video 'Taking Cuttings)
My first cuttings (cultivar 'Lynn Johnson') are taken in the last week of
November, and continues throughout December usually in the following
week 1 : First batches of Chempak Roses and Billy Bells plus Woolley Globe
week 2 : First batches of John Wingfield family and Millennium plus
Woolley Pride, also second batches of Chempak Roses and Billy Bells
week 3 : Carlene Welby and Lorna Wood and second batches of John
Wingfields and Millennium.
The compost mix for propagation is soilless multi purpose and perlite
(approximately 4 parts to one part). After the compost is put into the
propagating trays and watered, a layer of perlite is sprinkled over the top
before cuttings are inserted.
Update: Compost mixes
In recent years compost manufacturers have been encouraged to
incorporate recycled materials into what were previously 100% peat based
composts, additionally they have incorporated water retention chemicals.
There two factors have influenced the performance of the compost to the
extent that I was not happy to use such composts for my chrysanthemums.
So, for 2011 I have been
making my own composts using the following components:
- 50% riddled compost from earlies grown in pots in 2010
- 50% newly bought Irish Moss peat
To each 6 gallons of the
above I added:
- Chempak Multipurpose Potting base in accordance with instructions on the
- 2 ounces of DCM Antagon
This mixture is being used
at all stages from propagation to final potting.
I use a variety of containers - 84 cell plug trays (quite a large plug
size), 60 cell plug trays (small plug size) and standard seed trays. I
have some handy 10 cell trays which are also very useful.
Cuttings are either snapped or cut off the stool, Each cutting is then
prepared by snapping below a leaf joint and removing the lower leaves to
give a cutting that is about 2 inches long. The cuttings are then dipped
in hormone rooting powder before inserting in the compost. I use a pencil
to make a hole for the cutting and then firm it in gently and then
watering the tray again.
Each tray of cuttings is placed in a cold
part of the greenhouse for 7-10 days and sprayed regularly with cold
water. After this 'cold period' the trays is placed on the propagator
(bottom heat of about 55-60F). After a further fourteen days the cuttings
are normally rooted and can be removed from the propagator.
My propagation system:
my system consists of a propagating blanket. This is a heavy duty
aluminium blanket with a copper wire running through it . There is a
sensitive thermostat which controls the temperature through a remote
sensor that is inserted into the rooting medium alongside the cuttings. I
set the thermostat to provide bottom heat in the range 55-60F and try to
control the air temperature in the greenhouse so that it does not fall
The components of the propagating setup
- a base board to keep things flat and support the blanket;
- 1" polystyrene tiles for insulation;
- the blanket itself;
- a sheet of heavy duty polythene to protect the blanket;
- finally, capillary matting to keep the containers moist.