The South Texas gardener, Gabriel Vega joined us this morning to tell us about a great skill to have as a gardener called rooting and it has it's advantages. Rooting allows us to develop new root systems that are completely independent from the original plant.
The process is useful if you have a hard time finding seeds to rare plants or if one likes a particular characteristic of a plant such and flower color or even if you simply have access to a plant variety and would like to have more. Learning how to take cuttings can prove to be very useful and rewarding. It can also benefit the gardener to establish a new plant the same age as the original or donor plant as this "cutting" even with the new root zones is a exact genetic replica. Therefore any characteristics that would be associated with a mature plant of said spices would also be inherent, such as the ability to bare fruit like in mature or established fruit trees.
To do this you will need to have clean par of sharp shears. (Clean to minimize the risk of contamination) Less of a problem on more woody stemmed plants. How ever the harder the wood the harder to establish roots.
A glass of water to put the cuttings in. Cut side down.
A rooting media of some kind. For green stemmed or soft stemmed plants root plugs work great coco coir also a good choice the idea is to have the grow media have a good amount of moisture and aeration.Avoid using seed starting mix as this contains fertilizer and won't help a plant that has no roots to absorb the nutrients and can have a negative impact of the process.
For woody stemmed cuttings play sand works a little better than root plugs.
Rooting compound which is not necessary but will help in the abundance of root development and time to which it takes to develop roots.
When we take our cutting we want to take a bigger specimen than what we are actually going to root. Take a cutting of soft or green stems at 6 to 8 in in length and 8 to 10 in in length for woody stems like bushes and trees.
Place in water cut stem side down until ready to transplant into you growing media.(Root stating plug, coco coir, play sand or Fox Farm Light Warrior for very best results.) That last one is a trade secret.
Remove 80 percent to 90 percent of the foliage from the stem leaving some at the top part of the cutting.
Submerge plant in a shallow pale of water and make your cut on the lower part of the stem. This cut should lessen the length to 4 to 5 inches with soft stems and 6 to 7 inches for woody stems. When pulling the plant out of the water position the cut side down so that a droplet of water forms at the bottom of the cut stem. This technic will prevent the plant from developing a embolism or a air bubble in the stem that prevents proper development of the roots and can lead to plant failure.
Go then to apply the rooting compound. This is not a fertilizer. This is a rooting hormone that will help to develop roots more vigorously.
Then into the already moistened grow media.