When I started this blog my intention was to document the highs and lows of getting to grips with propagation. Well, this is one of the lows. Cue sombre music.

The ceonothus cuttings I took 5 or so weeks ago have turned up their toes, or are very much on their way to doing so.


I haven’t yet diagnosed why, but here are the leading contenders.

  • Rot working its way up the stems and spreading. I lazily buried many of the stems with leaves attached. Could be…
  • Lack of humidity. I didn’t bother to stick a bag over them, I assumed that being in the heated bench and under the larger cover would be enough. Not convinced.
  • Not a sufficiently gritty cuttings mix. I used sharp sand and vermiculite.  Nah.
  • Something dodgy about the cuttings material. Meh. Seemed ok when I took them.
  • Insufficient tool hygiene. Possibly.
  • I took the cuttings at a time which isn’t optimal. Don’t think so, ceonothus should be ok for hardwood cuttings, although perhaps I’d be better to try again now as the shrub is closer to spring growth.

It’s a mystery. To be honest this is not an untypical result for me with cuttings so it’s entirely possible I’m the common cause. Perhaps something will survive to put on roots but I’m not holding out much hope given their current appearance.

[update 11-apr-17: I consigned the lot to the compost heap the other day.  nothing survived or thrived.  tragic…]

I am taking some tiny comfort from the fact that I didn’t actually have a use for 25-odd ceonothus shrubs! That’s not a totally helpful mental salve as I might start to think the same logic could apply to the other bajillion plants or potential plants I have propagating away.(shakes head and dismisses as ludicrous…)

In the words of the song, I get knocked down, but I get back up again. I’ll do some research and have another crack at the ceonothus later in the year.