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Limousin, France Fr

dear all, rooting hormone compound: how important is this for cuttings? just seen article where it says unless it's fresh don't bother (Bunny DT, I think), but just been to a local meeting where I was told it's vital for success (though not where to get it in France!). Never seriously tried cuttings before (my summer bought pelargoniums now struggling would be my first ones). Any advice? Have no greenhouse but I have an unheated but light guest-bedroom (!) (Wisely no one visits in winter).



I've been a nurseryman for over 20 years. I used to use hormone powder then I ran out and tried without and I can't say I've noticed any difference in the success rate.

I took some pelargonium cuttings at roughly this time last year(maybe a couple of weeks earlier) and kep them on a bright window sill in an unheated room indoors and they all rooted and survived the winter

21 Sep, 2012


I tried rooting hormone and it makes no difference. If a cutting is going to root it is going to root. A sunny unheated room window sill is perfect for rooting cuttings like Buxus and shrubs. I use 70% sand and 30% compost and things root inside well. June is a good time to start many cuttings as they tend to root by August. Over winter is slower but you should get some roots by spring.

21 Sep, 2012


That's a very high proportion of sand Kildermorie.

I usually use 1 part horticultural sand to 3-4 parts compost

It just goes to show that we can vary these proportions substantially and still have success.

21 Sep, 2012


I couldn,t say how much horticultural sand or grit to compost I use, I just mix it until I think it looks right for whatever I,m doing, lol, Derek.

21 Sep, 2012


Well its interesting that if you look up propagation for different plants, some 'need' rooting hormone, and others don't, or its not recommended for some.

21 Sep, 2012


I have not used rooting hormone for many years now. I don't believe that it does any good. Regarding compost; I don't mix it but but put a small layer of compost in the bottom of the pot and fill with sharp sand. The cuttings get plunged into the sand and the roots find their way down into compost.

21 Sep, 2012


Strange how we all have our variations on the same theme!

Subject to the basic compost I add an amount of sand that I think is sufficient to make the compost open textured like a seed compost.

I find these new peat reduced/ free composts vary so much hence the different amounts of sand.

But what I do before inserting the cuttings into the compost is apply a layer of dry silver sand on top of which means as I push the cutting in it takes some silver sand with it, meaning there is a good drainage layer at the base and sides of the cutting which I advocate reduces the chances of damping off.

OK it basically the same as you others do only with a slight twist.

21 Sep, 2012


I used it in the late 70's early 80' (but not since) as every gardening expert /programme told you to. I think it was one of those recommended things at the time rather like Leylandii for screening and Heather for rockeries!

21 Sep, 2012


Naphthyl-acetic acid powder products such as Strike are worthless, better rooting without anything.

I have much greater success with gel-based indole-acetic acid products such as Clonex which I can recommend.

If you wish to avoid chemicals try honey - antimicrobial and full of nutrients.

21 Sep, 2012


Honey?? will give that one a go!

21 Sep, 2012


It's what I've always said .... "Ask ten gardeners the same question and you'll get ten different answers." I've never bothered with rooting powder - if the cuttings I've taken want to root - they will. If they don't - I try again until they do. They generally do. :o)

22 Sep, 2012


When I did a year at college for the NCH we did comparison tests on cuttings one was some with some without rooting powder, if anything the results showed that the ones without rooting powder did slightly better

22 Sep, 2012


Thanks so much for all this, everybody! I'm going to try without the hormone stuff (mainly 'cos I can't find it in the shops). Er, anyone know where to get the right kind of sand?

Buddleja: funnily enough my neighbour told me to use honey but I thought this was just 'cos he kept bees! (His honey is gorgeous and every time I eat it I console myself for the weeds in my patch that his bees enjoy so much...)

But now, sticky pelargonium cuttings, coming up... You learn something new every day...

22 Sep, 2012


You should be able to get it in France with no trouble, as we buy ours at a Bricomarche. Jardiland also sells it as does Point Vert.
Having said that, I'd agree with others that it doesn't seem to make a huge difference to cuttings, but it's the frequent misting which makes for success or not.

22 Sep, 2012


thanks bertiefox, there is a Jardiland 3/4 of an hour away from me - but as a pensioner I was wondering whether 3/4 of an hour x 2 of fuel for my car, was worth spending to acquire rooting compound - hence my query! (half an hour away the nearest small town, whilst picturesque and charming, doesn't do gardening supplies - they almost rang the nearest asylum when I asked about vermiculite in the hardware store!)

Meanwhile folks, the bit of green from a scented pelargonium plant that I was given at a gardening club on Thursday last (doused in hormone, plonked in compost, handed over) has lifted its leaf and looks cheery. I live in hopes!

mmm, mmm, anyone got a cloth - that honey mixed with compost ain't half sticky!

23 Sep, 2012

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