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A new way of taking cuttings

InglezinhoInglezinho Posts: 568

I have  found a really excellent way of taking cuttings and so far have a 97% success rate. Instead of planting the cuttings in soil, I use sphagnum moss, which is usually used to grow orchids. During World War I when hospitals ran out of bandages they used to wrap wounds in moss, which is known to have antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Plants root in this in less time, without the need for hormones and form dense mats of roots within the sphagnum which can then be planted directly into soil. So far I have no disease problems and no damping off. I reckon I have saved about a month on each plant before it is ready to plant out and virtually no losses

Sphagnum is not easy to come by and rather expensive but I have found no better medium for rooting cuttings, with a very low failure rate. If you have really special cutting, which takes longer to root , fill an ordinary tall drinking glass with damp sphagnum and push the cutting in - this is a lot easier than planting in soil. Turn it upside-down, allow any excess water to drain out then place  on damp kitchen paper and cover with a transparent plastic top - like the ones they sell ice cream in to form a mini-greenhouse. This will ensure humidity remains at close to 100%. After about 10 days, depending on the plant, remove the cover at night, then gradually for an increasing time during the day. If the plant does not wilt and if when you pull it up slightly some of the moss comes up too, it it ready to pot on in normal soil. If not leave it for a little longer as above,

Plants so far I have propagated successfully this way: Impatiens, Sunpatiens, Fuchsia, Blue Ginger. Episcia (leaf cuttings). No luck yet with Begonia, will try leaf cuttings in the summer. Plants that grow easily from seed do not need this method but I gather that seeds from carnivorous plants ie. Darlingtonia grow well by this method. Sphagnum can be re-used once as a material for cuttings after which it is best discarded,

Good luck.Ian

Everyone likes butterflies. Nobody likes caterpillars.


  • It might be a good way for growing but I'm not convinced we should be going down this route, I thought Gardeners where being discouraged from using the moss because it was bad for the environment.

    I for one will not be trying it simply because of this fact.

  • I'm sure this method would work but I thought Gardeners where being discouraged from using this moss because it was destroying the enviroment so I for one will not be trying this.

  • IamweedyIamweedy Posts: 1,364

    What we don't want to do is to let big business again start depleting our native  peat bogs in an unsustainable way.The situation is/was  slowly improving. 

    A big problem with the recent severe flash flooding  (caused by damaging our weather patterns by anthopogenic global warming) is that the native peat bogs, if they are left in place,  do/did an excellent job as sponges by mopping up excess water holding on and letting it out more slowly.

    Just avoid  peat based garden compost as far as possible. Big buisiness will just  keep ripping up our peat bogs if we let them .

    It seems it's possible to grow your own. There is a business opportunity! Sustainable Sphagnum moss farming. It would probably be  only viable on a small local basis but specialist  plant growers  might find it useful.

    'You must have some bread with it me duck!'

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,863

    I've never had a problem with the types of cuttings mentioned ... most of them produce roots really easily in a jamjar of water on my kitchen windowsill.  I see no need to complicate things image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

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