Hmmph. Not sure why, perhaps they didn’t enjoy being snowed on, but several of the remaining stems of ceanothus cuttings went brown and were duly removed, Interestingly it was mainly those around the edge of the pot, so perhaps chill was a factor.
Those that remain look a little brown in places too, so my hopes of any of these rooting are diminishing with each passing week. It is now seven months give or take since I took the cuttings, so given there have been no roots, these have survived for quite a while looking mostly green.
If you are considering propagating ceanothus by cuttings, my advice is now a resounding “don’t bother!”. If you want another one, just buy one!
I’ll be back soon with more propagation malarkey.
I had been trying for a few years to clone the absolutely spectacular cyanothus that is in front of my house. It was there when we bought our house 10 years ago and had split at the bottom into to main bushes (4 meters high). A few years ago it seemed to be struggling and last year half of it seemed to die overnight.
Several years ago I had tried cuttings and also layering but they failed.
After reading your blog i decided to try again, not accepting failure as an option. I eventually ended up with three plants out of at least 40 cuttings.
I won’t go into all of the things I tried, but what eventually worked was cuttings taken in June and planted into 50/50 vermiculite pearlite in a plant germination tray with a clear plastic cover.
I’m pretty sure they were heel cuttings. Not sure June was the magic month for the cuttings but it was when I got it right. I tried cuttings later in the summer but I think I let them dry out too much. Early summer temps in coastal Southern California are fairly mild but August September can get pretty hot.
I put the tray in a bright but shaded outdoor area and sprayed them daily. Sometimes i would put them in direct sun for maybe a 1/2 hour or so on weekends. It took about 6 weeks for roots to show. A few plants did not survive the transplant into larger pots.
-john king, torrance california
Forgot to mention that I also used a rooting powder.
Nice job!! I totally gave up and bought a new one! Glad to hear you made it work, at least I know it’s possible…
I have thoroughly enjoyed following your sorry tale of the battle of the Ceanothus cutting. I have moved into a house with a variegated ceanothus in the back garden which has seen better days and I was going to try some cuttings. Having read your tale of woe (and I confess to having giggled somewhat) I have decided to go buy a new one. Thank you for making me smile and I’ve enjoyed all the comments too. Happy gardening x
LikeLiked by 1 person
Excellent! Good move.
I like your gin & tonic idea. I live in California where ceanothus is a native plant. I looked up propagation on the National Gardening Association which is two time zones east of here (in other words colder). Their suggestion for propagation does not mention removing the heel, although I might have cut it down a bit. Anyway, here’s what it says: You can, indeed, take cuttings of your California Lilac (Ceanothus) to increase your stock of plants. Semi-ripe wood responds best and this is the right time of year to take them (June). Carefully pull away a healthy sideshoot of the current season’s growth so that it comes away with a sliver, or “heel” of bark from the parent shoot. The sideshoot should be about 4″ long. Natural rooting hormones will be concentrated in the “heel”, but you can help insure success by dipping the end of the cutting in rooting hormone. Place each cutting in a tray or small pot of moistened potting soil and drape plastic over the cuttings to make a tent which will help hold in moisture. Remove the tent for a few minutes every day to allow fresh air to reach your cuttings, then replace the plastic tent. You’ll know your cuttings have rooted when new growth begins and the cuttings show some resistance when you try to gently pull them up. After a substantial root system has developed you can repot your new little plants and place them in an area protected from hot afternoon sun. When they growing well (10-16 weeks) you can plant them in the garden. Good luck with your project!” OK, maybe this is a little too cheery sounding, but after your third G&T, you might consider not cutting the heel off altogether and see what happens. , , ,2) A second tip from Marjorie Schmidt’s classic book “Growing California Native Plants”. She provides very detailed instructions on taking cuttings or growing from seed. Here is what she has to say about taking cuttings from Ceanothus: “… almost throughout the year, but especially from mid-spring until December. Cuttings of 3 to 5″ are dipped into a rooting hormone and put in flats or shallow pots of sand. Containers may be kept in a frame or sheltered place and covered with plastic until rooting occurs. Plants are ready to set out within a year to eighteen months.” ….We are typically told here that once planted in the garden, water deeply but do not overwater the first year, just enough to establish; thereafter no to very little summer water and believe me, it gets hot and dry here. They are accustomed to our dry native soil. I killed one by overwatering . . . By the way, you have a few ceanothus in the uk that I have not seen in our nurseries here. I’m a little jealous.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Wow! That is an extremely thorough comment! Thanks for taking the time. I’m afraid to say that I ran out of time. The parent shrub/tree had reached the end of its useful life, I have removed it. Can’t say I miss it that greatly! I’ll look out for another st some point although I might just grow a few clematis up the trellis in its place. You win some you lose some. By the way, on the heel, the guidance over here is almost always to remove as the thin sliver is likely to rot off. The hormone is concentrated at the base of the stem, supposedly. Interesting to get a different view. Thanks again Jane.
Just a quick reply this time. (I finally realized I was replying to one of your old posts)…. If you’re looking for a blue shrub/small tree, there’s an intriguing new blue dwarf shrub/tree originating from the American tropics and cultivated by a Japanese gardener. It’s called ‘Blue Bonsai’ Jacuaranda. Pictures on internet don’t do it justice. The full-sized parent tree is magnificent in bloom. Now I’ll get off this old thread for good. Bye.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hi there! Thanks for the tidbits on this apparently tough propagation project!
Umm….did you know that you never leave ANY flower buds OR flowers on cuttings when propagating? You might have better luck if you remove them.
Good Luck! 😊
LikeLiked by 1 person
I’m over it now. I didn’t need no stinkin’ ceanothus!
Disappointing but thanks for saving us time and effort propagating them. However, my neighbour’s plant has brown patches from the frost and it’s the first time I’ve seen in suffer like that.
I have grown a few ceanothos, but never from cuttings. I know they hate being too wet.
Do you know how they are propagated? I have never grown any, and have not asked about them. I know that I have never seen them layer. Not many of our native plants are easy to propagate by layering or cutting. Fremontodendron is still a mystery to me. I know they are grown from seed, but are some vegetatively propagated?