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.
There are some very tenuous signs of life in one or two of the other pots, but the rest are gone.
The verbena bonariensis, so recently looking hale and hearty, are now looking thoroughly pathetic. I fear they will not amount to anything. Sorry Alys…
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.
I also have some new pelargonium cuttings, taken over the last few days. I’ll publish a separate post about those soon.
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.