APPLYING ROOTING GEL
If you are using a rooting gel it is important that the cutting is dipped into it as soon as possible after the cut has been made. It should then be put straight into the rooting medium, to avoid air getting to the open, cut end as embolisms are a common cause of cuttings failing to root. Rooting gels are not necessary but recommended as they help the cutting to establish by:
• Sealing the cut tissue.
• Promoting root cell initiation.
• Protecting initial root tissues.
• Feeding young roots.
• Protecting against fungus etc.
Gels generally have the advantage over powders as they will remain in contact with the stem for longer and are usually more successful in promoting root development. Once the cut has been made a callous (basal swelling) will form, this is the plants way of healing the wound. The roots will then grow from this callous. Be careful not to use too much rooting gel/powder as once the callous has formed and the roots are growing, further callous growth can occur due to the over-abundance of growth hormones. This will slow down the rooting process.
PLANT THE CUTTING
Place the cutting (as quickly as possible) into a rooting medium (Rockwool block/soil etc). Plant until the nodes of the removed lower leaves are just submerged. These exposed nodes have a high concentration of potential root cells and this will create two more sites from which roots may develop. Be careful when placing your cutting in the rooting medium. Make sure the pilot hole is large enough, so that the rooting gel/powder does not scrape off. Cuttings should always remain vertical so that the rooting hormones can easily make their way down to the cut stem.
TRANSFER TO A PROPAGATOR
The cutting will now have to be transferred to a propagator for hardening-off.