Plumeria forum: My failed Air-layering experiments

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Name: Gigi
Florida (Zone 9a)
Plumerias Sempervivums Roses Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
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GigiPlumeria
Apr 11, 2013 11:07 PM CST
Thumb of 2013-04-12/GigiPlumeria/113b0c

Did not root", middle part rotted. I may be able to save the second branch, now rooting in a cup.
©by Gigi Plumeria "Gardening is my favorite past time. I grow whatever plant that catches my attention." Plumeria Photos http://www.flickr.com/groups/calachuchi_plumeria_/ plant photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gigiplumeria/sets/
Name: Online public--Cyra
Central CA (Zone 9a)
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cyra
Apr 12, 2013 4:17 AM CST
I'm sorry this one didn't take, Gigi...maybe next time, with a less expensive variety?
You did use lots of rooting hormone, right?
What type of tape did you use?
I really hope you can save the part of your DSP rooting in the cup....!
I think I'll work on grafting, instead of air-layering, and learn how to do this thoroughly, before taking on this method of propagation. Seems like air-layering would hold moisture against the plant too long, and warmth and moisture lead to softening (rotting) stems.
Thanks for sharing your experience with air-layering. Few people share less than successful experiences. (Kindof like people who gamble, they may brag about winning, but rarely do they mention how much they've lost!)
I guess in a way, growing plumeria is a gamble, too. The more we learn, the better our chances at success. nodding
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Apr 12, 2013 5:26 AM CST

Moderator

Air layering has rarely been successful in plumeria. You're better off taking a cutting and letting it callous well, then rooting, in my opinion.
And yes: "The more we learn, the better our chances at success." as Cyra said. Thumbs up
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Apr 12, 2013 6:20 AM CST
You both are right. Air-layering is best used on hard, not soft wood. I air-layer my fiddleleaf ficus but only on hardened branches. If the branch is still green, it will never root. Just root your calloused cuttings. Ken
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Online public--Cyra
Central CA (Zone 9a)
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cyra
Apr 12, 2013 12:11 PM CST
@drdawg...interesting about the ficus. I have a F. Benjamina tree I started from a cutting about 20 years ago, that I rooted in water, in spite of it having latex. Does the fiddle-leaf ficus not root well in water? Also, have you successfully air-layered plumeria, yet? If so, with what degree of difficulty, (in your opinion) and with what amount of time involved, before the graft "took"?
I am curious, because I always like to try the simplest methods first. So, with plumeria, I suppose that would be, first:
Growing rooted plants from seed.
Rooting cuttings.
Grafting cuttings to root-stock.
Air-layering, maybe.

(Tissue culture isn't likely, on my part).
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Apr 12, 2013 3:44 PM CST
The fiddleleaf ficus resists all efforts to root. They are completely different than the F. Benjamina. Commercial growers simply won't propagate the fiddleleaf, knowing that their success rate will be 25-50%. That's the reason one seldom if ever sees the fiddleleaf sold at big-box stores. No commercial grower could stay in business long if his success rate was between 25 and 50%. I have now found a source for "baby" fiddleleafs, grown from seed. I have searched for over a year to find this plant grown from seed. After talking to a grower in Australia who occasionally has seeds, I now know why plants grown from seed are hard to find. To flower, the fiddleleaf has to be mature and large. I am talking about 20 yrs old and 40 ft tall. They will then flower. I personally have never seen a fiddleleaf in flower, but then, I have never been to Australia or Africa. The flowers last a brief time, often only a day or a night. The kicker is that the flower must be pollinated by a specific wasp, a wasp native to small parts of Africa and Australia. The wasp apparently is found no where else on earth. Anyway, try your hand at rooting cuttings or air-layering. You might get lucky! I will probably now sell the seedlings, with 4-7" leaves, rather than spending all the time and effort trying to get larger plants from cutting/air-layering my "mother" fiddleleaf. I expect the seedlings to grow 6-12" this year and 1-2' per year thereafter.

I don't think the plumeria can be air-layered. At least I have never heard of anyone doing it. They can be grafted but I have never tried to do that. Hetty knows far more than I about grafting plumeria. I propagate my plumeria by taking nice, plump cuttings, approximately 6-12" from the tips of branches. I allow the cut ends to callous for a day or even several days and then I pot them up, either singly in 4" pots or tied together in a bundle and in 6-8" pots. People have very different opinions on what is the best rooting medium. Some like 100% perlite, some simply use whatever potting soil is at hand, and some (like me) make up their own mix. I use 2 parts coarse perlite, 1 part (non-fertilized) potting soil, and 1 part fine horticultural charcoal. I dip the bottom inch or two in rooting hormone, make ahole in the potting medium, put the "treated" cutting about 3" deep, and firm up the potting medium around the cutting(s). I also re-wet the potting medium before putting the cutting(s) in and then keep the medium just moist, watering when the top 1/2" looks dry. I keep the cutting(s) in a shady area but an area with good air movement.

P. S. The "whiter" the flower, the easier it is to root. My 'Celadine' will root in 2-4 wks, whereas my Scott Pratt (dark-crimson flowers) takes 4-8 wks, if it roots at all. Good luck.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
[Last edited by Dutchlady1 - Apr 12, 2013 5:16 PM (+)]
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Name: Gigi
Florida (Zone 9a)
Plumerias Sempervivums Roses Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
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GigiPlumeria
Apr 12, 2013 5:44 PM CST
@cyra Hilarious! the comparison about the people who gamble and only brag about the winnings but rarely about what they lost is sooo true!!! When I was searching about air-layering plumerias, I found blogs about their first attempt to air-layer plumeria but then no follow-up post whether their air-layering was successful or not. However, there was someone in one of the websites who claimed he was successful with airlayering plumerias and kind of guarantees that you will not lose the inflo. So I had to try it myself:). I have a few DSPs so they became my experiment...and now the collateral damage, which broke my heart Sad . The first experiment is gone, but I grafted the remaining 3-tip to give it a 2nd chance. The 2nd one rooting in a cup still has healthy tips and firm stem, so hopefully I can save it. By the way, I initially used scotch tape and bread ties.


@Hetty, I agree you are soooo right, I have more success growing from well calloused cuttings.

@drdawg I agree great observation that air layering is better for hardwood and soft cuttings. I will try airlayering my favorite Pink grapefruit and My lemon tree Whistling I agree, about the light colors rooting easier than red colors.

Observation:
There were other things too that I think contributed to my failure, I used sphagnum moss (instead of half perlite/half soil), which got a little bit nasty and stinky. Also, I started my airlayering experiment during winter time when the DSP was not in active growth. I thought having it indoor and the fact that it didn't go dormant will not hinder the rooting process. When I moved the DSP outdoor because it was starting to warm up, we had a cold snap for 2 to 3 days, which was the last nail on the coffin. So, I'm guessing it might be worth a 2nd try but carefully avoiding what I think contributed to my failure. Whistling I read somewhere that soft wood is good for early spring air-layering and hardwood around summertime.

Here is a link on the the journey of my failed air-layering experiment:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/gigiplumeria/8404626856/

It will be nice though to hear from one of the plumeria growers who successfully propagated a plumeria by air-layering, with the before and after photo. However, if Hetty, who is a plumeria expert and the commercial growers do not use this method of propagating the plumerias, as drdawg mentioned earlier, maybe the success rate is very low.

©by Gigi Plumeria "Gardening is my favorite past time. I grow whatever plant that catches my attention." Plumeria Photos http://www.flickr.com/groups/calachuchi_plumeria_/ plant photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gigiplumeria/sets/
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Apr 12, 2013 7:11 PM CST

Moderator

Never try rooting or any other form of propagating in the winter. There is so little cell activity in a dormant or semi-dormant plant that it will just sit there....
I have an interesting point to illustrate this. In the fall last year I had to cut down a tree; the cuttings have been lying in my garage in a tub doing nothing for about 4 months. Suddenly (and nothing about their environment has changed except of course the temperature) they are starting to want to grow. So I think I'll pot them up tomorrow! Whistling But it's just to illustrate nothing much happens over the winter months.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Apr 13, 2013 6:40 AM CST
Great illustration, Hetty. You might remember, back in late summer/early fall, I asked about rooting some cuttings taken just before I forced all my plumeria into dormancy. You told me to try it but that they might not root. Well, you were right. I had a large bundle of 6-8 cuttings in rooting medium, sitting in my greenhouse for five months. It took the 'Celadine' cuttings 2-3 months to root and the 'Scott Pratt' still has not rooted. They have not rotted, just haven't rooted. I learned my lesson! Ken
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Online public--Cyra
Central CA (Zone 9a)
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cyra
Apr 13, 2013 8:57 AM CST
Drdawg, by what I'm reading in your post, it's a miracle there are any fiddle-leaf fig plants, at all! I hope the wasp that pollinates it's elusive flowers doesn't do so exclusively, or it will easily become extinct, -as would ficus grown from seedlings. I thank you for the information on fiddle-leaf fig plants, I've always admired them, as houseplants (tree-lets, actually), mainly in the lobbies and foyers of banks, and businesses, and occasionally, in indoor conservatories or libraries of friends.
According to Richard and Mary Eggenberger's book, (The handbook on Plumeria Culture, p.52) plumeria can be air-layered, but I imagine to duplicate their experiences with this, one would have to duplicate their climatatic conditions as well, whereever they were when they propagated plumeria by that method. Might be hard to do that, if they air-layered them in India....
Name: Gigi
Florida (Zone 9a)
Plumerias Sempervivums Roses Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
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GigiPlumeria
Apr 13, 2013 1:45 PM CST
@Hetty you are sooo right! I had seedlings I forced into dormancy on their first year (as experiments) placed them on the south facing window and it didn't do a thing all winter long I thought they were dead. Then the last few days, leaves started coming out!

Thumb of 2013-04-13/GigiPlumeria/7d44eb
Thumbs up

@drdawg, I had the same experience even with my well rooted plumerias I forced into dormancy. Some of them are just now starting to shoot baby leaves, others are just now starting to have shiny tips or signs of growth.

@cyra, thanks for the info! Most of the plumeria experts have well controlled climates (like nurseries), which I don't have, which give them better success rates in their experiments. My experiments had to be conducted in a real harsh environment (unfortunately) where Mother Nature can either help it be a successful or make it a failed experiment. For now, am still wounded and still keep apologizing to the mothers of my DSPs experiments Crying so I will keep my air-layering experiment on hold for now, and maybe I will start with just 1 not 2 branches. I'm eyeing a crooked DSP branch that may be good for it. Whistling by the way, the mother DSPs are doing great and I think will forgive me with new branches from where I cut my failed air-layering.
©by Gigi Plumeria "Gardening is my favorite past time. I grow whatever plant that catches my attention." Plumeria Photos http://www.flickr.com/groups/calachuchi_plumeria_/ plant photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gigiplumeria/sets/
Name: Online public--Cyra
Central CA (Zone 9a)
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cyra
Apr 14, 2013 8:33 AM CST
New leaves are such a mood-lifter, and an assurance that spring is here. Lovely, Gigi!
Name: Gigi
Florida (Zone 9a)
Plumerias Sempervivums Roses Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
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GigiPlumeria
May 6, 2013 7:13 PM CST
Thanks Cyra. I was able to save the cuttings of my failed air-layering experiments via grafting (first experiment) and rooting in a cup (second experiment):

Thumb of 2013-05-07/GigiPlumeria/82599a

Notice that the grafted plant did better in a very short period of time. Now, I'm glad I did not give up when the 1st experiment failed to root; grafting was the final savior for me. Whistling
©by Gigi Plumeria "Gardening is my favorite past time. I grow whatever plant that catches my attention." Plumeria Photos http://www.flickr.com/groups/calachuchi_plumeria_/ plant photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gigiplumeria/sets/
[Last edited by GigiPlumeria - May 6, 2013 8:17 PM (+)]
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Name: Online public--Cyra
Central CA (Zone 9a)
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cyra
May 7, 2013 2:31 AM CST
Your determination to salvage the cuttings from a less than perfect experiment, is as impressive as your budding skills at plumie propagation .....and yes the pun was intended, couldn't resist;).
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
May 7, 2013 5:28 AM CST

Moderator

And five years from now you will find the grafted plant is still performing better than its rooted counterpart.
Time and time again - when I find a plant that is performing less than satisfactorily, it is a rooted cutting. I am a FIRM believer in grafting!
And I too admire your persistence in saving your failed air layers! Thumbs up
Name: Gigi
Florida (Zone 9a)
Plumerias Sempervivums Roses Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
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GigiPlumeria
May 7, 2013 7:29 PM CST
Thanks Cyra and Hetty! It did break my heart thinking I couldn't save these little guys.... i wasn't going to give up easy... now I feel better.

And yes Hetty I'm a believer of grafting now! I documented my grafting experiments too; I started with 5, I lost one tip but I think the 4 experiments are successful! I will be posting it on a separate thread Big Grin
©by Gigi Plumeria "Gardening is my favorite past time. I grow whatever plant that catches my attention." Plumeria Photos http://www.flickr.com/groups/calachuchi_plumeria_/ plant photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gigiplumeria/sets/
Name: Online public--Cyra
Central CA (Zone 9a)
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cyra
May 10, 2013 12:24 AM CST
If my second try at rooting my Oahu Star doesn't succeed, I may have to try my hand at grafting, too, Gigi. Glad you had a backup plan for your babies!
Name: Gigi
Florida (Zone 9a)
Plumerias Sempervivums Roses Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
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GigiPlumeria
May 10, 2013 8:06 AM CST
Hope you can save your Oahu Star. If the bottom part rots and you are left with a short stem not ideal for rooting, it might be worth it to try grafting. I'm tempted to cut off the tip of the one rooting in the cup and just graft it but let the bottom part grow. I probably need to give 2 more weeks to root on its own, so I will have another mini tree.
©by Gigi Plumeria "Gardening is my favorite past time. I grow whatever plant that catches my attention." Plumeria Photos http://www.flickr.com/groups/calachuchi_plumeria_/ plant photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gigiplumeria/sets/
Name: Online public--Cyra
Central CA (Zone 9a)
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cyra
May 11, 2013 4:53 PM CST
Well its too soon too tell just how it's doing, at this time. Will have to wait and see, if this second attempt "takes ". Much easier to do that now that I'm working again!
Name: Gigi
Florida (Zone 9a)
Plumerias Sempervivums Roses Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
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GigiPlumeria
Jun 16, 2013 7:03 PM CST
Here is an update of my failed air-layering experiments. I'm happy to say, I saved both cuttings. Hurray!

Thumb of 2013-06-17/GigiPlumeria/d57456
©by Gigi Plumeria "Gardening is my favorite past time. I grow whatever plant that catches my attention." Plumeria Photos http://www.flickr.com/groups/calachuchi_plumeria_/ plant photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gigiplumeria/sets/

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