. It's very compost like in nature, spongy in a way and keeps moisture even on very hot days like today where it peaked at around 105 F. I've been using it and Super Soil. The ground soil here is interesting. It's both rich and quick draining. Most of Glendale, La Crescents and I believe La Canada used to be full of citrus orchards. Sandy like soil mixed with some rich dirty and the potting mixes I buy seem to make the soil magical. Well draining and incredibly soft.

I just misted because the inside temperature of the bags was too much, even with a 1" crack open at the top. I guess I'll stop now.

This post was edited by AT2013 on Thu, Aug 15, 13 at 20:10

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 7:19PM
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One dried out the other one that was growing strong rotted in the soil. That's about 45 rose canes lost so far. I don't think this is for me.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 9:05PM
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