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Cuttings

Posted by scotttt NC (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 28, 10 at 19:56

Hello everyone I am new here and just have a few questions. I have been following some of the posts here for the last few weeks about cuttings for advice and finally decided I just need to ask my questions.

I have a small 6x10 greenhouse in which I have a propagation area along the back wall about 3'x6'. In that area I have some mist nozzles that operate intermittently. I started on about July 12th and took some cuttings about 4 inches long of gardenia, camelia, and nellie stevens. I planted them in 50/50 peat and perlite mixture. I broke off the bottom leaves and left the top two or three leaves on all plants, and cut the remaining leaves in half. I dipped plants in powder rooting hormone and stuck them in, about 1- 1.5 inches deep in potting mix. They were set to be misted for 6 seconds every 6 minutes throughout the day. The greenhouse during the day gets super hot, around 110+ degrees if the door is left closed, so I open the door and it stays in the 90-100 degree range.

About 1 week later, I notice plant stems turning brown and some of the soil mix had a greenish tint, so I decided that I had the starting of root rot. I went and bought oasis wedges, restuck every plant about 1 inch deep and have continued with the misting. I have noticed some of the leaves falling off and some of the plants, gardenia specifically have wilted over.

Am I doing something wrong? When should I see roots? I will get pictures if I need them?

I have also stuck some azaleas, loropetulum and ligustrums over the past couple of weeks following the same guidelines.

Thanks for the input.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Cuttings

Scott, the best equipment to use when rooting cuttings is a "clone machine" that you can buy or make your own very cheap. Google and see. Also check out flea bay for ideas on homemade systems that people are selling. I only use the mist system when grafting to keep the scions from drying out thereby increasing my chances of a take.

Besides using the wrong equipment for the job I see many reasons why you are not having success.

1. The greenhouse is just too hot. You are cooking your cuttings. The ideal rooting temperature is between 70-85F ambient. You will have to find another area that is much cooler and without any direct sunlight on the cuttings. Keep them shaded.
2. Dip your entire cuttings in a anti-fungal solution such as Boric Acid 1/4tsp to 32oz water, or Dithane M-45 or any similar type of fungicide to kill fungal spores present on the stems and leaves.
3. The cuttings require air flowing but not directly at them when using a mister in an enclosed space specially in a greenhouse to help control fungus/mold.
4. I had the same problems with the peat/perlite mix, so I use either vermiculite, coir, or potting soil without peat or moisture control instead. Believe it or not mushroom compost works great. Lowes has it.
5. The purpose of the mist system is to keep the leaves from desiccating. You will have to adjust the interval time so that they never dry out. Do not run the mister at night only in the daytime. Lack of sunlight (daylight) promotes fungus/mold formation.
6. After you dip the stems in the root hormone poke a hole in your soil, insert the stem, then push the soil around the stem. This way you don't wipe the hormone off the stem as you insert it in the soil.
7. Make sure the stems don't sit in water continuously. They will rot if in contact with saturated soil. The soil or rooting medium must be moist but not wet.

good luck.


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RE: Cuttings

Thank you for your reply. This has generated a few more questions

Would a fan in greenhouse in front of some mister nozzles be appropriate up at the ceiling, to help cool the greenhouse, or would that produce to much moisture in the air. They would have to operate all day once temperatures in greenhouse reach say 90-95 degrees.

How deep should the cuttings be stuck in? And is it better to use liquid rooting hormone? Some more of my ligustrum leaves fell off today, is that normal, they were cut in half when originally stuck. How do I know if it is too late for my cuttings or if they are hurt. 85 % have not wilted or turned brown, but no signs that would lead me to believe they have rooted.

I have pictures, how do I post them?


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RE: Cuttings

This is more of a bump.

I have added some misters in the greenhouse that attempt to keep the temperatures below 90 degrees during the day, they do a pretty good job of that.

Reminder I am using the oasis wedge medium. Some of the buds on a few of the plants have grown out, but none have developed roots.

Is there a fungicide I can spray on them now to kill off any mold that may be growing, but not harm the cuttings? I have some white powdery substance on some of them, I am not sure it is not a fungus vs calcium from the hard water. Also the stems on alot are darkening up, is this always a sign of root rot, or do they always darken up some? Last my cuttings are stuck about 1 - 1.5 inches deep and then are about 3 inches tall above ground. I read somewhere that they should be buried up to the first leaves? Is that true? Maybe this is causing my medium to get too wet, leaving more of it exposed.

Thanks again for any help

How do I know when it is too late for my cuttings?


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RE: Cuttings

I have checked my gardenias today and have about 25 of them that have grown roots. When do I transplant to bigger pots? Right now they are in the oasis wedges, what size pot should I move up to? What type of medium should I use when transplanting to bigger pots, a soilless mix? Peat and perlite? How do I proceed about hardening them off. I need to use my mister as it is set now for the remainder of the plants. Do I water the plants in the medium now or should they be misted? Please someone give me an educated advice so I can better my chances of keeping these rooted cuttings alive. Thanks


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RE: Cuttings

Hi Scott, I'll offer some suggestions in answer to some of your questions.
Transplant into larger pots when well-rooted into the oasis. I would start with about a four inch pot. For woody plants use a bark-based soiless mix. Take cuttings off mist as soon as they have enough roots to take up the water and nutrients they need. Continued misting just leaches nutrients.
A shade cloth or some shade paint on your greenhouse would help to lower the temperature. A small exhaust fan on a thermostat would be a nice addition.
It is too late for cuttings when the stems turn black. As long as the cuttings look green and healthy, they probably still have a chance.
Good luck, Fred


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RE: Cuttings

Just an update, I have about a 95% success rate on the gardenias, with about 50 or so gardenias succesfully rooted and in 4 inch pots. I also have about the same success rate with the ligustrums and have about 50 of those as well transplanted into the large 3-5 inch pots. I am trying to ween both of these off of water, and am down to 7 waterings of 1 minute throughout the day. They have been doing this for about 2 weeks out in the sun during the day. I am going to reduce watering every third day, until I am down to one watering a day.

I also have some nellies that are trying to callous over, and some loropetulums that have finally started to root. I do not believe I am going to have the same success with the loropetulums. The camelias are not rooting and have been in the mist for about 8 weeks. Gardenias took about 4-5 weeks to root and the Ligustrums about 5-6 weeks. I started some more different types of gardenias about two weeks ago, I hope it is not too late.

Any suggestions. Am I doing anything wrong? Also when to try to root Crepe Myrtles. The blooms are just now completely stopping on them around here?


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