Thursday December 4, 2014
Typically, striking is a simple process in which a small amount of the parent plant is removed. This removed piece, called the cutting, is then encouraged to grow as an independent plant.
Since most plant cuttings will have no root system of their own, they are likely to die from dehydration if the proper conditions are not met. They require a moist medium, which, however, cannot be too wet lest the cutting rot. A number of media are used in this process, including but not limited to soil, perlite, vermiculite, coir, rock wool, expanded clay pellets, and even water given the right conditions. The environment should be humid (this generally means placing the cuttings under a plastic sheet or in another confined space where the air can be kept moist) and partial shade should be provided, also to prevent the cutting from drying out. After cuttings are placed in the medium, they are watered thoroughly with a fine mist, such as from a nozzle sprayer or a spray mister bottle. After the initial watering, the medium is allowed to almost dry out before misting again, with the aim to keep the soil moist but not wet and waterlogged. A fine mist is used to avoid disturbing plants.
In addition, the cutting needs to be taken correctly. It must be taken at the right time; in temperate countries, stem cuttings of young wood need to be taken in spring, of hardened wood they need to be taken in winter. It must have the right size and amount of foliage; length of stem cuttings of soft wood for example need to be between 5–15 cm and of hard wood between 20–25 cm. Also, two thirds of the foliage of soft wood stem cuttings should be removed. For hard wood stem cuttings, complete foliage removal is necessary.
If the plant is unlikely to grow then a rooting hormone to "encourage" the plant to grow and mature may be administered. Though not essential, several compounds may be used to promote the formation of roots through the signaling activity of plant hormone auxins, and is helpful with especially hard plant species.[clarification needed] Among the commonly used chemicals is indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) used as a powder, liquid solution or gel. This compound is applied either to the cut tip of the cutting or as a foliar spray. Rooting hormone can be manufactured naturally - one method is to soak the yellow-tipped shoots of a weeping willow tree in water, or to prepare a tea from the bark of a willow tree. When using the shoots or bark, they should be soaked for 24 hours prior to using. Honey, though it does not contain any plant hormones, can also aid in rooting success through its antiseptic quality.
Some plants form roots much more easily. Most succulent cuttings can be left on a table and small roots will form, and some other plants can form roots from having their cuttings placed in a cup of water.
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