Propagating From Small Seedlings: A Preliminary Report
John Patrick, Richmond, CA
In an attempt to obtain some first hand knowledge of fast rooting possibilities, the author experimented with cuttings taken from very young seedlings. Although the results to date are exciting, only four months have elapsed in this experiment. It remains to be seen just how well the plants will grow. At the present time, the tip cuttings quickly outstrip the control seedlings.
The author took cuttings from the seedlings when they showed the second set of true leaves. Cuticle scissors and tweezers were used to manipulate the very small cuttings. These small cut tings with two sets of true leaves were immediately dipped in Rootone, weakest strength, and inserted in damp sphagnum, loosely packed, about ½" deep in 2" plastic pots. The pots were immediately placed in polyethylene bags and sealed. All bags were then placed immediately under Gro-Lux lamps. No nutrients were added. The small tip cuttings showed roots in ten days to two weeks. They were transplanted as soon as there was enough root system to support them. This was usually about 30 days. If left longer, the cuttings develop very long roots and tend to wilt on transplanting. In the experiments, there were no cuttings that did not root. Results on 20 species and hybrids including lepidote, elepidote, azalea and Malaysians were 100% successful!
While the author has a tentative theory as to why these young tip cuttings quickly outstrip the control seedlings further experiments should shed more light on the phenomenon. In the meantime, it is hoped that other enthusiasts will experiment to develop improvements.
Further results of these and other related experiments will be offered from time to time.