|Today, September 1, 2014|
The next critical stage has come for my 'Winchester Cathedral' cuttings, the planting out stage. This is a critical stage, because it is another sudden and dramatic change in environment for the plants. The first critical stage, is of course getting the cuttings to root. I had put the one in the bottom of the photo below in a plastic bag to retain moisture, and was rewarded with yellow leaves. It still rooted, however.
|May 13, 2014|
|June 14, 2014, 2-1/4" pots (the one that had the yellow leaves is on the right)|
The next critical step is moving them from greenhouse pampering, to outdoor (albeit protected) life with wind, bugs, direct sunlight. It is much, much easier for them to dry out since they are in a porous medium, with 5% humidity and intense high altitude sunlight here. There is a very fine line between "slightly wilted while getting used to the new climate" to "dead." This is particularly difficult with plants that need full sun and have grey leaves, since a shaded position results in etiolated growth, rot and death. This can occur while the plants are very tiny, so that the tendency is to give them more sun, risking death due to dehydration, which is also more likely since the plants are so tiny and the root systems are only just developing. I try to watch them carefully and move them from sunlight to shade, but I can't do that when I'm at work. It is devastating to come home from work to dead plants after 2 months (or more) of careful patience.
|July 19, 2014, 4" pots|
|flowering while still in the pot|
So I don't begrudge the plant companies who charge what seems like an astronomical $25 per rose bush when I could be making cuttings myself for a couple dollars of potting mix, rooting hormone, perlite and water. For that money, I am getting a year's advance in growth, and much less worry. My pocketbook, on the other hand, argues with me.