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Cuttings and Moon Phases

Posted by luvs2plant z9 TX (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 11, 06 at 19:23

I'm wondering if the moon phases, fruitful or barren signs, have any effect on whether cuttings will root. I know at certain times, I'll have a higher percentage of cuttings root while at other times, nothing will root.

Do you suppose that taking cuttings during a fruitful sign would be more apt to strike roots? Have any studies been done on this theory?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Cuttings and Moon Phases

There is considerable "antidotal information" on this subject & most supports the belief that moon signs are important.
As a comercial propagator I do not pay attention to moon signs BUT do pay attention to condition of cuttings, amount of hormones applied, soil used, soil temperature, misting timming, light level etc. etc.

RE: Cuttings and Moon Phases

My mother used to say that some folks plant in the waxing of the moon but she'd rather plant in the ground. I feel the same .

As Georgez5il said, I think a careful attention to condition and watering is the key, and the other is at best a self fulfilling prophecy.


RE: Cuttings and Moon Phases

Some people act like the proven affects the moon has on water laden bodies on the earth is affected only by faith or lack of faith. What a crock. The moon affects the forces which pull or push away water. What is the most plentiful element in humans? water; how do the oceans respond to the moon's distances from each ocean's position on earth; what element is most vital to the survival and growth of plants, isn't that water: etc.... On and on one could go with such questions all linking in one way or other how the water's functionings are altered as the moon's distance from their specific place on earth affects them.

Contrary to how some seem to believe, it is not spooky or mystic; just like, the gravity which keeps us from floating off into space, or the other forces which keep the solar systems from flying haphazardly apart and away from their currently maintained ranges of position- adjustments, are not spooky or mystic forces.

The full scope of understanding most likely is not known even by the most qualified human experts, but such of these known and unknown along with the knowledge of the moons affective forces are all based on systematic functioning of elements powered by other systematic elements; Such as is recognized by most people whether they believe in a big God who powers and reigns over it all or those who would rather believe natural occuring elements simply happened upon just the right actions and consequences to exert such forces and hold all things within a range of check and balances enough to avoid everything flying off in total chaos, and with other fluid elements being pushed and pulled creates consequences for all living within range of the the reaction to such force.

Yes proper care of plants is always needed, but such will never override the natural gravity and other universal forces which consistently play upon the actions and reaction of those plants and every other water dependant living thing on this earth.

Such forces affect every fluid matter whether seemingly solid or not. As such, it is even reasonable for the gravitational pull of the moon's changing distances to vary parts of the earth and to be seen affecting our landscapes and gardens.

I do not pretend to begin knowing much about such universal realms. Yet, even the little I know wants to rise up and resist the denials of those who take even less time to see the universal forces which affect physical functions and most all life forms on the earth.

To those who in response of not taking the time to really see, rush to the belief that individuals are the only force producers of the needed elemental fluctuations in both our little and grand gardening realms; I simply respond: How silly.

RE: Cuttings and Moon Phases

OK Katrina, so you take cuttings, when??

RE: Cuttings and Moon Phases


From times long ago, If my memory serves me well, I have seen people reap greater rewards whenever they included the old wisdom of respecting the earths and universal natural elemental cycles along with their common every day efforts in determining the best gardening techniques for their success.

John Jeavons, the author of "How to grow more vegetables.." writes, "Increasing amount of moonlight stimulates leaf growth" and "as the moonlight decreases the above ground leaf growth slows down. The root is stimulated again."

After further test done by Frau Dr. Kolisko in Germany back in 1939 and by Maria Thun in 1956; they concluded that maximum germination of seeds occured on the days before the full moon. They also reported that weights of the crop yields were increased when seeds had been germinated at the accordingly lunar times.

Ute York in her book "Living by the Moon" includes the following quote.

"The old-time gardeners say, "with the waxing of the moon, the earth exhales. when the sap in the plants rise, the force first goes into the growth above ground. Thus, you should do all activities with plants that bear fruit above ground during a waxing moon. With the waming of the moon, the earth inhales. then, the sap primarily goes down toward the roots. Thus, the waning moon is a good time for pruning, multiplying (which likely meant propagating,)fertilizing, watering, harvesting, and controlling parasites and weeds."

The above wisdom tested and practiced comes from a slower time when people were not, as so many of us today are, so familiar with the foolish expectation of instant success as a lifestyle. Back then they seemed to value the quality of wisdom they learned that had proven over time to consistantly give positive results.

Then they took such wisdom and applied it when and where ever their lifestyle benefited from such. It involved very similar types of observations to that which motivated loves2plant question.

When one first takes a cutting, one does not want that cutting to expend all its energy by growing taller and more leaves. Rather instead, one wants the stem to put all the majority of its energy into producing the swelling which is followed by roots that grow strong enough to begin feeding the above ground growth.

It seems more sane to begin the steps of the propagating process at a time where they can at least start out in the same sync with the gravitational's pull effected by sun yes, but more so by the stronger gravitational affect of the moon due to its relative closeness to the earth.

The rate of rooting potential of whatever one is trying to propagate obiously will play on when to first take the cutting.

For easy Rose of Sharon rooting cuttings and or other quick rooting cuttings I would think that in the appropriate times of the year taking cuttings from them just as the waning of the moon begins would be very beneficial.

for slower rooting plants and shrubs, or ones where their upper stems seem to dry very quickly before the swelling and resulting roots can form, then I tend to think taking those cuttings a little sooner, toward the end of the waxing phase should give slight help that might be enough for the above ground stem, with the proper care, to survive long enough in the process for the swelling and roots to form and take over.

RE: Cuttings and Moon Phases

"I would think that....... then I tend to think taking "
Katrina, have you ever taken a cutting and rooted it? You have had two great opportunities to give us your personal experiences with rooting and have not done it yet. From all the writing you have done, I still don't know when YOU TAKE CUTTINGS nor what your experience has been.

RE: Cuttings and Moon Phases

Yes, the first time I took a cutting was when I was 6 years old. It was a rose that I simply stuck in the ground on a morning when a lot of dew was on the grass. I put a clear wide mouth jar over it, and if I remember right it only took a little over a week for it to root. I simply took the glass jar off and the rose start continued to grow into a bush. I was so surprise to see that it had actually rooted so, a few weeks later I tried to propagate another rose the same way. That effort failed. Even though I did nothing different from the first time, it still failed. Just like your initial question, I too wondered if my first one only worked because I had done it at the right time in the month that spring.

As an adult, it has only been in the last 5 months that I have become interested in doing my own propagating. My first attempt was to take 4 cuttings off my Blue Satin Rose of sharon. Using a mixture of 50% sand and 50% vermiculite; dipped the cuttings in Espoma Bio-tone Starter;, covered them with a plastic tent, which still allowed air circulation; misted them regularly; always kept them in indirect light during the day and darkness at night. None of those 4 cuttings I tried to start survived. Later when I decided to try it again with 4 more cuttings, I did the exact same thing and that time 3 for my cuttings rooted and now are ready for their second potting in regular soil for winter preparation. I can not prove it beyond all doubt that those three rooted because of my cutting them in the right phase of the moon, and in fact I did not even think about it until reading your original post on the subject, but the second attempt at my rose of sharon cuttings were first cut shortly after a full moon.

It also reminded me of the many years ago when I had no idea what I was doing at age 6 when the first rose rooted. After the second attempt to get another rose cutting rooted failed I asked, why? I was told I had tried to do the second one at the wrong time. Was that answer really saying I did it at the wrong time in the moon's phases. I do not know for sure.

But your question and my own experiences have motivated me to start doing more propagating (during each of the phases of the moon) just to see if a pattern emerges which indicates a fairly consitant result one way or the other.

It seems reasonable to me that during the 3rd quarter of the moon, taking cuttings of fairly easy to root plants and shrubs should continue to be more successful for me. But I have to admit that I will have to do a lot more cuttings during all the moons phases and charting the results before I feel certain my theory is right or wrong.

RE: Cuttings and Moon Phases

Thank you.

RE: Cuttings and Moon Phases

Thanks, everyone, for your input.

To me, it's logical that moon phases would play a part in when a cutting would/would not strike roots, if the same theory applies to seed germination.

I'd still be interested in knowing if anything's been published on the subject. In the meantime, I'll just have to do my own experiements :)

RE: Cuttings and Moon Phases

>>Posted by georgez5il z5 IL (My Page) on Fri, Oct 13, 06 at 12:37

There is considerable "antidotal information" on this subject & most supports the belief that moon signs are important.
As a comercial propagator I do not pay attention to moon signs BUT do pay attention to condition of cuttings, amount of hormones applied, soil used, soil temperature, misting timming, light level etc. etc.<<

As a commercial propagator, have you experienced batches that didn't root, in spite of controlled conditions, that might indicate something else influencing success/failure? Or do you believe that conditions alone are the influential factors? Thanks.

RE: Cuttings and Moon Phases

As can easily be seen by my previous long posts, this topic has captivated my interest.

For those desiring help in determining how much and what type of natural forces may be affecting their seed and cutting propagating efforts, I want to draw your attention to a good website which gives such data that is specific to individual location. Those stats are offered on the U.S. Naval Obervatory, Astonomical Applications Department. Their web site allows one to enter specific,past, present, or future; year, month, day, US State and town, or for world wide locations to enter longitude,latitude, time zone, and place name.

I particularly liked that web site's service since among other things they listed the moon waxing or waning on each day and also listed the persent of exposed, sun refected Moon visiable for each specific day at any specific location specified.

Web site listing such data:

If typing in the entire address will not pull up; try typing in only the first of the address and attempting to get to these pages by clicking on locations in their site which seem to offer access to the above address' pages.

RE: Just planted tulip bulbs in the dark of the moon

Hopefully my planting those in the dark of the moon will help the bulbs to reproduce so abundantly the I will be able to double or more my just planted 30 tulips by next fall.

The tag said to plant them 4 inches apart, but I had only 30 and and a 46 foot long boarder in which to plant them.

Maybe, the wide spacing for the first year before the bulbs can propagate will need to be filled in with clumps of crocus and hyacinth bulb plantings

RE: Cuttings and Moon Phases

I know I'm responding to a post that is a little over 8 yrs. old, but I would like to know if anyone has been keeping any journals,and now has any updates on this subject to prove it's findings?

RE: Cuttings and Moon Phases

I find this idea completely inconceivable. I appreciate Katrina's attempt to add even a shred of "science" to an explanation, but I'm totally unconvinced that such an effort (to associate any scientific explanation) would even be possible.

Many have relied on things ranging from prayer and/or sacrifice (to all kinds of various different gods and deities) to talking to their plants, to get better performance from their crops and plants. I think most of us would realize that most of these attempts (sacrifice to some random now-forgotten god, for instance) were futile. However, the people that performed these practices often held firmly to their beliefs.

In my opinion, we are better served by a scientific approach to this task. If we have the time and means, we can do our own experiments. If not, we would probably be best advised to read and research the work of others, especially scientific researchers and true experts-in-the-field.

RE: Cuttings and Moon Phases

Did you miss something in school when you learned about the moon's pull on the earth and the high tides???? Wouldn't you call that scientific research if they teach it? and if not then read the following.

The Influence of the Moon

The moon's orbit around our planet affects the rising and falling tides, air currents on the earth's surface, and the occurrence of thunderstorms. The gravitational pull of both the sun and the moon affects us, but we feel the effects of the moon more acutely. While the moon has a much smaller mass, it is 390 times closer to us than the sun.

Tides manifest the gravitational pull of the moon as it circles the earth. If you think of the water on the earth as a thin skin on the surface mass of the planet, it is easy to understand how the gravitational effects of the moon's orbit can pull the water mass gently from side to side. The tide cycle follows the same time cycle as the rising moon, occurring faithfully every twenty-four hours and fifty minutes. Tides rise in lakes and rivers as rhythmically as in oceans.

The correlation of moon and tide may not seem to have anything to do with planting or gardening, but consider the fact that the water content of the earth responds to the same tide cycle as the massive bodies of water that cover our planet. Any gardener knows the importance of the soil's water content to a germinating seed. It makes sense to consider, when planting your garden, the pull of the moon and the moon's position in order to give seeds the best chance to germinate, grow and develop....

Rainfall, like the water content of the earth, is affected by the cycles of the moon as surely as the tides, which reach their highest point every 14.6 days or twice a month. Rainfall cycles mirror the two-week tide cycle in response to the position of the moon. The highest rainfall occurs just after the full and new moons. Once a month, when the moon is at perigee (nearest the earth), tides are pulled 30% higher than at apogee, the point at which the moon is farthest from the earth....

Not only does the gravitational pull of the moon affect the tides and rainfall, but it affects the air currents on the surface of the earth as well. Plants are extremely sensitive to any tiny energy fluctuation....

Lunar winds on the earth's surface, moving at l/20 of a mile per hour, are too minute to be felt on the human skin, but they come, as do tides, twice daily. In the morning they flow east, in the evening to the west, influencing the growth of plants as surely as sunshine and rainfall.

The moon also affects the surface of the earth itself. A Columbia University study, conducted in 1970 across the continental United States, measured earth tides and found that land surface changes an average of twelve inches each day.

Tides, lunar winds, earth tides and rainfall, together with the subtle effects of the moon on the shifting of the earth's crust and the moon's effects on the patterns of thunderstorms and their corresponding effect on ionization in the air, convince us that the effects of the moon on our planet are constantly coming into play, influencing the growing things of the earth. These factors considered, gardening in accordance with the phases of the moon seems not so odd after all.
Why the Moon Phase System Works

The time at which a seed is sown is the beginning of its life cycle. Final plant yield, as every gardener knows, is crucially affected by the conditions encountered by the seed....

The person most responsible for formal experimentation in this area is Maria Thun, whose research on her farm in Darmstadt, Germany, has been financially supported by a group of biodynamic farmers.

In 1952, Thun developed a method of sowing a fixed number of crop rows over a sidereal month. The term sidereal refers to the position of the moon in relationship to the stars or constellations in the sky behind it. In other words, Maria Thun sowed according to varying phases of the lunar cycle. Once the crop came to maturity, it was weighed and studied, and the results were recorded. Thun's findings were accumulated over a ten-year period from 1952 to 1962. The crop Thun chose to study initially was potatoes; subsequently she studied not only other root crops but also leaf crops, fruit-bearers and flowers.

Thun's results were surprising. She discovered that if potatoes were planted when the moon was in the constellations of Taurus, Capricorn or Virgo (traditionally termed "root days"), the crop was more prolific than if she planted when the moon was positioned in other constellations of the zodiac belt. After some thought, she concluded that potatoes did better if planted while the moon was clearly positioned in earth signs than at any other time. Potato crops planted when the moon was positioned in the constellations Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces--the water signs of the zodiac--did poorly.

The results of Thun's studies fascinated another experimenter in Germany. Graf repeated her method from 1973 to 1975, this time using many different types of soils, and planting radishes as well as potatoes. Graf discovered that sowing on root days affected positively the growth and production of crops, and got best result when using chemically untreated, organic soils.

In 1976, Kollerstrom and Muntz, Sussex market gardeners, repeated the experiments of Graf and Thun and gained a 45% increase in yield for crops sown on root days. Conducted over a period of two months, their study did not show that the phase of the moon, waxing or waning, made as much difference as the moon's placement in the sky at the time of sowing.

The effect of the phases of the moon on seed germination and growth was first studied by L. Kolisko in 1930. Using wheat, Kolisko found that seeds germinated faster and more prolifically when sown at the full moon. The new moon gave him the most unsuccessful results. Later experiments on cress confirmed Kolisko's findings. Recent studies at Northwestern University, conducted by Professor F. Brown, have shown that, even under equal temperatures, seedlings absorb more water at the full moon than at the new moon. The findings lend credibility to adages that recommend harvesting at full moon. It seems plants have less water content at the new moon phase. Professor Brown went so far as to test plants in a darkened laboratory where they would have no direct access to effects of sun or moon. The plants still responded to the moon phases.

Other experiments have been conducted at Wichita State University and at Tulane University. All have achieved the same results. Experimentation indicates that seeds sown just before or around the full moon have a higher rate and speed of germination than those sown at the new moon because seeds are able to absorb more water at the full moon....

The moon moves on a tilted elliptical orbit around the earth, waxing and waning as it reflects the light of the sun from various angles. It is backdropped, as are the other planets of our solar system, by the belt of constellations....

Once every twenty-seven days the moon is at the farthest point, from the earth, that its orbit reaches. Its orbit around the earth is tilted, and so two times each month the moon sinks five degrees above or below the angle at which the earth is orbiting the sun. These bimonthly points are called the nodes of the moon.... Eclipses occur when a new or full moon passes through one of the nodes, at which time it is possible for the earth to come between the moon and the sun. The moon is invisible to the naked eye, because there is no sunlight to illuminate it.

The moon has the greatest effect on earth's rainfall when it is close to a node. Node position is said to affect drought and atmospheric tide patterns. In her studies of plant growth, Maria Thun found that planting at the lunar nodes affected plant growth and germination negatively. Although there is little evidence on the effects of eclipses, most gardeners choose not to sow during the eclipse.

The position of Saturn in relationship to the moon has traditionally been considered when planting crops intended to last more than one season. Perennials need to be hardy and long-lasting. A sympathetic Saturn encourages these factors in new plants.

Just as the moon aligns itself with the sun twice a month, it aligns itself with Saturn. When Saturn and the moon are within 9 degrees of each other, relative to earth, they are in the position described as conjunction. When they are 180 degrees apart, they are in opposition. There are three more aspects to be considered: sextile or 60 degrees, square or 90 degrees, and trine or 120 degrees.

Now what more do you need for proof?????????

RE: Cuttings and Moon Phases

Oldlady59, unfortunately pretty much everything you mention seems to be a giant red herring as far as this topic is concerned.

Certain people will believe just about anything, whether there's any real proof or not. Some will "see" proof where there's none. It's human nature to try to recognize correlation, but, unfortunately, that proclivity frequently backfires when we are not careful.

To my knowledge, there is zero scientific evidence that planting by moon phases or any type of signs actually works. If it did work, I think it's hard to imagine that the phenomenon wouldn't be widely used by commercial growers and carefully studied and understood by all the horticultural schools. You're unlikely to find a class on planting by the signs in highschool biology (at least in mainstream/public schools).

If you want to believe this type of stuff, that's your business, but in my opinion it's right up there with other things that appear, with careful observation, to have no basis whatsoever in reality.

This post was edited by brandon7 on Sat, Dec 20, 14 at 19:20

RE: Cuttings and Moon Phases...PS

BTW, there's also another way to view this topic. While, to my knowledge, there is no evidence of any real influence on seeds or cuttings by this type of thing, it really wouldn't matter if there turned out to be a provable effect. The reason for that is that the easily documentable effects of other factors would far, far outweigh these effects that are too small to even be noticeable with current scientific methods.

Even if we make an assumption that planting by signs does make a difference, it currently would not be likely to be of any benefit. Since there is no real proof of when is the most beneficial time to plant, we might just as well be planting at the worst time, if we depend on moon phases or "the signs".

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