Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Regarding the cloner.

It's been nearly a year since I built my homemade cloner. I've learned a few things. Green, new growth from almost any plant will root in a matter of weeks. Hardwood cuttings fail. Always.

The last time I cleaned the cloner, I nearly filled it up with late fall cuttings of buddleia, knockout roses, salvias, and lantana. A few cuttings turned brown and died, probably due to lack of sterility than the method overall. Many more rooted and have been potted up into small containers destined to spend the winter under lights in the basement. The lantana previously known as Miss Huff has done the best. It's actively growing under lights. Cotoneaster and buddleia are just sitting there. If they survive til spring, they should become strong, healthy plants with a little care in hardening them off.

I've still got a few things that need to be potted, mostly lantana taken just before the hard, killing frost.

As a test for rooting roses, I took several Knockout rose cuttings. I don't plan to keep these cuttings as I don't need more of these plants. I just wanted to see if the cloner would help to root them. I seem to lose more rose cuttings than anything else using soil. Again, the sterility of the medium is my biggest obstacle. The knockouts have formed large calluses. No roots are visible yet. I'll give them another week to impress me.

Overall, I've been fairly successful with this contraption. In a few weeks, I'll trim the tender new growth from the overwintering brugmansias. It roots in only two weeks in the cloner. I'm also going to try Confederate Rose. The cuttings I rooted in water have been potted up for a few weeks. They've put out some firm growth, but are getting too large under the lights. Pruning them back will keep them in check for the next 3 months.

But before that, I'll need to sterilize everything again. I use a 1:10 bleach solution. The rollers soak overnight in the same mixture. The foam often has algae in the cells after a successful cutting is done. I wish I had a closed cell foam to use for the holders. Maybe I'll take another trip to the dollar store this weekend.

It's currently 27 degrees with a heavy frost covering the yard. The forecast calls for a high of 54. It's 66 degrees in the basement and rising slowly. When I went to bed, it was 81. Upstairs, it was 68 with no electric heat. I'm pleased.

12:02pm - 46 degrees and sunny. It doesn't feel that warm out, even in the sun. There's a definite chill in the air. I've got an hour before I leave for work. I've sorted and printed my wintersowing labels for the first round. I have 116 varieties I'm planning to sow next week. I need 20 more two-liter containers prepared by then.


David - Pinewood Cottage said...

so - is it time to take hardwood cuttings of the crepe myrtles? from what i've read you cut them and stick them outdoors in good moist soil and then pray one survives.

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

David, I'm waiting until late February to stick any hardwood cuttings. Last year I tried it earlier and lost many. Those done in early March leafed out and rooted...but none of the crape myrtles survived. For what others claim is an easy to propagate tree, I've had no luck. Maybe this year.

gld said...

Tom, some roses are just harder to root from cuttings.

I still do Grandma's old way of sticking them in the dirt in a shady location under a fruit jar. Takes a long time, but by spring, they are ready.

I have also stuck them in a pot of soil with a plastic tent and rooted them under the lights any time of year....not always successful.

I have to do something because I loose a rose or two every season to RRD! That or quit growing them at all.