Collecting cuttings for propagation

Is the early morning or early evening the best time to take a cutting for propagation? Like we do when we cut roses to take to a rose show, or for cuttings does it really matter?

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It’s ideal to collect cuttings at a time when they are as fully hydrated as possible, especially if they are going to be stuck directly into a rooting medium. If the cuttings can be placed in water first, they can recover any lost moisture. I tend to pre-callus mine in water regardless.

Stefan

Stefan, how long do you place in water before planting? I have a pretty pitiful success rate with cuttings, and I read about your method in a post from several days ago. I now have a few in water, wondering when I should transfer to potting media.

I wait until the cuttings have developed a modest amount of white callus at the bottom–there is a fairly wide window for sticking between the initial signs of callus development (often a slight flare under the green bark at the very bottom of the cutting) and waiting longer than ideal (when the callus begins to discolor, turning from white to yellowish or even brownish–but as long as the discoloration is still only on the surface, it’s not always a problem for rooting). Changing the water every couple of days, or when it doesn’t look clean anymore, is important. If anything seems to be growing on the cutting under the water, you can rub the cutting gently under running water to help keep that to a minimum.

Time to callusing varies, of course, but as long as the stem stays green, everything should be okay.

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Thank you very much for your helpful advice. I haven’t had much success with cuttings so far, maybe it will work better now.

Check the pH of your water. We have highly alkaline water and those “salts” inhibit root formation. You also require a fair amount of humidity to prevent the cutting from drying out too severely. Water rooting isn’t something very successful in highly arid areas.

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Many thanks, roseseek! That’s a very helpful note.

Interesting! Didn’t know that roseseek. I may still be a novice on the hybradizing front but cuttings I can do well. I am self employed gardener and I sell roses and lots of other plants via cuttings to my clients (all out of patent) I have found that in my climate (experiment!) a table placed outside my back garden on a north facing wall which gets a bit of morning sunlight is perfect for semi ripe cuttings. Very high take rate, don’t even need to seal them… All open air. Then I do hard wood cuttings in full sun beds late autumn, early winter… However I think it will be different depending on soil/climate

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Congratulations, James! I’m glad it works for you. In my old climate, I could take cuttings of Hibiscus sinensis, pot them in potting soil and place them on the north side of the house, leaving them all winter and they would root nearly 100% by spring. Roses? Nope. A friend an hour or so south of me roots roses on her north facing kitchen window in water.Try it in Los Angeles City water. Nope. You’d think here in northern Santa Barbara County our water would be softer, but nope. Distilled works best and our nights are extremely “wet”, being nine flat miles from the Pacific but days dry out to nearly single digit so mist must be employed to prevent them from drying out. The alkalinity doesn’t appear to have a negative effect using mist propagation but rooting in water, it can be the kiss of death.

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Does highly alkaline water tend to inhibit callus formation as well, or only root production? Fairly alkaline water must not have that effect, because the method also worked nicely with our alkaline well water in Minnesota; here, the tap water is just slightly alkaline. I don’t prefer to wait long enough for roots to actually be produced (although sometimes it happens anyway); I would rather let that happen in medium. Air humidity is unnecessary until the cuttings go into medium, and avoidance of humidity/moisture is actually one of the reasons I prefer indoor water callusing. It keeps the roses from developing foliar diseases and rot that would otherwise progress inside a humid rooting environment, and leaf retention is one of the most crucial things for expeditious rooting.

If even callusing is inhibited by such water, then distilled water will probably need to be used instead.

Stefan

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@roseseek Thank you so much for sharing this eye-opening tip!
For so long I have struggled to root cuttings using pretty much every method I could find, and never considered the pH of our very alkaline water could be a factor!
I wonder if using a “pH down” product would be enough to make the tapwater suitable, or if distilled water is needed as @MidAtlas suggests?

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You’re welcome! I hope it helps. I’d imagine filtered or distilled water would be best. Alkaline water contains a lot of ‘salts’ and anything that reduces the pH is going to add more.

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I do cuttings from to june.as i do them outside when the last cutting takes i move them to my solor rpom with a heatrr for the winter