Propagation forum: Propagation is Not Easy

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vurbil
Jan 5, 2018 7:55 AM CST
There are countless articles on the web that start with something to the effect of "propagating by cuttings is an easy and cost effective way to get more plants for your garden." This is misleading. "Propagating by cuttings is easy," as a general statement, is false. Sure, propagating coleus, fig, and willow (etc) by cuttings is easy. But if you don't have a greenhouse or hoop house and an intermittent mist system--which the average gardener does not--most things are actually very difficult and your failure rate will be high. Still more are impossible to root at all.

And now to what prompted this post. Trying to root Leyland Cypress outdoors in a plastic tote with peat and perlite. They've been in about 3 weeks now. Added bottom heat about a week ago. Just checked one yesterday. No callus, nothing. On top of that, my dog insists on urinating on my cuttings. He has a whole yard to urinate in, but of course he only wants to do it on my project. I had only caught him doing it when the dome was closed (I try to monitor him if he's out there when the dome is off), so I had hoped he hadn't actually gotten it on the cuttings. Well yesterday I left the dome off for a couple hours to air it out. At that time everything was still green. Checked on them late last night and about half of them have turned brown. So I guess he finally got them.

Only other theory is that it was too sunny yesterday to take the dome off. Which do you think is more likely? I'm hoping for the sun scald theory because the cuttings could still possibly root even if the leaves die, but if the media got urine in it, it's probably all over.

I guess my question is--to justify this pity party--is 3 weeks too soon to declare defeat (setting aside the possible destruction by urine)? I wasn't expecting much the first 2 weeks without bottom heat, but I figured with bottom heat I might start seeing something.
Name: Jackie
Lake Lanier, GA (Heat Zone 7) (Zone 7b)
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GenXNEGeorgia
Jan 5, 2018 8:13 AM CST
I wanted to say hello! I have no advice, as I am new to seedlings this year (my first hardy hibiscus seeds sprouted this week!) but I did want to come by and say YES I completely agree with you -- it's not always so easy!!

Just when I thought my seeds were all dead and I screwed up, seedlings started popping up -- that's when I turned off the heat mat...At this point I'm just kinda winging it Crossing Fingers!

Best of luck to you!
I like gardening - it's a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself.
--Alice Sebold

vurbil
Jan 5, 2018 8:49 AM CST
Good luck with your seedlings and thanks for the message of support.

Don't get into cuttings, it's addictive.
Name: Jackie
Lake Lanier, GA (Heat Zone 7) (Zone 7b)
☺ I love flowers!! ☺
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GenXNEGeorgia
Jan 5, 2018 5:35 PM CST
I took two cuttings from my tomato plant last summer and harvested 5 tomatoes in November Big Grin I'm already tempted / slightly addicted but I have a large bulb order coming in, so I'm trying to focus on the Hibiscus and think about the tomato seeds I'll start in February and the bulbs to plant in April Hilarious!

I'm already in over my head lol
I like gardening - it's a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself.
--Alice Sebold
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jan 5, 2018 6:01 PM CST
Let's not try to discourage people from attempting to propagate plants. Select the correct plant and the correct method and you can achieve success.

@vurbil, could you please take a moment to complete your profile page so folks have an idea of where you are gardening; location often makes a difference in the answers given.

That being said, I have excellent 'luck' by using the Forsyth Pot method of propagation. It costs very little and my success rate is quite high. From a single $3.50 Alternanthera plant, purchased at Ace Hardware, I propagated 98 new plants and gave them all away to neighbors and at our local swap. The cuttings rooted in only 17 days. You can see the Forsyth Pot to the right in one of the photosl

Thumb of 2018-01-05/greene/cfd426 Thumb of 2018-01-05/greene/bc16b4 Thumb of 2018-01-05/greene/7f60a1


And from this one pot of Peperomia which I obtained at our local swap, I used the Forsyth Pot method and to date have made over 300 new plants; still giving them away. Oh, and that's not a real greenhouse in the photos; it's just a cheap ($30) plastic zippy greenhouse to keep the plants above the dogs' level. Rolling on the floor laughing No heat; no lights; no fans.
Thumb of 2018-01-05/greene/1929d0 Thumb of 2018-01-05/greene/1e3226 Thumb of 2018-01-05/greene/fc6f8b

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"

vurbil
Jan 6, 2018 12:35 PM CST
Yeah, propagating easy to root plants is easy. That's why they are called easy to root plants. The problem comes in when people create unrealistic expectations by saying that propagation from cuttings is easy in general. It is not. The vast majority of plants on earth can't be propagated from cuttings at all. The vast majority of plants that actually can be propagated from cuttings require intermittent mist to achieve success rates above 50%. Yes, you've had success with one of the 20 or so plants that root easily. We all have. That does not mean it's easy for the other 99.9% of plants.
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jan 6, 2018 3:20 PM CST
Well I guess I will shut my mouth and get back to what I like to do. Have fun complaining.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"

vurbil
Jan 6, 2018 3:32 PM CST
greene said:Well I guess I will shut my mouth.


Thanks.

Name: Ken
East S.F. Bay Area (Zone 9a)
Region: California
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CaliFlowers
Jan 7, 2018 2:18 PM CST
Thumbs down
Mount Orab, Ohio, zone 6a
cnichols38
Jan 8, 2018 7:19 AM CST
New to posting, I started experimenting with cuttings last spring and so far 50% to 75% seems to be the running best. I have two of the small indoor covered greenhouses in my bathroom that I am cutting off of tomato seedlings in an effort to have plants ready to go out in April. The best results I have had so far is using rooting hormone, I have not tried flowers yet just vegetables

vurbil
Jan 8, 2018 1:38 PM CST
Tomato is top 5 easiest. You should be pretty close to 100% with that plant. The other 99.9999999% of plants are a different story. This distinction seems to be very difficult for people to grasp.
Name: Jackie
Lake Lanier, GA (Heat Zone 7) (Zone 7b)
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GenXNEGeorgia
Jan 8, 2018 2:59 PM CST
Welcome! @cnichols38

I am starting some flowers from seed this year; I took two tomato cuttings from my summer plant and since those were 100% successful, I will try again with other plants. It seems that I'm all over the place when it comes to new plants — some seeds, some cuttings, and some mature plant orders!

I won't be starting my tomatoes until February but we'll all be posting pictures of green growing things Hilarious! as we all tire of winter (except those in warmer climates — they keep our spirits up too!)

What kind of tomatoes are you growing?
I like gardening - it's a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself.
--Alice Sebold

vurbil
Jan 8, 2018 3:31 PM CST
I'm growing 2 Texas mountain laurels from seed. These are potentially for my own front yard. I want to replace the 2 live oaks that the builder installed. I am growing 2 black locusts from seed as well. Those are to screen off a small section of the property at a lot I purchased. Selected the black locust for the fast growth and because the soil in the area is very poor. I never seem to have too much trouble with seeds of any kind.

Was trying to propagate Leyland cypress from cuttings for a privacy screen at that lot as well, but I don't think any are going to make it, as I referenced above. Lastly, I just stuck 3 yaupon holly cuttings. Not sure how that is going to go. They are very woody, and the only rooting hormone I have is only .6%. I think .8% to 1% is recommended for something that woody. The plan is currently not to use a humidity dome on these. With their being so woody I'm going to try to spare myself the mold problems and just manually mist them with a spray bottle here and there. I'm also doing these in finely shredded bark mulch for the first time. Again, trying to avoid excess moisture. I've had some success with coarse sand, but it still stayed too moist in a container inside a dome. Tried peat and perlite once (with the Leylands). Felt like it retained way too much moisture. I think for me the enemy is excessive moisture, so I'm trying to err against it in every decision.
[Last edited by vurbil - Jan 8, 2018 3:37 PM (+)]
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Name: Rick R.
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Leftwood
Jan 12, 2018 1:52 PM CST
To answer your one question, vurbil, 3 weeks is way too short of a time to expect results, even just callus, because your methods and happenstances are far from adequate, let alone optimal.

At the risk of chastisement, I will say one thing more: from what you have explained, I would expect no success at all.

vurbil
Jan 12, 2018 9:06 PM CST
Leftwood said:To answer your one question, vurbil, 3 weeks is way too short of a time to expect results, even just callus, because your methods and happenstances are far from adequate, let alone optimal.

At the risk of chastisement, I will say one thing more: from what you have explained, I would expect no success at all.


Your post is worthless because it contains zero information. What information are you attempting to convey? We have no idea if you're even talking about the Leylands or the yaupons. What methods? What happenstances? Why do you expect zero success? Use your words.
[Last edited by vurbil - Jan 12, 2018 9:10 PM (+)]
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Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN, USA zon
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Hybridizer
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Leftwood
Jan 12, 2018 10:01 PM CST
I figured as much.

I answered your question because no one else did, and risked just a bit more to get you thinking (that maybe you weren't doing everything right), and you acknowledge neither, and deemed it all worthless. I did not expound because I feared (correctly) your posturing stance.

I am very sorry, I'll just say in the same spirit of your multiple replies, that you are not worth my time, either. Have a nice day.


vurbil
Jan 13, 2018 11:20 AM CST
I deemed it worthless because it contained no useful information. Useful information would be:

--what methods do you disagree with and how would you do it differently?

--what "happenstances"? (I assume you mean the dogs?)

--which propagation attempt are you referring to?

Your last post sounded like a flame or a troll. It definitely didn't contain information on the topic. If you notice, all my posts contain information about plant propagation, whether or not you like the tone in which that information is presented.
Name: Beverly
Colima, Mexico (Zone 11a)
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vitrsna
Jan 14, 2018 12:13 PM CST
Well @vurbil i don't believe we know what climate you are in, and this makes a difference. Also, it is important to know what phase of growth the plant you want to propagate is in. This can make a big difference. Plants in the winter months are fairly dormant (depending on your climate and the type of plant). If you are trying to propagate a flowering plant by cutting while it is in flower, for example, the plant's energies are directed toward making flowers, and not so much toward making new growth. Propagation is easy if you have a little information regarding when taking a cutting will be successful. First you need to know what kind of cutting a plant will grow from (soft wood cutting, hard wood cutting, etc). Generally you will find this information in the NGA database. Then you need to know how to take a cutting. The same method of taking a successful cutting differs from plant to plant and climate to climate.
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Jan 26, 2018 6:42 AM CST
A several others have mentioned, we need to know your location, one cannot make a reliable suggestion to help if they don't know where to start. For example, you would take hardwood cuttings at different times of the year depending on where you are. - it is weather related.
You say the sand is staying too wet, are there adequate drain holes in the container? I have never found sand to not drain well. Often it is mixed with peat just to maintain adequate moisture.
Hardwood cuttings do have very specific requirements which is why they are usually left to the professionals with equipment like misting systems air and soil climate controls.
What size cuttings did you take? Professionals usually take very small, 2" -3" tip cuttings on evergreens.
If you think your dog is relieving himself on your container can you not raise it up out of his way?
One last thing, Leyland cypress are such short lived trees and among the most susceptible to disease. Yes, they do grow fast but they die fast too. If you are going to go to the trouble of rooting hardwoods I would choose a stronger tree.
I hope you can receive these suggestions in the spirit they are given.

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Name: Daniel Erdy
Catawba SC (Zone 7b)
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ediblelandscapingsc
Jan 28, 2018 7:12 AM CST
okay..... edited to be nicer
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