how to tell if cuttings have developed roots

3 Sure Ways To Tell If Cuttings Have Developed Roots

In Propagation by Ana M

Taking and rooting cuttings is an efficient way to multiply your favorite plants. You can plant cuttings in soil or water, however some plants prefer one to another. First of all, keep in mind that plants can be of two different kinds: herbaceous (thin and floppy) and woody plants. These two types root a little bit differently.

How to tell if cuttings have developed roots?

Step 1 – Monitor your cuttings. The first sing that cuttings have developed roots is that they started to grow (when you see new leaves). So as soon as eye and vines start to sprout or the growth starts at the top, you will know that they are rooting.

Step 2 – In cases where you can’t differentiate new growth, pull the stem slightly and if you feel resistance, you will know that cuttings are rooting. However, be very careful and use this method as your last resort.

Step 3 – Look at the bottom of the pot. If cuttings have developed roots, you might observe that roots are coming out through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. It only works if you plant cuttings in small separate ports rather than lost of eye and vines in a same big pot.

plant cuttings in plastic bottles to see the developed roots

Tip: plant your cuttings in the clear plastic bottles so you can see roots when they have developed.

Let’s talk about rooting vine plants and the ideal way to root them is directly in soil.

How to plant cuttings in soil?

  • Take a pot and pour some mix. Use peat moss and perlite soilless mix.
  • Soak the pot with warm water – put it in the sink and spray it with sprayer or sit it in the water. That way the mix will absorb as much water as it can.
  • Drain off the excess – let it drain naturally.
  • You will see that mix becomes compacted as you water it, so just fluff it up with your fingers.
  • Now you need to cut the vines.

How to take a cutting from a vine?

Vines root ideally in bud what sometimes is called an eye, which is the sprout that comes out of the leaf, and a vine. Cut this part off with pruning shears into eye and vine sections. You should have a short section of the stem and one bud.

  • Put 10-15 eye and vine sections into the same pot. The cutting will root from the root node and it is going to sprout a new top from the vine.
  • Place the cuttings in the pot just at the surface of the mix.

Tip: make a hole with your finger so you don’t crush the root nodes when inserting them into the mix.

How to take a cutting from a woody plant?

  1. If you want a woody plant to root, take off extra leaves. We don’t have any roots, so we can’t have a lot of leaves. As a rule of thumb – trim off two thirds of the leaves.
  2. Choose the cutting that is going to root. The stem should not be too big or too woody.
  3. Take a greener section of the stem, trim above any node (rim on the stem) and put it in the pot. Alternatively, you can take a pencil thickness stem that is 6 to 12 inches long.
  4. Put the pots on windowsill but not in the direct sunshine because if the sun is going to shine directly on the leaves, it can burn them. Leave the pots on the side.
  5. If you have a lot of cuttings, you can put a lid over them.

When should I take cuttings?

Generally, spring to summer time is best for taking cuttings, however, it depends on the type of the plant. For example, you can take cuttings from herbaceous (perennials and annuals) plants at any time during the growing season and these should sprout withing few weeks.

On the other hand, you need to take cuttings from woody plants when there are no frosts, so it is around early fall, when trees drop their leaves, to late winter. Keep in mind that you take hardwood cuttings from dormant trees and plants, it is the state when they don’t have leaves. These hardwood cuttings approximately take several months to sprout.

Moreover, you can take cuttings from new growth on a tree or shrub in spring and early summer, these stems are green and soft and are known as softwood cuttings. These should sprout by fall.

How long does it take for a cutting to root?

Generally, it takes from 3 to 4 weeks for a cutting to root but it depends on the type of the plant and whether you propagate in water or soil. For example, if you take hardwood cuttings in early autumn and plant them in potting mix, these will be ready to transplant in spring.

How do you promote the roots of cuttings?

To promote cuttings root growth you need to ensure that you provide them with the ideal rooting conditions. For example, the temperature should be in a range of 70° to 80°F (21 – 26 °C). Make sure that cuttings are not exposed to direct sunlight or cold drafts. It is very important not to overwater cuttings.

Do you need rooting hormone for cuttings?

Although using rooting hormone is not a requirement, it increases the rooting success rate especially for woody plants like roses and shrubs. There are two types of rooting hormone:

  • Powdered hormone – it is the easiest form to work with. The active ingredient is indole-3-butyric acid (IBA). It is a plant hormone from the auxin family which promotes root formation. When using rooting hormone powder, moisten the stem first and then stir it in powder. Remove the excess and plant your cuttings.
  • Gel hormone – similarly to powdered option, the active ingredient is indole-3-butyric acid. Gel remains intact once you dip the stem, seals the cut and the cutting is ready for planting.
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