The Q&A Archives: Propagation methodes used for Symphoricarpos albus, Common Snowberry

Question: What methods of proagation do you find most effective when propagating Common Snowberry? Asexual, Sexual, both, pre-germination techniques if from seed. If cuttings, what type and what season to take them, and if any rooting treatment is used.

Answer: Asexual propagation will provide an exact clone of your snowberry so if you're using the plants in masses, this might be the best method for you. Tip cuttings or layering are both successful methods of propagation.

You can take cuttings from late spring through early fall, root them, and plant them once a good root system is established. The best season for cuttings varies with the plant type, but most cuttings of herbaceous perennials and deciduous woody plants are taken when the shoot snaps in two when bent. These can be dipped into rooting hormone; placed in moistened, sterile, loose medium in the shade; and rooted.

Layering works well for some plants, including snowberry. Some plants layer (and thus spread) naturally when roots form at joints or along the stem as they touch the soil. To layer a plant, hold the stem you want to layer next to the soil with a cut paper clip, bent hair pin, stake, or some other creative method you devise. Mound several inches of soil over the lowest point, keep it moist during dry periods, and?once roots have formed?cut it from the parent plant, and move it to the desired location.

If you decide to propagate by seed, Symphoricarpos albus seeds are best sown in the fall after maturity. Dormancy of this species is caused by hard seed coat and immature embryo, which can be broken by stratification in sand and peat for 90 days at 77?, plus 180 days at 41?F. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, place them into individual pots and grow them in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant seedlings into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer.

Best wishes with your propagation project!

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