The Q&A Archives: taking cuttings from orange trees

Question: I bought a orange tree an have it indoors under grow lights. I took 3 cuttings an dippied them in root tone but they have turned yellow an are wilting. Can I take cuttings from this tree and make them grow?

Answer: You can take cuttings from citrus trees, but timing is important, as is a properly prepared propagation site. A greenhouse is not necessary for successful propagation by stem cuttings; however, maintaining high humidity around the cutting is critical. If rooting only a few cuttings, you can use a flower pot. Maintain high humidity by covering the pot with a bottomless milk jug or by placing the pot into a clear plastic bag. Cuttings can also be placed in plastic trays covered with clear plastic stretched over a wire frame. Trays must have holes in the bottoms for drainage. The plastic will help keep the humidity high and reduce water loss from the cuttings.

You can use either softwood or semi-hardwood cuttings. Softwood cuttings are prepared from soft, succulent, new growth of woody plants, just as it begins to harden (mature). Shoots are suitable for making softwood cuttings when they can be snapped easily when bent and when they still have a gradation of leaf size (oldest leaves are mature while newest leaves are still small). For most woody plants, this stage occurs in May, June, or July. The soft shoots are quite tender, and extra care must be taken to keep them from drying out. The extra effort pays off, because they root quickly.

Semi-hardwood cuttings are usually prepared from partially mature wood of the current season?s growth, just after a flush of growth. This type of cutting normally is made from mid-July to early fall. The wood is reasonably firm and the leaves of mature size. Many broadleaf evergreen shrubs and some conifers are propagated by this method.

Hope this information helps!

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