PROGRESSION AND HARDENING-OFF
Initially the cuttings will wilt but should remain green and healthy.
Your cuttings should now be picking up. Although the leaves may still wilt the head should now be moving towards the light.
By now they should be standing upright with the leaves starting to move towards the light.
Now they should be looking healthy and the leaves should be arching towards the light
These first four days are the most crucial. If after this time the cutting is still wilting then something is probably wrong (possibly an embolism). If several plants are wilting then the problem is probably environmental. Check the following:
• Make sure the rooting medium is not too wet or dry
• Make sure the humidity is around 80% – 90%.
• Make sure the temperature is around 24°C.
If after a week the cutting is still wilting then carefully check the Rockwool block/rooting medium for any roots, if none have grown then they will need to be re-cut.
• Remove from the Rockwool block/rooting medium as carefully as possible.
• Re-cut the stem (at a 45° angle).
• Re-apply rooting gel/powder.
• Replace in to new Rockwool block/rooting medium as soon as possible.
Little really happens above ground in the first week, but below ground the division of cells at the cut stem will have a initiated basal swelling from which the roots will develop.
In the second week there should be observable development. The cutting should have put out roots and have started feeding, with initial sprouting of new growth above ground. Do not worry if the lower leaves turn yellow or brown – this is a good indication that the roots are growing. However, if they look burnt at the edges, there may be a poor connection and roots may not have developed.
By now the initial adventitious roots should be seen protruding from the rooting medium, and new leaf growth should be occurring.
The cutting is now ready for planting into a system or transferring into a larger Rockwool block.
Taking cuttings is one of those jobs where it’s best to have all your equipment prepared and ready to hand.
First gather all of the required equipment.
• Scalpel/razor blade or good cutting knife.
• Rockwool blocks/rooting medium.
• Rooting gel/powder.
• Scissors (if required).
• Bowl of lukewarm water (if required).
Make sure that everything is clean and sterile (including yourself!). If unsure wash all of your equipment in a mild bleach solution (¼ cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water) and then rinse everything thoroughly and leave for a few hours to de-chlorinate. Choose the mother plant and select the cuttings that you wish to take beforehand.
By Paul Fowler