Six on Saturday: root cuttings

It’s going to be a quick one this week as I am preparing for my next RHS exam on propogation. So for this week I am looking at root cuttings.

Plant health

When taking cuttings plants should be in good health as any disease is likely to be passed on through the cuttings. You want to avoid any already suffering with any issues such as chlorosis or other disorders linked to lacking correct feeding. This Acanthus I feature last week is an ideal candidate for root cuttings as they have a reputation for regrowing from the slightest bit of root left in the soil when people have tried to remove them. It is likely it will lose the varieagation when the root cuttings grow. But I would quite like the normal species variety as well. This is still in its pot so I can just take the cuttings by taking it from the pot. If it was in the ground it would need lifting or if it was too big you can scrape to expose the roots and do it in situ.

Cuttings

Ideal root cuttings should be about pencil thickness. This had several coming out the base of the pot which is what gave me the idea to take cuttings. You want to take the cuttings as close to the crown as possible. But as these were going to need cutting to get it out of the pot I thought I’d use these.

Root sections

Sections of root can be cut into sections about 7-10cm for vertical cuttings. These are going vertically into a pot so I went about 7cm for each one. If you are taking root cuttings from something with finer roots that can be laid out horizontally on the compost and these cuttings can be shorter.

I took a few from close to the crown as well. I’m chancing some of the smaller roots since this has a reputation for growing back well.

Compost

In an ideal world I’d use cuttings compost. But I don’t have any. I’ve gone with a seed compost with a bit of vermiculite mixed in. Then I filled the small 10cm pot.

The cuttings have gone around the edge of the pot. Just a little way in. I used a thin dibber to poke the hole and then placed them in but a pencil would do fine. Then I covered with a thin layer of about 0.5cm of compost. Then they’ve been placed in the unheated mini greenhouse. They should show signs of growth in spring when they can then be potted on into individual pots. Then by the next year they may be ready to plant out. So it is quite a slow method but they don’t take up much space and don’t need much attention. The label is probably one of the most significant parts so I actually know wheat I’ve got coming up in spring and give them the right care.

Hopefully the exam will go alright. Good luck to anyone else sitting their exams on Monday.

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