Growers often neglect to provide the stock plant with proper care before taking cuttings. Correct stock plant preparation will increase the survival rate and shorten the rooting time of the cutting. Also, healthy, new growth will likely develop sooner.
How do I select a stock plant?
Choose a strong, healthy plant that has the characteristics you want to encourage in future crops. Some of the most important characteristics of plant selection include:
genetic maturity; growth traits; and disease resistance.
1. Genetic Maturity: the stock plant, if started from seed, should be at least 3 months old. Taking a cutting from a plant that was a cutting from the original stock plant (second generation) is also acceptable but keep in mind that the new plant (third generation) will not make a good stock plant.
2. Growth Traits: size, vigor, abundant flower and fruit production, taste.
3. Disease Resistance: select only healthy plants that have shown resistance to disease. Avoid the temptation of taking a cutting from the healthy growth of a diseased plant.
During what stage of growth should a cutting a be taken?
A plant should be prepared for cutting during the active vegetative growth stage. At this stage the plant’s growth hormones necessary for rapid root development are present.
Can I take a cutting from a plant in flower?
Yes, but a cutting taken while the stock plant is flowering will force the cutting to revert to a vegetative state. This causes additional stress, slowing growth, and development. Rooting may take up to three times longer when the cuttings are taken during the flowering cycle. The cutting may not have enough stored nutrients or carbohydrates to survive.
What should I feed my plants prior to taking cuttings?
While the stock plant is in the active vegetative growth stage feed it with good quality, all-purpose or high Nitrogen fertilizer. One week before taking a cutting feed the stock plants with low nitrogen, high Phosphorus flowering fertilizer. The flowering fertilizer will lower the amount of stored nitrogen in the plant and increase the number of stored carbohydrates necessary for the production of roots. Spraying the foliage with water daily will accelerate this process.
What hormone/stress relief products can I feed my plants prior to taking cuttings?
It is important that growth-enhancing supplements be present in cuttings prior to introduction to grow mediums. The best way to ensure the presence of these products is to feed the stock plant 1 week before the cutting is taken. This method has proven to accelerate the rooting process. The following products are known to enhance growth rates and will benefit the health and prosperity of both the stock plant and cutting: (choose one for best results).
Nutri-Boost – A plant growth hormone which has been developed to greatly enhance the root growth of all plants under stress. It contains a botanical mix of vitamins and auxins which promote root growth. These provide a stressed plant with the enhanced natural ability to replace roots damaged by stress and create healthy new roots.
Growth Plus/Nitrozyme – These products are natural marine algae extract plant food containing many of the nutrients that plants require for vigorous healthy growth. They are also rich in cytokinins, a natural plant hormone that accelerates cellular division and growth during all stages of development. When used as a foliar spray these products may be combined with other plant supplements.
Power Thrive/Thrive Alive – Made from all natural kelp meal these products are rich in naturally occurring plant nutrients and hormones. These products are also fortified with vitamin B1 which has been proven to increase a plants ability to overcome stress and promote vital plant systems.
Vita Max – A scientifically created formula designed to enhance, increase and protect plant growth. It contains over 60 minerals, vitamins, microelements and natural plant growth hormones used together to benefit and bolster the internal health and appearance of all plants.
SUPERthrive – No one, except the creator of this product, really knows exactly what is in SUPERthrive Vitamins-Hormones Solution. It is known that this product works very well at increasing growth rates, plant productivity and reviving plants under stress.
Will these preparations benefit the stock plant following the cutting harvest?
Definitely! A prepared stock plant will recover faster from the stress of heavy pruning. New growth will be strong and healthy thus allowing the grower to use the same stock plant for future cutting harvests.