F. Benjamina Cuttings

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F. Benjamina Cuttings

Post  chadley999 on Sun Oct 07, 2012 12:15 am

Hi this is my first post and i am still a bonsai nub. I have been reading as much material relating to all subjects as possible. However i still have a question. I have rooted ficus cuttings with the cup of water method and want to pot them up now. Should i use regular potting soil or should i use 100% turface? (its actually oil absorbent as i can not find turface easily) I know these trees prefer dry feet, so i thought they might prefer turface over the potting soil. I will probably try both, but would love to hear every ones opinion on the issue.
Thanks for your help!

chadley999
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Re: F. Benjamina Cuttings

Post  DreadyKGB on Sun Oct 07, 2012 12:28 am

I would go with the Oil Dri and keep a close eye on the watering making sure that the soil does not dry out. At the early stages keep them somewhere humid and always damp at the roots, but not soaked. They should grow pretty easily.

Todd

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Re: F. Benjamina Cuttings

Post  -keith- on Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:33 am

when i plant cuttings i skip the water and plant them right into the soil medium with a rooting hormone,i have found better results this way. i also put the pots in a tray and fill it with water.after the tray dries a day or 2 i fill it again. this avoids disturbing the cutting while watering. i also will wire the cutting"trunk" and leave a long strand to stick in the soil to support the branch,this allows the cutting to sit more towards the top of the soil and allows longer roots to form in smaller pots

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Re: F. Benjamina Cuttings

Post  rps on Sun Oct 07, 2012 2:45 am

-keith- wrote:when i plant cuttings i skip the water and plant them right into the soil medium with a rooting hormone,i have found better results this way. i also put the pots in a tray and fill it with water.after the tray dries a day or 2 i fill it again. this avoids disturbing the cutting while watering. i also will wire the cutting"trunk" and leave a long strand to stick in the soil to support the branch,this allows the cutting to sit more towards the top of the soil and allows longer roots to form in smaller pots
agreed. i find the cuttings often rot before they have a chance to set root in soil, so stick with straight turface [or oil-dri].

some additional tips for the quoted method [most are 'borrowed' from Jerry Meislik]
a) use a clear plastic drinking cup with some drainage holes poked thru the bottom [that way you can see the roots without disturbing them prematurely to investigate].
b) put the whole affair in a ziploc type bag for a mini-greenhouse. open it once a day for an hour or so to minimise fungus.
c) keep it warm, but out of direct sunlight or it will 'cook' in the bag --- the top of the 'fridge works well for me.
d) it will 'rain' inside the bag, so cut a few slits along the bottom of it or your plastic-cup pot will get water logged in puddles --- actually i don't bother with the slits, but afix a piece of plastic grid to the bottom of the pot [with the wire for securing the 'trunk'] to hold it above the pooled condensation.
e) keep an eye on the growing medium moisture --- but because of the closed environment it probably won't need watering for two weeks or longer.
f) roots usually show through the cup within four to six weeks. sometimes less, depending on species.
g) when it's time to remove the rooted cutting from the bag, do so over a couple of days --- simply leaving the bag open a few extra hours each day.
h) if you 'slip pot' up a size be mindful of the crumbling nature of the 'soil' and the fragile roots.
i) i usually leave it in the cup for a few months for the roots to toughen, but wrap foil around things once it's outside the bag --- so the roots don't scorch through the clear cup.

this works almost too well. i've even had small banyans develop on ficus cuttings using the mini tent.


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Re: F. Benjamina Cuttings

Post  chadley999 on Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:34 pm

Thanks for all the great responses. I have tried rooting directly in the soil with rooting hormone before. Haven't been successful but i fear it is because of sodden soil as i have been using potting soil. I will have to try with the oil dry next time, hopefully i will get some better results!

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Re: F. Benjamina Cuttings

Post  drgonzo on Sun Oct 07, 2012 6:20 pm

chadley999 wrote: I have tried rooting directly in the soil with rooting hormone before. Haven't been successful but i fear it is because of sodden soil as i have been using potting soil.

Rooting "hormone" is not necessary with ficus as the latex sap quickly seals the cutting wound, in fact I think I read somewhere once that using the various callusing acids (IBA, NAA) is actually counterproductive with ficus...not sure where I ran across that though.

My best success with cloning ficus has been in mid summer and in pure turface.
-Jay

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Re: F. Benjamina Cuttings

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