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Make a TREE root from a potato?!

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Being a novice beginning gardener, I asked an old lady with a bunch of pretty flowers what to do to propagate plants from cuttings. She told me to cut a branch with buds from the tree/shrub while dormant, making sure the cut is clean and not ripped or jagged. She said soak the cutting in root stimulator overnight, then cut a small hole in a potato and gently force the cutting into the potato until it is firmly secured. Plant the potato just below the surface of the ground with a little organic material and a little native dirt. She assured me I could plant just about anything by cutting in this manner...Can anyone verify this method or offer any other ideas?



It does fly in the face of science Cantdoitlikeme. Usually cuttings root better when deprived of all outside nutrition and just have moisture to live on. This forces them to put down roots looking for food. So 'a little organic material', especially as the potato is organic itself but not much use for plant food until it composts plus a little 'native dirt' what is 'native dirt'? does worry me.

But I can make a case for it as follows,

The potato is full of water and will keep the base of the cutting moist whilst it roots. The cutting will not get to the organic material until it has rooted. The 'native dirt' (presumably the dirt from around the parent tree) will ensure that at least the tree is happy in that soil type, but 'a little'?

So it's probably a folk story, but like many folk stories may have some truth in it. But I doubt if 'anything' would work with it.

That is my view as a scientist (but I hasten to add not an horticultural scientist).


4 Dec, 2008

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