Apricot Salvia Cuttings Need Help

poitou(8b)August 13, 2013

I took 2 cuttings of my apricot-coloured salvia (sorry I don't know the name - I was given the original) when a branch broke off on 23rd June. They were doing fine until this last week. They have worsened since the photo was taken with 2 leaves turning yellow and dropping off. The sickness seems to be spreading up the plant.

They are indoors near a shaded window. They were covered with a dome for the first month or so.

I have done a search on cuttings and am now wondering if the soil is not airy enough - it's a proprietary seeds and cuttings compost. All my cuttings of other plants have thrived in it. Of course, I'm also concerned about too much/too little water and the size of the pots they're in.

Thanks for any advice you can offer. I have another 8 little ones taken 3 weeks ago and don't want to lose them.

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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

Mixes for rooting cuttings should be a sterile medium,without any humus or fertilizer. An initially sterile potting soil for cuttings will get contaminated with pathogens more quickly overtime. If you have plants that root quickly, a humusy soil will work.

However, slow to root plants need to be in a less reactive medium. I've tried inadvertent experiments with slow cuttings in vermiculite that were starting to root. When I saw new, light green tips on about a third of my cuttings, I fertilized the baby flat with a little plant starter liquid fertilizer, and the cuttings with the new, light tip growth took off as expected. However, the cuttings that had not yet rooted mostly took a turn for the worse and eventually died off, with only a few rooting.

Cuttings need a sparse, airy medium to force them to develop the organs they need to take in not only water, but nutrients. When they develop the critical mass of new roots, then they can absorb nutrients as well. Exposed cambium and/or callus can only work through osmosis, drawing in enough water to keep the cutting turgid until it finds the resources to form new roots.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 10:32AM
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Thank you for your response. I didn't think anyone had replied as I didn't receive an email. Just checked on the off chance. So are you saying I need to repot my little salvias into a more nutritious mix asap?

Thank you for your help.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 3:09PM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

Actually, a sterile and less nutritious mix is called for. The cuttings need fertilizer only after new roots develop. Check the underground parts of the cuttings for health. There may be knobs of callus tissue forming, which is OK. Check for shriveled, rotting, or darkened stems.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 4:33PM
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