cuttings in perlite...how long?

deep___roots(ca9/sunset15)December 28, 2010

The good news is I took cuttings from some large leaved salvias in November and put them in perlite. The cuttings are doing great...new growth, etc.

My question is, how long can they stay in perlite? These cuttings are for some relatives and I may not see these people until March or April to hand off the cuttings.

So, pot up in soil now or just leave them be until then? Thanks much.

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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

If they have robust roots, and the current conditions will support growth, they should be potted up. You might apply some soluble fertilizer to the cuttings 3 to 7 days prior to potting up, to fortify them for the transplanting shock. A plant starter formula will be best.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 1:25PM
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bbarnes001(zone 9a-b)

I would plant them up soon. If you leave them in the perlite they will rot or get disease out here. Then as they grow, more water is needed because of the water holding capacity of perlite. But, i use the same media in my mist chamber and i fertilize weekly with peters triple 20 as they start to root. Do what rich said, and dont overwater. My cutting that are left in the mist chamber overwinter look horrible after a month of this weather. But, pot them before we get a freeze, so they have time to establish. We have been getting colder fast. I put all of my stuff in pots by the end of november. My mist chamber is empty until February. Then i am in full speed in greggii cuttings!!!! And vegetable seedlings!

Brent

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 5:33PM
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voodoobrew

I've been trying to root cuttings in the kitchen, since it's so cold/ WINDY out now, without the same success I have outdoors in warmer times of the year. Where can one buy a small, inexpensive "mist chamber" for the home gardener? I found this little homemade set-up (see link), but would be interested in something bigger. Also, is it worthwhile to use a bottom heat pad? Thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful: propagation chamber

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 7:14PM
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deep___roots(ca9/sunset15)

I will try to pot them up soon. These are pretty hardy though. They have been outside exposed to the elements since I took the cuttings back in November (oops, but they look really great). I think some colder weather is due to come in soon (like down near freezing) so maybe I better take some care if I want them to be as good as they can be. I'll post some pix next week. Thanks for the replies!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 7:23PM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

From personal experience, if you are going through a cold spell, keep them in the rooting media, and on the dry side with the roots warm. Just as it warms up, pot them up, and keep the roots warm and the soil just damp. Freshly potted cuttings do not like cold, wet feet.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 8:24PM
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dicot

They don't like 50 mph wind either. Had to pot up some cuttings because I couldn't keep them from drowning or getting blown over in the recent storms (SoCal's 2nd wettest Dec on record). Many of my 4-5 week old cuttings were a loss, 6+ weeks seemed to be fine, microphylla continuing to be my best performer, brandegei next most successful. I just use compost tea prior to transplanting and use 80 degree water with some chamomile tea for most irrigation.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 10:25PM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

My current attempts to take cuttings and root them over the winter are not going well. I normally don't even try, but I need to build up stocks asap, and I have cuttings and room to spare. I'm not sure they would root, even with bottom heat. The last two batches of plants I potted up are just sitting there. We have had quite a cold December.

On the other hand, I've got two very healthy Salvia gesneriflora Tequila and a S. karwinskii that I've kept in my 45 degree kitchen (I live in an unheated rental, and I love my electric blanket and my sweaters) for a month. The Tequila went into full bloom around Christmas, and the flowers held on until yesterday. These were plants that were dug out of the ground. They haven't dropped many leaves, and have been growing new foliage at an infinitesimally slow rate. They were dug up after a few near-frost days (I covered them with tarps for the coldest nights). They will soon go into my newly re-erected greenhouse, now that I am about done rearranging the tables inside.

I see I will be dealing with botrytis this January, so I will next be thinning out dense foliage, pruning, and getting a fan or two running.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 8:25PM
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wardda

My own later cuttings aren't doing well either. They should have gone directly onto bottom heat instead of on the porch where temperatures can drop to around 40, especially at night. Past experience tells me to leave them be for now, the shock from a temperature change seems to kill them more often than not. The potted plants that were brought in are sulking and will need a major warm-up before there is something fresh to work with. I envy your greenhouse. Last fall my neighbor helped me pick up a sliding glass door that was left for the trash down the road. It will be set up on hay bales around the beginning of March, much needed propagation space.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 9:25AM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

Ward, if you can run an extension to your makeshift cold frame and have another electric propagating mat, this will help both dormant plants and cuttings survive the winter. You don't want the bottom to be too hot, though. I'd guess about a 15 to 20 degree gradient would be about right. If you do so, make sure the plants don't dry out.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 12:15PM
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wardda

That is a good thought. I don't plan to set up the makeshift cold frame until the worst of the weather passes. My usual method is fresh cuttings and seed started with bottom heat. The ready to seperate seedlings and cuttings are potted into cells and grown under lights without bottom heat in the basement for a week or two and then moved to the porch. They then spend most of April traveling between the porch and the outdoors hardening off. The cold frame will give me extra space and at least for some flats, cut down on the traveling which gets old. You are right about drying out, several neighbors have cold frames and I have seen what can happen too many times to not have a healthy fear.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 12:33PM
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deep___roots(ca9/sunset15)

Here are my 2 cuttings. I did pot them up and they have been spending evenings in an unheated shed because we have been down into the 30's. I dunno, they look okay to me. One is rubesens, the other pulchella of some sort (I do have the exact name on the tag in case I'm butchering the name from memory).

    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 12:14PM
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