General Question

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

When will I know that my plant clippings have actually taken root?

Asked by MyNewtBoobs (19026points) April 25th, 2011

Do I just wait a few weeks and if they don’t die, they’ve established a new root system? Or… what?

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29 Answers

incendiary_dan's avatar

What did you plant clippings of?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@incendiary_dan So far, peppermint, spearmint, english mint, and catnip.

incendiary_dan's avatar

They should root within a week or two after putting them in moist soil. I hear mints root really easily. So yea, the sign will be that they stay alive after that, and shouldn’t wilt much.

faye's avatar

They’ll be upright and making new little leaves. I envy you having cuttings.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@faye They’re mostly cuttings of my own garden that I’m trying to duplicate for my sister.

sfgal's avatar

I’ve heard that mint can take over – it grows roots pretty fast…so it’s best to plant mint in its own pot rather than with lots of other herbs.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I usually start clippings in a small glass of water, and transplant into dirt once the roots establish themselves.

gailcalled's avatar

I transplant all the mints by pulling up a yard or so of the root. It grows horizontally and you can see the mini-plants starting to grow vertically from the original root.

I then dig a trench somewhere (if the soil is soft) with my sneaker. Then I lay the root down, kick some loose dirt over it and jump up and down a few times.

And as soon as my catmint shows some greenery, I will take a few small divisions around the edges and stick them unceremoniously in the ground.

These plants are designed to take heavy abuse and serious neglect. But they can engulf you, your gardens, your house, your car and anything else that is standing still.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@BarnacleBill See, I tried that, but they never established roots. They stayed alive as long as there was fresh water, but didn’t grow new roots.

gailcalled's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs: Not all cuttings will grow strong roots in water. You can try dipping them into rooting powder, setting them in some decent, sterile soil in a small pot, covering with a plastic bag to hold the moisture in and see what happens.

“Detailed instructions”: http://www.uvm.edu/pss/ppp/pubs/oh5cuts.html

incendiary_dan's avatar

Soaking a bit of willow bark in the water can be a good substitute for rooting hormone.

gailcalled's avatar

@incendiary_dan: Good point. I had forgotten. The old wives tale suggested aspirin tablets dissolved in the water, but willow bark is certainly cheaper.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

The surest way to tell is when your cuttings start to show new leaves/growth. When there are new leaves coming out, there is also root growth/development.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@gailcalled Huh. I found rooting hormone for $5 so probably not a huge savings with willow bark or aspirin.

gailcalled's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs: That little jar of rooting powder will last you for decades, unless you make a career out of plant clippings.

Willow bark is free, of course. I use neither. Either the wretched things take root or they don’t.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@gailcalled I don’t think willow grows that much around here. I know my mother put in a weeping willow after my sister and I basically fell in love with them so much she couldn’t refuse, but we were warning quite a bit that it would be really strange if it actually lived (it did :)). Colorado is pretty finicky about what will grow.

gailcalled's avatar

And doesn’t Colorado have a variety of altitudes and terrains? Are you in the mountains or the prairie? Weeping willows are everywhere here (eastern farm country) and about now are starting to show that new green that means spring is finally in residence.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@gailcalled Yeah, it does, but I stand by what I said. I’m in the High Plains region. We just get so very little water, and what water we do get is a) snow (95%) or b) flash floods that don’t have time to sink in to the soil (5%). Plus, a lot of the soil is really tough and clay and not always filled with a well-rounded amount of nutrients.

gailcalled's avatar

Do you have the time, money and energy to amend the soil? We too have hardpan and clay; I have been composting for years. It is a cheap and satisfying way of making good dirt.

What kind of gardens that you have admired have you seen in and around your neighborhood?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@gailcalled Time, energy, maybe. Money? Not so much.

Mostly, people plant ground cover – myrtle, creeping thyme, hen & chicks, snow in summer, catnip – as well as some herbs and maybe a few flowers that they like and want to spend energy on. But everyone in my neck of the woods has really small gardens; I live in actual downtown Denver, so even the Governor’s Mansion doesn’t have that much room.

gailcalled's avatar

How about tomatoes, basil and possibly lettuce in a few large pots? There is nothing like picking and eating a tomato that you have grown.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@gailcalled I’m actually not a big enough fan of tomatoes to spend the time on them, because they are really, really hard (at least out here). I planted some dollar store lettuce and cabbage (hey, for $.25 a pack, why not?), and I have (so far) Lemon Basil, Sweet Basil, Genovese Basil, Mrs. Burns Lemon Basil, Nepolatano Basil, Lime Basil, Sweet Italian Basil, Boxwood Basil, Spicy Globe Basil, Greek Yevani Basil, Cinnamon Basil, Lettuce Leaf Basil, Red Rubin Basil (yeah, basil is my favorite herb, by far, hands down, I have tons and tons of recipes for it, and make the best pesto EVAR if I do say so myself). I also have chives, sage, common thyme, english thyme, lavender, borage, oregano, burrent, fenugreek, fennel, dill, cat grass, rosemary, and chamomile growing.

gailcalled's avatar

Sounds lovely and must smell delicious when you step on or brush against the leaves.

Interesting that in my micro-climate around my house, lavender is an annual and never comes back. I stopped planting it, sadly and have replaced it with the similar but more hardy catmint.

(What’s cat grass and burrent?) I love talking about gardens but must, must, must go to bed.

Tomorrow a friend and I are driving to an area of the county with few houses in order to poach a few marsh marigolds in an area where they grow by the acre. They like sun and very wet soil, preferably mush. We take shovels and Wellingtons and lots of towel due to the mud. An annual day that I love.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@gailcalled It smells really, really lovely.
Cat grass is grass that’s bred specifically to grow indoors and amuse your cat, so that they eat the cat grass instead of all the other plants you have indoors.
Salad Burnet is basically a plant that should grow in the mostly-shady parts of my garden, showing beautiful flowers, and companion plants with thyme and mint.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Dig some swales. That should collect enough of the water into the ground to grow things like willows.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@incendiary_dan Aren’t they trees that take years and years to really get going (like all trees)?

BarnacleBill's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs, weeping willows take a lot of water. They do well in damp spots in the yard, near a creek, or in places with less than stellar drainage.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs Yea, they definitely take at least a few. Figured I’d throw it out there for anyone interested who didn’t think they could grow them, since it’s such a good medicinal and utilitarian plant. Two of the classes I’ve been teaching have been utilizing multiple parts of the willow lately.

gailcalled's avatar

@Incendiary dan: Re; Willows. I get swales in my field from pushing a one-wheeled wheel barrow over the surface. Here in this area of clay and shale and run-off, you can stick a broken-off willow branch into a mucky spot and have it root. Turning into a tree does take a while.

And I believe, in general, in using native or compatible plants whenever possible. I have discovered, the hard and expensive way, that trying to grow stuff that doesn’t belong here is back-breaking, expensive and ultimately futile.

And did someone already mention the issue of willow roots that spread far and wide and can wreck a septic system?

@MyNewtBoobs: I do remember, now that you remind me, buying a pot of cat grass. Milo turned his nose up. Right now I am watching him nibble the tops of the new, tender grass. When you have the time and energy, send us pix of the garden at its peak.

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