Potting Media for Cutting Propagation

Since I have learned how to do cutting propagation, I rarely buy plants in garden shops or nurseries. Cutting propagation is a cheap and easy way to obtain new plants. I have shown how to do cutting propagation in an earlier post – Plant Propagation from Cuttings – Coleus, and here, I would like to talk more about the rooting media of cutting propagation.

The Ingredients of Rooting Media

It is important to use a good sterile rooting media to get your plants off to a healthy start. While soil and compost are not good choices as the rooting media for cutting propagation since they may contain diseases, potting mix that is available in local gardening nurseries may also not be suitable for cuttings. Since it is not difficult to make rooting media for cuttings, we can just make our own as well.

A good rooting media contains equal parts of coarse, sharp sand and peat moss. Instead of sand, we can use perlite, and instead of peat moss, we can use vermiculite. However, I often will pot my cuttings with just coarse sand alone. By this method, the cuttings grow just fine. Indeed, since coarse sand cannot retain much moist, cuttings in this environment often grow very fine root systems in the attempt to seek more water. And if handled properly, the cuttings will be ready to transplant into soil and start to grow promptly. In addition, since coarse sand cannot retain much moist, the loss from damping-off is minimized.

cutting-propagation-figThis fig cutting has been potted in coarse sand for about 6 weeks time.  See all the fine roots that it has developed.

cutting-propagation-fig cutting-propagation-fig

These are all fig cuttings that I have potted into individual pots from a growing bed.  In case you wonder, these cuttings are not for myself, but for the students in Teacher Wong’s gardening class 🙂

4 comments to Potting Media for Cutting Propagation

  • Thanks for showing the way Sandy! I like your method of just using coarse sand.

  • Sand is great for rooting cuttings. I still use sand when I don’t have to move my flats out of the mist. When I have to move them out of my misting bed, I prefer a peat/perlite mix because it is lighter.

  • Pat

    Greetings Sandy.

    It is nice to see you are doing well rooting the fig cuttings using sand. I have not used sand yet but I will give it a try. Since dormancy is almost over for this season, I will be taking some more cuttings from my fig trees in a few days.

    To date, I have tried air layering and ground up/shreded newspaper(now in process)with high humidity to root my cuttings with 100% success and satisfaction.

    Thanks for the tip and best wishes for the 2011 season.

  • daniel

    would you like to trade a few fig tree cuttings I have sevral great varities as well. Or I’d love to buy some cuttings if possible. I look forward to hearing back from you please feel free to contact me at ediblelandscaping.sc@gmail.com

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