The end of the world is nigh! Since the last update, there has been a cuttings apocolypse, which is all a bit disappointing. I may, however, have zeroed in on the issue.  I think I am killing these rooted cuttings by overfeeding them. The advice I have been following has been to feed, once rooted, with a triple strength liquid tomato feed. I think that I can trace all my cuttings extinction events to this blast of nutrients, particularly as I am not overly careful about the dose, I may be giving them even higher than x3. I’m not sure what exactly it is about this that kills them.  I am hypothesising, so a trial is in order. Next year I will subject some rooted cuttings to different amounts of feed, see what transpires. I had half a mind to run that trial this year, but didn’t quite get around to it.

What’s left alive then?  Not much.

I have a few carnations, one lobelia, a very half-hearted peony and a few ivy-leaved pelargoniums.

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There are some very tenuous signs of life in one or two of the other pots, but the rest are gone.

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The verbena bonariensis, so recently looking hale and hearty, are now looking thoroughly pathetic. I fear they will not amount to anything. Sorry Alys…

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This is a slightly depressing end to the cuttings season, I would say upwards of 50 seemingly rooted cuttings have bitten the dust, some after potting on, some still in their original homes. Whilst that is annoying, if I take a step back, this actually represents progress. Last year I struggled to get cuttings to root in the first place.  One lives and learns.

Not to be discouraged (for too long) I have set up some new cuttings.  Following a chat on twitter with Ray Bishop about his expogrow process, I took some little stem tip cuttings of some fuchsia.  It’s probably late in the year to be doing this, but I hope that the heated bench will provide the necessary encouragement. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I have run out of grit so have just used plain vermiculite as the cuttings compost, one cutting per module, with a clear plastic lid on (removed here for the photo). I will be misting these daily as they are super vulnerable to death by lack of moisture. The lid should help keep the atmosphere humid.

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is there a future for these fuchsia?

I also have some new pelargonium cuttings, taken over the last few days. I’ll publish a separate post about those soon.

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In more positive news, the eryngium root cuttings seem to be doing well, and I even see a couple of root tips emerging from the base of the pot. I shall leave these alone till early spring.  Even if they develop a forest of roots, they’ll be better off in their current accommodation than if I try to separate them and pot them on at this time of year.  I might move the pot from the greenhouse staging to the cold-frame, they don’t need mollycoddling.

Well, that’s the state of the cuttings nation. Not all bad, but mostly so. Cuttings are a tricky business, very few achieve 100% success. It helps to remember that it is all a learning experience. There is always next year!

I’ll be back in a month or so with the next update.