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Sunshine coast, Qld Australia
Jun 13, 2020 11:44 AM CST
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?
Name: Will Creed
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Jun 13, 2020 1:14 PM CST
|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.
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Sunshine coast, Qld Australia
Jun 13, 2020 3:02 PM CST
|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 :)
Jun 13, 2020 3:19 PM CST
|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.
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