Posted on 8 December 2009
Rootrainers – Perfect for CuttingsAlmost anything can be grown from a cutting. It is also an easy and cheap way to obtain more plants. It is also an excellent way to keep your half-hardy perennials from year to year. Rootrainers excel with cuttings of all types.
PreparationWith cuttings, good preparation is essential. In particular the seed tray, compost mix and the moisture are vital. In late summer, take a few cuttings from your container plants, hanging basket plants and half-hardy border plants and root them in the greenhouse and then pot them up. No Re-Potting with Rootrainers Cuttings love a lot of side – that is why most cuttings are initially placed around the side of a large pot, or in very small pots, to be re-potted later. But, re-potting requires skilled timing, and will cause root disturbance. Rootrainers are small pots, with a massive amount of side. But, unlike small pots they have depth and don’t become pot-bound, so timing ceases to be critical and there is no re-potting. Quick Growth Try any nodal, stem, leaf or root cutting for success. The encouragement of quick root growth and natural air pruning achieved by Rootrainers will create a marvellous root plug. Some cuttings can be ready and planted up within a very short space of time, but others can be left in over winter and even longer if you want to grow semi-standards.
Compost Mix(This mix is sufficient for two trays of the 3”/8cm Rootrainer seed trays - typically an ideal pot size for cuttings) Using a 12cm pot, mix:
- 8 pots of multi-purpose compost;
- 3 pots of perlite or vermiculite; and
- ½ pot of grit or sand (for free drainage).
Watering- Preparing your Seed Trays for Cuttings Before planting your cuttings give the seed trays a good soaking using a watering can. Leave the seed trays with their plastic lids on to conserve water while you select your cuttings. Hardy cuttings need to be placed in a sheltered position away from full sun – ideally in a cold frame. Put them somewhere handy so that they can be looked at daily. If the leaves of the cuttings look a little wilted then, using a water sprayer, you can give them a light spray. On-Going Watering During Propagation With Rootrainers, it is easy to check moisture levels and how the roots are doing. Just open the ‘book’, check and re-close. But - a little hint! Don’t open them until the plant is reasonably established and the roots have hit the side; otherwise you may just be pulling the soil away from the roots and weakening the strength of the plug. Rootrainers packs come with a clear plastic propagating-lid. The lid sits on top of the tray and retains the moisture and warmth. This can be easily removed and replaced for watering, and provides the ideal growing environment for most cuttings. However, do not use the lid for geraniums and other plants that do not like humidity. When plants have developed sufficiently, the lid can be placed under the tray for capillary watering if desired, and for clean handling – ideal if you are keeping or over-wintering plants indoors.
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