Saturday, July 19, 2014

lessons in cuttings

Most rose cuttings seem to take almost exactly 1 month before roots start appearing out the drainage holes of the 2-1/4" pots. These 'Marie Pavie' cuttings were struck on 6/15/2014 according to my records.

Marie is not shy about growing roots, apparently. That's what I hear about those old roses. If they were hard to root, they wouldn't be passed along very much. And if they are ugly, no one would want to.

I was going to do a whole bank of 'Marie Pavie' so I took 10 cuttings. But the performance of the mother plant is not what I had hoped, and the flowers are still pink instead of white. So I've changed my mind. Now what to do with a bunch of 'Marie Pavie' cuttings?

Two 'Eden' cuttings were struck on 6/3/2014 and have been potted up for more than a week now. Nice to see the new growth. My friend who wanted the cuttings, bought a plant from Heirloom Roses instead and they sent her two. So now I have two 'Eden' roses to figure out what to do with as well as all the 'Marie Pavie'.

This 'Eden' cutting (white pot) was actually a cut flower that I had in my office for a week before using it as a cutting, about a week before the other cuttings, and it still hasn't made roots. The lesson to me is that it might not be worth it to use old cut flowers as cuttings.

  Of course, as I am tossing it out, this is what I find. So make that three 'Eden' roses to find homes for.

These cuttings of WS2K were also taken on 6/3/2014 but haven't rooted yet. The difference with these, is that I took cuttings of stems that had bloomed a couple of weeks before, whereas normally I take cuttings of the stem just below a flower that is either fading or just faded. I noticed that these older cuttings almost immediately put out a few new leaves, which didn't grow very much. My theory is that taking a cutting just after blooming is when the plant is entering a pause in the growth cycle. Then, using stored energy it makes the roots. Success! If cuttings are made too late in the cycle, the plant enters a growth phase without the roots, which depletes the stored energy. Failure! If it has enough stored energy, or if it has enough vigor and can manufacture enough energy from the remaining leaves, it then has to wait until the next pause to grow roots, if it can before rot sets in.  Just my theory. I should have been a botanist.

 These 'Bolero' cuttings were struck on 6/3/2014. A month later and they were potted. Now on their first outing to the big outdoors. I'm not particularly concerned with patent issues, since I'm not propagating for sale, only for personal use. I should grow these on that planting I have in mind instead of Marie, but my newly planted 'Bolero' plants are not big enough for many cuttings.

These 'Winchester Cathedral' cuttings were taken 5/7/2014. I had 3 cuttings, and all three grew roots, but one was slow, then suddenly wilted and died. I'm not sure what the problem was with that one, probably the same as for my rosemary.

I had 11 rooted 'Blue Spires' Rosemary and I'm now left with 2 (and a 1/2). What a disappointment. I thought I would have extras, but now I am one short. What happened? I potted the newly rooted cuttings in Foxfarms Ocean Forest Potting mix, which was expensive and highly touted by the salesperson, but it is a rather dense mix, which holds a lot of water and not a lot of oxygen. Not what rosemary cuttings need. Probably would be great for a colocasia or spathiphyllum, but not for rosemary. Unfortunately, I didn't notice until too late. Interestingly, when I unpotted the dead plants, the roots seemed okay, just the tops were brown and dead. I repotted into Pro-Mix high porosity mix, and the two strongest plants survived. The third is iffy.

Always new things to learn.

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