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cutting tips please

Posted by bobbygil 7 (rascal559@aol.com) on
Sat, Apr 20, 13 at 9:50

HI...I LOST SOME SALVIAS THAT WERE BORDERLINE HARDY FOR ME IN ZONE 7B SO I WANT TO TRY PROPAGATING FROM CUTTINGS. WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO TAKE CUTTINGS AND HOW TO TELL THAT THE TIPS ARE READY. IS ROOTING POWDER AN ADVANTAGE? I WAS PLANNING ON USING 50 PEROLITE AND 50 POTTING SOIL. DOES THAT SOUND RIGHT ? THANKS BOBBY


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RE: cutting tips please

I take cuttings when the plants have grown with about 6 to 7 new nodes, when the weather (or greenhouse temperatures) have allowed for fairly fast and robust growth. Old, slow growing stems will take forever to root. I take cuttings that are long enough to include at least one nde which will be stripped of leaves, since it will be plunged under the rooting medium.

This node allows for side shoots to form from that node, and a complex of stems later, when the plant matures. This allows the possibility of the plant regenerating itself if the first stem breaks off or dies later.

Tip growth will rot, rather than root, so I take a cutting that has as its lower portion firm green stem, with no more than a thin bark. This would be the part that remains unbent when you bend the tip over. Think of preparing asparagus from a bundle of fresh spears. You eat the tender portion of the top half or so that remains when you snap it off. The bottom portion is what goes under the rooting medium.

I use straight fine vermiculite for rooting. Clean builder's sand, perlite, or some other sterile medium or mix thereof can also be used. Not potting soil, though.

You can tell when the plants have rooted by tugging lightly to see if they have set root, or better, by observing new top growth, which often is lighter in color than the old leaves.

I find rooting powder to not have much advantage, unless it is for the fungicide.

Bottom heating with a regulated pad is very helpful, set at around 75 to 85 degrees. I use grow lights as well, if there is little natural light.


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RE: cutting tips please

  • Posted by gerris2 Zone 7a Delaware (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 25, 13 at 8:54

Thanks for the fantastic lesson, Richard.


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RE: cutting tips please

Thanks Richard. Would you say that fast growth in 7b would be mid May or so ? Your explanation made it easy to see where the cutting is to be taken. By the way , in general do Salvias have a long or short life span ? thanks bobby ... by the way some of the ones I am taking cuttings of are yours and doing great


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RE: cutting tips please

I'd say May is right. April has also been on the cool side, slowing down my spring propagation.

Life span for Salvias is usually 3 to 5 years, unless you layer and/or divide them.

As the plant gets bigger, the vascular system of the plant gets a lot more tedious as a system for transport of nutrients, sort of like the Los Angeles freeway system does for commuter traffic.


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RE: cutting tips please

What kind of salvias are perennials? I just bought a pretty blue one at Lowe's for 98 cents.


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RE: cutting tips please

Salvia coccinea and S. sclarea are true biennials. Most of the others are true perennials, some which have been listed as annuals because of the range they are being marketed in.

It is important to know your USDA floral zone and to match that to the information provided by the nursery. To be safe, mass marketers will often claim a narrower range of hardiness.

Then consult with blogs or forums to get further details. It is very helpful to have developed an understanding of your own microclimate and growing conditions.


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RE: cutting tips please

Richard, do you take cuttings before or after the stem develops flower buds?

I've done it both ways and in my limited experience if the stems are too young (i.e. no evidence of flower buds yet) they have a harder time getting started. Rooting takes longer and the leaves above the rooting medium will droop despite an otherwise healthy appearance and plenty of moisture. On the other hand, cuttings with small flower buds beginning to form have done really well for me. The buds die off during the rooting process but the new plant is very healthy.

Another thing I've noticed is if the cuttings are taken from a dehydrated salvia plant, the cuttings may be a lost cause. So I water the plant 24-48 hours before I take cuttings.

I wonder if my experiences are the norm, or if I'm doing something wrong?


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RE: cutting tips please

I always go for the woodiest cuttings. I've even been able to root large croton cuttings quite easily without Rootone. They were about 1 inch in diameter. You should cut all flowers and buds off if you are rooting. They sap energy from the cutting. I only leave the top two leaves on the cutting.


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RE: cutting tips please

That would not work with Salvias, which are adapted to a different environment. There is variation from species to species, especially between xeric ones and subtropical ones. The former are harder to root, the latter can root in as little as 8 - 10 days. The latter are adapted to growing in much more humid conditions (given the time of the rainy season), so using robust, fast growing material gives excellent results. The xeric ones also do better with robust growth, but take longer, since they are not the water hogs the semi arid ones are.

At this point in their life cycle, the plant hormones present are telling them they need new roots quickly to maintain growing momentum, and their photosynthetic engines are loaded for fast tissue growth, roots as well as leaves.

For an example of genus specific propagation techniques, see the one for begonias.

Here is a link that might be useful: Begonia Propagation Page


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RE: cutting tips please

Can someone please post a pic of how to clip a salvia so that it blooms some more? When I planted my salvia it looked beautiful now there are no more purple blooms :-( where do I snip it? Thanks so much


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RE: cutting tips please

Hi...how damp should the medium be ? thanks


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RE: cutting tips please

The moisture needed is that for uniform dampness, down to where the roots will develop. That area should not be allowed to dry out.

On the other hand, the medium should not be saturated, since this prevents air from reaching the developing roots and promotes rot.


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