|How can I take cuttings from bottle brush and root them successfully?|
|Remove from the parent plant a portion of stem 4 to 8 inches long with the leaves attached. For most deciduous plants, a tip, simple, or straight cutting will suffice. Snip off leaves which would contact the rooting medium (the bottom 1 1/2 to 2 inches of stem) to prevent rotting of these leaves. The remaining leaves will continue to produce substances that aid in root formation on the cutting.
Spread a small amount of rooting hormone on waxed paper or in a clean dish. Dip the base (cut end) of the cutting in the powder so that some adheres to the cut surface and wounded areas. Discard leftover powder to prevent contamination.
Make a hole in the rooting medium so that the powder is not scraped off when you insert the cutting. Insert the base of the cutting into the prepared hole in the rooting medium. Firm the rooting medium around the base of each cutting. After all cuttings are inserted and firmed in place, apply sufficient water to the rooting medium to settle it around the cuttings. This "watering-in" procedure will leave the rooting medium in close contact with the base of each cutting.
Place the cover over the propagation box or container. Inspect the cuttings daily and remove any leaves which fall. Syringe the tops of the cuttings, and keep the rooting medium moist. When the cuttings resist a slight tug and begin to feel anchored, they are beginning to root. Some types may require 2 to 3 months or more to form sufficient roots to allow removal from the rooting medium.
When the cuttings have two or three roots about one-half inch long, place them in pots about 4 inches in diameter. Use a good potting soil. Since the cuttings have been accustomed to the humid atmosphere of the propagating box (or mist, if used), accustom them to the "outside" atmosphere by gradually aerating the propagation box (or reducing the mist) before potting. Another way is to cover the potted cutting with perforated plastic film for about a week after potting. This is called "hardening off."
After potting, do not expose the cuttings to direct sunlight or temperature extremes until they have had several weeks to become accustomed to outdoor conditions.
Good luck with your project!