Saturday, July 12, 2014

New Starts. Fig trees. Carnations. Roses. 7.12.14

Today I planted some carnation seeds for next year.  We will see if they grow.  It's interesting starting seeds in July, but that seems right for perennial flowers that bloom the second year.  Starting plants for next year is either a suspension of uncertainty, or an expression of a type of hope - that next year will come and I will be here to enjoy.🐝

I had 3 fig cuttings in the fridge.  It was either start them, throw away, or leave them there untill the apocalypse.  So I rinsed them and placed  in moist paper towels in plastic bags.  They look reasonably green and viable.  These cuttings were wrapped in moist paper towels and plastic wrap, still moist and not rotten or moldy.  Probably there since April.  This is the last of staring new fig varieties.  These were Ventura and O'Rourke.

All of the freeze-killed fig trees are back from the dead.  The last was Atreano. Now about 2 foot tall from the roots.  No fertilizer.  See if they do better next winter.  Very lush growth on most.  

I gave away a Hardy Chicago start.  Very happy to find it a home.  🏡  Its mid July now.  No more fertilizer for any of the fig tree new starts.

Pencil-size pruning from healthy, vigorous rose bush.

Most of the leaflets are pruned off.
 This is my experiment to start some new roses.  It arose not out of wanting more rose bushes, but because I had left over Dip-And-Grow and didn't want to waste it.  And I am in the mood to try cuttings.

Roses can be easy to grow from cuttings.  I usually start them in winter from vigorous appearing dormant growth.  I have also grown roses from a bouquet, that someone brought into work, mid summer, and from a roadside bush about to meet the bulldozer.

These are mostly from unnamed varieties that I grew from cuttings a decade ago.
Incision to expose cambium.

5 seconds in Dip-And-Grow

Wrap lower part in wet paper towel.

 It's an attempt to use the fig method, which works very well for me.  The main difference is, this is Summer wood, while the fig cuttings are from dormant wood.

1.  I pruned sections about pencil-thick and pencil-long, or a little smaller, from this year's growth.

2.   I removed all leaflets, except the first couple in each leaf.  The reason is, I wanted to leave a little for photosynthesis, but not enough to draw more water than the rootless cutting can absorb.

3.  I made an incision in the lower section, where I want roots to grow.   The incision is made with a sharp knife, through the cambium layer.  Rose wood has a waxy layer, that may inhibit absorption of hormone.   Making the incision also exposes the cambium, which may respond by making callous.  Callous is basically a stem - cell type that can produce roots or vascular tissue, but not usually buds or leaves.  

4.  Dip in rooting hormone, 5 seconds.

5.  Wrap in moist to wet paper towel.  The paper towel is sterile, so will not contribute to rotting of the cutting.  Moisture content is easy to manage.  The white paper is easily inspected for mold and mildew, and easily replaced if those grow.  When roots form, the paper towel is easy to removed, almost falls apart on its own, but wont cause damage if left in the growing medium to compost itself when the roots are growing.

6.  The cutting is placed in a plastic bag.  I blow up the plastic bag, so there is only minimal contact with the leaves, to reduce infection of the leaf with rot causing organisms.  This makes a nice humidity chamber for the cutting, which should not require any watering until it starts growing and is removed.

7.  I placed the plastic bags in a warm room.  Easy to find in July, my house is not air conditioned.  The shade is closed so there is not direct sunlight.

8.  Now wait and see.  If the paper towel becomes moldy, I remove it, rinse the stem, and replace with fresh wet paper towel.  This is mostly the same as I do for figs.  I have never done this for roses, so they might grow and might not.

My grandfather's sisters grew hybrid tea roses by starting cuttings directly in their rose bed.  They cut sections, and stuck them into the soil.  They covered the cuttings using a mason jar, to create a miniature green-house for each cutting.  That was in the 1950s and 1960s, but I imagine they learned that from previous generations much earlier. 🌹

Place into plastic bag, blow up, crimp top.

Incubate in warm location out of direct sun.


  1. I manage to rot a lot of cuttings with the bag technique. Can't wait to see what happen to yours. I will try again if your method works. I'll try anything to save me time. Because rooting in soil needs lots of attention to water and humidity.

  2. Very clear instructions. I have never done it and is well worth the try.

  3. In the past, I've rooted some plums with the bag technique, and zillions of figs. It might not work with roses. I always like to try new things.

    Will need to post an update on the roses. They have not rooted yet, and some are losing leaves. So far they are a "maybe".