Hardening off

jont1(Midwest 5b/6a)October 7, 2006

What is the best method to harden off a successfully rooted cutting?? I am now getting them rooted pretty consistently, but have lost some trying to harden them off. I think I may be overwatering them after transplanting to a bigger pot with regular soil.


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michelle_co(z5 CO)

I put mine in dappled shade on my patio for about a week (less if it's overcast), then move out into full sun. My latest cuttings are just starting to root. I am moving them outside now and letting them harden off as much as possible before freezing weather sets in... They get a lot of water (we are having flash floods this week, and they are getting absolutely dumped on).

I have not lost any rooted cuttings yet (attributable to dumb beginner's luck) - I have 50 some rooted cuttings. Makes me wonder if perhaps your potting soil holds too much water? There may be a simple change that you can make to your potting mix to solve the problem... Adding perlite and/or peat & coir?

How many roots do they have before you repot them? Are you able to get them into their new pot without disturbing root ball? Those could be other issues to consider.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 11:36PM
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I know you need to go easy on the watering. michelle, do you bottom water exclusively? I felt I had to top water to get some going in regular potting soil, used a plastic pot with good drainage holes.

Since I will be "hardening" mine off in the house (maybe I should say weaning out of the bottles, can I spray them occasionally with a spray bottle or is that overkill? I would think that might introduce a chance for fungal and other problems.

I got a humidifier made by Sunbeam at Walgreens for $19.95.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 8:35PM
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michelle_co(z5 CO)

I top water once they are outside... It will be interesting to see how yours do inside, I may try keeping a couple of mine indoors, too.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 10:07PM
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I left the ones using the mason jar method outside for the winter (ran out of pop bottles). Won't know until late spring, only one looks like it might make it. We'll have to compare notes come spring.

I did something really crazy. I noticed that the cuttings I tried to root in the half vermiculite half peat the mix was so dry, I turned the cups over and tapped on them so I wouldn't risk pulling off any roots. Two had baby roots starting, so I just potted them up very gently, put the soda bottles back on. The rest I noticed seemed to have formed a little callus, no roots, leaves gone, stems green, could still see the white rooting powder, so I stuck them in George's mix that worked on the others. It's a long shot, but the problem with my wrong mix is that it doesn't suck up water from the bottom and dries out. Top watering ones I stuck before in potting soil was the wrong way to go, it contributed to their demise along with the heat. So we'll see what happens with those.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 11:38PM
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