black and blue cuttings

hummersteveDecember 6, 2007

I took several b & b cutting and put them in water but only one stayed green and lived , not sure why. Also my coral honeysuckle and greggii plants still have green leaves and seem to be healthy. I expected it of the CH, but I was surprised that the greggii are still going after the first frost hit they didnt look well but they bounced back.

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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

Only mints and pineapple sage can be rooted in water and consistently be potted up and live. Water roots are not very reliable for most sages, if they form at all. Air is needed for roots to form properly and robustly, then withstand transplanting shock.

I am not saying that water roots will always fail, but that they are very unreliable, both to form, then survive transplanting for all but the most rapidly growing subtropical sages. Even these need to be actively growing and not dormant to form roots.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 12:21AM
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Steve, for me greggii progressively decline as winter advances. A few cultivars are still trying to form flowers, but I think their buds will be killed by this last stretch of freezing temperatures. The last sage to still be in flower, a couple of days ago, was the little blue flowered greggii relative chamaedryoides.

And if I might make a suggestion on cuttings to be overwintered - take them in August when it is still warm. Every year I kick myself for not taking more late summer cuttings. By the end of September it can be hard to find vigorous fresh new growth to work with and my success rate falls. All a pot full of cutting need in late summer is regular water and shade.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 6:07AM
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peterls(N Yorks, UK)

Rich. I have heard people talk about water roots as if they are a differant kind of root. Presumably they are the same as normal roots. Though I do appreciate that when transplanted they no longer have the same intimate contact with the soil as they had with the water, and the plant can consequently fail.

You have confirmed my suspicions. I tried Salvia Mystic Spires cuttings in both water and soil. The soil ones did very well, but they never even formed roots in water.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 7:03AM
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Rich-- Thanks for your expert advice, being my first year to have and take cuttings wasnt really sure how to do it. I suppose I just wanted to see the roots if they did survive. The one cutting that did survive, the bottom part of the cutting [about 1 inch] turned dark. Im assuming this is the root but it didnt look like a root . Anyway I put the whole thing in soilless mix and I will see if it survives. From the comments here, my chances arent good.

Wardda--- The greggii I have are the magenta and primrose and like I said at the first frost I thought they looked like goners but now both plants have come back with green leaves, now I dont expect them to live thru the winter , but I have great hope they will come back next spring by the way they standing strong now.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 2:46PM
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Wardda-- I know I should have taken cuttings earlier in the year and I think it was you who warned me about it but I became lazy and did not do and should have.

I also have a great deal of trouble trying to get b & b seeds to germ without bottom heat and I tried it again with the seeds I took just recently and nothing. I wanted to run a trial on them just to see and no good results. So now Im about ready to give up on them just winter sow the seeds. I winter sowed seeds outside last year and had good success with what I tried.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 2:59PM
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Steve, it sounds like the bottom is rotting. That is what the bottoms of failed cuttings look like when I pull them out of potting soil. Don't give up hope though, if there are still a few good leaf nodes it may still root in potting soil. If you are trying to grow a bunch of them inexpensively to bulk up your hummingbird garden you could try ordering a few plants in late winter, pot them up into a larger size pot upon arrival and in a month or so you should have new shoots to take as cuttings. I can't afford to buy all the plants I need for spring planting each year, and fortunately for us, many sages make great progress in their first season. An extreme example is guarantica Van Remsen. Some of cuttings taken from a plant Richard provided last March reached 7 feet by August and what a show. This same idea can apply to many other sages and tending new cuttings helps keep the gardener marginally sane through the long winter months.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 7:21PM
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Ward--- What are your thoughts about the black and blues in the ground now , what percentage could I expect to come back next spring or will I need to just dig them up and start over. I will most likely move some of them anyway since they are growing into each other and a lot of the blooms that could be are smothered out.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 12:32AM
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I don't know. What is your zone? What is your soil like? Does it stay dry during the winter? If your soil is really well drained you could pile fall leaves on your plants. Here in zone 7a my B&B has been coming through the winter just fine for maybe a decade. The worst die-off came last year when I didn't mulch them and we had that extended fall weather into January followed by cold weather from February through April. I'll never be sure whether it was the lack of mulch or maybe the December-January weather was so warm that the plants were growing under the ground - or both.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 6:49AM
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My zone is a 5/6 and my soil is a mix , but somewhat sandy where the plants are and I banked the soil up with a rich mix before I planted.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 1:38PM
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Steve, I have wondered whether just throwing some bags filled with leaves on top your plants might give you enough degrees of frost protection. That is not something I would do until the plants are dormant. I find every winter a crap-shoot in my zone. More often than not it is the so-call tender plants that surprise me in spring by returning, but sometimes a plant that proved hardy for years fails to return.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 12:47PM
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