Anyone try air layering for hard to root ones?

erasmus_gwOctober 19, 2012

I have some roses that are consistently hard to root. Most have lots of smallish thorns, like Gertrude Jekyll and Common Moss. I'm considering air layering, and think semi-hard wood done at this time of year might work. The way I understand it, you make an angled cut part way through a cane above a node. Put some damp peat moss in and around the cut and enclose in plastic. Maybe it would be good to cover that with something opaque so it won't trap too much heat. Am thinking that if I left that in place long enough there might be roots in spring. I know the kind of layering works where you take a trailing branch and pin it to the ground, but my Gertrude plant doesn't trail. It goes up and out. I guess I'll just try it and see if it works.

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I tried this once on 'Celestial'. I got a LOT of callousing, but no roots in that case. There was a forum member a couple of years ago who was singing the praises of rooter pots ... essentially a two part plastic contraption that does the same thing as the wrapping to keep the media moist and in place around the stem while we are praying for roots. If I remember correctly, he had some really decent success with them. I think he said he got them from Lee Valley, or some place like that. Google 'rooter pot' and see what you get.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 8:22AM
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Thanks, Connie! I looked them up. I think the only thing different about them and just wrapping some peat moss around a stem is the water reservoir. Since they're kind of expensive I think I'll try what I have on hand first. It LOOKS like you could make your own rooter pot with a small plastic drinking cup with a lid. But I guess there is a raised lip around the lower hole that keeps water in. I am not sure yet how fast a traditional air layer would dry out, but assume it works at least part of the time. I asked Paul Zimmerman why these particular roses are hard to root and he said it's a mystery why some are hard to root..a plant can be very vigorous and still balk at rooting. I see other people have trouble rooting teas whereas they are easy here.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 9:32AM
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seil zone 6b MI

Lee Valley Tools sells a kit called The Rooter Pot that does this kind of rooting right on the plant.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Rooter Pot

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 8:29PM
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Thank you, Seil. I must try plain old cheap air layering methods first, because those pots could add up if you wanted to propagate a bunch of them. Am not sure the additional moisture is necessary..guess I'll find out. A plant would look pretty ugly with a lot of air layer pouches on the canes though, at least for awhile.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 8:13PM
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bugbite(z9a FL)

I always thought the method in the video (see link) was very cool. It shows air layering a grape. Certainly should be able to be modified and used on a rose.
I would use a lot smaller bottle, like a small juice bottle or water bottle, etc. A smaller bottle would also allow it to be attached directly to the bush, if not a small stake would support it.

Also check out the video on "propagating a michelia alba" on the same page. That's a lot of scraping.

Here is a link that might be useful: Air layering

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 4:35PM
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