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Was it the Right Time to Transplant Cuttings?

Posted by TNY78 7a-East TN (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 28, 12 at 19:07

I was rooting quite a few cuttings in sand as suggested by Linda at Long Ago Roses. I was using clear plastic Solo cups and could see some roots growing through the plastic. I decided to very gentley wash away the sand and transplant the roses into potting mix. I was rooting about 5 cuttings per cup. Of 15 total cuttings mixed between Ducher, KPV, and Bonica that I had received in trades about 1 month ago, I had 10 that had roots! My best success so far :) ....Thanks Linda!

My question is, do these roots look like they were established enough for transplanting, or did I get too anxious?

I still have another 10 Solo cups in sand, so I want to make sure I don't accidentally kill them all :)

Thanks, Tammy

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Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Was it the Right Time to Transplant Cuttings?

Hi Tammy: Thanks for the tip on sand. Is it play sand or coarse builder's sand (sharp sand)that you used?

I rooted some herbs this summer, and the roots look like above - they died in my heavy clay soil and heat. But your soil might be fluffier than mine, and it's getting cooler.


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I gooled for the answer: coarse sand

I googled for info., and found coarse builder's sand is best. Ehow has this info:

"While it is possible to root rose cuttings in sand alone, a mix of peat moss and sand provides a better medium for root development. Peat moss retains moisture longer than sand, which quickly drains and dries. Adding peat moss means that less watering is necessary once the rose cuttings are potted and placed in the cold frame. Using a 50/50 mix of the right kind of sand and peat moss will yield healthy roots that will one day support beautiful roses."

I wonder if anyone tried the above?

Here is a link that might be useful: eHOW on type of sand used in rooting


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Found a link that said 8 weeks

I found a link that said 8 weeks from the time of rooting:

"New foliage and roots start to develop in 4-6 weeks. At 8 weeks, transplant the cuttings to a temporary garden bed with partial shade. Mulch heavily to protect them during their first winter. Move them to a permanent spot in your garden the following spring." See the link below for pictures of how to root.

Question: The link shows rooting in a plastic bin. How many holes should the plastic bin be drilled for drainage? Thanks in advance.

Here is a link that might be useful: Grow more roses with cuttings


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RE: Was it the Right Time to Transplant Cuttings?

I would have to say...maybe. When I propagated roses as a volunteer at The Huntington Library, we used a mist table. It fogged the cuttings for ten seconds every minute during daylight hours. It was located in nearly full sun. The prevailing winds would blow the over spray in one direction away from the table. We used coarse builders sand and perlite, in a 50/50 mix.

Once the cuttings were rooted, we potted them in the standard potting mix they purchased and moved them down to the ground where the over spray would be significantly less than that on the table, but would prevent the soft cuttings from burning up and drying out until they could support themselves by their own roots. After a week or so, they would then be moved across the path where the over spray was even less, but still sufficient to prevent the newer, softer growth from flagging. After a few weeks there, if the new growth seemed hard enough, they could be then moved out into the full sun, across the drive, where there was no over spray and they would then only be hand watered until ready for the various sales.

That said, I would think the roots you've shown would be sufficient as long as you can keep them sprayed, misted or otherwise sufficiently moist until they begin absorbing enough water through the new roots to support themselves. If you live where it is humid enough, you may not have to mist them. I don't. If I were to root that cutting in sand then try to plant it and keep it alive, I would have to hand mist it several times a day and keep moving it to prevent it from sitting in direct sun. Perhaps, if there is somewhere you can move it under larger plants so it receives filtered light in higher humidity and it receives spray from sprinklers, or you can keep it hand watered until it is actively growing, it might work.

It all depends upon how severe the conditions around you are. If you have a green house, that would be perfect. You want high humidity to support it until it is leafed out and growing, when you can then gradually harden it off to move it out to the more severe, direct conditions. If you are entering a period of rain, that helps tremendously. If your climate is foggy, so the water drips off the plants every morning, that would help a lot, too, but the potting mix would need to be looser, less moisture retentive, so it doesn't stay too wet and rot.

Given you can provide it the conditions necessary to keep it from drying out and frying, yes, I would say those are sufficient roots to pot up. They are long enough to begin foraging for nutrients and moisture, but will require some assistance until they develop enough to support the cutting by itself.

Usually, coarse builders sand is what is used because of the clay particles it contains. Play ground sand (silica sand) is too coarse and permits water to flow right through it without holding enough to support the cutting. Under mist, the builders sand was too heavy, which is why we cut it 50% with perlite. Hand spraying, or with high humidity where you wouldn't have to spray it, plain builders sand would hold enough water yet drain quickly so the chances of rotting would be much less. Adding anything organic to the builders sand would increase the chances of the mix souring due to remaining too wet. If you were using silica sand (play ground sand), adding peat or coir would improve the water holding capabilities of the mix, increasing your chances of success. What is going to work best for you depends upon your humidity, levels and spacing of rainfall (I get NONE for 7-9 months of the year), ability to supplement the rain with sprinkler over spray, need to mist by hand, availability of green house space or not, etc. It's one of those things you have to experiment with in your conditions and with the time of the year to find the combination of variables work for you, where you are and when you want to attempt it. Virtually all of the suggestions given work somewhere, at some time of the year, but what works successfully for you in milder conditions with higher humidity and year round rain is going to fail miserably for me where conditions are significantly more extreme and there is not going to be ANY rain and very little dew from March through November.

You may also see significant variation between water pH levels, too. I know people who have neutral (soft) to acidic water who can simply put cuttings in a dark vase or bottle of water, and the bloody things root. I can NOT do that here. My water is too hard, to "salty", too high in calcium and that, combined with the too low humidity, too high heat and too intense sun, inhibits rooting. My grandmother in Birmingham Alabama, simply shoved rose cuttings in her deep oak leaf litter where it rained on them regularly and dew dripped off the trees every morning and she rooted them without fail. I have accomplished that once here, with Pookah, which is nearly pure multiflora and should root like an invasive weed. Nothing else has worked that way.

I have had only two rose cuttings root by striking them in pots of potting soil and keeping them in the very little shade of the house. Two out of hundreds. I can't cover them here because they WILL (and have) failed, but I can root hibiscus sinensis using the pots in the house shade (north side) in winter to spring with 100% success. Not roses. That's why I had to keep searching and exploring until I tried the wrapping method. With some tweaks, it works extremely well here, in the right time of year.

If you can provide the appropriate conditions the newly rooted cutting requires to permit it to begin supporting itself, yes, those roots should work just fine. What you need to do to provide those conditions is going to depend upon what climate you live in and what your micro climate conditions are. Those suggestions are going to be best coming from someone who actually does it in similar conditions to yours. I can tell you what type of conditions would be best for them, but what you need to do to make yours resemble them, I have no idea as I'm not familiar with your conditions. I hope this helps. Good luck and congratulations! Kim


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RE: Was it the Right Time to Transplant Cuttings?

  • Posted by TNY78 7a-East TN (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 30, 12 at 18:31

Thanks for the replies :) I really never thought of using sand before, but I figure Linda is close to my area, so it may be worth a try. I still have about the same success as I did with the perlite/seeding soil mix, but it takes up so much less space because I can fit many more cuttings in the sand (about 5 per cup), than I could in the soil mix (1 per cup). The first time I tried it I made a mess! I used regular 1g nursery pots and the holes were so big, that every time I watered, the sand would just sift out through the holes! This time I used the Solo cups and made much smaller holes and it seems to work much better! I used play sand as suggested by Linda.

I hope she doesn't mind me posting this, but here's what she emailed me:

"My rooting method is very simple, and most cuttings I take root. I use gallon or larger pots and fill them with play sand I buy at Lowe's. I scar the base of the cuttings like you do, and I have used Rootone, which has fungicide in it, but they're discontinuing it. Other rooting powder works ok too, like Schultz or Miracle Grow. One rose nursery owner I know, Donny, who owns NC Roseland, says she uses no hormone at all. I bury the cuttings deep too, which I think gives them more humidity, and I remove all but the top two to 4 leaves. I use only healthy stems of new wood. I crowd a lot of cuttings in one pot. I have read that cuttings root better when crowded! You can google that. Anyway they do root well and they come out of the sand fine when crowded too. That way I am able to produce 12 to 24+ cuttings at a time of one variety without having to label each and every one of them. I put the pots of cuttings in dappled light and spray fungicides on them along with my regular spray schedule. Keep moist but not soaking. I find that the right amount of light is important. I have a couple that are hard to root and am trying to figure out why. Gertrude Jekyll is one. The playsand does dry out but I don't know if it's any faster than potting soil, which is pretty light. If you keep the cuttings in dappled light you might have to water them every other day, depending on weather. They don' t have to be WET all the time, just moist. I am out there every day so I keep an eye on them. It's possible that sand is a little damper than potting soil because of the fineness of the grains of sand holding the water. I don't know. I tend to think there's less rot in sand. Some people advocate getting coarse grained sand but I don't especially like coarse. Kind of medium to fine works for me. Tip: to get sand to not pour out of the bottom drainage hole when you first fill the pot, use premoistened sand for the bottom. Get sand good and wet before sticking cuttings in it. It's best to use something to make a hole in the sand to stick the cutting in rather than use the cutting itself to make the hole. That way the rooting hormone isn't rubbed off."


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RE: Was it the Right Time to Transplant Cuttings?

Which hormone to use is something to experiment with. Powders tend to be anhydrous, they absorb water, and can literally cause the cuttings to rot under the right conditions. Liquids and gels eliminate that potential and have worked tremendously better for me here. YMMV.

When I began volunteering at The Huntington in propagation, they also used a stick to make the hole for the cutting. The success rate was spotty at best. To encourage rooting, there needs to be firm soil to tissue contact. An existing hole can be difficult to sufficiently firm into the cutting to encourage rooting, so I experimented with firming in the medium first, then jamming the cutting into the mix. Once I had inserted all the cuttings I wanted for the pot, I slammed the pot (square, plastic) into the potting bench to finish firming the medium so everything was held firmly in place. Bingo! The success rate soared!

We used powdered hormone there, then, and I found ignoring the instructions which were printed on the package (wet cutting, dip in powder, slip in hole) and left the cutting completely dry, dipped it then blew off all the hormone I could so it was about the same density as one day worth of dust in a still room, then used the cutting to make the hole, no more rot and they rooted right down the line. I believe many failures can be attributed to too much hormone, absorbing too much water and not firm enough soil to cutting contact. If the cutting can wobble once struck, it's likely not to root. It needs to be firmly set in the mix. If the amount of powdered hormone is too great, using the cutting to make the planting hole will help scrape some off, possibly preventing failure. Most roses don't REQUIRE hormone, but it can definitely help improve your success rate as well as speed them along much faster than not using any.

Burying them deeply definitely helps! It maintains more of the wood cool, dark and damp, the conditions necessary to trigger the cambium (stem cells) to differentiate into callus and roots instead of new cane/leaf growth. It also helps prevent the cutting from drying out as easily.

There are SO many variables, both with methods and conditions, it really does take experimentation and many "offerings" before you hit on the right combination for you. Kim


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RE: Was it the Right Time to Transplant Cuttings?

I work at the Trial Gardens at the University of Georgia, and I have taken many rose cuttings with pretty good success so far (somewhere in the neighborhood of 80%). I have always taken softwood cuttings right after the bloom fades and within 6 weeks almost all of them have roots showing through the bottom of the six-packs that I start them in. I use a powder rooting hormone and leave them in a misthouse under 10 seconds of mist every 12 minutes and it has worked great.

I'm curious has anyone here had any experience propagating the hybrid tea rose 'Blue Girl'? I've got some cuttings rooted and I'm curious how well I might expect them to perform on their own roots.


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