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Planting with Root Cuttings: Exploring the Potential of Nature

In the world of plant propagation, root cuttings stand out as a semi-artificial yet highly effective technique. Unlike traditional methods like stem or leaf cuttings, root cuttings focus on the formation of new shoots. This method proves particularly successful for plants that readily produce suckers or basal shoots. Join us on a journey through the steps of root cuttings, exploring the season, size, and types of plants that can thrive through this fascinating process.

Steps for Root Cuttings:

Seasonal Considerations:

Root cuttings are most successful when taken at the onset of the monsoon season. The availability of moisture during this period aids in the establishment of new plants.

Repotting Insights:

Access to roots during the repotting process is advantageous for many ornamental plants. This stage allows for a convenient exploration of root systems for potential cuttings.

Size and Length:

Optimal root cuttings come from young roots of moderate thickness, approximately the thickness of a pencil. Length can vary from 2.5 to 15 cm, with one or more buds present.

Placement of Cuttings:

Horizontal or vertical placement in light soil or sand is key. Longer cuttings (7 cm or more) should be positioned vertically. Horizontal cuttings are covered with sufficient soil and firmly secured.

Understanding Polarity:

Acknowledging the phenomenon of polarity is crucial. Ensure that the stem (shoot) side is placed at the upper end, with the root side positioned at the base. A careful cut at the lower end aids in easy identification.

New Plant Formation:

Adventitious buds on the root cuttings give rise to new shoots, and roots emerge from the base of these buds or cut sections of old roots. The result is a genetically identical clone of the mother plant.

Transplantation Moment:

Once the new cutting has developed at least 4 to 6 leaves, it is ready for transplantation. This can be done in a pot, container, or directly in the garden.

Plants Successfully Propagated by Root Cuttings:

Herbaceous Plants:

Achillea

Anemone

Gypsophila

Gallardia

Phlox

Salvia

Chrysanthemum

Woody Plants:

Ixora

Jasmines

Aralia

Campsis

Clerodendron

Lagerstroemia

Wisteria

Yucca

Certain Rose species

Trees Cultivated in India:

Millingtonia hortensis (The Great Indian Cork Tree): Known for its beautiful evergreen nature and fragrant flowers.

Artocarpus heterophyllus (Jackfruit Tree): An essential fruit crop in India.

Lawn Establishment:

New lawns can be established in the monsoon season by planting root cuttings of Paspalum or Doob grass.

       The process of propagating plants through root cuttings not only expands our horticultural toolkit but also deepens our understanding of plant physiology. It unveils the remarkable potential of various plant parts to regenerate into entirely new individuals. As we delve into this method, we unlock nature’s capacity for renewal and embrace a sustainable approach to gardening.

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