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Jun 13, 2020 11:44 AM CST
Thread OP
Sunshine coast, Qld Australia
I'm wondering what type of roots form in sphagnum moss propagation? For example in the context of propagating house plants in a sphagnum propagation box?
I've heard that when you root cuttings in water, it's water roots that form (which then need to transition to soil roots once you move the cutting to soil - does this mean the water roots die off??). So I'm wondering if it is water roots or soil roots that form when propagating in sphagnum? And if most plants that could be soil propagated could also be sphagnum propagated?
Thank you
Jun 13, 2020 1:14 PM CST
Name: Will Creed
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Most houseplants that can be propagated from stem cuttings can be propagated in water or soil or sphagnum moss or even a damp sponge. It is the constant moisture around a stem node that triggers the root development.

The roots that emerge are adapted to the source of the moisture whether plain water or soil, within limits of course. The adaptation is at the cell level and not visible to the naked eye. Roots developed in one medium can usually make the transition to another medium, but it is a slow delicate process without much margin for error. That is why many plants fail when moved from water to soil.

During such a transition, it is the existing roots that change while new roots also emerge that are already adapted to the new medium. When done properly, the older roots do not die.

Personally, I like propagating plants in sphagnum moss because it provides a nice balance of moisture and oxygen around the roots and the moisture of the moss is easier to monitor. The transition from moss to potting soil is easier than from water to potting soil.

Air layering is another method of propagation and usually involves the use of sphagnum moss.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Avatar for jessabess1
Jun 13, 2020 3:02 PM CST
Thread OP
Sunshine coast, Qld Australia
Thanks so much for such an informative response Will!
I'm excited to try more sphagnum propagation. I just set up a sphagnum propagation box last week, I've found two rotten leaves this morning (at type of pothos or philodendron I'm not sure, it's variegated), but they had very short petioles and the leaves were touching the moss so I'm not sure if that could be why. Anyway I'll try to keep learning more about this method as I think it could be a good fit for me when i get it right. Thanks again Smiling
Jun 13, 2020 3:19 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
I plant the rooted cutting, including the moss, in the potting soil. The roots move out from the moss and aren't barerooted in the process.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
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