Propagation from cuttings
Cuttings are made 5 to 15 cm (2 to 65 inches) long from new lateral growth tips stripped of older branches. A small piece of old wood, “a heel,” is thus left attached to the base of the cutting. Some propagators believe this to be advantageous. In other cases, good results are obtained when the cuttings are just clipped without the “heel” from the older wood. Cuttings from the current season’s terminal growth also root well.
Cuttings to be rooted in the greenhouse can be taken at any time during the winter or rooted outdoors on heated beds. Exposing the stock plants to several hard freezes seems to give better rooting. Optimum time for taking cuttings is when stock plants have ceased growth (i.e. the late fall-winter propagation period is more successful than summer). For propagating in an outdoor cold frame, cuttings are taken in late summer or early fall. There may be advantages to using bottom heat. Lightly wounding the base of the cuttings is sometimes helpful, and the use of root-promoting chemicals, especially IBA, is beneficial. Recommendations for root-promoting chemicals include the following: 2500 IBA Quick-dip (Alabama), 3000 – 8000 ppm IBA liquid, and 0.3-4.5 percent IBA talc. Medium-coarse sand or a 10:1 mixture of perlite and peat moss is a satisfactory rooting medium. Maintenance of a humid environment without excessive wetting of the cuttings is desirable, as is a relatively high light intensity. A light, intermittent mist can be used. Bottom heat of 60-65°F (12°C) is critical the first six weeks of propagation to allow the basal wound of cuttings to callus.
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