Ask a Question forum: 2 part question about propagation

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Saida, Lebanon
Mohannad_7
Jun 5, 2017 4:00 PM CST
Hello, ok so, this is my first post here.
Please excuse my english as it's not my first language.
My first question is about what I'm doing wrong in rooting cuttings? I do not have any rooting hormone and cannot find it anywhere here. So, as I read online, I dip my cuttings in aspirin solution and cinnomen then dip in peat moss soil (cuttings such as oregano, rosemary, mint, and lots of petunias)
I try to keep them moist, some with plastic cover and some without, but they all seem to blacken and fail, not sure if rot or dry but they never rooted successfully. What could I be doing wrong?

My second question is regarding air layering. We have a very neglected Gardenia bush which became leggy and very ugly, I want to prune it completely so it becomes bushy and full again. While waiting for the gardenia pruning season (as I read online), I decided to do air layering to propagate the parts instead of discarding them (this gardenia variety is unique and pest free which we cannot find anywhere else so I'm very keen on propagating it).
This is my first attempt in air layering but I'm scared if I over done it and maybe hurt the plant?
Let me know what you think and if I done anything wrong, is that too much for the gardenia to handle?
And I'm worried about if they take root will they survive on their own? Given that all my cuttings die 🙈🙈.

Photo attached

Thanks a lot
Thumb of 2017-06-05/Mohannad_7/e91804

[Last edited by Mohannad_7 - Jun 7, 2017 9:05 AM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jun 5, 2017 4:51 PM CST
Welcome!

The plants you have mentioned grow best from cuttings taken in early summer (called softwood stage). Take stem tip cuttings (about 4 inches of the tip) of non-flowering stems of new growth early in the morning. Use a sharp knife as scissors will damage the stem and prevent moisture uptake. As you cut, drop the cuttings into a bucket of water to prevent air pockets from forming in the stems.

To plant, cut the bottom sets of leaves off with your knife. Leave one set of leaves and the growing tip. Use potting soil that drains quickly. Poke a hole with a pencil or stick, insert the cutting so the leaves don't touch the soil, then water them in to get rid of air spaces. Cover with a clear plastic bag with the corner cut out for ventilation. Don't let the bag touch the plants (I use bamboo sticks to hold the bag away from the plants). If one of the cuttings rot, pull it out before the rot spreads. If the surface of the soil starts growing fungus, the plastic bag is not allowing enough air flow. If the inside of the bag looks like a rainforest, take it off and let the cuttings dry out a bit. The idea is to raise the humidity to prevent too much moisture loss from the leaves without drowning them. Water from the bottom so you don't disturb the cuttings but don't let the pot sit in water.

Keep the cuttings in the shade until they root. When the cuttings start growing new leaves, the roots are also growing.

Gardenias will also root from cuttings. Take semi-ripe cuttings (new growth that hasn't gotten woody yet but has grown stiff) and treat them the same way as the herbs but pot singly as they don't like their roots disturbed.

Good luck!
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jun 5, 2017 5:00 PM CST
Do you have access to a product called Vermiculite? If so, please research the Forsyth Pot method of rooting cuttings. I have had great success using this method. And yes, as Daisy said, it is important to keep the cuttings in the shade while you wait for roots.

Here is one link about the method:
https://www.extension.umn.edu/...
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Jun 5, 2017 7:41 PM CST
@Mohannad_7 - A big welcome from me because you're a new member and because my nephew is married to a lovely young woman from Lebanon.

The reason that some people dip cuttings in cinnamon is that they think it helps prevent fungal diseases. Whether it does or not, I don't know. The only plants that I've ever successfully rooted are epiphyllums. But those cuttings are flat and usually very thick. (and it's my little hobby because they are not native to where I live.)

I liked what @DaisyI told you. And @greene, that was a great link. I'm guessing that one could substitute perlite for the vermiculite. True? I'm asking in case our new member can only find one but not the other.

Best of luck and happy gardening, Mohannad_7.
[Last edited by tx_flower_child - Jun 5, 2017 7:43 PM (+)]
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Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
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ctcarol
Jun 5, 2017 8:13 PM CST
Vermiculite absorbs water, perlite, like pumice, provides drainage and aeration but does not hold water. Both help loosen the soil , but have different uses for the particular type of plant... ie. Cacti and succulents need fast drainage of perlite, while many (but not all) tropicals need the constant moisture of vermiculite. Depends on what type of soil you're starting with. All sand/ use vermiculite. All clay? Use pumice or perlite.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
Jun 6, 2017 5:02 PM CST
Trying to air-layer too many stems is not an issue, as it will do no harm to the Gardenia. However, it is not clear just how you went about the air-layering and you have mentioned the lack of success in the past. Did you strip away the outer bark or make a slit through the stem? What did you wrap around the exposed underlayer? How long ago?

If you are successful with the air-layering, roots will form after about 6 weeks inside the foil wrap at which point they can be severed from the stems and moved into their own small pots with a porous, peat-based potting mix.

If the air-layers fail, you can still prune back your Gardenia with impunity and you will get new growth coming in just below the pruning cuts in each stem. This can be done at any time of the year.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
My dogs love me; some people don't.
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greene
Jun 6, 2017 5:10 PM CST
tx_flower_child said:@Mohannad_7 - ...substitute perlite for the vermiculite.

Best of luck and happy gardening, Mohannad_7.


Thanks for the question, but no. Perlite would not work for this method. As @ctcarol pointed out, the perlite would not hold water as Vermiculite will.

In some other countries, they may use substances such as rice hulls or whatever else is available. I learned this from my friend in Thailand.

Here is a link to show the method to use the rice hulls.
http://www.greenhousegrower.co...

Other alternatives to Vermiculite including a mix of burnt rice hulls and sawdust are listed here:
http://agris.fao.org/agris-sea...

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Saida, Lebanon
Mohannad_7
Jun 7, 2017 9:21 AM CST
Waw you guys thanks a lot for all the replies. I tip my hat to you. Thank You!
@DaisyI thanks for the tips, very valuable information I didn't come across before I'm all ears! I'm all ears! , I used to let the cuttings dry a bit to prevent rot I didn't know about air pockets. And I also made them a rainforest Whistling lol

@greene thanks for the idea sure seems interesting, unfortunately I never found any product such as perlite or Vermiculite here, I need some for my cactus. Crying

@WillC thanks for comforting me Hurray! , I thought I killed off the gardenia hehe. Anyways, this is my first attempt at airlayering (I failed to root cuttings, maybe cos they were old growth). I done it only 3 days ago. Yes I stripped the bark and wrapped it with some live moss mixed with general potting mix, I attached a photo so you can check if it'll work? Crossing Fingers! Crossing Fingers!
Thumb of 2017-06-07/Mohannad_7/a7afc9
[Last edited by Mohannad_7 - Jun 7, 2017 9:27 AM (+)]
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
Jun 18, 2017 5:11 PM CST
Thanks for the photos Mohannad. It looks like you did a pretty good job with the air layering. I expect you should have success if you are patient.

A couple of minor points, the length of the portion of the stem with stripped bark is about twice as long as it needs to be. Use plain sphagnum moss as the addition of potting mix may introduce pathogens that could be harmful. Also, as long as you have a good seal with the plastic, the foil wrap is not necessary. The foil keeps you from monitoring the moisture of the sphagnum moss and the development of roots.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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